Fall 2011 First-Year Writing Seminars

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AMERICAN INDIAN STUDIES 1120

Science Meets Spirit: Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Natural Resource Management

Native peoples across the Western hemisphere use knowledge systems that differ fundamentally from those of Western science. Using traditional oral as well as written texts and contemporary writings by Native and non-Native scholars, we will examine the tensions and complementarities of these two knowledge systems. Using Iroquois knowledge systems in the northeast as a focal point, we will examine how they conceptualized their ecosystem and used it for agriculture, comparing it to resource management based on Western science. We will also explore how contemporary indigenous communities negotiate with non-Indian scientists, policy-makers, and legislators across boundaries that reflect very different ways of knowing. Through reading and writing activities, students will critically examine these issues and define their own views on what constitutes knowledge.

SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Jane Mt.Pleasant 16563

 

ANTHROPOLOGY 1124

The Pop Psyche

In the last scene of HBO’s Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw relates that “the most challenging, exciting, and significant relationship of all, is the one you have with yourself.” Indeed. Within the self, Freud discovered the Id (site of basic drives), the Ego (site of rational activity), and the Super-Ego (site of moral imperatives). Interestingly, the main characters of not only Sex and the City but also South Park embody precisely these three structural positions. In this course, we will consider these protagonists not as interacting individuals, but as constituent components of an individual. In short, we will put the pop psyche on Freud’s couch and see what we can learn about ourselves in the process. The writing assignments will require students to clarify, build on, and redefine class discussions and readings.

SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Timothy Haupt 16852 Kurt Jordan

 

ANTHROPOLOGY 1129

The Rust Belt

Ithaca lies squarely within the Rust Belt—the cluster of cities east from Green Bay, north from Cincinnati, south from Detroit, and west from Syracuse that in the recent past formed the industrial center of the United States. This course will consider Rust Belt economies after deindustrialization, from manufacturing hold-outs in Syracuse to workfare programs in Milwaukee to rural prison construction in Pennsylvania, through a wide variety of academic, literary, and artistic mediums. We’ll explore this deceptively simple question: How and why do and don’t people “get by”? Texts will include Steven Greenhouse’s The Big Squeeze, Kathryn Dudley’s The End of the Line, and Steven High’s Corporate W Corporate Wasteland. Written assignments will include weekly reading précis and a series of reflective and analytical pieces, with an emphasis on revision practices.

SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Catherine Koehler 16570 Kurt Jordan

 

ANTHROPOLOGY 1136

R[evolution]: On Crisis and Action

The present is always ripe for action yet it seems only in the darkest moments that people find the will to resist. In this course, we will ask “what is it about crisis that motivates people to act?” Through critical readings of texts by authors such as A. Gramsci, E. Said, and H. Arendt, we will debate concepts of power, resistance, ethics, responsibility and critical hope. We will track representation of current events online and will discuss the way Internet communities have complicated and multiplied forms of opposition. Assignments include: reading responses, rhetorical analyses of Internet news, and a research paper or blog on a current crisis of your choosing.

SEM 101 MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Melissa Rosario 16589 Kurt Jordan

 

ANTHROPOLOGY 1137

Power and Protection: The Banality of Esoteric Knowledge

In this course, we will explore the cultivated and shared notions of power and protection that support various systems of statecraft, of health and healing, of economics, and of religion. We will turn around the classic anthropological problem of making the strange familiar and attempt to make the familiar strange enough to examine it. Through critical readings of foundational anthropologists like Clifford Geertz and political philosophers like Thomas Hobbes, we will seek the notions of power and protection underlying the theories. Writing exercises will range from short pieces describing and analyzing everyday encounters, to longer papers that critically examine theoretical concepts. Students will consider the beliefs about power and protection being cultivated around us and how these affect the way we live in our world.

SEM 101 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Courtney Work 16590 Kurt Jordan

 

ANTHROPOLOGY 1139

Capital, Crime, and Disorder in the former USSR

This course explores capitalism, crime, and disorder in the former USSR. The Soviet Union was a giant Potemkin village—a communist paradise stretching across eleven time zones. The collapse of communism unleashed economic and political forces that quickly unraveled more than seven decades of communist development. Within a few short years, the planned economy had been replaced by “gangster” capitalism. As state institutions collapsed, they were replaced by informal institutions that could, for the right price, solve any problem. Where socialist friendship of the people once reigned, crime and disorder became facets of everyday life as the spoils of the “evil empire” were divided. This course explores both the economic processes that lie behind disorder and the images and representations they generate. Students will learn the craft of writing through class assignments: summaries, critiques, argumentative essays, and eventually a short research paper on a topic of their choice related to the themes covered in class.

SEM 101 MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Michael Bobick 16591 Kurt Jordan

 

ANTHROPOLOGY 1141

Television, Culture, and Society

How can we understand television as more than entertainment, leisure, or a series of detached images? We will consider the social relations and cultural processes that accompany the production, reception, and interpretation of television. Examining television within a cross-cultural perspective and exploring the concepts of nationalism, transnationalism, race, and gender, we will draw on research from social theory, anthropology, and television studies, including Benedict Anderson and Raymond Williams. Through readings, discussion, and regular writing assignments, we will analyze the ways in which television advertisements and journalism are embedded within complex social relations and historical trajectories. Readings and television programs will take us through Egypt, India, the Americas, and South Africa to understand how context informs the representational form that television takes.

SEM 101 MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Reighan Gillam 16601 Kurt Jordan

 

ANTHROPOLOGY 1144

Culture and China’s Cultural Revolution

Why did millions vow to eliminate “class enemies” and destroy all remnants of “traditional culture” in China’s Cultural Revolution (1966–76)? Why is open discussion of these events still taboo in today’s China? And what are the repercussions of this movement and its aftermath for thinking about humankind’s relationship to culture and politics? This course examines the “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” as an introduction to the anthropological study of culture and politics. Readings will include excerpts from academic studies and primary documents from this era (e.g., Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung), along with recent documentary films. Class discussions and writing will address the relationship between ritual and political power, religion and the cult of personality, kinship and political identity, political violence, ethnic relations, and national history.

SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Kevin Carrico 16604 Kurt Jordan

 

ANTHROPOLOGY 1149

Sacrifice Now

The decision to sacrifice implicitly modifies understandings of society and writerly sensibilities alike. This course will review the configurations and problems of sacrifice in U.S., Near Eastern, and Latin American contexts. We will analyze the logic of sacrifice from its classical expressions in collective religious beliefs and ritual processes, to modern governmental practices of marshalling civil society toward the goals of the state, to its many spectral or unwanted byproducts, such as the Holocaust, collateral damage, suicide bombings, seldom-considered types of social abandonment, and the scapegoating of pariah populations. Students taking this class will write about major philosophical, ethnographic, and historical works; they will also compose their own life-history narratives, and produce up-close textual analyses of newspaper reports with an eye to their sacrificial content.

SEM 101 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Chris Garces 16606

 

ART HISTORY 1129

Blasting the Machine: Questioning Technology Through Art

Over the last decades, media artists and activists have adopted consumer technologies to intervene and participate in mainstream media culture. Their works are exhibited and used in virtual and public spaces such as the internet, supermarkets, health clinics, and museums. Artists create these works from the premise that technologies are not neutral: they carry assumptions about communal culture and the individual body. But we become accustomed to such technologies and their assumptions: they become a "natural" part of our social fabric. In our class, we will survey the strategies that artists and technologists use to highlight the cultural implications of “new” technologies, from the work of SubRosa to Wafaa Bilal and others. For discussion, reading, and writing, students will explore issues raised by these works, identifying critical topics for exploration from both an arts context and beyond.

SEM 101 MW 07:30–08:45 p.m. Claudia Pederson 16902 Maria Fernandez

 

ART HISTORY 1136

Mapping the Monstrous and Marvelous of the Middle Ages and Beyond

Monsters and marvels penetrated many spheres of Western European thought during the Middle Ages, manifesting themselves widely in material culture. In this course, we will examine the importance of those creatures that adorned architecture, manuscripts, and dreams by examining a wide range of art and architecture (Romanesque through the Renaissance), scholarly articles, and primary texts, such as those of “John of Mandeville” and Marco Polo. Additionally, we will discuss the significance of the words “monster” and “marvel” in the pseudo-sciences of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Assignments will progress from formal descriptive analysis of an object or monument to a technical and contextual investigation.

SEM 101 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Kristen Streahle 16571 Maria Fernandez

 

ART HISTORY 1138

Now in 3-D! Sculpture Through the Ages

Distinct in its forms and practices from other art media, sculpture is a constant visual phenomenon across cultures. This course will investigate the materials, techniques, and historical developments of sculpture using examples drawn from both Western and Eastern sources. We will work through themes such as the relevance of the Western classical tradition, kineticism, memorial sculpture, sculpture used for ritual, for play, and ornamentation, hybridity, and cybernetics. In doing so, we will explore and write about the boundaries of art and science. We will regularly make use of resources at the Johnson Museum of Art. Artists studied may include Yayoi Kusama, Michelangelo, Constantin Brancusi, Cai Guo-Chiang, and Matthew Barney amongst many others.

SEM 101 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Kelly Cook 16582 Maria Fernandez

 

ART HISTORY 1139

Ecological Aesthetics: Art, Literature, Cinema

How do we perceive the dynamic changes and interconnections of life on our planet? Looking at a range of proposals to this question created primarily since 1960, this course will examine literature and visual media in which artists respond to decisive changes in the historical and theoretical imagination of our planet. Class topics and discussions will balance recent environmental history with close readings of nature writing, ecological literature, film screenings, and works of art created in specific environments, such as at Cornell’s influential Earth Art exhibition of 1969. In turn, course assignments will ask students to engage the many layers of writing about the biotic world, from direct experience of local ecosystems to the criticism of environmental works of art.

SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. James Nisbet 16609 Maria Fernandez

 

ASIAN STUDIES 1106

The Great Epic of India

The great Sanskrit epic, Mahabharata, is one of the principal monuments of world literature. This vast, enthralling, and powerful tale of intra-familial war and world-historical decline (of which the famous Bhagavad Gita forms but a small part) transformed the religious and literary consciousness of India, and exercised a broad impact throughout South and Southeast Asia. This course will introduce students to this remarkable text and the literary tradition it inaugurated, through selected readings from the epic itself, along with samples of later renditions of its story (including contemporary theatrical, TV, and comic book versions).

SEM 101 MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Lawrence McCrea 16564

 

ASIAN STUDIES 1108

Japan’s Modern Emperor

Why does a modern democracy like Japan have an emperor, an ancient figure with no relation to modern times? Or, should we flip the question and ask, is the emperor a product of modernity itself? His role was defined for the first time in Japan’s constitution of 1889. Given that Japan’s post-WWII constitution (1946) further specified rules for the imperial household, can we even think of the emperor as independent of modern law? In reading prominent authors who theorize issues of kingship, sovereignty and genealogy (Hegel, Kantorowicz, Foucault), and the nature of Japan’s emperor system historically (Takeuchi, Mishima, Gluck, Fujitani), we will aim to develop critical writing and analytic skills for thinking of modernity, the nation-state and nationality.

SEM 101 MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Jeffrey DuBois 16568 Robin McNeal

 

ASIAN STUDIES 1114

Buddhist Meditation Masters

“Do good, avoid evil, and purify the mind”,—so goes one of the central teachings of the Buddha. This course will explore what the Buddha meant with these words as well as examine the lives of people who have put this teaching into practice. Looking at biographies, meditation accounts, and ethnographic studies of selected Buddhist monks, nuns, hermits, and laypeople, this course will introduce students to some of the basic doctrines, institutions, and practices of different Buddhist traditions. Students will also be exposed to various styles and methods of writing about religious figures and experiences. Examples of readings include accounts of forest monks of Thailand, Tibetan hermits from the Himalayas, meditation manuals from Burma, and primary Buddhist texts. Assignments will help students in learning how to produce clear, academic prose as well as giving them the opportunity to write opinion articles, creative writing pieces, and more.

SEM 101 MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Thomas Patton 16573 Anne Blackburn

 

AFRICANA STUDIES AND RESEARCH CENTER 1811

Women Writing in Southern Africa

In this course, students will explore the works of Southern African women. We will read and respond in discussion and writing to testimonies, films, stories, songs, and many other texts that represent the voices of women in Southern Africa. In our studies, we will discover what the voices of Southern African women are and how their discourse expresses experiences in the countries of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland, and Mozambique.

SEM 101 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Sarah Mkhonza 16565

 

AFRICANA STUDIES AND RESEARCH CENTER 1815

Race Matters: Frederick Douglass to W .E. B. Du Bois

This seminar investigates matters of race in relation to society, politics, and culture. It explores main ideas and concepts in the philosophy and sociology of race. Relevant questions are: what do we mean by race? Is race a construct or is race real? Which is prior in race matters—nurture or nature? Is the primary contradiction in the society race or class? Are we in a post race era? Our exploration proceeds from Frederick Douglass’ Selected Writings and Du Bois’ Souls of Black Folk. Our conversation continues with writings of other scholars such as Charles Mills, Bernard Boxill, Lucius Outlaw, Lewis Gordon, and Robert Gooding Williams.

SEM 101 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Adeolu Ademoyo 16566

 

AFRICANA STUDIES AND RESEARCH CENTER 1816

Black Life Writing: Zora Neale Hurston

An examination of selected works by Zora Neale Hurston which allows students to study representative works of this writer and simultaneously address issues of self-invention, creativity, the imagination, and the writing of black lives. Framed within the genre of life writing, the course will pay attention to how Hurston experienced and represented life as an African American woman in the U.S. South, the North during the Harlem Renaissance, and in the African Diaspora. We will read and respond to a selection of works by and on Hurston in different genres—the essay, short story, folk tale, film, the novel, life story (or autobiography). We will explore various approaches to writing and responding to literature through students will work and develop writing skills in critical areas that will be transferrable to other courses in their academic and professional careers.

