2012-2013 University Catalog 
    
    Dec 10, 2019  
2012-2013 University Catalog archived

[Add to Portfolio]

WRIT 100 - Writing Seminar for First-Years


FDR: FW
Credits: 3
Planned Offering: Fall, Winter



No credit for students who have completed FW through exemption. Prerequisite: First-year standing. Concentrated work in composition with readings ranging across modes. forms, and genres in the humanities, social sciences, or sciences. The sections vary in thematic focus across disciplines, but all students write at least four revised essays in addition to several exercises emphasizing writing as a process. All sections stress active reading, argumentation, the appropriate presentation of evidence, various methods of critical analysis, and clarity of style.

Winter 2013 topics:

WRIT 100-01: Writing Seminar for First Years: Raking Muck: Investigative Journalism that Changed America (3). This section examines ground-breaking reporting by journalists who changed the lives of Americans by exposing private and public corruption in everything from food inspection and working conditions for children to business monopolies and the rules of war. The readings include the works of such writers as Nellie Bly, John Steinbeck, Seymour Hersh and Randy Shilts, among others. (FW) Locy.

WRIT 100-02: Writing Seminar for First Years: The Sacred and the Daily: Environmental Thought and Literature (3). This section is an exploration of the human relationship to nature. How have writers, poets, and thinkers understood their relationships to "the natural world"? What is nature? How are we able and unable to define it? In this class we read widely within environmental literature. Emerson, Whitman, William Cronon, Annie Dillard, and Wendell Berry, among others, frame our discussion of "nature," "truth," "the sacred," "the daily," and the relationship of these ideas to one another. We explore the implications of such understandings for the individual life, as well as for a modern world in which ecological concern is a matter of daily news and attention. (FW) Green.

WRIT 100-03: Writing Seminar for First Years: A Whole New World (3). In this age of global travel, economics, and politics, people can go almost anywhere and find similar technology and consumer goods, experiencing a new place as a comfortable and in some ways familiar variation on home. At other times visitors and newcomers really have discovered a whole new world. In this section, students study some novels, movies, and other accounts of cultural encounters between people who have been in the same place but experienced very different worlds. Works include James Welch's Fools Crow about white men first meeting the Blackfeet Indians in Montana, Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart about the English first coming to Nigeria, and Cormac McCarthy's The Road about the breakdown of shared culture in a post-apocalyptic world. We also think about how such encounters are depicted in popular culture, from Disney movies to international thrillers. We compare these fictional encounters with international experiences, issues, and conflicts today. (FW) Smout.

WRIT 100-04: Writing Seminar for First Years: Wicked Women (3). This section begins with Chaucer's Wife of Bath and ends with recent essays on Hillary Clinton. In between, we examine witches, femme fatales and prostitutes, considering representations of difficult women in literature, journalism and film. The course is not for women only - for instance, our discussion of witchcraft and wizardry runs from Miller's The Crucible through excerpts from Harry Potter. (FW) Brodie.

WRIT 100-05: Writing Seminar for First Years: The 1960s (3). The course focuses upon active reading, argumentation, the appropriate presentation of evidence, various methods of critical analysis, and clarity of style. In this section, students examine a variety of texts (novels, nonfiction, plays, songs, speeches) produced during and in response to the most turbulent decade in recent American history. We consider the several competing versions of the 1960s suggested by these works and how such attempts to define the period enable us to see the present more clearly. Assignments take inspiration from the experimental vibe that characterized the times. Writers represented are likely to include Allen Ginsberg, John Updike, Kurt Vonnegut, Tom Wolfe, and others. Requirements include at least four revised essays in addition to several exercises emphasizing writing as a process. (FW) Crowley.

WRIT 100-06: Writing Seminar for First Years: I See Dead People (3). This section analyzes literary representations of ghosts and the afterlife. Texts may include: Henry James, The Turn of the Screw; A. S. Byatt, The Conjugial Angel; Jean-Paul Sartre, No Exit; Thornton Wilder, Our Town; Caryl Churchill, Top Girls; Toni Morrison, Beloved. (FW) Gavaler.

WRIT 100-07: Writing Seminar for First Years: Mysteries, Puzzles, and Conundrums (3). In this section, we concern ourselves with mysteries, not in the generic sense of stories about crime and detection, but mysteries of character, morality, religion, and art. Central to each of the works we study is some puzzle, secret, riddle, enigma, or complexity. Sometimes the work itself is the mystery, a kind of hieroglyph. Each work, in its own way, raises questions about the methods and limitations of human discovery. We approach the student's writing as a means of investigation and discovery as well, with an emphasis on developing the skills necessary to build convincing "cases" (i.e., arguments) when evidence is incomplete, ambiguous, or contradictory. (FW) Oliver.
 
