College Writing Program
Reasoning & Writing in the College WRT 105/105E and 245
(formerly CAS 105/105E and 245)
Each section has a unique content and grows out of the general WRT 105/105E course description developed by the Interdisciplinary College Writing Committee.
- Content Areas:
- Cultural Studies
- English Language and Literature
- Science & Engineering
- Political Science
- Extended Courses (WRT105E)
- WRT 245
**Courses address issues of diversity
**Dysfunctional American Families
Justin Coyne, Department of English
MW 12:30 - 1:45 CRN 93919
“All unhappy families are unhappy in their own way.” Tolstoy
How do we define ourselves in relation to our families? What does it mean to belong to a family and how do the issues of race, class, gender, nationality, politics, and religion intersect in our experiences of family life? In what ways do we defy, deny, accept, and extend our families throughout the various stages of our life? This class will address these questions by examining how unspoken narratives in both fictional and factual representations of American families shape the identities of fictional characters and reveal the ideological values of creators as well.
Weekly assignments will cover various literary genres and visual mediums and our in-class discussions of these materials will be oriented around close, critical reading practices which will lay the foundation for clear, precise, and persuasive reader-based essays. Students will submit three shorter essays and an 8-10 page research paper. The writing process itself will involve drafting, peer review, self-assessment, and revision.
**Growing up Asian American: Asian American Children’s and Young Adult Literature
Qian Hua Ge, Department of English
MW 6:15 - 7:30 CRN 94049
Children’s and young adult literature is often dismissed as not serious enough, created mostly to entertain young readers. This type of literature, however, can exert great influence on its target audience as it often plays an important role in the construction of its readers’ identity. Children’s and young adult literature often relates to readers’ everyday experiences, teaches them socially acceptable behaviors, and educates them about their cultural backgrounds. In this course, we will study children’s and young adult literature produced by authors of Asian descent that explores the dual identity of being Asian and American. Texts we will read deal with the common themes of the coming of age, such as parent-child relationships, friendship, and maturation through overcoming hardships. But they are also infused with an added Asian cultural flavor. Through writing, we will examine this cultural flavor and investigate some of the following questions: Do these Asian American authors succeed in conveying their unique cultural experience? What are the criteria of good Asian American literature for young readers? How can we judge if such literature authentically reflects the struggle of young Asian Americans to find a balance between their two cultures? What constitutes authentic Asian American literature? Does authenticity matter in this day and age in Asian American creative works? We will attempt to answer these questions by comparing novels such as The Jade Dragon and Born Confused. In addition, we will discuss filmic texts that deal with issues touched on by those novels including First Person Plural, Better Luck Tomorrow, and History and Memory.
By the end of this course, students will be well versed in the principles of reader-based academic writing. To achieve this goal, the course is designed to be discussion based and writing intensive. Through the processes of class discussions, self-assessment and peer feedbacks, students will not only develop skills of assessing arguments and evidence in critical readings, but will also become active contributors to academic conversations. Students will finish two short essays, a research proposal and annotated bibliography, and an 8-10 research paper over the course of the semester.
**Theorizing Race from Thomas Jefferson to Barack Obama
Russell Sbriglia, Department of English
TR 11:05 - 12:20 CRN 94123
Our primary focus this semester will be to trace the complex history of theories of race throughout American literature and culture, from Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia to Barack Obama’s “A More Perfect Union.” In addition to Jefferson and Obama, we will read, among others, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mark Twain, W. E. B. Du Bois, Ralph Ellison, and Toni Morrison. We will also engage critical race theory and the contemporary sociopolitical environment in order to consider questions such as the following: Is race still a viable marker of identity? Is the category of identity itself still viable? Do the controversial events that have accompanied the ascendency of Obama—for example, the media circus surrounding Jeremiah Wright, the escalation of hate crimes, and the proliferation of racist political cartoons and commentaries—suggest the nation’s continued failure to live up to its creed that “all men are created equal,” or does Obama’s election instead signal the beginning of a truly post-racial era? Readings and discussions will be supplemented by two 4-5 page formal analytical papers and an 8-10 page research paper, all of which will be revised through processes of peer review and self-assessment.
**Reforming America's Schools
Burke Scarbrough, Warner School of Education
TR 2:00 - 3:15 CRN 93863
It is nearly impossible to open a newspaper without reading a critique of America’s schools. Headlines, editorials, and famous school tragedies raise a host of complaints: schools are dangerous, students are undisciplined, public education is a failure, teachers are apathetic and undertrained, applying to college is overly stressful, all that matter are standardized tests, American students won’t be able to compete with students from other countries, a decent education is only available to the rich. Even as a growing number of reform initiatives attempt to revolutionize American schools, success stories appear few and far between.
As a student in “Reforming America’s Schools,” you will have one overall semester project: to design your own school. From the first day of class, you will shape and revise a proposal for a new elementary, middle, or high school to be opened somewhere in America. As a class, our goals throughout the semester will be to read a range of perspectives on school reform, discuss some of the most controversial issues about the nature and purpose of education, and use various genres of writing to develop your proposed schools. Our ongoing discussions will be informed by the diverse work of educators, social scientists, journalists, activists, parents, and other students. Though the class is organized around a particular project, the skills you develop as writers and thinkers will be crucial in any discipline. You will learn to self-assess your writing for clarity, sound argument, and rich research, knowing that your goal all semester is to design the most effective school possible and to build support for it. Your short response papers, formal analysis papers and final research paper will help you elaborate your school proposal more fully. Meanwhile, you will bring your expertise as longtime students to each other’s work through discussion and peer review. Above all, we will challenge some of our most basic assumptions about school and allow ourselves to “think outside the box” as you propose your own answer to the constant calls for reform in American education.
Disease and Society
Katherine Schaefer, Department of Medicine
MW 3:25 - 4:40 CRN 94055
In 2008, total health care spending represented 17 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) 1, and current projections suggest that this fraction will rise rapidly in the years to come. As a society, we have to make choices about how to spend on health care, balancing the desire to achieve the best possible health for everyone with the reality of limited resources. Underlying these decisions are both ethical and practical concerns, and a coherent national health care plan requires clear answers to a number of questions. For instance, which diseases get the most attention and why? Are contagious diseases in a different class from heart disease, cancer, and diabetes? What about diseases that are devastating but that affect only a few people? How do we divide scarce resources between prevention and cure? In this class, we will explore these issues using readings, class discussions and written assignments.
Students will read and analyze a variety of sources, including books aimed at general audiences, opinion articles from medical journals, health care policy journals, and the popular press, and scientific articles detailing costs and outcomes of various approaches. Drawing from these sources, students will write three shorter argumentative papers and one comprehensive 8-10 page end of term paper. Peer feedback, self-assessment, and revision of multiple drafts will allow the student to develop the skills necessary to construct logical arguments and write persuasive essays in the academic style.