SEM 101 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Carole Boyce Davies 16567

 

AFRICANA STUDIES AND RESEARCH CENTER 1822

The African American Short Story

As a form and genre, the short story’s specific origins within African American literature are traceable back to the antebellum era of the nineteenth century. The foundational contributions to the development of this genre were made by both black male and female authors during the fecund Black literary renaissance of the 1850s, including The Heroic Slave (1853) by Frederick Douglass and The Two Offers (1859) by Frances E. W. Harper. This course will consider the signal works by these early authors, along with selections by a range of others. Its priority and central emphasis will be the refinement of writing skills through the production of a series of short essays on the short stories over the course of the semester and a longer one at the end.

SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Riche Richardson 16569

 

AFRICANA STUDIES AND RESEARCH CENTER 1825

Educational Innovations in Africa and the African Diaspora

This course deals with educational innovations geared to promoting equal opportunity based on gender, race, and class, in Africa and the African Diaspora. It will focus on concrete case studies in the United States and Africa. The cases of the American case studies are Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University), Spelman College, and the Westside Preparatory School in chicago. The African cases to be studied are science education in Nigeria, Ujamaa, and education for self-reliance in Tanzania, classroom action research in Lesotho, and OnLine learning at the University in South Africa. Students will write on different environments, stages, actors, beneficiaries, and resistance of educational innovations form the initial idea of the need for planning change to the implementation.

SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. N’Dri Assie-Lumumba 16824

 

CLASSICS 1531

Greek Myth

The course will focus on the stories about the gods and heroes of the Greeks as they appear in the works of ancient Greek literature. We will read a selection from Greek authors, inquiring into the relationship between myths and cultural, religious, and political realia of the society in which they were shaped and perpetuated. Alongside the primary texts, we will read a number of recent scholarly works on the subject. We will start by discussing myths in general terms (theories, basic concepts) and will proceed toward the analysis of individual stories and cycles. This fascinating material will serve as a vehicle for improving students’ written communication skills. Assignments will include preparatory writing and six essays focusing on our readings and discussions in class.

SEM 101 MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Erica Bexley 16578  Michael Fontaine SEM 102 MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Erik Kenyon 16579 Michael Fontaine

 

CLASSICS 1533

History of Reading

The digital age is upon us, and the book (some say) is dying. Is it true? The Greek philosopher Plato warned of negative effects on people’s memory and ability to communicate caused by the technology of writing. The printing press revolutionized the spread of information. What are digital technologies doing to us—to how we read, behave, and think? In considering these questions, students will survey reading practices and their material supports (from stone to paper to the computer screen) across the millennia. Readings may include Marshall McLuhan, Lev Manovich ( The Language of New Media), and Robert Darnton (The Case for Books). Writing assignments will require assessment of arguments found in assigned readings, synthesis of historical data, and analysis of visual materials.

SEM 101 MWF 02:30–03:20 p.m. Bart Huelsenbeck 16581 Michael Fontaine

 

COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1103

Inner World, Outer Worlds, Other Worlds: Literature and the Unconscious

How does literature represent “the unconscious” with words if the unconscious is, by definition, the part of the human psyche that we do not know? In this course, we will read literature from five different cultures and historical periods to answer this question: William Faulkner, Franz Kafka, Lu Xun, Plautus, and Harui Murakami. Through discussion and a series of guided writing exercises, we will compare the techniques used by each author to give written representation to the unconscious. We will focus on the representations of dreams, desires, taboos, mourning, guilt, speech, and social conflicts. Writing assignments will include critical essays, short response papers, and creative projects.

SEM 101 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Petrus Liu 16562

 

COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1109

Writing across Cultures: The Nobel Prize and World Literature

The Nobel Prize in Literature is the crowning achievement in a writer’s career. As an institution, the Prize shapes global literary tastes and contributes to canons of “world literature.” During this course, we will explore the aesthetic and ideological preferences, the political and economic motivations, and the controversies of the Prize. We will read texts from winners of 1982 and onwards, including García Márquez, Soyinka, Paz, Coetzee, Pamuk, Lessing, and Mueller, with an eye for the common themes which unite these diverse authors. Students will write from the perspective of the Nobel Prize Committee, as an academic researcher, as a critic, and as the prize-winning author him/herself. Our goal will be to determine just what it is that makes a Nobel Prize-winning author a winner.

SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Carly Kaloustian 16650 Petrus Liu

 

COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1109

Writing across Cultures: Pain and Compassion—the Conflict in Israeli/Palestinian Literature

How are suffering and pain represented—in general and in the Middle East in particular? What inspires compassion and sympathy in us? What are the political implications of the answers to such questions? This seminar is intended to provide a glimpse into the conflict in the Middle East through literature. In our readings, we will focus on questions of suffering and compassion and the ways those are present in Hebrew and Palestinian poetry and fiction, while trying to better understand these theoretical concepts in and of themselves and their relation to writing. Therefore, we will also be reading postcolonial theories alongside selections from classic Western thought (the Bible, Aristotle, Hume, Rousseau, Burke, Nietzsche, etc). Course work will emphasize close reading and developing rigorous, argument-based essays.

SEM 102 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Liron Mor 16651 Petrus Liu

 

COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1109

Writing across Cultures: Pictures of Garbage—Images of Waste in Latin American Art and Literature

Garbage is the late material evidence of human interaction with nature. All humans have a meaningful relation to garbage: either they produce the commodities that will be discarded; they buy, use, and discard such commodities; or they scavenge garbage as a living. Although trash is global, the flux of the transnational economy makes it more conspicuous in the third world. There are all sorts of different configurations of the image of waste that we are familiar with: garbage on a curb has a very different significance than a picture of garbage hanging on a museum wall. In this seminar, we will explore the image of garbage in Latin America as it is constructed in the work of photographers, filmmakers, and writers such as Vik Muniz, Marcos Prado, Clarice Lispector, Caio Fernando Abreu, among others. Written responses, reports, and essays will help you learn to use the written word to analyze visual information.

SEM 103 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Marcela Romero 16652 Petrus Liu

 

COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1126

Comparative Arts: Film Fictions—Literary Adventures at the Movies

An aging film diva is ready for her final, grotesque close-up. An aspiring artist is sucked into the seedy world of C-List Hollywood. A marriage disintegrates on the set of an international blockbuster. These film fictions revel in both the artifice of movies as well as their overwhelming reality effect. Examining characters caught up in the desires, fantasies, and brutal truths of the film world, this seminar focuses on literary and cinematic works that go behind the screen. Reading texts by Pirandello, Fitzgerald, West, Moravia, and Didion with a self-conscious emphasis on an author-character’s relationship to the filmic image, student writing will examine the porous border between literature and cinema in a series of essays focused on the writer’s response to the elusive power of the moving image.

SEM 101 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Paul Flaig 16572 Petrus Liu

 

COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1126

Comparative Arts: Fantasies of Foreignness

What is foreign about foreign people, foreign languages, or foreign countries? How do we represent the foreign, and what do we fantasize about foreignness? This course investigates and explores how foreignness has been defined and, in turn, how we presuppose our “own” as opposed to the foreign or recognize the foreign inside the “own.” Readings will range from foreign literature, such as Camus’s The Stranger and Kafka’s Metamorphosis, popular films such as Lost in Translation and Them!, to theoretical comments, such as Freud’s “The ‘Uncanny.” Throughout the course, students will develop analytical writing skills on possible topics of bordering between the foreign and the familiar, the uncanny familiarity in foreignness, desire of being foreign, resistance to the foreign, and foreignness as difference.

SEM 102 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Yoon Oh 16574 Petrus Liu

 

COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1126

Comparative Arts: Sound, Sound Art, and Social Relations

This course will be cheap, enjoyable, and demanding. In discussion and essay assignments, students will address these questions, among others: How does sound affect social relations? How can we use language to register an awareness of sound and silence? What is the quietest religion? How have the police and the military (mis)used sound as a weapon? What use has medicine made of sound? What part has sound played in installation art? Has music been made so thoroughly into a commodity that it cannot serve emancipatory ends? What is your favorite bird call? We will visit several sonically significant local sites: the Bioacoustics Research Program at Sapsucker Woods; various musicians' studios; a Cornell dining hall; Taughannock Falls; the Johnson Museum of Art; a factory, and others suggested by students.

SEM 103 MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Barry Maxwell 16575

 

COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1126

Comparative Arts: Dream Machines—Spectacle and Reality in Contemporary America

Beginning with Plato’s allegory of the cave and fast-forwarding to Disneyland and cyberspace, this seminar explores the nature and impact of immersive technologies on contemporary society. Do such dream machines offer royal roads to the unconscious or mere escape hatches? Do they distract, liberate, or control us? Have they become so ubiquitous that we can no longer step outside them? Alongside the examination of mass-cultural phenomena, we will read plays by Don DeLillo, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Will Eno and essays by Umberto Eco and Robert McChesney, among others. The aim of this course is to help students develop their competency in writing a college-level paper in the humanities, with attention to grammar, organization, argument, and research methods.

SEM 104 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Matthew Smith 16797

 

COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1133

Studies in Literary Theory: Theft and Creativity

Starting from the recognition that writing has always had a relationship to borrowed language, this course examines the motivations for more radical uses of plagiarism as a creative process in twentieth-century century literature. After reading theoretical and artistic defenses of appropriation as practice in relation their literary application, students will be asked to address the following questions in their own writing: How do we understand creativity and originality in appropriated works? Are these categories different? How have the stakes for creativity changed over the course of the last century? What is the difference between artistic plagiarism and copyright violation? Readings may include Walter Benjamin, Guy Debord, William Burroughs, Tristan Tzara, William Carlos Williams, Bernadette Mayer, and Kenneth Goldsmith.

SEM 101 MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Diana Hamilton 16576 Petrus Liu

 

COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1133

Studies in Literary Theory: No Gods, No Masters—Literary Ideas of Freedom

This course will focus on literary portrayals of political repression, agency and freedom over the course of the twentieth century, as well as examine the ways in which literary creation itself allows new forms of subjectivity to emerge in modernist, postmodern, and contemporary literature. We will look at both novels and poetry in order to explore the ways in which changes in social and political conditions inform and are informed by literary experimentation and subjective transformation. Authors to include DeLillo, Kafka, Frost, Stein, Williams, and Ashbery. Writing assignments will emphasize close reading and formulating strong arguments.

SEM 102 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Tatiana Sverjensky 16577 Petrus Liu

 

COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1133

Studies in Literary Theory: Figurations of Disgust—Consumption and the Monstrous in the Caribbean

The fearsome, rebellious, and repulsive cannibal, rhetorically figured alongside narrative representations of the queer, feminine, black, and dispossessed monster, has greatly determined the way the Caribbean region was envisioned by the Western powers and also the way the Caribbean has understood itself as a cultural whole. We will examine emblematic textual representations of the cannibal, in dialogue with several theories on the subject, in order to discuss and write about the many dimensions of political meaning that this figure has convoked, during more than five hundred years of its history in the region. Authors discussed will include, but will not be limited to R. F. Retamar, A. Césaire, and G. Lamming.

SEM 103 MW 07:30–08:45 p.m. Ricardo Arribas 16580 Petrus Liu

 

DEVELOPMENT SOCIOLOGY 1203

Medicine, Technology, Women, and Power

Sexuality, contraception, pregnancy, birth: all of these aspects of women’s health are increasingly subject to scientific and medical knowledge. The shift in expertise about bodies and birth from mothers (and other women) to doctors (and other experts) is accompanied by a shift in power over women’s bodies and their babies. Who benefits and who is burdened by this shift? In this class, we will discuss, read, and write about how the extension of medical knowledge to women’s bodies and health both empowers and disempowers women and families. We will engage in a variety of academic and popular resources, and assignments will allow students to practice many different writing styles. Students will also have the opportunity to undertake their own original research.

SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Marygold Walsh-Dilley 16585 Lindy Williams

 

DEVELOPMENT SOCIOLOGY 1204

China in Transition

China is in the midst of profound economic, environmental, and social transformation. How are these changes experienced differently by different groups of people? Are transitions of this kind ever complete, or are they better understood as highly complex and contested processes? In this seminar, we will explore these and other questions about contemporary China, using sociological theories and methods of analysis. We will read narrative and ethnographic pieces such as Leslie T. Chang’s Factory Girls, investigative journalism such as When a Billion Chinese Jump by Jonathan Watts, and articles and reports from writers both inside and outside of China. Writing assignments will include responses to readings, personal narratives, argumentative essays, and a final research project that interrogates relationships between the transitions we explore in the seminar.

SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Mindi Schneider 16588 Lindy Williams

 

EARTH AND ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES 1420

Sustainable Earth, Energy, and Environmental Systems

Can we save the planet and satisfy the world’s increasing demand for energy? Do scientists agree that climate change is real and is caused by humans? In this course, we will explore such questions and investigate sustainable solutions to current challenges around energy and the environment. Readings will include popular science texts on climate change, such as Eaarth, by Bill McKibben; Jonathan Harr’s environmental thriller, A Civil Action; and articles from the popular press and scientific journals. Assignments will help students develop skills needed to write clear, concise, and substantive pieces that include essays, an op-ed article, and a capstone research paper.

SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Deborah Sills 16583  Charles Greene SEM 102   TR 02:55–04:10 p.m.                                                      Emily Pollina 16584 Charles Greene

Students are required to attend the Sustainable Earth, Energy, and Environmental Systems speaker series, held every other Monday 7:30-9:00 p.m. Choose another writing seminar if your schedule conflicts with the speaker series sessions.

 

ENGLISH 1105

Writing and Sexual Politics: Queer Self/Representations

Michel Foucault, French philosopher and pioneer in theories of sexuality, writes, “I don't feel that it is necessary to know exactly what I am.” Is the self ever reducible to a “what”? If so, what constitutes that “what”? This course will engage with theoretical and primary texts that offer conceptualizations of queer selves and will put those texts into conversation with one another. We will examine literature from all parts of the LGBTQ spectrum and will interrogate that very spectrum and the historical process of its development. Texts include Freud, Alison Bechdel, James Baldwin, and more, from philosophy to novels to popular music. Besides composing traditional analytical essays, students will work to write effectively in different voices (autobiography, reviews, etc.) and for different audiences.

