Fall 2015 First-Year Writing Seminars
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APPLIED ECONOMICS & MANAGEMENT 1106
Food Systems in the Developing World: Health, Poverty, Opportunity
What is it like to be a subsistence farmer in the developing world? What choices and challenges do these farmers face—how do they balance priorities and pursue opportunities in order to maximize the health and happiness of their families? This seminar explores smallholder food systems and household welfare in sub-Saharan Africa, employing an interactive farmer-simulation game, diverse readings, and writing assignments from a farmer's perspective. Throughout the semester, each student will seek to maximize the welfare of a given farming family by making planting and investment decisions, allocating family labor, and dealing with crises of weather or health. Writing assignments will include some research, and will often take the form of farmer reports to the United Nations, assessing the effectiveness of “development” policy recommendations.
SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Leah Bevis 18177 Cindy Van Es
APPLIED ECONOMICS & MANAGEMENT 1106 Economics and the Environment
Political leaders, media sources, and businesses are beginning to adapt to the reality of impending climate change rather than debating its existence. Still, we are left with the question of how to balance the need to adjust humankind’s environmental footprint against the material needs of society and the desires of the developing world to attain a better standard of living. How do we square economic needs with the imperative to protect the planet? Environmental economics has stressed the importance of weighing societal benefits against private costs. Topics will include pollution, energy, and urban environmental policies; writing assignments will stress the skill of conveying the complexity of scientific findings and policy debates in a range of academic and journalistic styles.
SEM 102 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Andrew Waxman 18403
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 11:40–12:55 p.m. Jane Mt.Pleasant 18491
AMERICAN STUDIES 1145
U.S. Foreign Policy Today: Perceptions and Practice
What role should the U.S. play in the world? Can national security include humanitarian efforts, environmental protection, and foreign aid? This course focuses on current events to provide an overview of the U.S. foreign policy toolkit, including: war, humanitarian intervention, foreign aid, and diplomacy. We will examine the effectiveness of these strategies, as well as related media coverage, popular culture, and public opinion. Readings combine academic sources with film clips, news and policy reports, presidential speeches, memoirs, and journalistic accounts such as Samantha Power’sA Problem from Hell. Writing assignments are designed to help students develop strong arguments and the skills necessary for professional writing. The assignments include policy memos, letters to the editor, and a research paper evaluating a contemporary crisis.
SEM 101 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Sarah Maxey 18455
ANTHROPOLOGY 1101 Anthropology of War
In this course we will investigate war and peace from the distinctive perspective of anthropology. We'll study how war is made possible and carried out through enemy demonization, soldier re-conditioning, war propaganda, and other actions. We compare modern industrial war with the honor codes of history, and examine selected conflicts through readings and film, such as: Rome's conquest of Europe; wars between Buddhist nations; “primitive” headhunting warfare; the US-Japan war in WWII; and the ongoing US remote-control “War on Terror.” We will evaluate theories of human aggression and of alternative “peaceful societies,” and we will consider how anthropologists have attempted to contribute to peace and reconciliation. Student essays will address many of these aspects, including both theories of war and peace and reconciliation efforts.
SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Magnus Fiskesjö 18199
ANTHROPOLOGY 1101 Care of Magical Creatures
This course will discuss the changing relationships people have with animals over time and across space, using primarily sociocultural and archaeological sources. What makes animals magical, socially? How and why are they more than things to be owned and controlled? What kinds of behaviors mark animals as “magical” in the past and present? We will cover animal categories of food and taboo, the symbolic importance of early livestock and hunted animals, and the role of animals as pets and ritual objects. Naturally, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be among our readings. As we read, we will dissect and outline texts to identify main arguments and the elements of a strong narrative argument, to be reproduced in writing assignments.
SEM 102 MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Kathryn Weber 18200 Stacey Langwick
ANTHROPOLOGY 1101 Visions of Excess
How do we recognize excess? Can one have too much love, wealth, or time? Are idleness and wastefulness part of what makes us human? Taking our cue (and our title) from Georges Bataille’s famous work, in this course we will tackle the perennial question of literature and anthropology, and explore what a human is via the concept of excess. Inquiring why certain acts and feelings are deemed beyond “normal” and “rational,” we will examine the modern capacity to know, understand, and empathize. We will juxtapose anthropological works with philosophy, fiction, and film, and cover topics such as boredom, anxiety, violence, and hygiene. Readings will range from Nietzsche and Evans-Pritchard to David Foster Wallace and Lydia Davis, and students will experiment with different voices, styles, and formats in writing assignments.
SEM 103 MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Can Dalyan 18201 Stacey Langwick
The Anthropology of Taxation
How is taxpaying related to being a good or bad citizen? How do people compare what they (and others) put in and what they get out from public treasuries? In what ways do tax regimes create and divide communities? In this course students will analyze how taxes are presented, defended, and criticized. We will examine taxes in both “political anthropology,” (how states are built and maintained), and “economic anthropology,” (how societies determine value). We will cover classic texts by Max Weber and Marcel Mauss, as well as writings from more contemporary social scientists of taxation. We will also read newspaper articles, court decisions, and fictional accounts. While engaging with this material, students will submit informal responses, personal narratives, and argumentative essays.
SEM 104 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Emily Levitt 18202 Stacey Langwick
ANTHROPOLOGY 1101 Witchcraft, Insurance, and Terror
“A brutal typhoon kills 6,300 people in the Philippines!” “A lone wolf terrorist ends the lives of 77 people in Norway!” “A driverless train carrying 72 boxcars of crude oil explodes in Canada!” All of these statements refer to events in which foreseeable and unforeseeable conditions intermingle, and unintended and intended acts mix. In a chance-filled world of unavoidable violence, this course asks: how do social institutions distribute responsibility for experiences of loss? Drawing on anthropological research, noir fiction, and the philosophy of design, this seminar aims to denaturalize the cultural production of misfortune and the quintessential spaces of its management, from insurance offices to climate conferences. Writing assignments will encourage students to “think dangerously” and to juxtapose academic texts alongside non-academic artifacts.
SEM 105 MW 07:30–08:45 p.m. Alexander Gordon 18203 Stacey Langwick
ART HISTORY 1140
Picturing the Pagan Pantheon in Italian Renaissance Art
In the visual landscape of the Italian Renaissance, gods, goddesses, and heroes from classical mythology are a ubiquitous presence. They dance across canvases, adorn the interior spaces of palazzos, and frolic through books, prints, and drawings. Whether used as political symbols or as models of good (and terrible) behavior, the pagan pantheon enjoyed a special place in the imagination of artists and their patrons. We will analyze and contextualize works of art created during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries by artists such as Botticelli, Mantegna, and Raphael, for patrons including Isabella d’Este and the Medici. You will utilize visual analysis, primary sources, and secondary studies in order to construct written arguments that take into consideration social, political, and historical contexts of the works in question.