1 Hellander I. The deepening crisis in U.S. health care: a review of data, Spring 2008. Int J Health Serv 2008;38:607-23.
Literacy, Language, and Identity: The Social and Cultural Influences of New Technologies
Liz Tinelli, Warner School of Education
MWF 11:00 - 11:50 CRN 93964
Web 2.0: fad or affordance? What are New Literacies? How do they influence our perceptions of identity and self? How do new technologies, such as gaming software, video cams, online social communities, and search engines impact our conceptions of literacy? How do they change the ways we engage in socialization? This course will examine how different modalities, such as blogs, wikis, and other new technologies have cultural and social implications. Throughout the course, students will receive multiple opportunities to investigate questions such as these using the exploratory nature of writing and its ability to serve as a learning tool. Processes of self-assessment, peer review and critique, draft writing, revision, and editing will be used to develop scholarly writing that reflects purpose, readability, objectivity, style, and professionalism. Students will become critical readers of texts detailing the new and changing conditions of literacy, language, and identity under contemporary social, economic, cultural, and political conditions. Students will examine the merits of such works as What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy by James Gee, Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet by Sherry Turkle, and Blogs, Wikis, Myspace and More by Terry Burrows. In addition to several formal essays and informal papers, the final paper (8-10 pages) will provide a structured experience for students to capitalize on all aspects of peer feedback, develop and construct an argument in academic writing, and learn to become confident in their role as academic writers.
Wise Guys & Goodfellas: Organized Crime in Popular Culture
Katie Van Wert, Department of English
TR 9:40 - 10:55 CRN 93854
What should we make of the recent explosion in popular representations of organized crime? What are the powers and limitations of the genre of crime fiction? What sort of window does the genre open onto issues of violence, gender, family, justice, and American identity? In what ways is the Mafia like any American business? If murder, prostitution, and drugs are the name of the game, why does my little brother have a poster of Scarface on his wall? To answer these and other questions, we'll look at new and old classics such as The Godfather and The Departed, television incarnations such as The Sopranos, various nonfiction accounts of organized crime culture, and critical scholarship on the subject. Our main approaches will be discussion, weekly reading and writing assignments, and a final research paper. Focusing on writing workshops, revision, peer review, and self-evaluation, the course will emphasize sustained critical thinking and development of argumentative writing skills. Please be aware that this course has some violent content; contact the instructor for more information.
Literature and Theory of Trauma
Mathew Bayne, Department of English
TR 4:50 - 6:05 CRN 94004
**Warning** Please be advised that this course will deal with potentially unsettling materials. Although the course will be analytical in nature, it may not suit all sensibilities. Please feel free to contact me, at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you have specific questions.
This course will examine the concept of “trauma” from an interdisciplinary perspective, taking into account specific modes of traumatic experience such as: illness, torture, war, internment, and social marginalization. One of the recurring course questions will be: how does the relation of language, writing, and narration function with respect to the (re)-articulation of trauma? Other overarching thematic concerns may include: To what extent can trauma be invoked as a means of analyzing sites of social injustice? What are the ethical complications of being a witness? How does one bear witness or memorialize traumatic experience without further enacting trauma? What are the interrelations between bodily trauma, notions of cultural/political trauma, and the replication of the traumatic at the level of everyday events?
I anticipate the course will feature a variety of disciplinary and generic perspectives, from anthropological ethnography to graphic novels. Potential texts include: Art Spiegelman’s Maus, Susan Sontag’s Illness as Metaphor, Alain Resnais’s Hiroshima, Mon Amour, and Jennie Livingston’s documentary film, Paris is Burning. As representation will be integral to the course, class writing will be of utmost importance. Several short papers (a mixture of formal and informal writing projects) will be assigned with the intention of foregrounding peer assessment, revision, and editing. The course will culminate in an 8-10 page research paper, critically engaging the themes of the course.
**Love and Transformation: From Beauty and the Beast to the Brat Pack
Kristi Castleberry, Department of English
TR 11:05 - 12:20 CRN 00409
In fairy tales, simply kissing a frog is enough to turn him into a prince. Love can transform anyone; it can turn a peasant girl into a princess or a beast into a prince. Tales of transformative love occur in much of literature and film. In fact, many modern films for teenagers follow the basic model – a cool boy turns nerdy girl into a prom queen, or vice versa. But what about this story is so alluring? Is there some connection between searching for a soul mate and searching for a true self? Is there a hope that the right person will unfold one’s potential? Are people looking for someone to simply change them into something new? What are the implications of such connections between love and personal identity? In this class, we will attempt to grapple with such questions through formal and informal writings and group discussions of a variety works, such as fairy tales like “Beauty and the Beast,” Greek/Roman myths like “Iphis and Ianthe,” medieval stories like Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Wife of Bath’s Tale,” and a variety of modern films. The main goal of the course is to engage in critical inquiry and to write organized and thoughtful essays using peer review, self-assessment, and revision. Students will practice various kinds of writing, and will ultimately produce an 8-10 page research paper.
Consumer Ideology And Art
Bryce Condit, Department of English
MW 12:30 - 1:45 CRN 94109
Pop art or high art? The answer often depends on whether the art product in question is consumer oriented or not. We expect a more meaningful experience listening to jazz than to car commercials, but what becomes of a jazz piece when it serves as background music to a minivan ad? This class will consider the implications of such aesthetic/economic relationships in a cross-disciplinary sampling of works from the 18th to the 21st century. Throughout the semester we will ask such questions as: What is consumer culture? What is art? What is the relationship between them? Can either influence our perceptions of the other, and if so in what ways?
Students will engage these and other issues as they develop, test, and communicate their ideas by writing a series of short papers and one longer 8-10 page paper on such works as Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Walter Benjamin’s “Art in the Mechanical Age of Reproduction,” Peter Watkins’ Culloden and Alex Cox’s Repo Man. Class discussions, peer review, and self-assessments will be required to aid invention and facilitate ongoing revision. Interdisciplinary perspectives are welcomed.