SEM 101 MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Lynne Stahl 16693 Molly Hite

 

ENGLISH 1105

Writing and Sexual Politics: All Happy Families

“All happy families resemble one another; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” If Anna Karenina’s famous opening line is to be believed, what do these happy families look like? How have different authors conceived them, and what problems or contradictions seem to plague the unhappy variety? In this course, students will analyze various representations of the family and other kinship structures in visual art and advertisements; films, such as Paris Is Burning; Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic; Caryl Churchill’s Mad Forest; and other texts. With an emphasis on in-class discussion, debate, and peer editing, this course will help students to develop as critical thinkers and prose stylists as they examine those ties that bind and blister.

SEM 102   MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m.   Lily Cui    16694   Molly Hite

 

ENGLISH 1105

Writing and Sexual Politics: What’s So Funny about Sadness? Tragic Comedy from Aristotle to the Coen Brothers

Tragicomedy has been defined as a mixture of emotions in which seriousness stimulates laughter, and pain promotes pleasure. In this course, students will explore the formal and psychological complexity of this hybrid genre while honing their essay writing skills. We will consider the identifying characteristics of tragic comedy and also its political implications: What happens when low or base subjects are elevated to tragic proportions? How might comedy operate as a coping mechanism as well as a form of ridicule and critique? Short writing assignments and essay questions will be based on readings and films that include: Aristotle’s Poetics, the “dark romances” of Shakespeare, the absurdist theatre of Beckett, the comedic pantomimes of Charlie Chaplin, and the contemporary films Fargo and Life is Beautiful.

SEM 103 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Stephanie DeGooyer 16695 Molly Hite

 

ENGLISH 1105

Writing and Sexual Politics: Sexual Identities in Gothic Traditions

Characters with incestuous desires and insouciant Doppelgängers, figures marked by disfigurement and disability, Byronic heroes and virgin/whores, bachelors and spinsters, madmen and hysterical women, demon babies and literal “skeletons in the closet” all populate the various traditions of the gothic. This course will explore the diverse sexualities and gender representations expressed in gothic literature from eighteenth- and nineteenth-century gothic novels and poems to American “Southern Gothic” to contemporary TV shows and film. Feminist, post-feminist, queer, and psychoanalytic approaches will be used to examine such texts as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Wise Blood, Fun Home, and episodes of Arrested Development. Writing assignments will incorporate analysis of concurrent political transformations: the eighteenth-century ascendancy of the bourgeoisie, the nineteenth-century’s industrial revolution, and American Reconstruction.

SEM 104 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. William Cordeiro 16696 Molly Hite

 

ENGLISH 1105

Writing and Sexual Politics: The Queer South

The American South has long been associated with conservative religion, racial oppression, poverty, and homophobia. But this “backwards” region has also produced compelling, provocative works of literature. This course will specifically highlight “queer” Southern writers—those whose treatment of sexuality and gender breaks from traditional expectations. What does it mean to be a gay Southerner? Is there a link between Southern “eccentricity” and queer sexuality? Is there a connection between the Civil Rights Movement and queer liberation? Fiction, poetry, and films/TV might include Goyen’s House of Breath, Capote’s Other Vioces, Other Rooms, poetry by Nikki Giovanni and Jericho Brown, the film Southern Comfort, and the HBO series True Blood. Students will develop their thoughts through essays that incorporate close reading and research.

SEM 105 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Elizabeth Rogers 16697 Molly Hite

 

ENGLISH 1105

Writing and Sexual Politics: One Girl in All the World—Superheroines and Gendered Violence

Violence, aggression, power—these forces are typically attributed to the male heroes of popular culture. But what happens when a woman wields righteous violence, when “one girl in all the world” must save the day? In this course, we will examine a variety of texts that feature a female heroine, specifically a superheroine, and analyze issues such as gender politics and performance, the intersection of sexuality and violence, and the implications the portrayals of warrior women have for women’s equality. Drawing from narratives in comics, TV shows, movies, and novels and from superheroines such as Buffy, Nikita, and Wonder Woman, we will write critical essays that address the politics of sexuality and the aestheticization of violence.

SEM 106 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Christopher Lirette 16698 Molly Hite

 

ENGLISH 1105

Writing and Sexual Politics: Sexual Identities in Gothic Traditions

Characters with incestuous desires and insouciant Doppelgängers, figures marked by disfigurement and disability, Byronic heroes and virgin/whores, bachelors and spinsters, madmen and hysterical women, demon babies and literal “skeletons in the closet” all populate the various traditions of the gothic. This course will explore the diverse sexualities and gender representations expressed in gothic literature from eighteenth- and nineteenth-century gothic novels and poems to American “Southern Gothic” to contemporary TV shows and film. Feminist, post-feminist, queer, and psychoanalytic approaches will be used to examine such texts as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Wise Blood, Fun Home, and episodes of Arrested Development. Writing assignments will incorporate analysis of concurrent political transformations: the eighteenth-century ascendancy of the bourgeoisie, the nineteenth-century’s industrial revolution, and American Reconstruction.

SEM 107 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. William Cordeiro 16699 Molly Hite

 

ENGLISH 1105

Writing and Sexual Politics: Reading the White Woman

Shirley Temple, Scarlet O’Hara, Shrek’s Princess Fiona, and Barack Obama’s mamma: these representations of white women are rooted in a long history of white femininity. Captivity narratives, domestic novels, abolitionist and pro-slavery texts, and “passing” narratives present the “white woman” as a standard of Western beauty and purity—and an essential concept for understanding notions of race and racism. This seminar will examine literary and visual representations of white women and the theories of race and gender that inform them. Student writing, in informal assignments and critical essays, will interrogate historical representations of white women and their relation to representations of

non-white women, ambiguously/mixed-race women, and variously-raced men. Texts will include writings by Edgar Allan Poe, Harriet Jacobs, Louisa May Alcott, and Toni Morrison.

SEM 108 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Brigitte Fielder 16700 Molly Hite

 

ENGLISH 1111

Writing Across Cultures: TransAtlantic Imaginings

This course will explore the history of the African Diaspora—the dispersal of peoples of African descent throughout the world. What are the implications of forced/voluntary migrations? To explore this question, we will read works by Olaudah Equiano, Paule Marshall, Dionne Brand, and Saidiya Hartman, attempting to understand how migrations (the movements of peoples and culture) continue to inform our present world. Providing the framework for our study will be the Trans-Atlantic slave trade as well as modern accounts of “return” or “reverse migrations.” Through active participation and frequent writing assignments (e.g., short essays, a comparative essay, and a research paper), students will be challenged to articulate and support well-organized arguments that offer critical discussions of major themes and questions.

SEM 102 MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Anisha Warner 16702 Philip Lorenz

 

ENGLISH 1111

Writing across Cultures:”The Things I Have Seen”—Literature and Human Rights

Is it possible to share the suffering of others? In this course we will look at literature as an ethical project, one that raises enduring questions about humanity, the relation of the self to the other, and the possibility of human understanding across cultural, racial, and national boundaries. We will consider how reading and interpretation help us develop empathy and understanding of situations that may be separated from us in time and experience such as slavery, the Holocaust, homophobia, and the phenomenon of child soldiers. Readings may include Satrapi’s Persepolis, Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz, and Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. The diversity of our texts will allow for a cross-cultural inquiry. Assignments will include free-writes and six critical essays.

SEM 103 MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Elizabeth Tshele 16703 Philip Lorenz

 

ENGLISH 1111

Writing Across Cultures: Stories of Power and Oppression

Some of the best contemporary authors write from a postcolonial perspective—people like Chinua Achebe, Salman Rushdie, J. M. Coetzee, and Arundhati Roy. In their writing, they explore such topics as empire, nationalism, globalization, race, migration, and cultural politics. What is it like to be governed by a foreign nation? What sorts of social, cultural, and economic clashes does colonialism generate? What are the effects on individuals’ private lives? In this course, we will examine such questions by reading novels, stories, poems, and essays by writers from Nigeria, South Africa, India, North America, and the Caribbean. Through formal essays and informal writing exercises, students will analyze literary texts, develop complex arguments, and write clearly, accurately, and with style.

SEM 104 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Rose Casey 16704 Philip Lorenz

 

ENGLISH 1111

Writing Across Cultures: No Future—Apocalyptic Writing in Our Times

From what perspective does the progress of civilization look like a pile of wreckage? What do our fantasies about the end of the world tell us about the society we live in, or about how we think about time? Can these destructive fantasies help us to imagine a new society? With these and other questions in mind, we will investigate the relevance of apocalyptic writing to storytelling and historical understanding, and the persistence of apocalyptic thought in today’s culture. We will read, discuss, and write about such twentieth-century and contemporary authors as Samuel Beckett, Cormac McCarthy, Thomas Pynchon, Andrei Platonov, Margaret Atwood, Walter Benjamin, and W. B. Yeats. Our writing projects will include short responses and polished critical essays.

SEM 105 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Benjamin McCormick 16705 Philip Lorenz

 

ENGLISH 1111

Writing Acros Cultures: No Future—Apocalyptic Writing in Our Times

From what perspective does the progress of civilization look like a pile of wreckage? What do our fantasies about the end of the world tell us about the society we live in, or about how we think about time? Can these destructive fantasies help us to imagine a new society? With these and other questions in mind, we will investigate the relevance of apocalyptic writing to storytelling and historical understanding, and the persistence of apocalyptic thought in today’s culture. We will read, discuss, and write about such twentieth-century and contemporary authors as Samuel Beckett, Cormac McCarthy, Thomas Pynchon, Andrei Platonov, Margaret Atwood, Walter Benjamin, and W. B. Yeats. Our writing projects will include short responses and polished critical essays.

SEM 106 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Benjamin McCormick 16706 Philip Lorenz

 

ENGLISH 1127

Shakespeare from Stage to Screen

Shakespeare has been more popular than any other dramatist—or screenwriter—for more than four hundred years. He is the most quoted poet in the English language, and his dramatic works are the most frequently performed and filmed. What accounts for this enduring appeal? What about the plays has made them at once so permanent and so adaptable? This class will give students the opportunity to work closely with a few of Shakespeare's plays: a total of four or five over the course of the semester. We will look to the playtexts themselves as material and inspiration for the extensive writing we will do. But we will also consult films and performances, even trying out some performance in the classroom.

 

ENGLISH 1134

Memoir and Memory

In this course, we’ll read memoirs and examine how authors construct their public, written selves. We'll consider how an author's self-presentation affects how we interpret the experiences, insights, and knowledge presented in each text; we'll also consider how the writing's style affects how we understand the author's personality and motives. Readings may include Tobias Wolff's This Boy's Life, Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior, and Nick Flynn's Another Bullshit Night in Suck City; we may also read some poems. Together, and writing frequent essays, we'll explore why and how people write about themselves—for self-exploration, political or social change, purely to practice a form of art, or other reasons—and we'll investigate how writing shapes lived experience.

 

ENGLISH 1147

The Mystery in the Story

What makes a story, and what makes it a mystery story? In this course, we'll study and write about the nature of narratives, taking the classic mystery tale written by such writers as Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, and Raymond Chandler as typical of intricately plotted stories of suspense and disclosure that have been written and filmed in many genres: Greek tragedy, horror tales by Poe and Shirley Jackson, psychological thrillers by Ruth Rendell and Patricia Highsmith, neo-noir films such as Memento and Fight Club, and postmodern mystery parodies such as those of Paul Auster and Jorge Luis Borges. We'll look at the way they hold together, the desire and fear that drive them, and the secrets they tell—or try to keep hidden.

ENGLISH 1158

American Voices: The Literary Tropes of American Individualism

What does it mean to behave in an American fashion? Are there common themes across American culture from Walt Whitman’s poetry to Judd Apatow’s movies? Our survey of American literature will begin with the Transcendentalist Movement (Emerson and Thoreau) and go on to include Whitman’s poetry, nineteenth-century realism as well as modernist writers like William Faulkner. A persistent theme in American literature is the tension between the individual and society. But the “individual”—one of America’s most resilient inventions—is also very much shaped by the society he frequently opposes. We will study the mythologies of self in American writing and examine the literary codes and conventions that enable “American individuals” to cohere. Writing requirements will consist of weekly Blackboard responses and multi-draft essays.

SEM 101 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Christine Suwendy 16806 Kevin Attell

 

ENGLISH 1158

American Voices: Plotting Girls

Good Girls. Bad Girls. Mean Girls. These familiar modern stereotypes gesture toward ways that the girl has been classified and characterized in American culture and literature. Focused on the nineteenth century, this course will explore American texts about (and sometimes by) girls. Among the questions we will seek to address are: From a narratological perspective, how are girls “plotted”? How have formulations of gender, race, and age changed throughout the history of America? How do girl writers challenge traditional claims of authorship and authority? A series of critical writing assignments will explore these questions along with film screenings and library visits. Authors may include Louisa May Alcott, Harriet Jacobs, Lucy Larcom, Phillis Wheatley, and Emily Dickinson.

SEM 102 MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Jillian Spivey 16807 Dag Woubshet

 

ENGLISH 1158

American Voices: Linked Stories

What makes a novel different from a group of stories? In this course, we will explore the best of both worlds: books that work as collections of individual stories, while also having the longer arc of a novel. We will discuss the effect of different linking mechanisms—shared main characters, a composite portrait of a single community—and why this type of book has exploded in popularity over the last 30 years. Over the course of the semester, you will take apart what you read and write clearly and persuasively about your response to the material, backing up your ideas with evidence from the text. Authors may include Sherwood Anderson, Tim O’Brien, Louise Erdrich, Jamaica Kincaid, and Cornell’s own Stephanie Vaughn and Junot Díaz.