SEM 101 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Victoria Ehrlich 18204 Claudia Lazzaro
ART HISTORY 1141
Who Owns Culture? Propaganda, Theft, Museums, and Heritage Wars
Why do people care about art and history? And how do people use public displays of art for political purposes? These questions will frame our investigations into “heritage policy,” in which the arts’ power to represent identities has become the center of intense international debates and controversies. These issues affected propaganda in Nazi Germany and Sadaam Hussein’s Iraq, encouraged tourism in “developing” countries that commodified historic sites, led Italy to accuse major American museums of supporting the theft of valuable antiquities, and sparked violent conflicts between Cambodia and Thailand. By critiquing scholarship, films, and online media, students will engage with a range of rhetorical methods for creating convincing arguments, analyzing both textual and visual sources, and better understanding their relationship to their own “cultural heritage.”
SEM 101 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Elisabeth Emmons Hahn 18207 Claudia Lazzaro
ASIAN STUDIES 1101
Representations of Womanhood in Traditional China
This course offers students guided study to a selection of Chinese cultural materials, including historical records, literary works, expository essays, and film, which provide insights into Chinese conceptions of womanhood in traditional China. Students in this course will develop their critical reading and academic writing skills through discussion and essay assignments in which they analyze the conceptions of womanhood reflected in these contexts and explore their implications for gender identity and relations in Chinese and world cultures. Assigned readings are in English. No prior knowledge of Chinese and/or Chinese culture is required or expected.
SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Ding Xiang Warner 18397
ASIAN STUDIES 1105
Chinese Autobiographical Tradition
How is the self perceived in relation to the world in Chinese literary tradition? This course examines a wide variety of autobiographical writings in China by inquiring into the tension between past and present, history and memory, public and private, and individual and family. We will focus on the ways in which the reconstruction of self has been deeply related to its cultural, social, and political conditions. The readings are the most popular and influential Chinese texts in English translation, covering the period from the second century to the contemporary period. Writing assignments include self-narratives and a series of reflective and analytical pieces, with an emphasis on revision practices.
SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Suyoung Son 18210
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 10:10–11:00 a.m. Lawrence McCrea 18215
ASIAN STUDIES 1109
The Politics of Horror: East Asian Tales of the Supernatural
Are you afraid of the supernatural? Why do those who read such tales enjoy being petrified in the first place? How can analyzing the supernatural aid us in understanding ourselves? In this course we seek to answer these questions. By focusing on the portrayal of the supernatural in East Asia within a historical framework, as well as reflecting upon its position in our lives, we will attempt to uncover the basic themes of our obsession with the unexplainable. Writing assignments will move from short summaries and responses to longer analyses and arguments. We will petrify ourselves with bone-chilling depictions of the ghostly and hopefully live to write about it!
SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. I-Zhuen Lee 18216 Brett de Bary
ASIAN STUDIES 1123
Yogis, Sufis, and Poet-Saints: South Asian Stories of Marvelous People
South Asian stories about holy persons depict remarkable characters of many sorts: paragons of traditional virtues and rebels against traditional ways; magicians proud of their supernatural abilities and humble devotees whose prayers bring miraculous results; unusual people who seem remarkably wise and some who just seem to act oddly. All these characters appear in stories that can usually be read as simple moral lessons—but some of those stories can also be understood more complexly as puzzles or mysteries. In writing about tales of yogis, Sufis, and poet-saints, students will learn to craft arguments about religious texts, demonstrate how what seems simple may also be puzzling, and perhaps also how to evoke a mystery.
SEM 101 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Dan Gold 18396
AFRICANA STUDIES AND RESEARCH CENTER 1813 Pan-African Freedom Fighters in Their Own Words
This seminar will examine autobiographical writings and advocacy statements and speeches by selected freedom fighters from Black America, Africa, and the Caribbean. Through written and oral communication, students will explore the ideas, values, activities, and impact of individuals such as W. E. B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey, Amy Jacques Garvey, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, African American women in the Civil Rights Movement (including Ella Baker, Septima Clark, Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, Angela Davis), Nelson Mandela, African women in the South African Anti-Apartheid Struggle (including Winnie Mandela, Ruth Mompati, Mavivi Manzini, Albertina Sisulu), and Bob Marley. Video and film presentations will augment reading, discussion, and writing assignments.
SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Locksley Edmondson 18221
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 this writer and simultaneously address issues of self-invention, creativity, the imagination, and the writing of and about 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 living and travelling 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, autobiography). We will explore various approaches to writing and responding to literature. Students will 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 18222
ASTRONOMY 1110 Exploring Our Cosmos
This course will embark on a dramatic journey through the Cosmos, from the formation of the first atoms and the birth of galaxies to the death of stars in the form of black holes. Using the recent Emmy award winning TV series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey as a starting point, it will explore 1) the best scientific approaches we have to understanding the universe, 2) the cultural context in which science operates, and 3) the underlying philosophical assumptions we employ to do science. In this course you will engage in the learning process of professional astronomers by using many forms of scientific writing, from informal logs to carefully revised papers. This process will force us to think critically about how we know what we know.
SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Luke Leisman 18223
ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY 1640 Dingos to Dodos: Ecology and Evolution on Islands
How did a pigeon evolve into a Dodo? What makes islands such wonderful natural laboratories for field biology? What lessons do islands provide for the conservation of continental biodiversity? This course will introduce students to landmark research from islands around the world and its significant contribution towards our knowledge of ecology, evolution, and conservation. Students will read diverse scientific and popular literature. They will gain skills in effective scientific communication through reading and critiquing scientific articles particularly the hypotheses, results, and their interpretation as non-technical reviews. As the semester progresses, students will work on independent research grant proposal projects on island biology. The proposals due at the end of the semester will then undergo a process of peer review by student committees.
SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Sahas Barve 18196 Irby Lovette
NEUROBIOLOGY & BEHAVIOR 1220
From Nature to Knowledge: Natural History’s Role in Science
How did a med-school drop-out’s opportunistic observation of birds forever change our understanding of life? How did two men accidentally discover the first known poisonous bird? In its rawest form, science begins with careful observation and description of phenomena. At a time when budget cuts lead to heated political debates that threaten exploration-driven science, this course will provide students with the opportunity to better understand natural history’s role in the progress of biological science. We will read (1) various forms of primary and secondary scientific literature, and (2) popular accounts of scientific discovery, including podcasts, social media, and books by authors such as Charles Darwin and Niko Tinbergen. Writing will emphasize cogency and will engage various audiences, including scientists, the public, and policy-makers.
SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Josh LaPergola 18197 Walt Koenig
NEUROBIOLOGY & BEHAVIOR 1220
Flocks, Swarms and Crowds: How Order Emerges Out of Chaos
What can the unified motion of a flock of birds teach us about the behavior of human crowds? Can the decentralized decision-making of a honeybee swarm offer insights into what makes an effective democracy? Biological systems exemplify self-organization, where order emerges out of chaos without the help of any leader or conscious over-sight; and scientists are only beginning to explain how these feats of organization are achieved. In this course, we will explore this emerging field and relate biological examples of self-organization to human societies. We will use primary scientific literature and popular science formats, including blogs, podcasts, and books such as Sync and Honeybee Democracy. Writing will engage various audiences while synthesizing course material, emphasizing logical flow and clarity in the writing process.
SEM 102 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Julie Miller 18198 Kern Reeve
CLASSICS 1531 Greek Myth
This course will focus on the stories about the gods and heroes of the Greeks as they appear in ancient literature and art. We will examine the relationship between myths and the cultural, religious, and political conditions of the society in which they took shape. Beginning with theories of myth and proceeding to the analysis of individual stories and cycles, the material will serve as a vehicle for improving your written communication skills. Assignments include preparatory writing and six essays focusing on readings and discussions in class.
SEM 101 MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Jennifer Carrington 18205 Eric Rebillard SEM 102 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Jacob Nabel 18206 Eric Rebillard
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1109 On the Waterfront
In this class we will examine representations of leaving, entering, and working at ports, harbors, and docks, those especially dense waterfront sites of cultural, financial, and epidemiological encounter and exchange. Artists have often taken the waterfront as their subject, and literary critics have recognized it as a privileged place in the history of storytelling. As we travel through our course considering work from Havana to Venice to Marseilles to San Francisco and beyond, we will pay particular attention to how artists represent the waterfront as a space to engage different forms of “otherworldliness” (cosmopolitanism, post-colonialism, supernaturalism). We will also reflect on the place where our own reading occurs, using Ithaca to think through the unique problems and advantages posed by life on the waterfront.
SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Thomas McEnaney 18209 TBA
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1109 Writing the ‘I’ in Modern Poetry
In Plato’s Republic, Socrates famously imagines the ideal city as one without literature. Socrates feared the power of literature to corrupt the citizenry because, when we read, we put ourselves into the minds of others—potentially opening ourselves to pernicious influence. When you read a poem written in the first-person perspective out loud, you pretend that you (or “I”) are someone else, potentially someone morally corrupt. In this class we will seek to reclaim poetry for society, examining the way Modernist poets have played with the idea of the “I” and the expression of a poet’s identity. The class will question writing’s ability to represent an individual’s persona while challenging students to adopt and develop their own authorial personae to build more effective arguments.
SEM 102 MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Hannah Karmin 18211 Jonathan Monroe
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1109 Reading Poetry
Poems are puzzles, and in this class we’ll figure them out by writing about them. We’ll read short poems by Housman, Frost, Pushkin, Lermontov, and Tsvetaeva, among others (all reading is in English). We’ll learn how to answer the key question “What is this poem about?...,” and how to explain our conclusions to other readers. The language of poetry may be distinguished from everyday language, but the skills needed for understanding and writing about poetry are broadly useful, for academic and for more practical purposes.
SEM 103 MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Nancy Pollak 18212
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1109 Poetry's Image
Where do we get our images of poetry, and of poets? Along with the images we find in poems themselves, how do poetry and poets figure in fiction and film, in philosophy and popular culture? How do such figures inform the images in poems, poetry's image? In what senses is poetry a "liberal art"? What is its relation to "self," to language, history, and politics, to other disciplines and discourses? This course will explore such issues in a wide range of short texts in both verse and prose, in fiction, film, and other media. The course’s focus on “poetry image” will encourage students to make the connection between such self-reflexive practices in the texts they’re reading and viewing and the texts they themselves produce in their own writing. Authors that we will study include Plato, Wordsworth, Poe, Dickinson, Baudelaire, Whitman, Rimbaud, Stein, Breton, Stevens, Neruda, Borges, Wittgenstein, Celan, Rich, Brathwaite, Waldrop, Collins, Swenson, and Bolaño.
SEM 104 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Jonathan Monroe 18213
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1109 Africa in the European Imaginary
How has Africa been approached, imagined, and described by European travelers, writers, and film directors? This course will explore the idea of a "primitive" Africa that was invented in the West, was widely circulated beyond the borders of its production, and is somehow still present and influential in our contemporary world. Reading such texts and films as H. M. Stanley's Through the Dark Continent, Karen Blixen's Out of Africa, Conrad's Heart of Darkness, and Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now, students will work with the instructor to develop the most effective writing strategies to convey opinions, evaluate literary and cinematic works, and express constructive criticism. Thus, writing assignments will aim at improving students' ability to write in a cohesive, clear, and persuasive way.
SEM 105 MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Silvia Caserta 18214 Jonathan Monroe
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1126
Paying Attention: From Cinema to Video Gaming
Are we not paying more and more attention to screens, and at the same time, paying more and more (such as time, money, anxiety, or attentiveness to each other) for our attention paid to screens? This course asks: are we enslaved to this screen economy represented by the business empire of cinema and video gaming, or are we equipped with new ways of attending and relating to the world through screens when watching a poetic cinema or playing an embodied video game? We will read, watch, or play texts including Plato, Marx, Foucault, Black Mirror, and League of Legends. Students are expected to make arguments combining textual analysis and conceptual reasoning.
SEM 101 MWF 02:30–03:20 p.m. Junning Fu 18217 Nancy Pollak
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1126
Transformative Terrains: Coming of Age on the American Landscape
The story of growing up—or, “coming of age”—is fundamental to the human experience of the world; but to what extent is the story of “coming of age” also a story of coming to terms with the shape—or, landscape—of the world around us? In what ways do different landscapes interact with, and shape, stories of growing up—particularly in the American tradition? Considering such questions, we will examine the ways in which writers, poets, graphic novelists, lyricists, painters, and filmmakers navigate the intersections between different American landscapes and “growing up”. In so doing, we will learn to structure sharp, coherent essay-responses, using different styles of writing: expository, evaluative, comparative, and argumentative. We will potentially consider works by Craig Thompson, John Steinbeck, and Bruce Springsteen, amongst others.