Truth Universally (Un)Acknowledged– Jane Austen on Film
Andrea Everett, Department of English
TR 12:30 - 1:45 CRN 94087
The works of Jane Austen have given rise to a popular culture phenomenon, which notably manifests itself in movie adaptations for film and television. Some scholars suggest that such adaptations—for the general public—encourage the substitution of viewing for reading. This substitution seems to be to a greater or lesser extent problematic according to the degree of “truth” that the films maintain with regard to their source material. In this course, through reading several Austen texts (including Pride and Prejudice) and viewing various films, we will explore ways in which the medium of film and the creative decisions of filmmakers may alter the interpretation of Austen novels. Is the alteration significant? How do filmmakers deal with questions of feminism or eroticism, for example? Should the film version of a literary text be considered an adaptation or an interpretation? What are the critical implications of such a distinction? You will construct answers to these questions (as well as questions of your own) through class discussion, short essays, and a final 8-10 page research paper. The writing process will include peer feedback, drafting, revision, and self-assessment.
The Black Death
Dianne Evanochko, Department of English
TR 3:25 - 4:40 CRN 94010
“Umana cosa è aver compassione degli afflitti”
These words are the opening line of Boccaccio’s Decameron: It is a human thing to have compassion for the afflicted. The affliction he speaks of is the Bubonic Plague that swept through Europe in the middle of the 14th century, killing more than a quarter of the population in a period of less than two years. The social and psychological ramifications of this event were staggering, and though Boccaccio’s introduction begins with these words of comfort, they beg the question of whether or not compassion truly was a ‘human thing.’ Did people truly respond to their loss with compassion? If not, how did they cope with such a sudden, terrifying, and catastrophic event, and is this reaction relevant in helping us understand how we respond to virulent and contagious illness in the modern world?
We will address these questions through both reflection and writing, examining literature, art, and historical accounts. The class will focus primarily on the writing process and the construction of thoughtful and analytical arguments with the aid of tools such as self assessment and peer review. The class work will consist of informal responses, in-class discussion, as well as three formal analytical papers.
*Adolescence in Comics
Liz Goodfellow, Department of English
MW 4:50 - 6:05 CRN 94146
Comics, including longer works like graphic novels, have long played a part in popular and academic characterizations of adolescence. Long-standing debates continue to address whether or not comics make children and teenagers lazy readers, whether or not the themes depicted in these works are corrupting, and whether pop genres merely distract young adults from more serious works of literature. In our writing, we will weigh in on these controversies by examining various works of comics art together and consider what features of comics, particularly graphic novels, make them so appealing to both teenagers and authors/illustrators who address teenagers’ experiences. Comics theorist Scott McCloud writes that "the format [is] at once both and neither: a language all its own” (17). In what ways do comics and adolescence both straddle boundaries? How are these authors using text and image to construct their narratives? What do the preoccupations of these narratives tell us about adolescence, and have these themes remained consistent over time?
In addition to recent graphic novels such as Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis, Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, and Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese, we will look at older comic books like Burne Hogarth's adaptation of Edgar Rice Burrough's Tarzan, and a variety of online works. This critical work will provide the basis for students’ own argumentation and analysis: a final 8-10 page research paper and several shorter essays. Peer review, self-assessment, and revision will be major elements of our work, as well.
McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. New York: Harper, 1994.
**Manning Up: Constructions of Masculinity in 20th Century America
Julianne Heck, Department of English
MW 3:25 - 4:40 CRN 93872
Drawing from the intellectual claims of the feminist movement of the 1960s and 70s, scholars in the 1980s began examining the social constructiveness of masculinity. Through these examinations, they looked at the often subtle ways in which masculinity is perceived as something natural and inescapable. Analyzing texts ranging from the literary to the psychoanalytical to the cinematic, we will explore different ways in which American masculinity has been constructed over the past century. Some of the selected texts we will look at include works by Judith Butler, Ernest Hemingway, and director James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma). In addition, we will pursue a number of questions about these constructions, such as: How do accepted notions of masculinity affect and mold the psyches of men? How have the characteristics of masculinity changed over time? What happens to masculinity when it comes into contact with other identifying categories like race, class, and sexuality? In what ways has the instability of masculinity been exposed and interrogated? What were the consequences? Together, we will work on finding potential answers to these questions through group discussions and writing assignments, which will include peer-reviews and self-assessments. In our discussions and writing, we will focus on developing original questions and answers in response to the texts we will be studying and will hone our skills in critical essay writing. Class assignments will include several short papers and a final 8-10 page essay.
Entering the Living Dream: Adapting the Scorned Literatures of Popular Culture
Valerie Johnson, Department of English
TR 3:25 - 4:40 CRN 93922
Comic books, graphic novels, romance novels, fan fiction, YouTube fanvids, and music fanmixes are all important parts of modern American popular culture. Fan reactions by definition critically engage and query, often through written reinterpretations and adaptations to new media, the works which are their inspiration. The course will, through discussion and writing, examine the multi-media and popular culture implications of adaptation: how texts, songs, art, and films change in content, reception, and implication as they are reinterpreted across media and time, whether by fans or by professional artists. The role of fan cultures and the reaction of mainstream culture to fan groups will also come under discussion. Class discussions and informal writing assignments will be used to examine the structures and contents of individual texts as well as groups of texts, the changes required for adaptation across different media, and responses to awareness of tropes' multi-media existences. We will use specific characters and texts, such as Robin Hood, Batman, and even LOL Cats, to develop methods to think and write about these issues, and to address the questions emerging from those inquiries. Class texts will include medieval poetry, modern film, and fan phenomena, in addition to critical treatments of media issues. Formal writing assignments will include several short papers and one longer argumentative research paper of approximately 8-10 pages. All formal assignments will incorporate a revision process, which will include drafts, revisions, peer feedback, and self-assessments.
Fairytales and Their Revelations for Modern Culture
Martha Johnson-Olin , Department of English
TR 9:40 - 10:55 CRN 94114
With over 700 versions of Cinderella in the world today and with Cinderella motifs appearing in present day novels, films, and song lyrics, we shall consider why this fairy tale remains popular and how it and other fairy tales are represented in our culture. In this class, we will use Cinderella as a lens to study our society. We will examine how the stories have changed across cultures and times, how fairy tale archetypes appear in popular films, such as The Matrix, and how fairy tale motifs operate in society. Through writing several smaller assignments and through class discussion, we will explore numerous questions regarding Cinderella and fairy tales in general. We should ask ourselves why so many little girls dream about fairy godmothers and grand weddings and whether boys dream of becoming Prince Charming. We will also use drafting and revision to determine how the stories affect their audience. Do the stories merely entertain, or do they present a more complex model of gender and agency? If so, how do these representations affect young audiences? Students will read several versions of Cinderella and Gregory Maguire’s novel Confessions on an Ugly Stepsister while using peer feedback, the writing process, and self-assessment to develop ideas. The course will culminate in the creation of an 8-10 page argumentative research paper.
