2010-2011 University Catalog 
    
    Nov 29, 2022  
2010-2011 University Catalog archived

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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.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.

Topics for Winter 2011:

 

WRIT 100A: Writing Seminar for First Years: Nonconformity and Community (3). Requirements include at least four revised essays in addition to several exercises emphasizing writing as a process. The course focuses upon active reading, argumentation, the appropriate presentation of evidence, various methods of critical analysis, and clarity of style. In this section, through reading and discussing classic and contemporary texts, we ask questions about the importance of sameness and difference within the various communities to which we belong. What is the proper role of nonconformity in a healthy community? How much conformity is needed to sustain a culture? Are complete nonconformity and strict conformity even possible? (FW) Pickett.  

WRIT 100B: Writing Seminar for First Years: Insiders and Outsiders (3). Requirements include at least four revised essays in addition to several exercises emphasizing writing as a process. The course focuses upon active reading, argumentation, the appropriate presentation of evidence, various methods of critical analysis, and clarity of style. In this section, Many a tale begins like this: You are a stranger in a small town, and soon you begin to learn that the town has secrets—a veiled past, a horrible crime, some undisclosed undertaking you must either join in or resist. The dramatic tensions between insiders and outsiders, the initiated and the uninitiated, those with private knowledge and others with new perspectives, has been richly explored in American culture, in sophisticated political allegories and good old horror movies alike. In this class we study stories, novels, plays, and poems that make use of this classic division and consider what such texts propose about a series of questions: for instance, the individual’s relationship to community, the benefits and costs of conformity, and the nature of homogenous or pluralistic social groups. As we consider these questions together, our ultimate goal is to cultivate and practice active reading, critical analysis, precise argumentation and presentation of evidence, and clarity of style. Requirements include intensive writing (multiple essays and revisions), regular evaluation of fellow students’ writing, and active class participation. (FW) Matthews.

WRIT 100C: Writing Seminar for First Years: What We Eat (3). Requirements include at least four revised essays in addition to several exercises emphasizing writing as a process. 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 are invited to think and write about a mundane yet deeply meaningful facet of human life: eating. Our study of “what we eat” imagines that “we” many different ways: the students and professor in this particular writing class, American consumers, global citizens, human beings, members of specific religious traditions, ethnic groups, and genders. From those many perspectives, we analyze the aesthetic, cultural, political, and ethical dimensions of our everyday food choices primarily by engaging with four recent books: We Are What We Ate, a collection of short food memoirs by a range of American writers; Eating Animals, by novelist Jonathan Safran Foer; and Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, both of which have helped spur the current “locavore” movement. Writing assignments take a variety of forms, from personal reflection to research-based essay, but each assignment helps students improve their analytical writing skills as we focus on developing complex ideas and arguments in clear, precise, well-structured prose. (FW) Braunschneider.

WRIT 100D: Writing Seminar for First Years: Wicked Women (3). Requirements include at least four revised essays in addition to several exercises emphasizing writing as a process. The course focuses upon active reading, argumentation, the appropriate presentation of evidence, various methods of critical analysis, and clarity of style. This section begins with Chaucer’s Wife of Bath and ends with recent essays on Hillary Clinton. We look at witchcraft, femmes fatale, and prostitutes as a way of considering literary approaches towards women and men’s power and sexuality. 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 100E: Writing Seminar for First Years: I Love the Seventies: Culture and Politics in the 1970s (3). Requirements include at least four revised essays in addition to several exercises emphasizing writing as a process. The course focuses upon active reading, argumentation, the appropriate presentation of evidence, various methods of critical analysis, and clarity of style. In this section, we take a critical second look at the 1970s: Saturday Night Fever., David Cassidy, Bell Bottoms, The Pet Rock. For decades, the 1970s has been remembered best as a “wasted decade” memorable only for fashion missteps, vapid dance music, and political disengagement. Rather than a decade best forgotten, this course shows the 1970s as a critical and transformative period in contemporary American history. Discussion topics range from the New York Dolls to Phyllis Schlaffley, from the “silent majority” and Richard Nixon to Jonestown and Jonathan Livingston Seagull, from the “stagflation” crisis to the rise and fall of disco. Examining a variety of texts, including movies, television, popular music, legislation and social movements, this course elucidates the still powerful influence of the 1970s on contemporary American politics, culture and society. (FW) Michelmore.