SEM 102 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Kholoud Hussein 18218 Jonathan Monroe
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1126 Cinematic Worlds
How does the world I inhabit collide with the world of a film? If the experience of the cinema presents a form of thinking and of world-formation, what could world cinema teach us about our place in the world in relation to others? As Siegfried Kracauer asks: "What is the good of film experience?" In this class we will read literary and philosophical texts alongside a selection of classic and contemporary “foreign films,” including the works of Jean-Luc Godard, Werner Herzog, Lynne Ramsay, Béla Tarr, Wong Kar-Wai, and Edward Yang. Students will be encouraged to develop their writing styles through honing their visual and critical reading abilities.
SEM 103 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Elizabeth Wijaya 18219 Nancy Pollak
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1126 Poetic Cinema
Film, a complicated and multi-layered art form, does not merely tell fascinating stories. Sometimes, we are also enticed by some “poetic fragments” in films. How could this happen? Are poems adaptable for screen? What is the poetic texture of cinema? In this seminar we will explore the possible intersections between poetry and film. Students will learn to describe and analyze images and sounds in written words with increasing knowledge of poetics of cinema. Students are also encouraged to interpret and evaluate experimental works across art forms. We will read relevant literature by both literary and film scholars. The filmography may include works by Man Ray, Rene Clair, Maya Deren, Jean-Luc Godard, Yasujir? Ozu, and Andrei Tarkovsky.
SEM 104 MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Junting Huang 18220 Jonathan Monroe
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1133 The World as Text
When we meet people for the first time, it is common to be asked about our names and where we are from. This course will explore what it entails to identify ourselves and others with place. What does it mean to belong to a place? What is the relationship between place and our bodies, values, thoughts, and worldviews? Does place construct who we are, or is it the other way around? How are place and identity represented in literature, film, and other genres? We will attempt to examine these questions in a variety of theoretical and literary texts, films, and other media. Authors and films may include Cresswell, Silverman, Baudrillard, Borges, and The Matrix. Writing assignments will encourage students to write with style and make complex arguments.
SEM 101 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Ahmad Alswaid 18224 Jonathan Monroe
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE 1133 Latin American Paranoiacs
What if terror could engender worlds, or reality was a waking nightmare? Questions like these animate the genre Argentine author Ricardo Piglia calls “paranoid fiction.” Whether through one man’s obsessive attention to detail, a dictator’s megalomania, the traumas of state terrorism, or a quest that unveils a reality-generating machine, the Latin American authors we will read explore paranoia through texts that fracture our knowledge of the real into so many conspiracy theories. Students will develop academic writing and close reading skills through critical engagement with a variety of texts. These include short fiction masterworks (Borges, Cortázar), metaphysical crime novels (Piglia, Taibo II), and takes on the dictator novel and testimonio (testimonial literature). Readings from literature will be complimented by filmic, critical, and philosophical texts.
SEM 102 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. D. Bret Leraul 18225 Nancy Pollak
DEVELOPMENT SOCIOLOGY 1200 Twenty-First-Century Tribal Sovereignty and Tradition
What is the meaning of tribal sovereignty for twenty-first-century American Indian peoples who increasingly live outside of their reservations and speak English as a dominant language? What does “traditional” culture express in a world of digital communication? This course will introduce students to the issues and debates that confront indigenous peoples in Native North America. Through a series of texts and films by authors such as Vine Deloria, Louise Erdrich, and Sherman Alexie, we will explore questions about sovereignty, tradition, development, and social well-being in Native communities today. We will focus on writing argumentative essays that can flesh out the perspectives of Native scholars and authors by analyzing their conceptual frameworks.
SEM 101 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Andrew Curley 18398 Wendy Wolford
DEVELOPMENT SOCIOLOGY 1200 Twenty-First-Century Utopias and Dystopias
Can you imagine the world in the year 2100? What are the contemporary social issues and struggles that will define our collective future? Utopian and dystopian narratives signal contemporary hopes and fears, they inspire collective action or apathy, and they, at times, have very real effects in people’s lives and life chances. This course will investigate the dys/utopian imagination as a distinctly sociological and political phenomenon. It will focus on three prominent themes of utopian and dystopian writing: technology, nature, and governance. Course texts will include fictional writings such as George Orwell’s 1984, social science articles, film reviews, and popular non-fiction such as Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything. Students will learn to write for both scholarly and popular audiences through a range of writing assignments.
SEM 102 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Ian Bailey 18399 Philip McMichael
I’m So Over High School: Why Would I Want to Look Back?
Musician Frank Zappa once advised, “Drop out of school before your mind rots from exposure to our mediocre educational system. Forget about the Senior Prom and go to the library and educate yourself ...” Would he repeat this advice today if he could visit most U.S. high schools? We will explore common features of high schools, such as the distinction between core and elective classes, and we will juxtapose these features with what is known about adolescence and the world outside school. Our tools for exploring will be reading, discussing, and interviewing; writing will help us get more from each tool. Why look back? Because then we can look forward more mindfully to our own education and to the school experiences of future generations.
SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Bryan Duff 18229
Rethinking Race and Gender
In this course we will try to explore what Toni Morrison has called “turning away from the white gaze” as a critical writing and reading practice. What does it mean to think about race outside of the white gaze? What does it mean to think about gender outside of the strict categories of “woman” and “man”? What tools do we have to write about the meeting point of race and gender? Through the work of Toni Morrison, Judith Butler, Lee Edelman, Dionne Brande, and Saidya Hartman, we will investigate the philosophical and literary traditions that give us a language to speak about histories that have been otherwise erased. And we will put these discoveries into practice as we, in turn, write about novels, theoretical texts, and poetry.
SEM 101 MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Nasrin Olla 18243 Mary McCullough
ENGLISH 1105 Who Cares?
Empathy, we’re told, will make us better friends, better at our jobs, and even better readers. But what does empathy really entail? And what gives it such cultural and emotional clout? We’ll begin this course with Walt Whitman, Leslie Jamison, and other writers who ask us to empathize, and we’ll end by studying empathy’s less appealing twin, apathy. Who gets to experience empathy, and who apathy? Is empathy gendered? Is apathy a coming of age experience, even an act of social resistance? Or as James Baldwin suggests, is there something “wicked” about deciding not to care? As a writing community, we’ll draft, workshop, and revise frequent creative and critical essays, exploring who cares, who doesn’t care—and the personal and political implications of emotional engagement.
SEM 102 MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Liza Flum 18244 Mary McCullough
ENGLISH 1105 Erotics of Confession
The purpose of confession, as we all understand well, is to overcome guilt and shame in the name of truth. But some critics have suggested that the more you confess, the more guilt you produce. In this course we will look at a range of confessional works, from Rousseau to confessional poetry, that reveals the confession of a shameful act to be a potential site of seduction and pleasure. We will analyze these confessional utterances to understand how they encode desires: the desire to be exposed, or to submit to authority, or to rebel in order to be forgiven again. Students will be asked to write six argumentative essays, as well as their own confessions (real or fictional) as a creative exercise.