SEM 103 MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Laurel Lathrop 16808 Dag Woubshet

 

ENGLISH 1158

American Voices: Ghostfaces—Persona in the Black Americas

Despite the importance placed on Black authenticity, many authors, visual artists, and politicians throughout the Americas have consciously constructed flexible personas to develop entire mythologies, make social and political critique, and to expand the limits of their own aesthetic practices. Building upon syncretic religions and the “Creole” methodology of hip hop and dancehall, the course will look at how folks get “bodied” from Brazil to Haiti, get “grimey” like the Wu Tang Clan and MF DOOM, and “wax Sankofa” along with Parliament Funakadelic and Sun Ra. Looking beyond simple aliases, students are expected to develop thoughtful analysis of literature, art, video games, and song lyrics as we investigate and complicate how deliberately constructed identities instruct, influence, and disrupt notions of the “real” throughout the Americas.

SEM 104 MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Christian Howard 16809 Dag Woubshet

 

ENGLISH 1158

American Voices: The Culture of Great American Cities

Plagued by poverty, depopulation, and social disruption, America’s great cities have always been the source of significant cultural experimentation. Through frequent essays and revisions, students will reflect on a range of recent forms, from music to fiction, from journalism to film, arising from four urban centers. We begin with the Bronx in the 1970s, where rap music and graffiti art emerged as versions of “hip-hop” style, then move to Los Angeles, the location of Anna Deveare Smith’s play Twilight, L.A., the film The Long Goodbye, and Helena Viramontes’ novel Their Dogs Came with Them. We’ll then move to Baltimore, the setting of the HBO series The Wire, and conclude with readings on New Orleans, that most poignant recent instance of urban catastrophe and survival.

SEM 105 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Paul Sawyer 16810

 

ENGLISH 1158

American Voices: The Western—From Indians to Apocalypse

How has the Western genre tracked (or produced) cowboys and Indians in the American imagination? In this course, we will consider how the genre emerged from early accounts of American colonization, through its popularization as pulp fiction, toward its consummation near the end of the 20th century. We might explore themes as varied as imperialism, conquest, genocide, masculinity, gender relations, nostalgia, sentimentality, and violence. Beginning with excerpts from Cabeza de Vaca and John Smith, we will continue with Louis L’Amour, on to visions of Indian apocalypse in Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. We will finish the semester with True Grit, the novel and films.

Throughout, we will engage the texts in our own writing, playing with perspective through analytical and creative writing assignments. (Disclaimer: some of this course’s texts, especially Blood Meridian, contain explicit and graphic violence.)

SEM 106 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Daniel Sinykin 16811 Dag Woubshet

 

ENGLISH 1158

American Voices: Great Twentieth-Century Writers

In this seminar, you’ll get to read and discuss a wide variety of modern American works—from recognized classics, to crime fiction, to graphic novels, to experimental poetry and prose. You’ll sharpen your writing skills while learning to analyze literature in new ways and to shape your ideas into coherent and compelling essays. Readings will be brief and varied, encompassing a broad range of American voices, including those of William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, Nella Larsen, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Raymond Chandler, J. D. Salinger, Flannery O’Connor, Ralph Ellison, Vladimir Nabokov, Kurt Vonnegut, Toni Morrison, and David Sedaris.

SEM 107 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Steven Pinkerton 16812 Molly Hite

 

ENGLISH 1158

American Voices: Young Female American Heroes

This course is primarily interested in first-person narratives from the perspectives of young women. We will explore issues of inherited guilt, and young women’s heroic acts of challenging traditional family structures as well as daring to tell their stories at all. Texts may include Maxine Hong Kingston’sWoman Warrior, Disney’s Mulan, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, and Kaye Gibbons’s Ellen Foster. Discussion will be based largely on close readings and supplemental articles. Most papers will be revised with the aid of the instructor and peers.

SEM 108 MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Shyla Foster 16813 Dag Woubshet

 

ENGLISH 1158

American Voices: Performing America

American history is full of drama. From 1776 to 2011, Americans have used performance to express their identities and dramatize issues of national importance. In this seminar, we will study what and how Americans have performed. Our discussions will take up drama, prose, poetry, and music as well as plays, films, and other cultural events. Students will write analytical essays and conduct field research related to performance. Works may include the Declaration of Independence, Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Elia Kazan’s A Streetcar Named Desire, and Susan-Lori Parks’s The America Play.

SEM 109 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Alex Black 16814 Shirley Samuels

 

ENGLISH 1158

American Voices: The Environmental Imagination

Henry David Thoreau, living on Walden Pond, wakes to “the infinite expectation of the dawn.” For Thoreau, and for other nineteenth- and early twentieth-century writers, nature provided metaphors of a dependable and transcendent world. We will begin this seminar by reading Walden and selections from Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Dickinson, and Robert Frost. In more recent times, we have come to understand the environment as threatened. Selections from contemporary writers such as Ruth Ozeki, N. Scott Momaday, Yusef Komunyakaa, Maxine Hong Kingston, Rudolfo Anaya, Rita Dove, and others remind us of the connection that still exists between nature and human culture. Our exploration into the imaginative resources as well as the fragility of our environment will inform student writing.

SEM 110 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Marjorie Pryse 16815

 

ENGLISH 1167

Great New Books

Great literature in English goes back several centuries, but some of it is being written right now. What are the great new books, and how do we know? What issues arise, and why? What role do reviews, prizes, book clubs and movie adaptations play in establishing the appeal and prestige of new literature? These are some of the questions we'll explore as we read, discuss, and write critical essays about several of the most acclaimed books published in the last twenty years. Our readings will include works in a range of genres, from novels and memoirs to poetry and graphic novels.

 

ENGLISH 1168

Cultural Studies: Rednecks, Yokels, and Bumpkins

Whether singing mournfully in pastures or slaughtering city-folk in the dead of night, the country person has long been a charged literary figure. This course will examine modern representations of the country person alongside important literary forerunners. In addition to uncovering the social and political implications of terms such as “redneck” and “white trash,” we will investigate how this figure provokes questions concerning artistic production, the representation of space, and humankind’s relationship to the natural world. In short and long essays, students will not only analyze the texts but also consider how the environment shapes their own writing. We will engage with such characters as Milton’s gentle swain, Lycidas; Faulkner’s Bundren family; The Simpsons’ Cletus, the slack-jawed yokel; and Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

SEM 101 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Matthew Kibbee 16769 Barbara Correll

 

ENGLISH 1168

Cultural Studies: Interactive Media and Art

To what extent are all works of art interactive? How do context and experience affect interpretation? How can video games be art, and how can we better understand art's relationship to its audience by studying video games? By rigorously engaging with questions like these, this course challenges students to consider how art functions socially. Texts will be diverse, ranging from Shakespearean drama to postmodernist novels to computer games and social media, allowing students to compare and contrast the "behaviors" of different kinds of art. While examining the dynamics of interactivity through a series of papers, the course will promote a sustained reflection on how an academic essay—as itself situated between constraint and innovation, expectations and originality—exercises interactive artistry.

SEM 102 MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Noor Desai 16770 Barbara Correll

 

ENGLISH 1168

Cultural Studies: Self-Transformations—Studies and Stories

What is “self-help”? What does it mean to engage in a “self-directed” project of “self-transformation”? What happens when large groups or corporations get involved? The self-help industry has gained considerable force in the past 20-30 years. But what have literary writers had to say about it? How have they grappled with the rise of self-help languages and ideologies in American culture? We will address these questions through the short stories and plays of Denis Johnson, Raymond Carver, Lorrie Moore, and others, as well as through the critical work of Søren Kierkegaard, Paul Tillich, and Aldous Huxley. The course will focus on the melding of social history and cultural studies in literary analysis, and will include the opportunity to create literary work in the final project.

SEM 103 MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Orlando Lara 16771  Rayna Kalas SEM 104 MWF 02:30–03:20 p.m. Orlando Lara 16772 Rayna Kalas

 

ENGLISH 1168

Cultural Studies: Vindicating the Villain—Literature’s Exoneration Project

Grendel. Milton's Satan. The Wicked Witch of the East. These names refer to some of literature's most famous villains. While the designation of these characters as evil-doers seems, at first consideration, to be a cut-and-dried issue, some modern authors have begun writing parallel novels designed to redeem even the most damnable characters in literary history. Indeed, while John Gardner encourages readers to view Grendel as a troubled soul experiencing existential crisis, Gregory Maguire presents the Wicked Witch as a well-intentioned social reformer. In this class, we will explore this trend of "Flipped Perspective" as we revisit classic tales of good and evil from the villains' viewpoints. Texts to be used may include Beowulf, Grendel, The Wizard of Oz, Wicked, Paradise Lost, and His Dark Materials.

SEM 105 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Katie Compton 16773 Barbara Correll

 

ENGLISH 1168

Cultural Studies: What Was Paper?

Is paper a thing of the past? In early 2011, Kindle eBooks outsold hardcover and paperback books on Amazon.com. Books, newspapers, and magazines printed on paper have for a long time been called, pejoratively, “dead tree publications,” echoing “green” email signatures that say, “save a tree, don’t print this email.” What does this mean for writing, researching, publishing, and reading? To address these questions, this seminar traces how paper has framed publication, art, literature, knowledge, memory, and the constitution of communities. Alongside scholarship in the digital humanities and book history, literary authors will include Herman Melville, Lydia Sigourney, and James Fenimore Cooper. Work for the course will include formal and informal writing composed on paper and online, and practical experimentation with new and old media.

SEM 106 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Jonathon Senchyne 16774 Rayna Kalas SEM 107 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Jonathon Senchyne 16775 Rayna Kalas

 

ENGLISH 1168

Cultural Studies: Cute, Gutsy, Gross—Visceral Literature

The expressions “hate someone’s guts,” “listened to my gut,” and “spill your guts” are common enough, but what do they mean? This course focuses on the visceral responses associated with shock value, and how the cute, gutsy, and gross speak to the representations of and rhetorics surrounding the body. Writing exercises will analyze relationships between characters’ corporeality and how these fictional bodies fit into the literary (and other cultural) worlds. Readings may include Lara Glenum’s Maximum Gaga, Francesca Lia Block’s Girl Goddess # Nine, John Berryman’s 77 Dream Songs, and other engrossing pieces. Students will examine how the emotions evoked by the texts connect to ideas of melodrama, affect theory, feminism, queer theory, gurlesque, and disassociation of mind and body.

SEM 108 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Megan Coe 16776 Elisha Cohn

 

ENGLISH 1168

Cultural Studies: Talking Back

A: "Why study dialogue? Well, it's everywhere in literature. Plays are dialogues. Even novels have dialogue." B: "Even novels? There's as much dialogue in novels as there is in Shakespeare. Actually, all language is dialogue." C: "Get real. Dialogue is political. It's resistance to power—talking back. Remember Stephen Colbert roasting Bush? That was dialogue." D: "This is too abstract. What will we do in this class?" E: "Study texts like Plato's Apology, Oscar Wilde's Critic as Artist and the transcripts of his trials, bits of King Lear, one of George Eliot's Scenes of Clerical Life, some satire, some theories of dialogue. And we'll apply what we learn to our own writing, controlling its voices, positions, and power. Essays, too, are dialogue!"

SEM 109 MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Matthew Fellion 16777 Elisha Cohn

 

ENGLISH 1168

Cultural Studies: New Maps of Time—Comics as History

The recent past of the comics medium is a story of great promise and tremendous disappointment, of astonishing formal evolution and ongoing popular disdain. This course examines a handful of recent graphic novels that reflect on this history in particular ways, including works by Alison Bechdel ( Fun Home), Eddie Campbell (Fate of the Artist), and Dylan Horrocks (Hicksville). In addition, we will study shorter works by important contemporary cartoonists like Chris Ware, Lynda Barry, and Art Spiegelman, along with excerpts from earlier works in a variety of genres that inspired them such as wood cut novels, newspaper strips, and superhero narratives. Students will write critical essays about these texts and historical analyses of comics from the rare books and manuscripts collection of the Kroch Library.

SEM 111 MW 07:30–08:45 p.m. Jacob Brogan 16779 Rayna Kalas

 

ENGLISH 1170

Short Stories

What do Minority Report, Brokeback Mountain, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button have in common? Each began life as a short story. Uncanny yet homely, short stories bestride both the commonplace anecdotes we relate daily and the high literary tradition that values visionary moments. Short fiction can pack poetry’s punch and still ride the novel’s propulsive drive of plot. Stories make us human; they urge us to write. Although we will primarily write analytical essays about the craft (and the reading) of narrative, we will nevertheless find our creative and research abilities challenged. Texts may include works by authors such as Poe, Melville, de Maupassant, Gilman, Chopin, Hemingway, Faulkner, Steinbeck, O’Connor, O’Brien, Carver, Lawrence, Atwood, Munro, Chekhov, Joyce, Kafka, Kipling, Danticat, Lahiri.

 

ENGLISH 1191

British Literature: “Death Sweet”—Death Among the Victorians

The Victorians were much obsessed with death. Some yearned for it, more feared it, many were perplexed by the mystery of it, and a few were moved by the prospect of death to write brilliant and imaginative works of literature. We will read some of these works, finding in them complex attitudes towards death that range from the heroic to the romantic, from the tragic to the comic. There will be weekly writing assignments and lively discussions, not only about death, but about what these authors have to say about that which gives death meaning and significance: life. Writing assignments will encourage you to analyze the language and peculiar intelligence of the works we read; you will have opportunities to respond creatively, and to examine the works not only as objects of analysis, but as exemplary instances of rhetoric and style. Authors will include Emily Bronte and Lewis Carroll.

SEM 101 MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Owen Boynton 16787 Andrew Galloway

 

ENGLISH 1191

British Literature: Animals, Monsters, and Aliens

What is a human being? In response to this surprisingly difficult question, British authors have compared humans with many other creatures, including imaginary ones. Pairing classic works with science-fiction novels, the units of this course each feature a particularly disturbing non-human figure: the talking animal, the human-animal hybrid, and the rational non-human. We will not only analyze rhetorical strategies for constructing and challenging definitions of the human but also consider how science fiction can offer new perspectives on classic literature. In addition to analytical essays, you will write a creative piece in which you adopt a non-human perspective. Featured books include Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, H. G. Wells’s Island of Doctor Moreau, and C. S. Lewis’s Out of the Silent Planet.