The Urban Unreal: Phantasmagoric Cityscapes in Literature and Film
Joseph Lamperez, Department of English
MW 3:25 - 4:40 CRN 93889
We assume that we know what a city is, and what it can be. What is it? Why, it’s a center of commercial and cultural activity; a contact zone allowing peoples of diverse lifestyles and origins to brush up against one another; a site of faded grandeur, recalling vanished imperial power and influence. But the city in its representational history has been so much more. The biblical first city is founded, in defiance of God’s command, as a “fallen” alternative to the lost, paradisiacal Garden of Eden, but does the city ever successfully recoup this fateful loss, or does it serve, rather, as a sign of mankind’s state of exile? A literally “un-natural” creation, built as a defensive reaction to the hostility of the natural world, how effectively does the city keep the chaos of the wilderness at bay, and if this chaos ever makes its way in to the city, how would we identify it? The city after the industrial revolution becomes a place of dehumanization, as mankind is enslaved to the machines of its own creation and trapped within the walls of an infernal labyrinth. Did Dante, in his creation of the hellish city of Dis, anticipate this development? Has the city always presented itself to the mind as a hell, as a maze, and if so why? And how is it that the city can also have continued to represent a state of mind or way of being, as a consideration of Augustine’s City of God, Arthur’s Camelot, or the lost city of Atlantis soon begins to show? In this course we will come to terms with the power of the city as an idea, explore the relationship of historical developments to changing conceptualizations of the city, develop a sense of the uncanny inherent in the very existence of the city itself, and much more. Our continuing exploration of these ideas will occur through a sustained regimen of diverse compositions, including peer reviews, self-assessments, three formal papers, and a final research paper due at the end of class.
Poetry of Womanhood
Hilarie Lloyd, Department of English
MW 4:50 - 6:05 CRN 93997
In the 1950s and 60s, women poets such as Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Adrienne Rich, and Audre Lorde defied the traditionally androcentric conventions and themes of poetry by writing about their own private, personal experiences. They wrote about taboo subjects, including madness, sexuality, divorce, depression, and abortion. This course will explore what it means to be a woman writing about aspects of womanhood that are traditionally kept "quiet." What drove them to write about their private life experiences? What language did they use to describe these experiences? How did the act of writing poems relate to their lives? We will examine both the poets' works and lives by reading their poetry, interviews, essays, and journals, as well as examine critical responses to their work. Through discussion, close reading, weekly reading and writing assignments, and a final research paper of 8-10 pages, we will think critically and write argumentatively about women’s poetry. The paper-writing process will involve several revisions, self-assessments, and peer reviews to develop our writing and critical thinking skills.
Kara McShane, Department of English
TR 9:40 - 10:55 CRN 93847
Fantastic beasts have captivated the imagination of people from Anglo-Saxon times to the present. Creatures such as dragons, unicorns, and magical animals appear in texts as varied as children’s books, medieval chronicles, epic poetry, and twentieth century movies. What makes a beast “fantastic,” and why are such creatures so pervasive? What about fantastic beasts captivates us as readers of literature, and how do we make sense of them? Do they fulfill the same functions across cultures? Students will explore these questions and develop their own through informal writing assignments, short papers, and class discussion. Each student will be expected to refine their thinking and writing through peer review, self-assessment, and revision. Assignments will culminate with an eight to ten page research paper, designed by the student according to his or her specific questions or interests. Texts to consider may include classical myths, fairy tales, bestiaries, medieval romances, and works by Tolkien, Lewis, and Rowling.
Intelligence, Common Sense, & Criticism: The Life and Times of the New York Intellectuals
Wesley Mills, Department of English
TR 9:40 - 10:55 CRN 93953
Do we, as university attendees have, as Lionel Trilling claimed, “a moral obligation to be intelligent”? As students, do we owe something to the larger conversation of the academy, and is it incumbent on us to leave the academy a little better off than we found it? This class will explore the writings, ideas, ideals, and critical comments of one of the most prolific groups of writers and critics from the mid-20th Century, the New York Intellectuals. We will be reading selections from Lionel Trilling, Alfred Kazin, Mary McCarthy, Philip Rahv, Susan Sontag, and others who belonged to this group. We will also be reading selections from their literary journal, The Partisan Review. Our goal will be to explore and discover what it means to be intelligent and what it means to be part of a larger community of thinkers and scholars. In this course, students will be required to write four papers: a summary/reaction paper, an essay of claim, a literary analysis, and a larger research paper. Students will also be required to take part in peer review of those papers and self-assessment of their work. Students will also keep a journal and assemble all of their work into a final portfolio.
Enlightening Fairies: Social Influences on Fairy Tales in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century England
Megan Morris, Department of English
TR 9:40 - 10:55 CRN 93988
In Enlightenment England, prominent thinkers argued that fairy tales were unsuitable for children, but as the Victorian era dawned, many authors insisted that these stories were critical for children's intellectual development. In this course, we will examine the forces that led to this shift. How do these forces intersect with tensions caused by industrialization? Nationalism? Social propriety? Class divisions? Gender roles? Colonization? In addition to literary works, including the Grimms' fairy tales, the Arabian Nights, and literary fairy tales written by authors such as Dickens and Ruskin, we will consider nonfiction essays by eighteenth- and nineteenth-century thinkers. Through written and oral discussion of issues raised in these works, students will develop their ability to participate in academic dialogues. Formal writing assignments in the class will include two 4-5 page essays, a proposal and annotated bibliography, and a research paper. Since audience and dialogue are central to this course, peer review and self-assessment will play important roles in the writing process.
Authentic Self: Individual vs. Communal Identities
Dan Stokes, Department of English
MW 2:00 - 3:15 CRN 93906
The search for an individual and authentic self has become a hallmark of modern western society. For many young people, going to college becomes a period of self-exploration. Our culture generally sees this process as an altogether positive part of growing up. In this section of WRT 105, however, students will write about texts that explore the complexities involved in self-exploration and actualization. By writing about books and films such as Fight Club and Trainspotting, students will address issues like where the line between self-discovery and narcissism exists; how an individual can achieve distinction, while still living as a productive member of a local, regional, or global community; and what the relative gains and losses of standing out from the pack are. Students will hone their writing skills, learning the tools of argument, analysis, organization, revision, and editing, while exploring their own ideas. Students will write three formal essays and an eight-to-ten page research paper; they will learn how to develop and support their own arguments, engage with academic sources, and critique their own, as well as their fellow classmates’, compositions.