SEM 103 MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Ben Tam 18245 Mary McCullough
Madwomen, Bad Girls, and Spinsters
In this course we will look at how popular culture has been an uncertain terrain for women. On the one hand, women’s popular culture provides a space in which female voices can be heard and through which women can seek forms of community. On the other hand, popular cultural materials have created unrealizable goals and
exaggerated standards of morality and beauty; and various forms of media are critiqued for presenting young women with hyper-sexualized and potentially hazardous forms of representation. We will study literature and other forms of popular media to consider questions of racial and economic belonging and exclusion, representation and performance, and sexuality and gender. A series of written engagements with texts—literary, visual, and historical—will help to advance students’ analytical, compositional, and critical thinking skills.
SEM 104 MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Verdie Culbreath 18246 Mary McCullough
ENGLISH 1105 Girls on the Move
What happens to stories of migration, exile, and flight when they are narrated by girls? This seminar examines the provocative connections in contemporary world fiction between narratives of political unrest and the voices and representations of girls on the move. Girl characters highlight and sometimes transform the questions of agency, vulnerability, and representation that are characteristic of migration narratives. In this seminar we will consider how one girl can affect our imagination of the global landscape. Texts include Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians, Yanique’s Land of Love and Drowning, and Edwidge Danticat’s Krik?Krak! Writing assignments range from complex analyses of how girls are written and read to creative explorations of style and language. We aim for sensitive, generous readings, and bold and careful writing.
SEM 105 MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Nicolette Lee 18247 Mary McCullough
Women and Fiction, Revisited
In 1929, Virginia Woolf published A Room of One's Own, in which she urged women writers to create their own literary tradition. Eighty years later, VIDA (Women in the Literary Arts) was created to challenge still-entrenched perceptions of literary value by tallying gender disparities in major publications and book reviews. This course takes up issues at the intersection of gender and literary production to reconsider the ideas of community and literary value in women's writing. Texts will include Woolf's essay alongside selections from contemporary writers such as Leslie Jamison, Sheila Heti, Roxane Gay, Meg Wolitzer, bell hooks, Jeffrey Eugenides, and Lena Dunham. Through class discussion, close reading, critical and creative essays, and an individualized research project, students will explore tough questions such as: does it matter who writes the story?
SEM 106 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Emily Fridlund 18248
Dictators and Dictatorships
This course explores the characteristics and features of non-democratic regimes and tyrannies: how and why they come about, what sustains them, why some resist them and others do not, and how/why they fall. Analyzing films, novels, and articles left in the wake of dictatorships such as those of Trujilo, Stalin, and Kim Jung Il, we will investigate the effects of absolute authority, how ordinary people react to repression, and the shaky transition from despotism to freedom. We will consider a diverse range of writers including Xenophon and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and also filmmakers like Charlie Chaplin. Assignments will include critical essays, a film review, and a final independent project.
SEM 101 MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Valer Popa 18254 Joanie Mackowski
A Place Beyond Time
Is time as uniform as we imagine it to be when we ask, “Do you have the time?” Perhaps we should ask, as we will in this course, whose time do you have? Are you on city or country time? Island or continental time? Do you live your life “on the clock,” or by your connection to the land around you? This course will look at how authors from eclectic sources write about time and the places in which we live. We may consult works by Stanley Kubrick, Toni Morrison, Vine Deloria Jr., Haruki Murakami, Leslie Marmon-Silko, Jorge Louis Borges, dg nanouk okpik, Homer, and Derek Walcott. Along the way you will learn to write six formal and creative essays––in a timely fashion––that critically examine place, time, and culture in literature.
SEM 102 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Richard LaRose 18255 Joanie Mackowski
ENGLISH 1111 Native Ghosts
Native ghosts occur with astonishing frequency in American literary works by Euroamericans and Native people alike. In this course we will ask why Native characters appear so often in literature as specters, and explore the implications of rendering people as ghosts in narratives of US nation-building. Students will practice the skills of close reading and analytical writing in order to better understand the changing character of the Native ghost, from classics of the American literary canon to contemporary works by Native authors. In addition to six required essays, students will produce daily writing as a way of experimenting with various types of written prose. This writing, in turn, will inform our classroom discussions about the figure of the spectral Native in American literature.
SEM 103 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Lauren Harmon 18256 Joanie Mackowski
ENGLISH 1111 Revenge!
Revenge: everyone wants it, but what are the costs and consequences of getting it? This class will examine the methods and motives of vengeance in order to understand its historical and cultural significance in literature and film. In the process, we will attempt to answer the question of why these narratives not only endure but also enjoy such a prominent place in the canon. We will look for revenge everywhere: from Shakespeare, to Bollywood films, to American Westerns. Working independently and in class, students will gain experience in interpretative reading and analysis, as well as innovative writing and editing.
SEM 104 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Mary-Margaret Stevens 18257 Joanie Mackowski
ENGLISH 1111 Planning My Escape
We’ve all wanted to get away from something. Perhaps we’ve constructed a plan. Perhaps we’ve followed it through. But meticulous planning doesn’t guarantee success. In the case of the escape plan, we can’t always break away clean or at all. In this course we will encounter multi-genre texts by Zadie Smith, Zora Neale-Hurston, and more that ask: What does it take to escape? And can the journey to a failed escape teach you how to stay and live? Through analytical and creative essays, we’ll discover methods for getting from pre-writing to the final draft. We will craft plans for actualizing our college-level writing goals, emphasizing what the process can teach us about how to get a composition to its clear, cogent destination.
SEM 105 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Renia White 18258 Joanie Mackowski
Rules of the Game: Writing Under Constraint
An entire novel written without ever using the letter “E”; a poem “sculpted” out of Google search results; a play whose characters speak purely in clichés taken from an obsolete etiquette handbook. While we might tend to equate writing with “personal expression,” this class will ask how the “personal” itself changes in a world of Xerox, Facebook, and data mining. We’ll read a tradition of twentieth- and twenty-first-century writing that deals with the mechanical, the mathematical, the programmatic in order to see how games of style might find new substance, where “authenticity” is filtered through self-imposed or socially-conditioned restrictions. Like a host of classroom Houdinis, we will place ourselves in shackles and see what magic we can create by escaping our bonds.