SEM 102 MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Bryan Alkemeyer 16788  Andrew Galloway SEM 103 MWF 02:30–03:20 p.m. Bryan Alkemeyer 16789 Andrew Galloway

 

ENGLISH 1191

British Literature: Monks, Monsters, and Madwomen—Gothic Romantic Literature

Murder, incest, diabolism, and seduction dominate the literature of this course. We will study and write about popular tales of horror, from sentimental novels and sensational plays to classic send-ups of the gothic genre such as Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and John Keats’s The Eve of St Agnes. We will analyze each author’s particular use of familiar conventions such as ruined castles, dark passages, beleaguered heroines, and tyrannical parents. Writing assignments will ask students to analyze and sometimes mimic the gothic genre’s singular style, as well as explore horror literature’s race to summon the most extraordinary terrors and evils imaginable.

SEM 104 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Miriam Wassif 16790 Andrew Galloway

 

ENGLISH 1191

British Literature: Coming of Age in the Nineteenth Century

This course focuses on representations of coming of age in nineteenth-century British literature. We will investigate the Victorian preoccupation with childhood as well as the ideals of adult subjectivity at a time when scientists and philosophers were reconsidering human development. We will explore not only conflicting notions of childhood, but also the extent to which childhood prefigures an adult’s place in the world. Students will gain experience with reading influential and recent criticism, and writing in response. Readings may be chosen from such works as: Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre; Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland; Charles Dickens, Great Expectations; Rudyard Kipling, Kim; and Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray.

SEM 105 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Elisha Cohn 16791

 

ENGLISH 1191

British Literature: "You Probably Think This Song Is About You"—Reading You and I

Who says, "Strike three—you're out"? And to whom? Or, "Could I see your license and registration, sir?" Or, "I now pronounce you man and wife"? Frank O'Hara's words, "I wanted to be sure to reach you," suggest a writer's desire to be heard and understood by readers. How can writers do this? And how do literary works shape and change the meanings of "I" and "you"? Such questions will guide our discussions of poems, ranging from Sidney's Astrophil and Stella to Bishop's In the Waiting Room; letters by Keats and Steinbeck; journals by Pepys, Dorothy Wordsworth, and Woolf; essays; personal ads; and contemporary song lyrics. Writing assignments will include analytical essays, reading responses, and creative pieces, as well as journals and letters.

SEM 106 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Giffen Maupin 16792 Andrew Galloway

 

ENGLISH 1191

British Literature: Meaningful Lyrics—From Odes to Indie Rock

If rock and roll derives much of its power from rejecting stale traditions, then it may seem to have nothing to do with old volumes of poetry withering away on dusty shelves. Yet there are many ways in which the history of poetry foreshadows and informs the most progressive pop music. What happens when we read Shakespeare’s gender-bending sonnets next to David Bowie’s androgynous glam rock or Percy Shelley’s anarchic rallying cries next to those of punk rock? This class will examine recurrent poetic techniques and themes while paying attention to the ways in which pop music both draws on and reshapes them. We will focus on developing critical reading and listening skills to craft new arguments through extensive and varied writing practice.

SEM 107 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Ryan Dirks 16793 Andrew Galloway

 

ENGLISH 1191

British Literature: “Death Sweet”—Death Among the Victorians

The Victorians were much obsessed with death. Some yearned for it, more feared it, many were perplexed by the mystery of it, and a few were moved by the prospect of death to write brilliant and imaginative works of literature. We will read some of these works, finding in them complex attitudes towards death that range from the heroic to the romantic, from the tragic to the comic. There will be weekly writing assignments and lively discussions, not only about death, but about what these authors have to say about that which gives death meaning and significance: life. Writing assignments will encourage you to analyze the language and peculiar intelligence of the works we read; you will have opportunities to respond creatively, and to examine the works not only as objects of analysis, but as exemplary instances of rhetoric and style. Authors will include Emily Brontë and Lewis Carroll.

SEM 108 MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Owen Boynton 16794 Andrew Galloway

 

ENGLISH 1270

Writing About Literature: The 9/11 Novel

Where were you on 9/11? How has American culture remembered 9/11 as an event? And, more importantly, how can literature help us investigate its residues within contemporary culture and politics? This course examines the afterlives of 9/11 through the emerging genre of the “9/11 novel.” Along the way, we will ask a series of questions about 9/11, while at the same time exploring the traffic between aesthetics and politics. How can narrative literature reckon with experiences of trauma and loss? What are the stakes of aesthetically depicting terror? How do contemporary novels imagine the post-9/11 geopolitical landscape? Must 9/11 be understood as world altering, or does literature instead contest its exemplarity? Writers will include Foer, DeLillo, Hamid, Moore, and McCann.

SEM 101 MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Elizabeth Anker 16719

First-year students may enroll only if they have taken one First-Year Writing Seminar, scored a "4" or "5" on the Princeton AP examination, received a "700" or better on the English Composition or CEEB tests, or received a “7” on the IB English Lit exam.

 

ENGLISH 1270

Writing About Literature: Telling Stories—The Power of Narrative

This course explores how stories move their readers. It aims to help you respond to the narratives we read with an ever-growing intensity of perceptiveness and pleasure. We’ll begin with short fiction, carefully examined, by master storytellers such as Henry James, Edith Wharton, James Joyce, and Nadine Gordimer. We’ll then move on to discuss and write about two of the best romantic novels on offer, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and E. M. Forster’s A Room with a View. Your essays will be central to the course, as the sentences and paragraphs you craft put you in touch with the full richness of our readings, and your writing will itself become a subject of sustained attention as you learn to create a voice ever more adequate to your experience of them.

SEM 102 MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Harry Shaw 16720

First-year students may enroll only if they have taken one First-Year Writing Seminar, scored a "4" or "5" on the Princeton AP examination, received a "700" or better on the English Composition or CEEB tests, or received a “7” on the IB English Lit exam.

 

ENGLISH 1270

Writing About Literature: Worlds of Fiction—Thinking, Reading, Creating

We will examine modern fiction with an emphasis on the short story and novella. Students will write critical essays on works by authors from around the world who flourished between 1870 to the present day. We will also try our hand at creating our own fiction in our last class session.

SEM 103 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Helena Viramontes 16721

First-year students may enroll only if they have taken one First-Year Writing Seminar, scored a "4" or "5" on the Princeton AP examination, received a "700" or better on the English Composition or CEEB tests, or received a “7” on the IB English Lit exam.

 

ENGLISH 1270

Writing About Literature: The Great Pleasures of Short Fiction

In this course we will closely read a variety of nineteeth- and twentieth-century short fiction, from Poe’s unforgettable tales of horror to Nabokov’s dazzling metafictional puzzles, from Melville’s mysterious antebellum Manhattan to Woolf’s and Joyce’s high modernist gems. Over the semester we will observe the wide variety of styles and shapes that short fiction can assume, and we will focus our critical lenses on what literary effects are achieved by our authors’ formal and narrative techniques.

SEM 104 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Kevin Attell 16722

First-year students may enroll only if they have taken one First-Year Writing Seminar, scored a "4" or "5" on the Princeton AP examination, received a "700" or better on the English Composition or CEEB tests, or received a “7” on the IB English Lit exam.

 

ENGLISH 1270

Writing About Literature: The Question of Tragedy

The word “tragedy” is used almost daily by the media to describe devastating or catastrophic events. But what does the term actually mean? Does it refer to the particular form of drama Aristotle thought was designed to produce pity and fear? Is there still a connection between our “modern” use of the term ‘tragedy’ and classical theater theory? What exactly is “tragic” drama? Why, for example, did Shakespeare not call Hamlet a tragedy but a “tragicall historie”? What is the relationship between tragedy and history? The course explores these and other questions of tragedy through careful, close readings, discussions, and, above all, critical writings about paradigmatic tragedies of the Western tradition, including plays by Sophocles, Euripides, Shakespeare, Lorca, and Miller.

SEM 105   TR 11:40–12:55 p.m.   Philip Lorenz   16723

SEM 106   TR 01:25–02:40 p.m.   Philip Lorenz   16724

First-year students may enroll only if they have taken one First-Year Writing Seminar, scored a "4" or "5" on the Princeton AP examination, received a "700" or better on the English Composition or CEEB tests, or received a “7” on the IB English Lit exam.

 

ENGLISH 1270

Writing About Literature: Literature and Survival

This course will examine the relation between trauma and survival in twentieth-century literature. How does literature describe the experience of surviving an encounter with death? We will explore the different ways in which modern texts represent the entanglement of death and life in stories of survival. We will also ask how such stories can radically alter our ideas of experience, life, and language, both as individuals and as members of larger communities. How can storytelling—the art of narrative broadly considered—testify to, or participate in, the survival of experiences that exceed our understanding? Stories by William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, Endesha Ida Mae Holland, George Perec, Charlotte Delbo, Sigmund Freud, among others. Classes involve discussion of writing exercises.

SEM 107 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Cathy Caruth 16725

First-year students may enroll only if they have taken one First-Year Writing Seminar, scored a "4" or "5" on the Princeton AP examination, received a "700" or better on the English Composition or CEEB tests, or received a “7” on the IB English Lit exam.

 

ENGLISH 1270

Writing About Literature: Mrs. Dalloway and Friends—From Short Stories to Novels to Films

This course explores the origins and influences of a great novel, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway (1922). We begin from stories that Woolf wrote before she decided to incorporate some characters and episodes into a single novel. We then move to a close reading of Mrs. Dalloway and view a 1997 film version to think about how screenwriters and director decided to transform a written work into something visual and aural. A major recent novel written in homage to Mrs. Dalloway, Michael Cunningham’s The Hours (1998), plays with some of the Dalloway characters and makes a character of Virginia Woolf herself. After reading this novel, we view the award-winning 2002 film version, comparing it with the various texts and films we have studied.

SEM 108 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Molly Hite 16726

First-year students may enroll only if they have taken one First-Year Writing Seminar, scored a "4" or "5" on the Princeton AP examination, received a "700" or better on the English Composition or CEEB tests, or received a “7” on the IB English Lit exam.

 

ENGLISH 1270

Writing About Literature: Doubling, Disguise, and Deceit in Drama

Theatre is never more theatrical than when it doubles itself—in strategically paired characters, in plays about playing, in tales of vindictive intrigue, in reflections on its own dark or joyous origins. Beginning with Euripides’ The Bacchae, this course will explore such doublings and the frenzies they entail, reading comedies and tragedies by such playwrights as Shakespeare, Thomas Middleton, Oscar Wilde, Bertolt Brecht, Alan Ayckbourn, Jean Genet, and Suzan-Lori Parks, and viewing them, when possible, in live or filmed performance.

SEM 109 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Stuart Davis 16727

First-year students may enroll only if they have taken one First-Year Writing Seminar, scored a "4" or "5" on the Princeton AP examination, received a "700" or better on the English Composition or CEEB tests, or received a “7” on the IB English Lit exam.

 

FRENCH 1109

Gangsters, Guns, and Gauloises: French Crime Cinema

The crime film is one of the most lasting genres in French cinema history, but for all the gun shots in rainy streets under the neon lights of nightclubs in Pigalle, crime is seldom what makes it so compelling. Ranging from a mode of political inquiry to a reflection on film history and experimentation with form, the theme of crime is often the backdrop on which other concerns are expressed. Through viewings and close readings of works by directors such as Duvivier, Clouzot, Godard, Melville, Gavras, and exposure to film criticism, students will develop the reading and writing skills necessary to address questions of how we relate to and think about crime in cinema.

SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Zach Gooch 16593 Kathleen Long

 

FRENCH 1130

The Private, Emotions, and The Social

Are our feelings truly ours? What makes them private and unique and what makes them communicable to others? Are there cultural or social “rules” that institute feelings and private experiences, or can we talk about an authentic, self-legislating individual? How is the divide between the private and the public created, what are their relations and what “interruptions” does such a divide incur? This course will attempt to explore the paradox of the private by departing from principles of aesthetic philosophy and ethics (Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Kant, Rousseau) and moving towards modern and post-modern critical theories ranging from LGBT and queer theories (Michel Foucault, Sara Ahmed, Judith Butler, Ann Cvetkovich, Eve Sedgwick) to social theories and psychopathological approaches.

SEM 101 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Yael Wender 16595 Kathleen Long

 

GERMAN STUDIES 1109

From Fairy Tales to the Uncanny: Exploring the Romantic Consciousness

How did bawdy tales of peasants using magic to climb the social ladder get transformed into moral lessons for children? The answer lies in Romanticism and its appropriation of the imagination as a force for social transformation. As Romantics edited older tales for juvenile consumption they wrote new ones for adults. This new fiction created the matrix for modern pop genres like fantasy, science-fiction, murder mysteries, and gothic horror. To understand this paradigm shift in modern culture, we will read, discuss, and write about a variety of texts the Romantics collected, composed, or inspired, including poetry and film, in addition to classic fairy tales and academic scholarship.

SEM 101 MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Douglas McBride 16586

SEM 102   MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m.   Andreea Mascan    16587 Douglas Brent McBride

 

GERMAN STUDIES 1130

Metropolis, Modernity, and Mass Culture

In what ways have technological innovation, industrialization, and urbanization changed the way we relate to our things, our surroundings, ourselves, and each other? This seminar will chart the highs and lows of German and western modernization, from the rise of consumer culture and growth of cities to visions of ruin and decline. Students will develop academic writing skills through critical engagement with a variety of literary and philosophical texts from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, setting in dialogue such authors and thinkers as Marx, Raabe, Kafka, Adorno and Sebald. Readings, class discussions, and essay topics will consider interrelated themes such as cityscapes and countrysides, art in the age of industrial technology, and the destruction of the environment.