Imagining Identity in the Age of Facebook
Joseph Vogel, Department of English
TR 4:50 - 6:05 CRN 93941
What does it mean to be “black,” “white,” “Jewish,” “atheist,” “gay,” “straight,” “Republican,” “Democrat,” or even “American”? Are these labels essences or constructions? Is identity something we discover or create? In an increasingly hybrid, pluralistic, globalized world, these questions are more compelling and relevant than ever. To put it simply, people still want to understand who they are, where they come from, and what their place will/can/should be in the world. In this class, we will learn to write critically about identity in response to a diverse selection of literature, music, film, and theory, exploring how the Self is formed by and forms itself in contact with the various ideologies, communities, cultures, and institutions it is confronted with. Writing assignments on the topic of identity will include informal, exploratory writing and three formal papers, all of which will prepare students for the final, 8-10 page, argumentative research paper. Peer-feedback and self-assessment will play a prominent role in the writing and revising of each paper.
** Fantasy and its Discontents: J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth Narratives
Stella Wang, Department of English
TR 9:40 - 10:55 CRN 94171
TR 2:00 - 3:15 CRN 93935
This course addresses a few questions about fantastic literature and uses Tolkien's creative works as a contentious case in point. His works have been excluded from several theoretical discussions of fantastic literature for a lack of generic, psychological, or social import. At the same time, their global popularity has generated divergent views about not only Tolkien’s texts but also fantasy as a genre. What working definitions, one may ask, are available for a critical discussion of the fantasy genre? In what way may fantastic literature be related to myth, cultural beliefs, and hard sciences? How may fantasy be perceived as escapist literature and how do fantasy writers, readers, and scholars respond to such interpretations? These debates call attention to comparable mythic apparatus in folktales across cultures as well as the strong fantasy elements in contemporary media, including films, manga, anime, and video games. By considering The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, some of Tolkien’s imaginary short stories, including their radio/film adaptations, and related paintings and artworks, the course provides an open forum to explore the various cultural forces that may have helped popularize Tolkien’s and other alternative fantastic texts and sharpened the controversy over their modern and post-modern relevancy. Throughout the semester, students will be expected to build up their critical thinking and writing skills by actively participating in class work, including roundtable discussions, writing workshops, peer reviews, self-assessments, informal and formal writings, revisions and an individual, student-initiated research project.
Writing Technology: from Machine Age Tribes to Digital Communities
Nikolaus Wasmoen, Department of English
TR 6:15 - 7:30 CRN 94137
How does literature interface with the technological environments in which writers and readers live? Do mechanical and electronic mediations change the way writers relate to readers? In this course we will explore the influence of technology on representations of poets, novelists, and other writers’ social role, while reflecting on our own stakes in these works as writers ourselves. To traverse this wrought conceptual field our discussions and readings will address technologies of physical, figurative, and psychological transportation, machines and devices that move and are moved by the writers we read. From the peculiar Education of Henry Adams to the ecstatic questing in Harold Hart Crane’s The Bridge to cyberpunk and hypertext, we will identify and interrogate responses to the shifting and ambiguous relations between writer, reader, and their broader communities, real or imagined. Recent forms of writing and socialization that have emerged online will provide useful models to challenge and elaborate more traditional, printed, conceptions of writer and reader as well.
Students will investigate their own responses to the problems we identify through several short essays and an 8-10 page research paper, while developing clear, effective academic writing through a process of peer feedback, self-assessment, and revision.
American Regional Literature and Identity
Peter Zogas, Department of English
TR 11:05 - 12:20 CRN 93891
Our geographic situation—where we live, have lived, and our various moves throughout life—have an undoubtable influence on the way we interact with our local communities, the world at large, and the myriad spaces in between. The goal of this course is to use analytical and argumentative writing to examine how place functions within an individual’s complex skein of identity. Beginning with American regional literature and “local color” stories of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the work of Sarah Orne Jewett and Charles W. Chesnutt, we will explore the relationship of the individual to local communities and the nation as a whole. As we move to more recent authors of regionally inflected literature, such as James Dickey and T.C. Boyle, we will explore the issue of how we can—or if we should—maintain local or regional identities in the face of increasing urbanization, the suburban sprawl, and an ever-homogenizing global economy. The texts used to inform our writing will include a variety of short stories, novels, and films. Throughout the semester, students will engage in self-assessment, revision exercises, and peer review and produce three short analytical papers and one longer research paper (8-10 pages).
Self-Reliance from an Energy Perspective
Keith Savino, Department of Chemical Engineering
MW 4:50 - 6:05 CRN 94076
Elected officials discuss the need for energy self-reliance, but what is the goal of this mission and how can it be accomplished? What is energy self-reliance, and does it help us sustain productive, healthy, and happy lives? At what threshold is energy self-reliance desirable? To answer these questions, we will investigate this topic from the perspectives of the individual and society. National issues such as conservation, the well-to-wheel process of energy production, and sustainability will be explored through informal and formal writing responses. Correlations between the individual’s energy consumption and how the person’s life is enhanced will also be investigated. Literary works such as Emerson’s “Self-Reliance”, Jacques Ellul’s The Technological Society, and opinion pieces from energy experts will be used as a springboard for developing critical assessment skills and formulating original ideas. Class discussions, peer-reviews, and self-assessments will provide students an opportunity to exchange ideas. The semester’s assignments will be used to write a comprehensive 8-10 page research paper.
Power and Responsibility
Brandon Carey, Department of Philosophy
TR 12:30 - 1:45 CRN 94061
Superhero fiction is a rich source of philosophical questions. Some of these questions are metaphysical: Is time travel possible? Are Bruce Banner and the Hulk the same person? Is it possible for people from alternate universes to meet? Others are ethical: Does great power come with great responsibility? Is it morally permissible to read other people’s minds or alter their memories? Is it permissible for a government to place limits on the freedoms of citizens with potentially harmful powers? Through class discussion and writing assignments, students will explore questions of both types.
In the course of writing several short papers and one longer (8-10 page) paper on these topics, students will learn to extract and evaluate arguments from the text, as well as construct and defend arguments of their own. Through the processes of peer review, self-assessment, and draft revision, students will master the writing of argumentative essays.
Puzzles about Moral Responsibility
Jonathan Matheson, Department of Philosophy
TR 9:40 - 10:55 CRN 93970
People are often thought to be praiseworthy or blameworthy for the actions they perform. This course will allow students to develop as critical thinkers and academic writers while focusing on several philosophical questions related to moral responsibility. First, we will examine various views regarding what kind of control is required for moral responsibility. For example, does responsibility require free will? Is responsibility compatible with determinism? And do we have free will? Second, we will consider questions surrounding ignorance and responsibility. For example, can we be blameworthy for doing things that we didn’t know were wrong? And more generally, what do we need to know in order to be responsible? Third, we will consider questions about the role of luck in morality. For example, can we be blameworthy for an unlucky consequence of our actions? Is the drunk driver who kills someone more blameworthy than the drunk driver who makes it home safely? Finally, we will examine whether responsibility is only to be attributed to individuals, or if collective groups of people can also be morally responsible.