SEM 106 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Greg Londe 18259
ENGLISH 1111 Beyond the Selfie
When we write directly about ourselves, we begin with the “I.” So much depends on this “I”: We write in the first person to appeal to others, to narrate our own experiences, and to convey our most personal fears and desires. What constitutes a compelling, honest first-person voice? In this course we will explore this question by examining a variety of media—essays, memoirs, podcasts, journals—expressed exclusively in the first person. From the self-abnegating diaries of Franz Kafka, the standup comedy of Richard Pryor, the childhood reimaginings of William Maxwell, we will study how other writers embody the “I” to communicate and investigate their miseries, their psyches, their memories. Writing assignments will include both critical and personal essays.
SEM 107 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Ling Ma 18260 Joanie Mackowski
ENGLISH 1134 True Stories
When students write personal essays for college applications, they often discover just how challenging
writing about and presenting themselves to the public can be. In this course we’ll examine how well-known authors such as Maxine Hong Kingston, Alison Bechdel, Tim O’Brien, and others construct their public, written selves. We’ll consider how an author’s self-presentation affects how readers interpret the experiences, insights, and knowledge presented in each text; we’ll also consider how the style of writing affects how readers understand an author’s personality and motives. Readings will include short essays, possibly some poems, and a few longer works. 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 for other reasons—and we’ll investigate how writing shapes lived experience.
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 Did Indians Write?
“Did Indians write?—like, before Columbus?” This class introduces students to the practices used by Native Americans to communicate prior to the adoption of what, in 1744, an Indian leader called “pen and ink work.” We will learn to read wooden baskets, carved-shell belts, and painted hides for how they expressed the histories and cultures of Indian societies. We will discuss accounts of how these objects operated during colonial encounters, comparing the written record to the materials themselves. And we will explore how Native authors integrated these materials into their writing. Throughout, we will complicate our definitions of writing and consider how Indians’ supposed illiteracy was used to justify colonization. Readings and discussions will inform response papers and formal essays.
SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Daniel Radus 18249 Brady
ENGLISH 1158 Apocalypse and Hell
This class will explore recent fictional portrayals of American history that have used the language and imagery of Biblically-proportioned death, destruction, and judgment. We will ask why a language of hell-on-earth and the apocalypse would have seeped into American fiction during an era of American prosperity. Although the end of World War II had catapulted the United States into a position of global dominance, the terror of the Cold War and political ferment in the late sixties caused many Americans to question the role of the American empire internationally and the prosperity that, from its very domestic origins, was built upon violence and subjugation. Each of the readings will provide students with a starting point to critique/confront serious problems in the world and at home, the consequences of which are quite relevant today.
SEM 102 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. David Cosca 18250 Mary Pat Brady
Writing, Memory, and Survival in the Novels of Toni Morrison
How does literature help us retrieve the stories that are not fully remembered in our personal and collective pasts? In what ways does the novel bear witness to, and participate in, the stories of survival that mark our histories? In this course we will examine these questions in the context of American history and African-American experience as they are intertwined in the novels of Toni Morrison. We will consider individual and collective identity, friendship and love, war and community, and the haunting of intergenerational history. We will also examine the narrative forms Morrison created to tell these stories. Texts includeSula, Beloved, and A Mercy, as well as some of Morrison’s critical writing.
SEM 103 MW 07:30–08:45 p.m. Cathy Caruth 18251
ENGLISH 1158 Central Americans
With Latinos being the fastest growing population group in the US, the concerns and interests of this community are increasingly prominent in American politics and culture. But does it make sense to speak of a unified Latino/a community? In this course we will begin to explore the multidimensional character of this “community” by focusing on Americans who came to the US from Central America, in particular those who were shaped by the late-twentieth-century civil wars in the region. Reading novels by Guatemalan-American and Honduran-American authors, we will address issues of identity and belonging, memory and history, trauma and haunting. Though each novel draws upon different experiences and forms of representation, they all nonetheless reconfigure cultural memory to reveal alternative realities. Through a series of close reading assignments, students will be challenged to create and advance their own writing skills.
SEM 104 MW 07:30–08:45 p.m. Nancy Quintanilla 18252 Mary Pat Brady
African American Comedy
Chris Rock has described comedy as “the blues for people who can’t sing,” implying a personal and social importance to humor. This course will investigate the public and political significance of African American humor and satire from the 19th century to the present, with a focus on the 21st century. Why is humor useful for social commentary? What happens when, as Dave Chappelle puts it, “keeping it real goes wrong”? This course will utilize written texts as well as music, film, television, and visual art. Writing assignments will include textual analysis, reader response, and some creative writing opportunities. Authors and performers may include Charles W. Chesnutt, Ishmael Reed, Baratunde Thurston, Percival Everett, Lynn Nottage, Whoopi Goldberg, Aaron McGruder, Spike Lee, Chris Rock, and Dave Chappelle.
SEM 105 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Danielle Morgan 18253 Mary Pat Brady
ENGLISH 1167 Great New Books
Would you be able to identify the Shakespeare or Austen of your time? What are the best books being written today and how do we know they are great? What role do critics, prizes, book clubs, and movie adaptations play in establishing the appeal and prestige of new literature? Are there some books that are great in their moment and others that will be considered great for generations to come? 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 Literary Dis/abilities
How do literary representations of disability compare with attitudes we encounter in contemporary American culture? To explore this question, we will look at how characters and narrators ascribe specific powers or failings—social, political, physical, communicative—to people with disabilities, and we will ask whether these descriptions uphold or challenge cultural expectations about embodiment and bodies. Alongside fiction and poetry by writers like Elizabeth McCracken, Jillian Weise, Mark Haddon, Larry Eigner, and Meg Day, we will read critical work to contextualize our analysis and to explore intersections between disability studies and studies of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. Writing assignments will build on in-class discussion and will include informal responses, as well as multi-draft argumentative essays.
SEM 101 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Emily Rials 18301 Jane Juffer
ENGLISH 1168 What is Violence?
Do we know violence when we see it? What are the conditions that allow people to remain blind to the violence around them and to the perpetrators of that violence? How does our understanding of “force” differ from our understanding of “violence”? We’ll begin this course with Weber’s definition of the State as that which “claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force.” And we will proceed by attempting to unpack the distinctions that are obscured when muggings, lynchings, armed struggles, and genocides are indiscriminately dubbed “violent.” In this pursuit, we will learn to develop definitions and clarify opinions by crafting essays and creative pieces about literature, film, and cultural artifacts such as Balestrini’s The Unseen, Kassovitz’s La Haine, and various video games.