SEM 101 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Alexander Phillips 16592 Douglas Brent McBride

 

GERMAN STUDIES 1170

Marx, Nietzsche, Freud

A basic understanding of Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud is a prerequisite for participating in critical debates in the humanities and social sciences. Our seminar will explore key terms in the revolutionary models of critical analysis these thinkers pioneered: historical materialism, post-metaphysical philosophy, psychoanalysis. This will mean articulating points of contrast as well as convergence. Discussions and writing exercises will focus on texts that created the discursive framework for critiquing society and culture today. Our method will proceed from the premise that critical reading, thinking, and writing are inseparable moments in the same operation of critique. The question that guides that method will be: Do alternative ways of thinking exist in opposition to the ones we view as natural, inevitable, or universal?

SEM 101   TR 10:10–11:25 a.m.       Geoffrey Waite      16594

SEM 102   MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m.   Matteo Calla           16596 Douglas Brent McBride SEM 103 MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Ana Maria Andrei 16597 Douglas Brent McBride

 

GOVERNMENT 1101

Power and Politics: Law and Society

This course explores law in action—the effects law has on the relationship between American citizens and the state. We will examine the development of constitutional law, the influence of American political thought on law, and the ways law has increased the state’s power to control citizens. A focus on labor law will bring many of these themes together. Thus, this course will highlight that law reflects the context in which it is made and used. We will canvass eclectic readings drawn not only from political science but also from history, law, political philosophy, literature, folklore, and film. We will read authors/activists as diverse as Henry David Thoreau, Martin Luther King, and Robert Frost—to name a few. Writing will be the primary mechanism by which the students reflect on the contentious nature of legal development.

SEM 101 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Michael Dichio 16598 Richard Bensel

 

GOVERNMENT 1101

Power and Politics: Science Fiction and the Political

Science fiction is often dismissed as a form of entertainment. However, the science fiction genre presents audiences with worlds similar to our own, highlighting key “real world” social and political issues. In this course, we will analyze an array of science fiction media as a gateway to dissecting complicated and contentious questions such as: the origin and nature of authority, the nature of democracy, war, terrorism, torture, reproductive and sexual rights, and discrimination. Media include selections from: Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Torchwood, and District 9, amongst others. These will be paired with appropriate texts from thinkers such as Hobbes, Locke, and Machiavelli. Students may be expected to attend evening film-screenings or watch select portions on their own.

SEM 102 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Michelle Greco 16599 Matthew Evangelista

 

GOVERNMENT 1101

Power and Politics: Development, Change, and Politics—Who Wins and Who Loses from Economic Growth in the Global South?"

Economic growth is often presented as a panacea for the social and political problems that plague developing countries. A closer analysis of recent history, however, reveals that rapid economic expansion is also associated with substantial negative side effects. In this writing seminar, we analyze the causes, the extent and the consequences of development in the Global South, covering countries as diverse as China, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Brazil, Colombia, and others. The emphasis of the course is on gaining a solid understanding of the social and political problematics associated with economic growth in developing countries. Students in this course will learn how to write about these topics in a clear and coherent manner.

SEM 103 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Diego Fossati 16905 Chris Anderson

 

HUMAN DEVELOPMENT 1130

Rude Awakenings and Moral Development

What is the right thing to do and why is it so hard to do it? We will write about moral development from a psychological perspective. It is impossible to get through life without having to make difficult choices, and sometimes no “right” option is available. Psychologists argue that it is not what choice you select but the reasoning you use to select it that matters. Moral reasoning impacts all facets of human endeavor: environmental decisions, political decisions, medical decisions, allocation of scarce resources, and interpersonal relationships. We will examine research on moral reasoning as it applies to characters in the following novels: The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Lord of the Flies, The Road, and Ishmael. Written assignments will include essays, reflection papers, and in-class writing.

SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Charlotte Sweeney 16610 Steve Ceci

This class counts as a First-Year Writing Seminar; students cannot receive HD credit for it.

 

HISTORY 1139

“What Ifs”: Counterfactual History and the American Century

Speculating on what did not happen (but might have occurred) has long been considered forbidden territory for historians. Some prominent academics have even called studying paths-not-taken a mere “parlor game.” This seminar explores the increasingly popular phenomenon of counterfactual history through the lens of “what if” scenarios in twentieth-century American foreign relations and world politics. We will practice “thinking otherwise” through weekly readings that immerse students in the current debate and help them evaluate theoretical arguments for and against counterfactualism, and we will examine such cases as JFK’s assassination, the Versailles Peace Conference, and the end of the Cold War. A variety of intellectually challenging writing assignments will emphasize critical and creative thinking and ultimately lead to students writing their own piece of counterfactual history.

SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Irene Vrinte 16600 Fredrik Logevall

 

HISTORY 1140

Humanitarian Aid in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries

What do a Nebraskan farmer, a Guatemalan Red Cross nurse, and Bill Gates have in common? They all increase the global community’s ability to respond to the tragic aftermath of disasters and wars. In this course, students will learn about the history of and theory behind humanitarian aid through the use of case studies from around the world: Herbert Hoover’s relief mission to Europe during World War I, attempts to ameliorate suffering of Nazi victims, NATO intervention in Kosovo, and international responses to the Haiti Earthquake. Readings emphasize the historical and contemporary debate about humanitarian relief. They include The New Yorker articles, diaries, eyewitness accounts, and popular nonfiction. Writing assignments will teach students how to use primary and secondary sources to write well-supported, persuasive arguments.

SEM 101 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Julie Jacoby 16603 Isabel Hull

 

HISTORY 1145

Concrete and Chaos: Nature and Cultural Resistance in the United States

From country music to punk rock, Thomas Jefferson to Al Gore, Walden to The Omnivore’s Dilemma, “nature” has been near the heart of American discussions of Progress. Though we usually think of Progress in terms of technology, capitalism, and liberal democracy, Americans’ conception of the natural has yielded powerful counter-images of the good life. Through writing, photography, film, and music that asks, in Thoreau’s words, “Who are we? Where are we?,” we will explore the culture of resistance that grew (and grows) from American environmental thinking. By analyzing form as well as content, how one writes as well as what one says, and by incorporating these findings into our own work, we will learn to craft writing that is both artful and academically rigorous.

SEM 101 MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Daegan Miller 16605 Aaron Sachs

 

HISTORY 1153

Speaking Truth to Power: The Black Prophetic Voice in America

Everywhere we look in the United States we see concrete examples of the Black prophetic voice. This “voice” is one of socio-political accountability that has its origins in the expressive culture of transplanted Africans. Enslaved Africans were anything but passive captives. From the speeches and sermons of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to the hip-hop artistry of Kanye West, we find variations on the theme of liberation and evidence of the Black prophetic voice. To comprehend the origins and development of the Black prophetic voice, one must first understand the religious history of African Americans. Through a series of writing assignments, readings, and class discussions, students will investigate how African Americans have historically employed Christianity as a vessel of protest and empowerment.

SEM 101 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Vernon Mitchell 16602 Robert Harris

 

HISTORY 1230

Monstrous Births, Scheming Midwives: Childbirth in Europe 1500-1700

When Mary Toft gave birth to rabbits in 1726, only some (but not all) doctors thought she was faking. Why was her story plausible, and how were the rabbits explained? Who controlled childbirth, and who had the power to decide whether a pregnancy was real? How did Mary Toft experience the event? Monstrous births, dishonest midwives, infanticide, and the powers of pregnant women were topics of fascination and debate in early modern Europe and America. In this course, we use writings by midwives, medical treatises, letters, autobiographies, news reports, and trial records to examine practices and beliefs surrounding childbirth, and at how these in turn reflected concerns about property, sexuality, health and religion.

SEM 101 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Rachel Weil 16607

 

HISTORY 1320

Anticolonial Struggle as a Global Movement

Why did Gandhi consider nonviolent resistance to be the most effective and legitimate method for anticolonial struggle? How did his non-violent resistance influence Martin Luther King’s civil rights movement? Why did people such as Fanon, Cesaire, and Ho Chi Minh see violent revolution as inevitable, even necessary for the liberation of Africa or Asia? These are the types of challenging questions we will engage as we examine the struggle for decolonization as a global movement—and a global discourse, too. Through reading, discussing, and writing about major thinkers of anticolonialism such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Ho Chi Minh, Aime Cesaire, and Frantz Fanon, we will cover Africa, Asia, and the U.S. to explore commonalities and differences in ideas and experiences.

SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Katsuya Hirano 16608

 

LINGUISTICS 1100

Language, Thought, and Reality: Biological Foundations of Language

What is so special about the human brain that only it, and no other animal brain, can create language? To consider this question, we will examine the current state of knowledge about the biological substrate for all aspects of language, including the most up-to-date research on phonetics, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. We will look at the heated debates in the research on child language development, aphasia, and brain imaging technology. Students will learn how to read scientific texts about language critically, as they write about these in essays, including reviews, critiques, and research proposals.

SEM 101 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Kyle Grove 16611 Wayles Browne

 

LINGUISTICS 1100

Language, Thought, and Reality: Testing the Language Instinct

When children first acquire language, in all its complexity, they do so with such ease and effortlessness that it seems they are pre-programmed for it, as an instinct. Linguists are discovering common properties throughout the world’s languages; perhaps the universals are due to a common biology. In this seminar, we will examine the issues surrounding the debate on language innateness. We will focus on the contrast between taught and untaught knowledge of language. How do children learn to speak? How are languages similar to and different from each other? Do other animals have language? Do some people speak more “grammatically” than others? Readings will include Steven Pinker’s 1994 bestsellerThe Language Instinct. Students will write a series of short papers and a longer paper.

SEM 102 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Joanne Johnson 16612 Wayles Brown

 

LINGUISTICS 1100

Language, Thought, and Reality: Words and Pictures

This class explores the collaboration of language and image to create meanings at multiple levels. We will discuss and write about popular culture—caricatures, comics, advertising, and puzzles—along with high culture artifacts like paintings, illuminated manuscripts, and ideographic scripts, examining the interplay and analogies between understanding language and interpreting images. We will discuss phenomena that cut across words and pictures: both may represent reality. A sentence may be true or false—can the same be said of a picture? Both language and visual representation are governed by conventions, and would be impossible without them. Information may be foregrounded and backgrounded in both channels, and can be ambiguous, contradictory, nonsensical, or self-referential.

SEM 103 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Dorit Abusch 16613

 

LINGUISTICS 1100

Language, Thought and Reality: Language and Gender

A significant number of our daily interactions are accomplished through language and experienced through the lens of gender. Through readings, discussion, and critical writing assignments, we will examine the connection between language and gender. How does gender shape our communications, how our words are perceived, and how we perceive the language used by others? What type of language do we use to talk about gender? To consider these questions, we will draw on the academic literatures of both gender studies and linguistics, as well as primary sources from the media for examples of “talking about gender.” We will also examine the psychological literature on the results of experiments on gender and language use and cognition.

SEM 104 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Sarah Courtney 16862 Wayles Brown

 

LINGUISTICS 1100

Language, Thought and Reality: How to Build a Language

Hundreds of languages have been created for practical or artistic purposes, from existing material or from whole cloth. But to be legitimate they must be speakable, or at least believable. We will explore the linguistic tools necessary to compose a language, from sounds to words to sentences and full texts. We will also examine the history of constructed languages—which have succeeded, which have failed, and why? The ultimate goal will be for each student to begin constructing a new language of their own and to justify its linguistic validity and its practical or artistic merit.

SEM 105 MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Edward Cormany 16897 Wayles Browne

 

MATHEMATICS 1890

Certainty and Ambiguity: Exploring Mathematical Concepts Through Writing

Ever wonder how a line can fill a square and how we can count infinities? In this course, we consider these and other mathematical notions. We analyze and practice writing as a means to learning mathematics. We read outstanding texts about the nature of mathematics, such as (but not limited to) Reuben Hersh’sThe Mathematical Experience, William Byers’s How Mathematicians Think, and Ivars Peterson’s Mathematical Tourist. We also debate the merits of the research into how mathematicians think and what they do in their profession; occasionally we will invite Cornell faculty to join in our discussions and share their experience of mathematical practice. The assignments will concern well-known mathematical concepts, as well as the relationship between mathematics and language, literature, art, music, and nature.

SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Mircea Pitici 16690 Maria Terrell

 

MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1101

Aspects of Medieval Culture: The Way Life Was or Outright Lies? Medieval History Writing

Story-telling is an important part of writing history, but can it go too far? This course will consider the ways in which any writer crafts his or her content, particularly looking at this process in medieval histories. We will also consider how ideas about history influenced society. Some readings will be selections from Herodotus, known as the father of both history and lies, Bede, the Song of Roland, and Gisli’s Saga. Students will write analytical essays based on these works as well as writing short “histories” from their own lives.

SEM 101 MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Corinna Matlis 16614 Oren Falk

 

MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1101

Aspects of Medieval Culture:Go to Hell—Sin and Suffering in the Middle Ages

In this course, we shall examine the medieval Christian concepts of sin, punishment, and redemption, and focus on the ways medieval people tried to avoid eternal damnation. On one hand, we will study the theological components of sin and salvation and, on the other, how sin was generally understood and remedied in medieval society. Our discussions will include topics such as Original Sin, the Seven Deadly Sins, atonement theory, the power of dark emotions, confession, saints, demons, torture, and injurious self-discipline. Readings will be drawn from sources such as the Bible, Dante’s Divine Comedy, and selections from medieval theological works, prayer books, sermon-stories, and saints' lives. Assignments will include a combination of long and short essays and weekly responses to the material.

SEM 102 MWF 08:00–08:50 a.m. Amanda Mita 16615 Andrew Galloway

 

MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1101

Aspects of Medieval Culture: Observation, Mathematics, and the Occult—Medieval Astronomy

The study of astronomy was the precursor to modern scientific theory and thought—precise observation and calculations were required to understand heavenly bodies. However, through much of human history astronomical observations were frequently tied to occult sciences. In this course, we will investigate the history of astronomy from the ancients such as Ptolemy and Aristarchos, through Kepler and Newton. By reading from works influenced by astronomy—particularly the Divine Comedy—we will focus particularly on how the study of astronomy intersected with human culture. As we seek to understand the differences and similarities between modern and medieval sciences, and as we explore the occult nature of both, we will learn to think and write critically.