WRIT 100F: Writing Seminar for First Years: Pleasure and Pain in Ancient Greece and Rome (3). Requirements include at least four revised essays in addition to several exercises emphasizing writing as a process. The course focuses upon active reading, argumentation, the appropriate presentation of evidence, various methods of critical analysis, and clarity of style. In this section, we read the tragedies and comedies of ancient Greece and Rome with a focus on character, plot, language, and genre. How did the ancient Greeks and Romans define tragedy and comedy? What are the characteristics of the two genres? How are they distinct from one another and where do they intersect? What is the relationship between character and plot? How does drama change with author, time, and place (Classical Athens, the Hellenistic world, Republican Rome, Imperial Rome)? Readings include works by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Menander, Plautus, Terence, and Seneca. (FW) Park.

WRIT 100G: Writing Seminar for First Years: International Issues (3). Requirements include at least four revised essays in addition to several exercises emphasizing writing as a process. The course focuses upon active reading, argumentation, the appropriate presentation of evidence, various methods of critical analysis, and clarity of style. This section, designed primarily for non-native speakers of English, provides extensive group and individual help with reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. Native speakers are also welcome. We study contemporary international issues and compare life in other countries with life in the United States. The course also involves students teaching us about their native countries. (FW) Smout.

WRIT 100H: Writing Seminar for First Years: The 1960s (3). Requirements include at least four revised essays in addition to several exercises emphasizing writing as a process. 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 John Updike, Normal Mailer, Thomas Pynchon, August Wilson, and Julia Alvarez. Requirements include at least four revised essays in addition to several exercises emphasizing writing as a process. (FW) Crowley.

WRIT 100I: Writing Seminar for First Years: Nature of Nature (3). Requirements include at least four revised essays in addition to several exercises emphasizing writing as a process. The course focuses upon active reading, argumentation, the appropriate presentation of evidence, various methods of critical analysis, and clarity of style. In this section, we explore the human understanding of 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? We read widely within environmental literature. Emerson, Whitman, Darwin, Annie Dillard, and Wendell Berry, among others, frame our discussion of “nature,” “truth” and the relationship of these ideas to one another. We explore the implications of such understandings for a modern world in which ecological concern is a matter of daily news and attention. (FW) Green.

WRIT 100J: Writing Seminar for First Years: Misfits, Rebels and Outcasts (3). Requirements include at least four revised essays in addition to several exercises emphasizing writing as a process. The course focuses upon active reading, argumentation, the appropriate presentation of evidence, various methods of critical analysis, and clarity of style. The title of this section leaves out a lot. If extended, it might include strangers, visionaries, fanatics, prophets, artists, lovers, criminals, transients, deviants, freaks, monsters, and so on. We read stories, poems, and plays about individuals challenging the status quo, either directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously. We consider, among other things, what happens to the individual in the process, and what happens to the status quo. (FW) Oliver.

Topics for Fall 2010:

WRIT 100A: Writing Seminar for First-Years: International Issues (3). Requirements include at least four revised essays in addition to several exercises emphasizing writing as a process. The course focuses upon active reading, argumentation, the appropriate presentation of evidence, various methods of critical analysis, and clarity of style. In this section, we study some international issues and compare life in other countries with contemporary life in the United States. The section is especially designed to help non-native speakers of English and provides extensive group and individual help with reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. Students teach each other about their native countries and consider a broad range of topics, including identity, cultural norms/rituals, language, media representation, and politics. (FW) Crowley

WRIT 100B: Writing Seminar for First-Years: Schools of Magic (3). Requirements include at least four revised essays in addition to several exercises emphasizing writing as a process. 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 read fiction and view films about schools for exceptional students: academies of magic, sorcery, and superheroism. Using the lens of these manifestly out-of-this world fantasies, we focus on various theories of education with reference to students’ own experiences in liberal education. Primary texts include works by Lev Grossman, Diana Wynne Jones, Ursula LeGuin, John Milton, J. K. Rowling, and Caroline Stevemer; excerpted educational theorists range from William Cronon and John Dewey to C. S. Lewis and John Henry Cardinal Newman. Familiarity with the Narnia books is helpful but not essential. (FW) Keen