Through our examination of these questions students will learn to extract and evaluate arguments from the text, as well as to write clear and well reasoned argumentative essays of their own. Students will develop their ability to clearly present their ideas, give reasoned defenses of their claims, and carefully consider objections to their position. This will be accomplished through class discussion, peer review, self-assessment, and revision of the student's own written work. There will be several short papers and an 8-10 page research paper.
Science and Truth
Kevin McCain, Department of Philosophy
TR 12:30 - 1:45 CRN 94093
Scientific theories provide us with effective means of making predictions that are often accurate. Additionally, scientific theories offer us explanations that help us understand the way the world works. But, are scientific theories successful because they are true? This class will investigate some of the central issues concerning the relationship between science and truth. Through writing, we will explore questions such as: What is science? How does science differ from pseudosciences like astrology? Does a potential scientific explanation have to be true in order to be a good explanation? Does a scientific theory work because the entities it posits really exist? Or is there some other way of explaining the success of science? Should we believe our best current scientific theories are true even though all of our past successful theories have been false?
In this course we will examine philosophical issues regarding the relationship between science and truth in a manner that does not require prior knowledge of science or philosophy. During the course of our examination, students will learn to extract and evaluate arguments from various philosophy of science texts, as well as write clear argumentative essays of their own. This will be accomplished through class discussion, peer review, self-assessment, and revision of the student's written work. Writing assignments will include several short papers and an 8-10 page research paper.
Ethics in an Internet Age
Jason Rogers, Department of Philosophy
TR 2:00 - 3:15 CRN 94160
Contemporary uses of familiar internet technologies raise important ethical questions. Some “hackers” and “hacktivists,” for example, claim that certain instances of computer “hacking” are morally justifiable acts of consumer protection or civil disobedience, whereas other people disagree. Who is right? Similarly, people disagree over whether, and to what extent, one can own “intellectual property” in the form of computer software. Is the downloading or copying of unpurchased copyrighted software an immoral act of theft, or perhaps not? More generally, do the moral considerations that apply in everyday contexts apply straightforwardly in cyberspace? This course will consider these questions (and others) through a combination of class discussion and writing. Drawing on recent philosophical texts, we will explore ethical issues involving “intellectual property,” privacy and anonymity, virtual relationships, and computer crime. Students will learn to extract and critically evaluate arguments from texts and to write clear argumentative essays that formulate and defend positions on these subjects. In the course of composing several short papers and an 8-10 page research paper, students will achieve a grasp of the process of drafting, peer review, and revision involved in academic writing.
Puzzles in Theology
Andrew Wake, Department of Philosophy
TR 12:30 - 1:45 CRN 94028
There are a number of puzzles and questions surrounding some traditional views about God and our relationship with God. This course will be concerned with a number of such questions. We will investigate, for instance, the following: How, if at all, do we survive death? Can God be both perfectly good and all-powerful? Can we be free if God is the creator and sustainer of the world? We will read work by philosophers and theologians concerning these and related topics. Through critical reading and in-class discussion, we will learn to extract and evaluate arguments. By engaging in a process of drafting, peer-review, and revision, students will learn to formulate and present their own arguments in clear and careful academic writing. We will write two short papers, an annotated bibliography and research proposal, and an eight to ten page research paper. By the end of the course, students will have acquired the skills necessary to produce high quality argumentative writing.
The Peaceful Warrior? An Investigation into Violence and Nonviolence in the Martial Arts
Ann Marshall, College Writing Program
MW 12:30 - 1:45 CRN 94032
War and peace are clear ideological opposites, and yet certain traditions of the martial arts purport a strict code of ethics and even pacifism. Using an investigation into martial arts narratives as our starting point, this course examines how nonviolent action might be used to resolve both interpersonal and political conflict. Through a series of writing assignments, including self assessments, peer review, and ongoing revision, students will explore questions such as: To what extent can the study and celebration of any kind of warfare truly be nonviolent? What might martial arts, such as kung fu, aikido, or judo, convey about self-mastery and spirituality? And what does the depiction of martial arts in legends and in contemporary narratives communicate (or miscommunicate) about culture, gender, and violence? Our investigation will lead us to examine both Eastern and Western perspectives through texts such as The Book of Five Rings and The Cat’s Eerie Skill, as well as films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Fight Club. These efforts will culminate in a well-focused, 8-10 page research paper that analyzes both primary and secondary sources.
**Politics of South Asia
Subhasish Ray , Department of Political Science
MW 2:00 - 3:15 CRN 94158
The dramatic terrorist siege of the city of Mumbai in western India on September 2008 has renewed international attention on political processes in South Asia, a region which is home to nearly a fifth of the world’s population. This course will examine the major debates in the rich interdisciplinary field of South Asian politics. The central questions we will address are: Why has India been relatively stable and democratic while governments in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka have struggled to maintain political stability and democracy though they have similar colonial legacies? What explains the wide variation in ethnic rioting in India across states and over time? Why has democracy and the recent spurt in economic growth in India failed to diminish income inequality? Although the substantive focus of the course will be on the politics of South Asia, throughout our goal will be to develop academic writing skills that can be applied across disciplines. As developing writers, you will also have the unique opportunity to test these skills on critical audiences, including yourself, during in-class self-assessments and peer-reviews. The writing assignments for the course will include informal response pieces, short analytical essays, and an 8-10 page research paper. The paper should ask an original question concerning a currently ongoing ethnic conflict in South Asia and answer that question using evidence from English language news sources in the region.
**Crossing Oceans of Space (designated ESL section)
Esther Arnold, Department of English
MW 3:25 - 4:40 CRN 94352
**Students must register for recitation section R 2:00 - 3:15 (CRN 94212) when registering for this course**
How do we feel when we gaze at the night sky, knowing its stars are light-years away? What happens to our sense of self when we think of all the people who lived before us, who live today, and who will live after us? Do these thoughts isolate us or strengthen our sense of belonging to the human race? Walt Whitman describes the soul as standing alone in “measureless oceans of space.” He suggests that we spend our lives trying, often unsuccessfully, to reach across that space to make connections with others. Whether we live in remote villages or crowded cities, we may feel there are vast distances — cultural, ideological, or emotional — separating us. How do we cross these oceans of space, time, and mind? We will discuss and write about this topic as it appears in a selection of short stories, poems, plays, and films. In the process, we may cross into territory explored by philosophers, psychologists, and cognitive scientists. You will be expected to participate in discussions and to do informal writing that will lay the groundwork for formal essays. There will be several short, analytical papers and one 8-10 page research paper.