SEM 103 MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Russell (Xan) Stepp 16616 Shawkat Toorawa

 

MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1101

Aspects of Medieval Culture: Heresy

What constituted heresy during the Middle Ages? Who was accused of it? Why were medieval inquisitors so obsessed with other people’s religious beliefs? The answers may surprise you! This course will examine the definition and repression of heresy in Europe from late antiquity through the sixteenth century. Focusing on issues surrounding gender, belief, and otherness, we will spend time reading and thinking about the meanings of religious dissent and orthodoxy in premodern contexts. We will also have opportunities to visit and explore the outstanding Witchcraft Collection of the Cornell University Library. Writing assignments will include “close readings” of primary texts in translation and a final research paper.

SEM 104 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Joel Anderson 16617 Duane Corpis

 

MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1101

Aspects of Medieval Culture: Killing in the Name of God—Holy War in the Medieval World

Violence motivated or even obligated by religion has played a major role in world history, and is increasingly pervasive today. This course examines how the idea and practice of Holy War developed during the Middle Ages, with the aim of understanding the historical circumstances through which killing in the name of God became acceptable. Surveying a wide range of historical topics, including the expansion of Islam in the 7th century, the development of Just War Theory and the idea of jihad, the Crusades from Christian and Muslim perspectives, and the Spanish conquest of the New World, the course will examine the intellectual justifications for Holy War, different doctrines of military ethics, and how Holy War has reinforced or threatened political order. Writing assignments will consist of shorter essays and a longer research project, focused on the analysis of primary source documents, as well as ideas presented by secondary source readings.

SEM 105 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Eliza Buhrer 16618 Paul Hyams

 

MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1101

Aspects of Medieval Culture: Longing and Belonging—The Idea of Self

How does the need for others inform our notion of self? How do religious and political changes affect personal relationships and self-identity? In this course, we will seek to answer these questions through the exploration of texts from Classical and Late Antiquity as well as the early Middle Ages. The readings feature the love and exile poetry of Catullus, Ovid, Augustine, the anonymous poets of the Anglo-Saxon "elegies," and others. (Disclaimer: no castles!) We will learn strategies for the critical analysis of literature, paying special attention to diction and literary structure, and we will focus on developing writing skills to treat such works in these terms. Student writing will include informal reading journals, short response papers, and longer expository essays.

SEM 106 MW 07:30–08:45 p.m. Matthew Hanson 17061 Andy Galloway

 

MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1102

Literature of Chivalry: Monsters, Heroes, and Other Worlds: Monster or Hero? An Introduction to Medieval Identity

What is the relationship between “monster” and “hero”? We will be exploring this question as we read in translation some of the central texts of English and Continental medieval literature. Among the texts we will read are Beowulf, John Gardner’s modern response Grendel, The Táin Bó Cúailnge, and the chivalric romance Chrétien’s Yvain. All of these texts involve other worlds, whether natural or supernatural, and all of them concern heroes whose humanity is, in one way or another, questionable. We will also be concerned with the modern reception of these texts in film and explore our own modern expectations and understanding of the heroic other. Through class discussion, writing exercises, and formal papers, students will strengthen their writing and critical reasoning.

SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Danielle Wu 16619 Samantha Zacher

 

MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1103

Legends, Fantasy & Vision: Transformative Fictions: Medieval Heroes and their Afterlife

“And why should people listen to you?” Prince John asks Robin Hood in Mel Brooks’s Men in Tights. “Because,” he replies, “unlike other Robin Hoods, I can speak with an English accent.” Some of the most famous characters of the medieval world continue to live and walk among us. Robin Hood, King Arthur, and Beowulf feature in stories across the centuries, but never in quite the same way. In addition to their role in the Middle Ages, medieval heroes and villains are a long-lasting source of modern fiction and fantasy. From Grendel to Neil Gaiman, Robin Hood to Firefly, we will investigate what makes these characters enduring, and how stories about them change and respond to their times. Writing assignments will be creative as well as expository.

SEM 101 MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Marybeth Matlack 16620 Masha Raskolnikov

 

MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1103

Legends, Fantasy & Vision: There and Back Again: The Medieval Origins of Tolkien’s Quest

J. R. R. Tolkien tops many lists as the greatest author of the twentieth century, a distinction that often dwarfs his role as a long-time professor of Anglo-Saxon literature at Oxford. This class will explore how Tolkien’s interest in and scholarship on medieval literature and languages informed his fiction writing. Readings will include selections from The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion, as well as some of his shorter works and essays. These texts will be read alongside important medieval works such as selections of Old English poetry, Sir Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Old Norse poetry and sagas, and the Finnish Kalevala. This course will hone students’ writing and analytic skills through class discussion, writing exercises, and formal papers.

SEM 102 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Rachel (Rae) Grabowski 16621 Samanth Zacher

 

MUSIC 1701

Sound Sense and Ideas: Music and the Christian Tradition

From Christmas carols and congregational hymns, to monophonic chants and polyphonic masses, music has played and continues to play an important role in Christian worship. However, not all involved have thought it a positive force, and some have tried to exile music entirely from the religious experience. What can we learn from these attitudes by studying the past two thousand years, at times when there was no separation between church and state, and religion and politics were inseparable? Students will engage with both primary and secondary sources, ranging from Plato and Augustine to Martin Luther, Vatican II, and beyond. Over the course of six written assignments, students will engage critically with both the readings and the music.

SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Evan Cortens 16691 Neal Zaslaw

 

NEAR EASTERN STUDIES 1980

Moses, Muhammad, and Malcolm X: Prophets and Their Companions

This course will explore themes of election, inspiration, ecstasy, wrath, and sacrifice as articulated through the personages of prophets or prophet-like figures in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic imaginaries. The course is composed of three sections. The first section, “Memory,” will lay the foundations by exploring and comparing the concept of prophethood in the three traditions and its permutations through the biblical characters of Hagar, Moses, Jonah, and Isaiah. The second section, “Promise,” will look at writings by and on four figures from Late Antiquity: John the Baptist, Mary, Muhammad, and Hussein. The final section, “Retellings,” will look at the continued usage of Judeo-Christian-Islamic prophetic imagery in contemporary America. In this section, we will read Flannery O’Connor’s 1960s novel, The Violent Bear It Away, and excerpts from the Autobiography of Malcolm X, and we will watch Tony Kushner’s play Angels in America.

SEM 101 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Hamza Mahmood 16625 David Powers

 

PHILOSOPHY 1110

Philosophy in Practice: Science and Pseudo-Science

What are the aims of science? What are scientific methods? What makes them scientific? What distinguishes science from non-science? What questions if any lie beyond the scope of science? We'll examine competing answers to these questions through focusing on and writing about two issues: (1) the status of "creation science" and intelligent design as alternatives to Darwinian evolution and (2) the role of racial ideology in twentieth-century discussions of IQ and race.

SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Richard Boyd 16622

 

PHILOSOPHY 1110

Philosophy in Practice: Contemporary Moral Issues

In this course, students will develop philosophical writing and argumentative skills by engaging in real-life ethical debates. Some of the major topics will include abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, affirmative action, and redistributive taxation. We will ask whether any of these things can be morally justified. Readings will be selected from well-known articles written by philosophers on these issues. Throughout the course, students will learn how to critically analyze other people’s arguments and present their own arguments in a logical way.

SEM 102 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Hun Chung 16623 Derk Pereboom

 

PHILOSOPHY 1110

Philosophy in Practice: The Ethics of Eating Animals

Human beings have the peculiar status of being animals who think they are superior to other animals. And maybe we are superior in some ways. Does it follow that we can treat other animals however we want? In particular, are we allowed to raise and eat other animals for food? And if so, can we do that however we like? This course will survey some of the most important and interesting challenges to the practice of eating meat. We will explore how these issues are impacted by animal welfare, animal rights, health and human needs, environmental effects, and also business and politics. Writing assignments will focus on formulating and evaluating arguments both for and against eating animals.

SEM 103 MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Andrew Alwood 16624 Derk Pereboom

 

PHILOSOPHY 1110

Philosophy in Practice: Morality and Self-Sacrifice

Should you be giving up more to help the poor? Is it wrong to kill in self-defense? More generally, does morality require severe self-sacrifice? Or does morality allow you to give priority to your own interests and to the interests of people near and dear to you? In our seminar, we will examine how these general, philosophical questions relate to practical issues such as famine relief, abortion, and war. Students will write short essays that explain and evaluate the arguments of Immanuel Kant, Peter Singer, Judith Jarvis Thomson, and other philosophers.

SEM 104 MW 07:30–08:45 p.m. John Paul Erdel 17067 Derk Pereboom

 

PHILOSOPHY 1111

Philosophical Problems: Puzzles, Paradoxes and Incredulous Stares

In this course, we will investigate some of the most thought-provoking puzzles and arguments that philosophy has to offer. In doing so, we will be faced with questions such as: Am I rational? Can consciousness be scientifically explained? Does the existence of evil prove that God cannot exist? We will even be confronted with an argument that is intended to establish that we, its readers, do not exist. This course is designed to teach clear, cogent writing by fostering the ability to think clearly about difficult and intriguing issues. To do this we will read a wide variety of largely contemporary sources. There will also be several different types of writing assignments such as formal papers, analyses, and perhaps even dialogues.

SEM 101 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Stephen Mahaffey 16626 Derk Pereboom

 

PHILOSOPHY 1111

Philosophical Problems: Dreams, Simulations, and Virtual Worlds

Is it immoral to kill someone in a dream or virtual world? If you could choose between a life hooked to a computer feeding you pleasant experiences and an unpleasant life in the real world, which would you choose, and why? How likely is it that you’re in a dream, simulation, or virtual world right now? In this class, we’ll tackle these and related questions. We’ll read papers for a popular audience by leading contemporary philosophers and some classic works by Plato, Descartes, and others. We’ll also engage with films such as The Matrix and Inception, and games like Second Life. You’ll be asked to write careful summaries of the arguments we read, critically assessing the arguments for weaknesses, and responding with constructive solutions of your own.

SEM 102 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Jonathan Vance 16627 Derk Pereboom

 

PHILOSOPHY 1111

Philosophical Problems: Generation and Destruction—An Introduction to Metaphysics

Do people, trees, and chairs exist? In this course, we will examine arguments for the claim that ordinary objects like these do not exist. Of course, most of us believe that babies are born, statues are sculpted, and that there are trees in the arts quad. Nevertheless, there are powerful arguments against these intuitive beliefs. Our goal will be to assess these arguments, examining the relevant metaphysics that support them.

Readings will primarily be drawn from contemporary sources, but some attention will be given to ancient articulations of the various arguments we consider. Philosophical writing, at its best, is controlled, clear, and maximally effective in communicating the thoughts of the author. Writing assignments will focus on developing these virtues through clearly explicating, and carefully assessing the arguments presented in the readings.

SEM 103 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Scott O’Connor 16898 Derk Pereboom

 

PHILOSOPHY 1111

Philosophical Problems: Art and Aesthetics

What is the meaning of “art”? Are video games art? Is an original artwork more valuable than a physically identical copy? Do moral failings affect the aesthetic value of an artwork? Why do we enjoy horror and tragedy when we normally try to avoid strong feelings of fear and sadness? In this class, we will use these questions to investigate the nature and value of art. By engaging with historical and contemporary sources, we will develop critical thinking skills and the ability to construct rigorous arguments. Since aesthetics is by its very nature interdisciplinary, we will be reading work by writers, artists, and critics as well as philosophers. The writing assignments for the course will be of three kinds: critical essays where students present original analysis of one of more papers, argumentative essays, where students have to present novel arguments for a position, and a final research paper.

SEM 105 MW 07:30–08:45 p.m. Zack Abrahams 16904 Derk Pereboom

 

PHILOSOPHY 1112

Philosophical Conversations: Descartes’s Meditations on First Philosophy—How does Philosophy Begin?

In this course, we will focus on a short but profound philosophical text: Descartes's Meditations on First Philosophy. We may supplement this text with selections from Descartes's Principles of Philosophy and Passions of the Soul, and with commentaries and responses by contemporary philosophers. Descartes (1596–1650) is often called the founder of modern philosophy, and his Meditations are considered by many to be his definitive work. Our emphasis will be on a close reading of the text, encouraging students to develop their abilities to comprehend, articulate, and criticize philosophical arguments. Classroom discussion and student essays are integral to this process; students will write an essay on each of the six meditations.

SEM 101 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Lawrence Bruce-Robertson 16628 Derk Pereboom

 

PHILOSOPHY 1112

Philosophical Conversations: Does Art Make (Philosophical) Sense?

Does art make rational sense? Philosophers often think not. Despite the prevalence of music, movies, books, and art quite generally, it is maddeningly difficult to understand the nature of our involvement with art. What is art? Why are we emotionally affected by it? What are we doing when we evaluate it? Does art have any function? This class will examine the answers philosophers and critics have given to these questions. Among those considered are some of the most profound and influential thinkers in history: Plato, Aristotle, David Hume, and Immanuel Kant. Emphasis will be on developing the skills of precision and clarity of expression as well as those of analysis and argument.

SEM 102 MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Clifford Roberts 16629 Derk Pereboom

 

PHILOSOPHY 1112

Philosophical Conversations: Parfit's Reasons and Persons

Is it more rational for me to want my own life to go as well as possible, regardless of how others’ lives go—or is it more rational to want things to go, on the whole, as well as possible for everyone? Is it rational to care more about what happens to me in the future than about what has happened in the past? Do my past desires, or desires I know I will have in the future, determine what aims I should pursue now—or should only present desires matter? What assumptions about time, the self, and rationality underlie our answers to such questions? We will work from a text that makes its own argumentative structure admirably clear, and will try to understand and engage with the author’s arguments in a similarly straightforward manner, both in the classroom and on paper.