WRIT 100C: Writing Seminar for First-Years: The Country and the City (3). Requirements include at least four revised essays in addition to several exercises emphasizing writing as a process. The course focuses upon active reading, argumentation, the appropriate presentation of evidence, various methods of critical analysis, and clarity of style. In this section, we read literary works that explore ideas about place. What makes a place significant? How does place function in creating personal and communal identities? How do representations of place change according to historical and linguistic contexts? We read works in a variety of genres, periods, and national traditions. Some representative writers could include Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Whitman, Dickinson, Bishop, Linda Hogan, Tom Stoppard, Aldo Leopold, Barry Lopez, Rick Bass, and Pattiann Rogers. (FW) Warren

WRIT 100D: Writing Seminar for First-Years: Films of Kubrick (3). Requirements include at least four revised essays in addition to several exercises emphasizing writing as a process. The course focuses upon active reading, argumentation, the appropriate presentation of evidence, various methods of critical analysis, and clarity of style. Stanley Kubrick is widely considered one of the most brilliant and disturbing directors of the twentieth century. This auteur-based approach attends to all the films of Stanley Kubrick from Paths of Glory through Eyes Wide Shut with a strong emphasis upon the relation of his life to his films and upon his strategies for adapting novels. Important novels/films include Lolita, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, and Full Metal Jacket. (FW) Adams

WRIT 100E: Writing Seminar for First-Years: Outsider / Insider (3). Requirements include at least four revised essays in addition to several exercises emphasizing writing as a process. The course focuses upon active reading, argumentation, the appropriate presentation of evidence, various methods of critical analysis, and clarity of style. You are a stranger in a small town, and soon you begin to learn that the town has secrets—a veiled past, a horrible crime, some undisclosed undertaking you must either join in or resist. Or, you belong to a small, tight-knit community, understand its rules and history, and know that something meaningful divides those who belong from those who don’t—and that welcoming outsiders could mean losing your identity. In this class we explore such dramatic situations through a broad range of literary texts (stories, novels, plays, poems, and perhaps the occasional film) and consider what such texts propose about a series of questions: the individual’s relationship to community, the benefits and costs of conformity, the nature of homogenous or pluralistic social groups, etc. Students are also invited to contemplate and write about these issues in terms of their new lives at a small college in a small town. As a writing class, our ultimate goal is to cultivate and practice active reading, critical analysis, precise argumentation and presentation of evidence, and clarity of style. Requirements include intensive writing (multiple essays and revisions), regular evaluation of fellow students’ writing, and active class participation. (FW) Matthews

WRIT 100F: Writing Seminar for First-Years: The Nature of Nature (3). Requirements include at least four revised essays in addition to several exercises emphasizing writing as a process. The course focuses upon active reading, argumentation, the appropriate presentation of evidence, various methods of critical analysis, and clarity of style. This course is an exploration of the human understanding of 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? We read widely within environmental literature. Emerson, Whitman, Darwin, Annie Dillard, and Wendell Berry, among others, frame our discussion of “nature,” “truth” and the relationship of these ideas to one another. We explore the implications of such understandings for a modern world in which ecological concern is a matter of daily news and attention. (FW) Green

WRIT 100G: Writing Seminar for First-Years: I See Dead People (3). Requirements include at least four revised essays in addition to several exercises emphasizing writing as a process. The course focuses upon active reading, argumentation, the appropriate presentation of evidence, various methods of critical analysis, and clarity of style. The course focuses on literary representations of spirits and the afterlife. Texts may include: Henry James, The Turn of the Screw; A. S. Byatt, The Conjugal Angel; Jean-Paul Sartre, No Exit; Thornton Wilder, Our Town; Toni Morrison, Beloved. (FW) Gavaler

WRIT 100H: Writing Seminar for First-Years: Wicked Women (3). Requirements include at least four revised essays in addition to several exercises emphasizing writing as a process. The course focuses upon active reading, argumentation, the appropriate presentation of evidence, various methods of critical analysis, and clarity of style. This section begins with Chaucer’s Wife of Bath and ends with recent essays on Hillary Clinton. We look at witchcraft, femme fatales and prostitutes as a way of considering literary approaches towards women and men’s power and sexuality. The course is not for women only—for instance, our discussion of witchcraft and wizardry will run from Miller’s The Crucible through excerpts from Harry Potter. (FW) Brodie