Fall 2012 topics:

WRIT 100-01: Writing Seminar for First Years: Otherworld Journeys (3). This course surveys medieval and Victorian narratives about encounters with the “otherworld”—an extraordinary realm parallel to that of normal human experience and inhabited by supernatural creatures much like ourselves. The course considers how this otherworld shapes normal reality and what its presence reveals about medieval conceptions of the “ordinary.” Readings include the Lais of Marie de France, Gawain and the Green Knight, and revisions of these otherworld encounters by nineteenth-century poets such as Keats and Browning. Short response papers and regular critical essays throughout the term promote textual analysis and help students hone their writing skills. All medieval texts are read in modern English translation. (FW) Jirsa.

WRIT 100-02 and 100-08: Writing Seminar for First Years: Wicked Women (3). This section begins with Chaucer’s Wife of Bath and ends with recent essays on Hillary Clinton. In between, we examine witches, femme fatales and prostitutes, considering representations of difficult women in literature, journalism and film. The course is not for women only—for instance, our discussion of witchcraft and wizardry runs from Miller’s The Crucible through excerpts from Harry Potter. (FW) Brodie.

WRIT 100-03: Writing Seminar for First Years: On the Front Lines: War and Literature (3). A critical in-depth study of reporting and reporters during the United States’ wars, from the Civil War through the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. (FW) de Maria.

WRIT 100-04: Writing Seminar for First Years: Mysteries, Puzzles, and Conundrums (3). We concern ourselves with mysteries, not in the generic sense of stories about crime and detection, but mysteries of character, morality, religion, and art. Central to each of the works we study is some puzzle, secret, riddle, enigma, or complexity. Sometimes the work itself is the mystery, a kind of hieroglyph. Each work, in its own way, raises questions about the methods and limitations of human discovery. We approach the student’s writing as a means of investigation and discovery as well, with an emphasis on developing the skills necessary to build convincing “cases” (i.e., arguments) when evidence is incomplete, ambiguous, or contradictory. (FW) Oliver.

WRIT 100-05: Writing Seminar for First Years: The 1960s (3). The course focuses upon active reading, argumentation, the appropriate presentation of evidence, various methods of critical analysis, and clarity of style. In this section students examine a variety of texts (short stories, novels, nonfiction, plays, songs, speeches) produced during and in response to the most turbulent decade in recent American history. We consider the several competing versions of the 1960s suggested by these works and how such attempts to define the period enable us to see the present more clearly. Assignments take inspiration from the experimental vibe that characterized the times. Writers represented are likely to include Allen Ginsberg, John Updike, Kurt Vonnegut, Tom Wolfe, and others. Requirements include at least four revised essays in addition to several exercises emphasizing writing as a process. (FW) Crowley.

WRIT 100-06: Writing Seminar for First Years: American Autobiography (3). This first year writing course takes as its focal point contemporary American autobiography. In particular, we focus on more recent autobiographical works that explore the terrain of childhood and coming of age. We read these works both critically and creatively, thinking about issues (childhood, memory, race, gender, identity, place) and styles of American autobiography as both readers and writers. Authors may include Susanna Kaysen, Tobias Wolff, Sandra Cisneros, and Maxine Hong Kingston. (FW) Darznik.

WRIT 100-07: Writing Seminar for First Years: Faith, Doubt, and Identity (3). In this writing-intensive seminar, we explore the topic of belief and how it shapes a person’s selfhood. How does being a part of a religious community, or a variety of religious communities, shape one’s identity? How does identity change with the adoption of either belief, skepticism, or another culture? We ask these questions primarily through the genres of novels and short stories, examining lives of faith and doubt. Texts include Marilynne Robinson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Gilead, about a Congregationalist minister descended from abolitionists; John Patrick Shanley’s play, Doubt, covering Catholic education and priest abuse scandals; selected short stories from Flannery O’Conner; and a story by Jhumpa Lahiri, from her Pulitzer Prize- collection, Interpreter of Maladies, on a Hindu woman who keeps Catholic shrines in her new home. (FW) Gertz.

WRIT 100-09 and 100-14: Writing Seminar for First Years: I See Dead People (3). This course will analyze literary representations of ghosts and the afterlife. Texts may include: Henry James, The Turn of the Screw; A. S. Byatt, The Conjugial Angel; Jean-Paul Sartre, No Exit; Thornton Wilder, Our Town; Caryl Churchill, Top Girls; Toni Morrison, Beloved. (FW) Gavaler.