**The Politics of Sport (designated ESL section)
Tanya Bakhmetyeva, College Writing Program
MW 12:30 - 1:45 CRN 94203
**Students must register for recitation section R 12:30 -1:45 (CRN 94256) when registering for this course**
The Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008 were held under the slogan “One World, One Dream”, which was supposed to “reflect the … universal values of the Olympic spirit – Unity, Friendship, Progress, Harmony, Participation and Dream.” These values suggest that sports rise above political ambitions, goals, and gains. Yet, the history of the Olympic Games – and of sports in general - shows that athletic competitions are often used for political statements and gains. Does such politicization hurt sports? Should sports and politics be separated? Should sports ignore what is happening in the world? Through reading, watching, and writing, we will explore international and national athletic events (such as the US boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics, the famous “Miracle on ice”, the Beijing Olympics, and others) to investigate how sports affect politics and how politics affect sports. In the true Olympic spirit, we will work together (through peer-reviews and self-assessments) to develop our writing and critical skills. Writing assignments include informal papers, three shorter argumentative essays, and a final research paper.
Autobiography and Self-Invention (designated ESL section)
Heidi Bollinger, Department of English
TR 3:25 - 4:40 CRN 94369
**Students must register for recitation section M 11:00 - 11:50 (CRN 94340) when registering for this course**
Talk show confessions, Myspace pages, driver's licenses, self-portraits, legal testimonies, private diaries, and published memoirs: these are all common examples of autobiography. Autobiographical writing allows us to construct our identities through language, and even reinvent ourselves by omitting, emphasizing, and inventing certain details. Autobiographical writing blurs the boundaries between fact and fiction, memory and imagination. How do we judge 'the truth' in autobiography? What authority does the autobiographical form carry? How do writers use personal experience to comment on social and political issues? To explore these questions and more, we will examine readings by authors such as Frederick Douglass, Maxine Hong Kingston, Samuel R. Delany, Leslie Marmon Silko, Art Spiegelman, and Marjane Satrapi. Part of the autobiographer's project is self-examination, and as we work on formal analytical essays about these readings, we will reflect on our own writing practices and practice new techniques for more effective interpretation and evaluation. Our formal writing projects will include several short argumentative papers and an 8-10 page argumentative research paper. This class will emphasize peer review, self-assessment, and revision as strategies for becoming more confident, effective writers in an academic and professional setting.
Does it have to be this way?: Writing about Social, Political and Cultural Reform Movements in US History
Shane Butterfield, Department of History
TR 11:05 - 12:20 CRN 94338
**Students must register for recitation section F 12:00 - 12:50 (CRN 94229) when registering or his course**
TR 12:30 - 1:45 CRN 94185
**Students must register for recitation section F 1:00 - 1:50 (CRN 94400) when registering or his course**
Because of the American tradition of free thought and action, achieving lasting national agreement has been a rare occurrence in US history. As a consequence of such frequent division, debates about fundamental human goals and the special movements created to pursue them have been common and have influenced America in profound ways. Among the crucial issues addressed in such reforms are the quest for national and individual freedom, the importance of personal spiritualism in an industrial, modern world, and the search for gender and racial equality in a free society. Using writings such as Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, Lydia Marie Child’s What is Beauty?, and the Seneca Falls Declaration of Women’s Rights, we will investigate vital debates and efforts at reform, constructing arguments and sharing insights about these goals and movements, and work to convey ideas effectively in our writing. Through classroom discussion, the drafting of short essays, revision, self-assessment, peer review, and an 8-10 page argumentative research paper, students will gain experience making inferences and presenting written arguments about the character of historical debates.
An Introduction to Scientific Argument (designated ESL section)
Ben Duncan, College Writing Program
MW 2:00 - 3:15 CRN 94301
**Students must register for recitation section F 11:00 - 11:50 (CRN 94230) when registering or his course**
MW 4:50 - 6:05 CRN 94294
**Students must register for recitation section F 12:00 - 12:50 (CRN 94316) when registering or his course**
Samuel Taylor Coleridge once said, "Science is the gratification of knowing; its opposite is ignorance." Assuredly, science and technology have been instrumental in the collaborative advance of humankind's search for knowledge and truth - for understanding who, what, and where we are. However, scientific discourse at nearly every stage of history has also met with controversy, oppropbrium, and fervent argument. How can unconventional principles be expressed, exposed, and clarified to a conventional audience? How can science be made intelligible to non-scientists, or worse, to scientists committed to presumptive facts and modes of communication? And what is the difference between fact, opinion, and propaganda? During this section of WRT 105E, we will examine the role of writing in science's ability to alter human thought, perceptions, and presumptions. By deep readings of selected works from Aristotle, Ptolemy, Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Tesla, Heisenberg, Bohr, Freud, Dawkins, and other scientists of students' own choosing, we will examine how novel arguments build upon, elaborate, and/or contradict previous arguments. Throughout, we will contrast the objective principle inherent to scientific study with the subjective nature of a human language filled with associations, nuances, and ambiguities. Above all, we will observe the explicit and implicit rules by which individuals argue, communicate, and gain acceptance into established communities of scientific discourse. And finally, we will see how and if new ideas shift the paradigm of prior consensus.
Through the readings and numerous in-class at at-home writing activities it is hoped that students will learn to consider the roles of audience, culture, and purpose in shaping the organization, style, and argumentative strategies of their own papers. Students will have the opportunity to refine and revise the ideas presented in each of their formal papers (three 3-5 page essays and one 8-10 page essay), which will undergo a sequence of peer feedback, self-assessment, and instructor comment.
Little Stories by Big Writers
Dustin Hannum, Department of English
TR 9:40 - 10:55 CRN 94411
**Students must register for recitation section M 10:00 - 10:50 (CRN 94395) when registering for this course**
Can a short story be as meaningful as a long novel? What are the advantages and disadvantages to short (as opposed to longer) fiction? How can writers explore huge, often abstract topics, such as the nature of knowledge and questions of good and evil, in short works? In this class, students will read several short stories, considering these and other questions as part of learning to write college-level academic arguments about literature. We will approach the idea of “little” stories by “big” writers in a couple of different ways. We will read and discuss both short stories by writers who are known for their longer—often expansive—novels (e.g., Henry James, James Joyce, Herman Melville, Toni Morrison). We will also pay attention to writers who are best known for their ability to explore big ideas in short-form fiction (e.g., Jorge Luis Borges, Franz Kafka, Edgar Allen Poe, Flannery O’Connor, Nikolai Gogol). Students will discuss the stories, read what other scholars have written about them, and contribute their own arguments to such critical discussions. Students will be responsible for writing a series of response papers, as well as three shorter formal papers that will lead up to a major 8-10 page research paper on story of their choosing that they think fits the theme of the class. The writing process will involve drafting, peer feedback, self-assessment, and revision.