SEM 103 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Michelle Kosch 16630

 

PHILOSOPHY 1112

Philosophical Conversations: What is Real?

Is life just a dream? Is there any way we can tell? Or are we just like the people plugged into the Matrix? This class will examine these (and related) questions. Readings will be drawn from classic texts by Plato, Descartes, Kant, Berkeley, Hume, and others. Assignments will ask students to explain and to critically respond to the main arguments in the readings. By grappling with the ideas of great philosophers, students will improve their ability to write clearly and persuasively.

SEM 104 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Adam Bendorf 16631 Derk Pereboom

 

PLANT BREEDING 1111

The Art of Science Writing

Articles about science are some of the most widely read in daily newspapers. Yet as science becomes increasingly specialized, many scientists struggle to communicate the significance of their research to audiences outside of their fields of research. This course introduces students from all disciplines to the craft of writing about the complexities of science and technology for broad audiences through mass media. Reading assignments will be excerpts primarily from the popular press and books geared towards the lay reader. We will examine how authors of popular books about science engage the reader through the use of characters, scene setting, and engaging story development. Writing assignments will include book reviews, essays, newspaper-style articles, and a final feature story assignment.

SEM 101 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Sarah Nell Davidson 16636

 

PSYCHOLOGY 1120

The Psychology of Consumerism—Does Buying Make us Unhappy?

This course will examine the link between consumerism and psychological health. Among the questions we will be exploring are: Does placing importance on material goods lead to depression and anxiety? Do experiential purchases make us happier than material purchases? Why do people pay to feel sad or scared (e.g., sad/scary movies/books)? What kinds of consumer situations lead to higher satisfaction? Readings for the course will come from psychology, marketing, and economic journals, as well as popular press articles (e.g., The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Economist). Part of the aim of this course will involve re-evaluating the assumed psychological consequences of consumer behaviors that we are all familiar with. The readings lead to a base of knowledge that will allow students to come up with their own ideas for a theoretical review paper for their final assignment.

SEM 101 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Jun Fukukura 16632 Melissa Ferguson

 

PSYCHOLOGY 1140

Perception Cognition Development: The Power of Story-Telling—Cognitive Accounts

We communicate through stories, and not just in narratives and movies: we construct stories around gossip, news, or a simple phone call. Anthropologists claim that stories are—cross-culturally—fundamental to our lives. Cognitive scientists claim that the human mind is a literary mind that comprehends the environment through stories. What aspects of our cognitive system make the story so irresistible? What in the composition of a narrative is so compelling that we can’t give up before finding its resolution? Through close reading and writing, the students in this class will get acquainted with cognitive accounts for our ability to detect story patterns in practically any chain of events. Writing assignments will apply cognitive theories to excerpts from literary and film narratives discussed in class.

SEM 102 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Catalina Iricinschi 16633 James Cutting

 

ROMANCE STUDIES 1102

The Craft of Storytelling: Decameron

All of us tell stories for a variety of reasons—to entertain, to console, to teach, to persuade—to discover and explore both our inner lives and the world we inhabit. Stories are one of the prime ways in which we make sense of a world that is not always propitious. They serve as instruments by which we seek to shape our future. In this seminar, we shall consider how the craft of storytelling helps us face the task of living: the love and the happiness and the community we seek, the virtues we espouse, our talents and our vulnerabilities. Our principal reading (in English translation) will be a masterpiece of European literature, Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron (ca. 1350–52), which showcases one hundred stories told by ten young Florentines fleeing the Black Death of 1348. Students will write both analytic and personal essays.

SEM 101   MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m.   Joel Pastor                                                                          16710 Marilyn Migiel SEM 102 MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Marilyn Migiel 16711

 

ROMANCE STUDIES 1103

Perspectives on Macho Madness

Machismo is a phenomenon that still affects Latin American culture. From dictators down to the intimate, domestic environment, machismo has played a powerful role in determining human actions and defining relationships. In this course, we will examine how questions of political power, class, and familial relationships are affected by machismo. We will focus particularly on how female Latin American writers have responded to this issue. Works we will study include: Laura Restropo’s Delirim, Clarice Lispector’s The Hour of the Star, Julia Alvarez’ The Time of the Butterflies, Rosario Ferre’s The Youngest Doll, and a selection of writings by female authors from The Oxford Book of Latin American Short Stories. All of our literary discussions will provide a “spring board: for paper topics and arguments.

SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Tamra Fallman 16712

 

ROMANCE STUDIES 1104

In The Face of Brutality

Writers in Spain and Latin America have always engaged with complex political and social issues. In this course, we will focus on how novels have addressed themes such as personal responsibility, the nature of truth and the survival of the human condition amidst political instability and repression. Specifically, we will examine how humans cope in the face of brutality, whether through complicity, resistance, humor or madness. Works to be studied include: Javier Cercas’ The Soldiers of Salamis, Junot Díaz’ The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Laura Restrepo’s Delirium, and Roberto Bolaño’s By Night in Chile. We will also do a screening of Guillermo Del Toro’s film Pan’s Labyrinth. Students will write brief essays on a particular aspect of their choosing from the readings culminating in a research paper due at the semester's end.

SEM 101   TR 10:10–11:25 a.m.    Tamra Fallman  16717

SEM 102   TR 01:25–02:40 p.m.   Tamra Fallman   16718

 

SOCIETY FOR THE HUMANITIES 1110

Reporting from Hell

When you’re being bombed, hunted down, or otherwise persecuted, can you objectively report on what’s happening? Does your report have special value compared with that of a bystander? Is your on-the-spot report more reliable than testimony you give months or years later? We will address these and related questions through discussion and analytic writing about the legendary Edward R. Murrow’s radio broadcasts during the bombing of London in World War II; diaries kept by Jewish children hiding from the Nazis; and a report smuggled out of a Soviet labor camp for women political prisoners. We will also examine documentary film footage; oral testimony of Holocaust and Soviet camp survivors; and recent reports from Human Rights Watch, newspapers, and the Internet.

SEM 101 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Sidney Orlov 16634

 

SOCIETY FOR THE HUMANITIES 1130

Propaganda

How does propaganda work? Does it necessarily involve lies? Why is so much of it kitsch? What is its curious relationship to religion? We will explore these questions in the context of propaganda in Soviet Russia, the United States, and Nazi Germany, especially World War II propaganda for domestic consumption. Our wide-ranging materials will include scholarly writing on propaganda; propaganda posters; speeches by Stalin;   Life magazine advertisements; films from Frank Capra's famous series Why We Fight; propaganda advice from Hitler and his Minister for Propaganda; and Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will—sometimes called the greatest propaganda film ever made. If time permits, we will look at some current American propaganda and anti-propaganda legislation submitted to Congress. Our essays will be analytic.

SEM 101 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Sidney Orlov 16635

 

SOCIOLOGY 1130

Civilization and Its Contents: Contextual Differences across Global Regions

"Civilization" has become a fighting word, especially in the aftermath of 9/11, when Samuel P. Huntington's seminal 1993 article "The Clash of Civilizations?" was widely cited and hotly debated. The term "civilization" has been used in many disciplines to refer to the history, geography, and ideology of one or more nation-states, but has the concept meant the same thing in all times and places? Using textual, audio, and visual examples, we will compare accounts of civilization from different perspectives, both Western European (Diamond,  Guns, Germs, and Steel; Elias, The Civilizing Process) and East Asian (Fukuzawa, Outline in the Theory of Civilization; Gong, The Standard of "Civilization"). Students will be required to do a close reading of a historical legal document and prepare an in-depth written response as well as perform an analysis of how civilization is represented in an art form (film, music, etc.) of their choice.?

SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Jung Mee Park 16642 David Strang

 

SPANISH 1105

Hungry Spanish Women: The Language of Food and the Female Body

Although feminism is not a popular word in the Spanish household during the twentieth century, food is. In this course, we will examine if there is a connection between food imagery and social discourses in various texts by Spanish women. For instance, how do Spanish women writers use “food” to speak of and confront unspeakable social appetites? Is there a relationship between the physical appetite and an appetite for art or knowledge? This course will look at the works of 20th-century Spanish writers like Emilia Pardo Bazan, Rosa Chacel, and Adelaida Garcia Morales while addressing how various issues of identity, memory, and culture emerge through a language of food and the female body. Non-fiction prose and critical readings will also be assigned. Students will learn to engage with the texts and to cultivate a greater appreciation of literature through frequent writing of short response papers, class discussions, essays, and presentations.

SEM 101 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Julie Mann 16643 Tamra Fallman

 

SPANISH 1107

Music in Film and Fiction

Jazz, salsa, tango: how do novels, movies, and society interpret these and other musical forms? How can a novel include the sound of music? How do novels and films describe the musician? How do novels and films represent creativity, both musical and literary? And what role does modern society give to music and musicians? We will engage such questions in an exploration of Spanish and Latin American fiction, movies, and music. Through reading, listening, lively discussion, and regular writing assignments, students will explore the role of music in Hispanic novels, cinema, and society, examining form and language in order to engage with broader issues.

SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Aurelie Vialette 16644

 

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY STUDIES 1123

Technology & Society: Nature vs Technology in Japanese History

Is it surprising that the twin themes of apocalypse and abomination repeatedly appear in modern Japanese stories, from Godzilla to Akira to Princess Mononoke? As recent events have demonstrated, Japan is a land of frequent catastrophe. It is known for its unique culture and its technological prowess. In this course, we will investigate the history of the collision between nature, technology and society in Japan from the 19th Century to the present, perhaps learning something about the nature of modernity in the process. We will hone our reading, thinking, and writing skills through critical engagement with scholarly literature, film, anime, and in-depth verbal and written discussions.

SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Tyson Vaughan 16716 Bruce Lewenstein

 

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY STUDIES 1126

Science and Society: Social Movements and Technologies

Social movements, such as the recent Egyptian protests enabled by Facebook, are prime venues to study the creation and use of technologies with respect to particular social and cultural settings. Reading and writing about such groups will help us discover how movement members understand their activities with particular technologies as a way in which to express their political agenda. Throughout this course, we will also consider how those involved in social movements form identities through the use and creation of technologies, as well as how these actors and their audiences experience messages differently depending on the type of technology used. We will engage with all of these issues through writing assignments in order to explore the intersections between technological use, identity, and political discourse.

SEM 101 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Carmen Krol 16715 Ronald Kline

 

THEATRE, FILM & DANCE 1201

Pity, Fear, Laughter, and Tears: Feeling in the Theatre

How and why does theatre move us? What makes us laugh and cry? Why do we root for the hero and love to hate the villain? This course explores how and why performances inspire emotional reactions. We will read and watch plays in order to investigate how we are drawn in to a story, why we identify with certain characters and situations, and what makes us squirm in our seats. Our study will span different eras, cultures, and genres: We will consider how Greek tragedies use pity and fear to inspire citizenship and how melodramas use sentimentality to promote moral judgments. We will study plays by Sophocles, Bertolt Brecht, and Paula Vogel. Students will craft argumentative essays based on analysis of dramatic and critical texts.

SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Lindsay Cummings 16855

 

THEATRE, FILM & DANCE 1238

Freaks

What makes deformities and human anomalies so unsettling? How are we to understand the simultaneous revulsion and fascination we experience when confronted with exceptional bodies? What makes a body exceptional? Designed to help students develop strong critical reading and writings skills, this seminar explores the spectacle of freakery in the circus sideshow, the medical theatre, and in contemporary popular culture. Over the course of the semester, we will consider the ways in which a variety of representational modes and media stage what Elizabeth Grosz has called the “intolerable ambiguity” of the anomalous body. Focusing primarily upon dramatic literature, short fiction, and cinema, the syllabus will feature the work of Tod Browning, Henrik Ibsen, Suzan-Lori Parks, Michel Foucault, David Lynch, Diane Arbus, and Edgar Allan Poe.

SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Andrew Bielski 16645 Sabine Haenni

 

THEATRE, FILM & DANCE 1239

The Games People Play

Everybody likes to play games, right? At least until they lose. In fact, there are many kinds of games: some have winners and losers, while others have neither. This seminar will explore the games people play, using dramatic literature (also known as “plays”) to investigate playing, playfulness, gamesmanship, stakes, and consequences. We will examine the relationship between games, playing, and artistic work, while reading about love and war, sports and gambling, improvisation and status games. Readings will include famous works like Christopher Hampton’s Dangerous Liaisons and Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, as well as lesser-known plays like Patrick Marber’s Dealer’s Choice. Students will learn how to analyze plays as well as how to write persuasive essays in support of their interpretations.

SEM 101 MW 07:30–08:45 p.m. Clare Hane 16646 Sabine Haenni

 

THEATRE, FILM & DANCE 1241

Embodied Fashion: What Our Everyday Clothes Can Mean

In this course, we will observe the choices people make in clothing and adorning themselves and investigate the meanings these choices are imbued with. Inquiry into this basic human practice of dress and adornment is fascinating as it reveals many layers of significance relating to gender, age, sexuality, status, politics, race, religion, education, and aesthetics. Through detailed investigation and writing about the dress of their contemporaries, students will deepen their understanding of the significance of dress in everyday life and will learn to articulate their “reading” of others’ dress, which may have previously been completely subconscious or intuitive. Writing assignments will cover responses to readings and investigations of subjects chosen from our world around us.

SEM 101 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Sarah Bernstein 16647

 

WRITING 1370

An Introduction to Writing in the University

This writing seminar is designed for students who need more focused attention in order to master the expectations of academic writing. The course emphasizes the analytic and argumentative writing and critical reading essential for university-level work. With small classes and with weekly student/teacher conferences, each section is shaped to respond to the needs of students in that particular class.

 

Do not request this course on a ballot. If you think you will benefit from this kind of intensive work, contact Joe Martin, the Director of the Writing Workshop, at jam8@cornell.edu to find out how to register for this course. “S/U” grades only.