SEM 102 MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. James Ingoldsby 18302 Jane Juffer
ENGLISH 1168 Iron Man
Metal exoskeletons, soulless machines, robot suits, Alien tech, future cyborgs, and impenetrable flesh. Does any of this suggest the middle ages? This course will examine the enduring image of a man covered in metal, whether six centuries ago or one hundred years from now. Alongside contemporary movies and comics, we will read medieval texts such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Sir Degare, and Sir Gowther. By placing the Terminator, Robocop, and Ironman next to Gawain and King Arthur, we will theorize about artificial masculinity, reading the iron man as its ultimate symbol. Students will learn to read closely for a text’s implicit construction of gender, and will develop theses about the ways each text produces or subverts our ideas of the masculine.
SEM 103 MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Matthew McConnell 18303 Jane Juffer
The Making of Monsters
What shapes do our greatest fears take and why? Better yet, how do we conquer them? Don your head-lamp for this seminar and keep your silver talisman close: we’re going to face some of literature and pop-culture’s worst monsters. This course explores the relationship between the human imagination and the physical forms we assign our terrors with writing and discussion as our primary tools. In addition to completing craft and revision-related assignments, students write six linked papers to create an encyclopedia (or “bestiary”) of the monsters we examine. Our survey of material takes us from Beowulf to futuristic A.I. and through a variety of mediums, including the novel (Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation), film (Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke), and graphic narrative (Alan Moore’s Watchmen).
SEM 104 MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Cody Klippenstein 18304 Jane Juffer
ENGLISH 1168 Science as Literature
This course will explore texts (1800 to the present) that are about science or scientists, or that take a literary approach to doing scientific work. These will range from first-hand accounts of Victorian expeditions to recent histories of medicine and works of science fiction. Discussion will cover the scientist as hero-figure, the literary treatment of experimental subjects, the conflict between education and entertainment, and the evaluation of writing as science and as literature. Writing assignments will involve exploring these topics through argumentation, interdisciplinary research, non-textual media, and creative approaches. Readings for this course will likely include selections from Darwin and Mary Shelley (Frankenstein), as well as more recent authors such as Susan Sontag, Atul Gawande, and Connie Willis.
SEM 105 MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Claire Whitenack 18305 Jane Juffer
Science Fiction and the Law
The phrase “the law” might prompt a vision of black-robed judges or solemn edicts etched in granite, drawing on a notion of the law as archaic and inherently just. But what if, rather than irrefutable and timeless, laws can be thought of as technology? What new futures might such thinking engender? To help us answer these questions, we’ll employ science fiction and fantasy texts and films that consider issues of civil rights, human rights, property, labor, and criminal law. Writing will be interactive and exploratory, including a collaborative digital research project on a current legal issue related to science or technology, and writing your own legal-science flash fiction. Texts and authors may include: Frankenstein, Kazuo Ishiguro, Franz Kafka, Ursula K. LeGuin, and Blade Runner.
SEM 106 MWF 02:30–03:20 p.m. Michaela Brangan 18306 Jane Juffer
ENGLISH 1168 Reimagining Reality TV
Why do we love to hate reality TV? Is it worthwhile, or just silly trash? This class will explore reality TV and its predecessors to answer these and other questions. We will look at documentary film, literature, and artifacts to find a genealogy of reality TV. Students will learn how to think critically about their relationships with and understanding of popular culture (and its supposedly more sophisticated counterparts) through writing assignments that challenge assumptions about trash TV. We will strive to question an uncomplicated understanding of reality and how it’s produced. Materials may include Nanook of the North, Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Eggers’s A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, The Bachelor, River Monsters, Wycherley’s The Country Wife, The Real World, and The Real Housewives.
SEM 107 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Katherine Waller 18307 Jane Juffer
Podcasts; Audio Narratives, Sound Poetics.
We’ll break down the techniques of popular podcast and radio storytelling like NPR’s radiolab or Serial, writing about their function as a national discourse before producing our own interview-collaged segments. We’ll engage with archival recordings of American poems, stories, and essays. And we’ll consider how literary audio has been repurposed in art installations or commercial media. With the traditional means of literary analysis, we’ll discuss the content, context, and artistry of these writings, comparing our experience as readers to our experience as listeners. We’ll write, revise, and record our own creative works. For each of the three major units in this course, students will first write analytical essays on course materials, then design, plan, and create original audio projects, based on what we’ve studied.
SEM 108 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Emily Oliver 18308 Jane Juffer
ENGLISH 1168 Everyone’s a Critic
“In many ways,” says Anton Ego in Ratatouille, “the work of a critic is easy.” Is that true? This course examines critical writing intended for general readers—book and film reviews in particular—with an emphasis on the practical strategies critics use in framing their writing for different audiences and in manipulating different forms (the review-essay, the survey, the hatchet job, the retrospective, etc.). We’ll read from some of the great mid-century critics (Pauline Kael, Randall Jarrell), as well as the many critics who have flourished in the contemporary era (Updike, Vendler, Wood, Dargis, et al.). Our goal will be to better understand, if not answer, the ancient question, “What’s the point of criticism?”, as well as its modern variant, “Why should anyone care what That Guy thinks?”
SEM 110 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. David Orr 18310
Digital Literature and New Media
Could a Twitter feed be literature? How about a video game? Is the computer coding underlying both a kind of poetry? In class we will address these questions and many more, in an effort to understand and write about emerging digital forms and their relation to “Art” and “Literature." In the past 30 years, computer technology has enabled new forms of art to be possible and visible. We will read, watch, and play a plethora of these works. We will also read recent scholarly work on digital literature and new media. And we will become better writers and thinkers as we articulate this still-new world of potential literature.
SEM 111 MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Travis Duprey 18437 Jane Juffer
ENGLISH 1170 Short Stories
What is the difference between an anecdote and a short story or a memoir and a short story? How does the short story separate itself from the prose poem, the myth, or the parable? What can a short story do that no other art form can do, including cinematic narrative? This course will focus on the reading and analysis of short stories derived from a range of cultures and time periods, with some emphasis on English-language stories, particularly those from the North American continent. Writers may include but not be limited to: Tobias Wolff, Alice Munro, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Willa Cather, Edgar Allan Poe, Nikolai Gogol, Eudora Welty, Louise Erdrich, Haruki Murakami, Denis Johnson, Margaret Atwood, Donald Barthelme, Flannery O'Connor, Edith Wharton, Raymond Carver, Joyce Carol Oates, and Anton Chekhov. There will be a research component and some workshop discussion of student work.
ENGLISH 1183 Word and Image
Writers and artists from Homer to Raymond Pettibon have been fascinated by the relationship between words and images, a relationship that is sometimes imagined as a competition, sometimes as a collaboration. What are the differences between literary and visual media? What can the juxtaposition of word and image teach us about the nature of representation? What other goals do artists and writers hope to achieve by coupling words with images? To explore these questions, we will consult works drawn from a range of periods and genres (graphic novels, medieval manuscripts, contemporary art and new media, emblem books, film, literary gaming, fiction, and poetry). The course is structured around a progressive set of writing assignments and will include both informal exercises as well as formal essays.