What Does Love Have To Do With It?
Leah Haught, Department of English
TR 11:05 - 12:20 CRN 94433
**Students must register for recitation section F 12:00 - 12:50 (CRN 94374) when registering or his course**
Few social policy issues in the United States today are as controversial as that of who should legally allowed to be married. With an increasing number of states opting to allow same sex couples some sort of official recognition, individuals must now seriously consider how marriage is best defined. Is marriage a religious commitment? A legal contract? An economic necessity? A public declaration of love? Who should be allowed to enter into the married state and why? How do different opinions today relate to those of other countries and time periods? What do our diverse answers to these questions suggest about conceptions of sexuality? Of gender? Social equality? Together we will explore these and other related questions while reading and discussing an assortment of memoirs, short stories, poems, plays, and opinion pieces by authors such as Marie de France, George Bernard Shaw, Ivan Klíma, and Annie Proulx. We will also examine how marriage has been depicted in a selection of historical documents and films. Through a variety of formal and informal writing assignments culminating in an 8 to 10 page research paper, students will learn to not only identify, but also actively shape their own writing processes, ultimately developing the skills necessary to be both critical and effective participants in the academic discourse of their choosing.
**Imagining the Nation in World Literatures
John Havard, Department of English
TR 9:40 - 10:55 CRN 94383
**Students must register for recitation section M 12:00 - 12:50 (CRN 94192) when registering for this course**
In his seminal study of nationalism entitled Imagined Communities, Benedict Anderson claimed that members of nations imagine their inclusion in their national community. Anderson’s theory illustrates that imaginative writings such as novels and short stories are a primary medium through which writers meditate upon the meaning of the nation, national identity, and the citizen’s relationship to her or his national community. In this course, we will explore how writers have thought about national issues by examining fictional works produced in a number of Western and non-Western countries. Potential readings may include, for example, Clorinda Matto de Turner’s Birds without a Nest and Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North. Students will develop expository, analytic, and argumentative skills as we explore questions, test ideas, and relate discoveries as we read and write about these works. Questions we explore may include the following: Why have theorists often resorted to imaginative rather than non-fictional writing to think about the nation? How do writers’ relationships to their nation determine the generic and thematic means they use to write about national identity? What challenges have such thinkers encountered when writing about ethnically diverse nations and how successfully have they addressed such challenges? These and other queries will guide discussions and initiate a revision-focused writing process through which students will produce written responses, short writing exercises, peer reviews, self-assessments, three formal essays, and a final eight to ten page argumentative research paper.
Daniel Hutchins, Department of English
MW 3:25 - 4:40 CRN 94267
**Students must register for recitation section F 12:00 - 12:50(CRN 94327) when registering for this course**
This class is concerned with the idea of cannibalism both as actual practice and also as a cultural metaphor with wide-ranging significance. What are the historical roots of the term ‘cannibal’? How has the meaning of this term changed over time? What kinds of metaphors does the practice of eating other people – literally incorporating them – lend itself to today? In order to answer these questions and come up with some new ones, we will look at a diffuse body of texts and films. We will expand and broaden our definition of cannibalism to include examples from contemporary popular culture like vampires, cyborgs, organ transplant and, of course, flesh-eating zombies. Some of the texts we may be looking at together include: Michel de Montaigne’s ‘Of Cannibals’, New World encounter narratives by Jean de Lery and Hans Staden; short fiction by Lu Xun and Stephen King. Films that we may analyze include The Silence of the Lambs, Delicatessen, Dead Alive, The Host, and select Monty Python sketches as well as episodes from True Blood, a television miniseries.
We will engage with these texts through discussion, weekly reading and writing assignments, and formal papers. This class will emphasize the writing process, incorporating self-assessment, peer-review, and frequent revision. Formal paper assignments include three shorter analytical papers and an 8 – 10 page argumentative research paper. Please note: this course has some violent content; contact the instructor for more information.
**“Revolution Rock”: Insurrection and Upheaval from Communism to The Clash
Ali McGhee, Department of English
TR 12:30 - 1:45 CRN 94281
**Students must register for recitation section M 11:00 - 11:50 (CRN 94248) when registering for this course**
Karl Marx, the founder of communism, noted that “Revolutions are the locomotives of history.” Throughout the semester, we will explore this claim and its implications from an interdisciplinary standpoint by engaging in critical conversation and writing about revolutionary movements, texts, and art. We will examine the philosophies of social and political thinkers like Jefferson, L’Ouverture, Marx, and Mao Zedong in our writing, as well as explore how revolutionary movements and uprisings played out in places like France, the Caribbean, and Asia. Along with historical revolutions, we will also discuss revolutionary literature and art, ranging from André Breton's “Surrealist Manifesto” to more contemporary movements such as punk rock and hip hop. Some of the questions we will explore through our writing include: How has the concept of revolution evolved? How does art spur on revolutionary movements and ideas? What are the stakes of political and cultural revolutions, past and present? What role do these revolutions play in today's society? Working with the course material, we will write three short papers and a longer (8-10 page) research paper. The paper-writing process will be revision-intensive, and you will be expected to utilize both self-assessments and peer reviews to further develop your writing and critical thinking skills.
Private Lives on Public Display
Jennifer Thompson-Stone, Department of English
MW 12:30 - 1:45 CRN 94275
**Students must register for recitation section R 2:00 - 3:15 (CRN 94425) when registering for this course**
Why are we so fascinated by the private details of other people’s lives, reveling in their personal dramas and victories as if they were our own? In this course we will read, discuss and write about private diaries and letters that may or may not have been intended for publication, a published blog, and fictional works that are written in diary or letter format. Readings might include: Journals (Kurt Cobain), Baghdad Burning, TheYellow Wallpaper, Salvaged Pages, Behind the Lines, and “Love Letters”. We will use these texts to explore how the personal voice is uniquely informative about monumental topics like gender, religion, race, class, trauma, and political and historical representation. By interrogating these contestable subjects, we will practice translating our personal voices and ideas into audience conscious, academic arguments. The emphasis of this course is on writing as a constantly evolving process, and our workshop atmosphere will allow us to develop our critical reading and writing skills through multiple essays, peer review, ongoing revision, and self-assessment, culminating in an 8-10 page research paper.
Advanced Writing & Peer Tutoring (WRT 245/ENG 285 CRN 49150)
Deborah Rossen-Knill, College Writing Program
TR 9:40 - 10:55 CRN 94444
***permission of department required***