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- Literature and morality
One interesting aspect of practical literary studies is the moral obligation of literature and of its authors. In this area, scholars compare different moral obligations put forth by moral philosophers or the moral implications drawn from analysis of more traditional literary texts. Its conclusions are interesting not only in their own scholarly right, but also because they provide a moral framework that authors can keep in mind when creating morally ambiguous art.
- Holocaust studies
Holocaust studies, at least as I am interested in them, are a specific form of analysis on literature and morality (above). Studies on literature about the Holocaust asks questions about who should write about the Holocaust, in what contexts, and most often how they can do so without doing injustice to the atrocity or to the people who died in it. This field is especially interesting because every aspect of Holocaust literature has been brought into question, including the very term "Holocaust."
- Political analysis
Although comparative literature does not often analyze political texts, the analysis of politics in terms of its rhetoric, if it were to become mainstream, would prevent politicians from creating speeches entirely void of meaningful content. This field, in short, attempts to use the literary techniques for a practical purpose largely outside of literature.
- Friedrich Nietzsche
Nietzsche is interesting because he turns morality on its head by analyzing the value of moral valuing. Though his style has come under heavy criticism and much of his philosophy has been historically ignored, the continental movement of the 20th century began taking seriously his conclusions, and the implications of the claim that morality in the Judeo-Christian tradition is in fact hurting us are staggering.
- Moral and political philosophy
One area in which moral philosophy is particularly interesting is its combination with political philosophy. This area is interesting because it moves questions about personal beliefs (e.g., should people get abortions?) into the public sphere, and thus creates debates about the issues that affect our daily lives.
The term "evil" is thrown around relatively freely in contemporary society, especially to describe governments or people that do not adhere to Western society's regulations and to understand why atrocities like genocide happen. But, because it is used so much in so many different contexts, it often just means "bad" with a stronger negative connotation. Research in this area attempts to understand just what "evil" is, in a psychological sense, in a sociological sense, and in a linguistic sense.
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