WRIT 100I: Writing Seminar for First-Years: Misfits, Rebels and Outcasts (3). Requirements include at least four revised essays in addition to several exercises emphasizing writing as a process. The course focuses upon active reading, argumentation, the appropriate presentation of evidence, various methods of critical analysis, and clarity of style. The title of this section leaves out a lot. If extended, it might include strangers, visionaries, fanatics, prophets, artists, lovers, criminals, transients, deviants, freaks, monsters, and so on. We read stories, poems, and plays about individuals challenging the status quo, either directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously. We consider, among other things, what happens to the individual in the process, and what happens to the status quo. (FW) Oliver

WRIT 100J: Writing Seminar for First-Years: Coming of Age (3). Requirements include at least four revised essays in addition to several exercises emphasizing writing as a process. The course focuses upon active reading, argumentation, the appropriate presentation of evidence, various methods of critical analysis, and clarity of style. This section examines a number of literary works that deal with the process of coming of age—the fundamental human movement from youth to adulthood, naiveté to awareness, innocence to experience. In discussions and essays, we focus on the tensions, pains, joys, myths, and realities of this transition. Major questions include: what are the crucial stages involved in coming of age? How do issues such as authority, rebellion, and conformity affect one’s coming of age? How does the process differ for men and women? What roles do sexuality and desire play in this process? What larger patterns—mythic, religious, social, economic—are reflected in this movement? How is coming of age related to love? to death? What happens if the “normal” pattern is broken? Readings include Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet; selected poetry by William Wordsworth; and James Joyce’s Dubliners. (FW) Conner

WRIT 100K: Writing Seminar for First-Years: Indian Country: Reading America Through Indian Eyes (3). Requirements include at least four revised essays in addition to several exercises emphasizing writing as a process. The course focuses upon active reading, argumentation, the appropriate presentation of evidence, various methods of critical analysis, and clarity of style. In his film Smoke Signals, one of Sherman Alexie’s characters asks two other Indians about to leave the reservation, “Hey, do you guys got your passports? [The United States] is as foreign as it gets. Hope you two got your vaccinations!” What does this country’s landscape, history, literature, and culture look like from an Indigenous perspective? Who is telling the contemporary Indian’s story? How does this contribute to our understanding of American identity and destiny? Concentrated work in English composition with readings from contemporary Native American authors such as Linda Hogan, LeAnne Howe, Carter Revard, Janet McAdams, Joy Harjo, Sherman Alexie, Leslie Marmon Silko in a mixture of genres, such as drama, poetry, nonfiction prose, and narrative fiction. (FW) Miranda

WRIT 100N: Writing Seminar for First-Years: Otherworld Voyages (3). Requirements include at least four revised essays in addition to several exercises emphasizing writing as a process. The course focuses upon active reading, argumentation, the appropriate presentation of evidence, various methods of critical analysis, and clarity of style. This section surveys medieval 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 early Celtic tales, the 12th-century Lais of Marie de France, Chrétien de Troyes’ Lancelot, and ultimately some 19th-century Victorian revisions of these otherworld encounters. Short response papers and critical essays encourage close reading and help students develop analytical writing skills. All medieval texts are read in modern English translation. (FW) Jirsa

WRIT 100P: Writing Seminar for First-Years: Becoming American (3). Requirements include at least four revised essays in addition to several exercises emphasizing writing as a process. The course focuses upon active reading, argumentation, the appropriate presentation of evidence, various methods of critical analysis, and clarity of style. What does it mean for immigrants to become American in today’s society? What does American gain (and lose) when it takes in immigrants, and what do immigrants themselves gain (and lose) in the process? In this section, we read contemporary fiction and creative nonfiction by a diverse group of first and second generation American writers, considering their connections to both mainstream U.S. and imported literary traditions as well as historical, legal, and cultural debates about immigration, assimilation, and citizenship. (FW) Darznik

WRIT 100Q: Writing Seminar for First-Years: Love, Death, and Other Passions (3). Requirements include at least four revised essays in addition to several exercises emphasizing writing as a process. The course focuses upon active reading, argumentation, the appropriate presentation of evidence, various methods of critical analysis, and clarity of style. This section explores understandings of love and death in fiction, philosophy, science, and art. What do love and death have in common? Are passions like these something you do or something that happens to you? Would we and the world be better off without them? Is there a scientific explanation of love? What about death? Special attention is given to the challenges of making a picture (in words, paint, or stone) that represents love, death, or any other passion. (FW) Kosky





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