WRIT 100-10: Writing Seminar for First Years: Mysteries, Puzzles, and Conundrums (3). We concern ourselves with mysteries, not in the generic sense of stories about crime and detection, but mysteries of character, morality, religion, and art. Central to each of the works we study is some puzzle, secret, riddle, enigma, or complexity. Sometimes the work itself is the mystery, a kind of hieroglyph. Each work, in its own way, raises questions about the methods and limitations of human discovery. We approach the student’s writing as a means of investigation and discovery as well, with an emphasis on developing the skills necessary to build convincing “cases” (i.e., arguments) when evidence is incomplete, ambiguous, or contradictory. (FW) Oliver.

WRIT 100-11: Writing Seminar for First Years: Hardboiled and Film Noir (3). An exploration of the twentieth century’s fascination with crime fiction through a study of short stories and novels by three of its finest American practitioners—Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Patricia Highsmith—along with several classic film versions of their novels by such major directors as John Huston, Billy Wilder, and Alfred Hitchcock. The course begins with close study of the hardening in the 1920s of the high culture vs. mass culture dichotomy through a careful juxtaposition of T.S. Eliot’s modernist poetry and Dorothy Sayers’s popular crime fiction. We then turn to the American noir novels and films of the 1920s, 30s, and 40s and their self-conscious effort to challenge this opposition of high and mass culture with popular narratives marked by high artistic ambition. (FW) Adams.

WRIT 100-12: Writing Seminar for First Years: Trees and Animals, People and Cyborgs (3). This course examines the relationships of human beings to nature and technology. The title of the course is serious: What kinds of relationships do we have with trees, especially forests, and with animals, both wild and domestic? Where do we draw the boundary between humans and machines? Does humanity occupy a (privileged) middle ground between other kinds of being? Our readings will come from a mix of science, environmental literature, and science fiction. (FW) Warren.

WRIT 100-13: Writing Seminar for First Years: The 1960s (3). The course focuses upon active reading, argumentation, the appropriate presentation of evidence, various methods of critical analysis, and clarity of style. In this section students examine a variety of texts (short stories, novels, nonfiction, plays, songs, speeches) produced during and in response to the most turbulent decade in recent American history. We consider the several competing versions of the 1960s suggested by these works and how such attempts to define the period enable us to see the present more clearly. Assignments take inspiration from the experimental vibe that characterized the times. Writers represented are likely to include Allen Ginsberg, John Updike, Kurt Vonnegut, Tom Wolfe, and others. Requirements include at least four revised essays in addition to several exercises emphasizing writing as a process. (FW) Crowley.

WRIT 100-15 and 100-18: Writing Seminar for First Years: The Sacred and the Daily: Environmental Thought and Literature (3). This course is an exploration of the human relationship to nature. How have writers, poets, and thinkers understood their relationships to “the natural world”? What is nature? How are we able and unable to define it? In this class we read widely within environmental literature. Emerson, Whitman, William Cronon, Annie Dillard, and Wendell Berry, among others, frame our discussion of “nature,” “truth,” “the sacred,” “the daily,” and the relationship of these ideas to one another. We explore the implications of such understandings for the individual life, as well as for a modern world in which ecological concern is a matter of daily news and attention. (FW) Green.

WRIT 100-16: Writing Seminar for First Years: Nonconformity and Community: Honor Beyond the Classroom (3). What’s the proper role of nonconformity in the healthy community? How much conformity is needed to sustain a culture? Are complete nonconformity and strict conformity even possible? Through readings by classic and contemporary writers, we explore the importance of sameness and difference within the various communities to which we belong. In the process, the course includes an examination of some of Washington and Lee’s core values, including honor and integrity. (FW) Pickett.

WRIT 100-17: Writing Seminar for First Years: The Press & the Civil Rights Movement (3). This first-year writing seminar explores the news media’s role in the Civil Rights Movement of the South in the 1950s and ‘60s. Documentary recordings, individual research in primary documents, class discussions and readings in the journalism of the period and in works of history (especially the Pulitzer-Prize winning 2006 book The Race Beat, and the professor’s book on The Southern Press) provide the basis for writing assignments. Students produce short papers on the readings, an oral history project on a veteran journalist who covered the movement, a research paper and a magazine-style article. (FW) Cumming.

WRIT 100-19: Writing Seminar for First Years: American Gothic (3). What are Americans afraid of? Students in this class hone their skills as critical thinkers and writers by analyzing gothic tales from multiple genres. We focus on the American short story from Gilman to King, but course texts also include film, poetry, and the graphic novel. (FW) Wheeler.





[Add to Portfolio]