ENGLISH 1191 Twice-Told Tales
T. S. Eliot once noted that “immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.” Indeed, recycling, repurposing, or downright ripping-off has characterized literary production for centuries, and this tendency remains in full-force today. This course will look at several instances of creative retelling, both in literature and film, in order to explore the cultural value and meaning of literary appropriation. By thinking through such concepts as style, novelty, intellectual property, and tradition, we will seek to understand both the possibilities and limits of creative-retelling. Possible texts include the work of Homer, Shakespeare, Milton, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, E. M. Forster, and Zadie Smith. Through a series of formal critical essays and short experiments in creative adaptation, this course will emphasize the composition of clear, well-structured, persuasive literary analysis.
SEM 101 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Stephen Thompson 18379 Gregory Londe/ Amanda Goldstein
ENGLISH 1191 Shakespeare and Magic
How does magic work in Shakespeare's plays as a theme and as form? How much of this magic is literary or theatrical in nature? After all, magic and supernatural change involve strange ideas about the relationship between words and things. Furthermore, how does Shakespeare’s literary magic respond to early modern ideas about science and the Faust tradition? Through a sequence of creative and persuasive essay assignments, students will improve their writing by engaging in close readings of Shakespeare’s complex plays. Possible texts include
Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, The Winter’s Tale, and Titus Andronicus. We will also visit the Kroch Library to view Renaissance materials and explore how the question of magic and Shakespeare translates to film and live performance.
SEM 102 MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Sara Schlemm 18380 Gregory Londe/ Amanda Goldstein
Art and Politics in the Modernist Era
Rather than separate fine art from the life of revolution, war or political confrontation, we will consider both as forms of action that allow people to present themselves, contest their society, and transform or break the world around them. Authors of focus will be Virginia Woolf, Mina Loy, Ezra Pound, F. T. Marinetti, Emma Goldman, Aimé Cesaire, and Melvin Tolson. We will also look at various political incidents around their time: from violent acts that aimed at a sudden political change to slower practices that produced spaces of living in dissent from society. Six essays, including rhetorical experiments and rigorous research papers, will take place. Each will increase in length and complexity, focusing on a new set of skills necessary for your academic career.
SEM 103 MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Abram Coetsee 18381 Gregory Londe/ Amanda Goldstein
Romantic Writers, Thinkers, and Iconoclasts
Romantic writers and thinkers emphasized how thinking emerges from feeling; they insisted that institutions should be nourished by individuals’ imagination as well as by cultural memory. This seminar will develop participants’ critical acumen and eloquence by engaging with such writers as William Wordsworth (The Prelude) and Mary Wollstonecraft (Vindication of the Rights of Woman) whose works formed the groundwork of present-day conceptions of the self, sexual difference, poetry, and justice. In the course of encountering plays, essays, journals, letters, poems, and a novel—Jane Austen’s Persuasion—we will be asking why readers and critics still argue about the nature and the impact of Romanticism.
SEM 104 MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Cynthia Chase 18382 Gregory Londe/ Amanda Goldstein
ENGLISH 1191 Here to Utopia
Dystopias are all the rage, but what about its neglected counterpart, the utopia? This class will examine utopias in literature and film including, but not limited to, John Milton’s Paradise Lost, Percy Shelley’s Queen Mab, John Lenon’s “Imagine,” and James Cameron’s Avatar. We will ask why utopias are so seductive and whether there remains any political efficacy to utopian thinking. Writing assignments will include expository essays, creative essays, and in-class assignments. Students will learn to make analytical arguments and critically evaluate the arguments of others.
SEM 105 MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Ruoji Tang 18383 Gregory Londe/ Amanda Goldstein
ENGLISH 1191 Personal Spaces
How we see the physical world says a lot about how we see ourselves both as individuals and as a society. In this course we'll examine the ways in which writers and artists have represented the external world from the Middle Ages to the present and what these representations tell us about changing understandings of the interior world of the self. We'll also explore how our own writing, both academic and personal, can be a space that both represents the world and reshapes it. Texts in the course will include The Canterbury Tales, Pilgrim's Progress,Pride and Prejudice and Heart of Darkness as well as scholarly considerations of changing representations of the world.
SEM 106 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Bernadette Guthrie 18384 Gregory Londe/ Amanda Goldstein
ENGLISH 1191 Reading Terror
What if the monster at the end of the Gothic novel is none other than the reader herself? In this course we will pay close attention to dangerously passionate responses in and to eighteenth-century Gothic novels. We will consider how Gothic novels sometimes aim to arouse the reader, even as they claim to be fashioning proper moral subjects. And we will ask why sublime experience and sympathetic emotion are often presented in Gothic novels as incompatible responses to a provocative image or text. Are these incompatible responses? And if not, why does the Gothic novel present them this way? Students will respond to authors such as Edmund Burke, Horace Walpole, William Beckford, Matthew Lewis, and Anne Radcliffe not only in lively class discussion, but also in formal writing assignments ranging from close analytical readings to creative pieces.
SEM 107 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. David Aichenbaum 18385 Gregory Londe/ Amanda Goldstein
Oral and Traditional Literature
Literature as usually defined and studied consists of a canon of “authorized” texts—texts written by specific authors and then made public (“published”) in a fixed form. An alternative tradition of literature, however, is “oral”/“traditional” literature, texts such as ballads and folktales which were disseminated orally and which change from performance to performance. This course will serve as an introduction to “oral”/“traditional” literary forms, concentrating on English and Scots ballads and folktales, but giving some attention to literary authors such as Malory and Tolkien who either write in a traditional mode or who imitate “traditional”/“oral” literature in their fictions.
SEM 108 MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Tom Hill 18386 Gregory Londe/ Amanda Goldstein
Coming of Age in the 19th Century
Orphans and princes, innocents and criminals—Victorian literature was fascinated with the figure of the child. This seminar will explore how Victorian ideals of childhood yield to the demands of adulthood at a time when scientists and philosophers were reconsidering human development. We will investigate not only conflicting notions of childhood in the British empire’s globalizing world, but also the extent to which childhood prefigures an adult’s identity. Students will gain experience with reading influential and recent criticism, and writing in response. Readings may include: Brontë, Jane Eyre; Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass; Dickens, Great Expectations; Kipling, The Jungle Books.
SEM 109 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Elisha Cohn 18387 Gregory Londe/ Amanda Goldstein
The Powers 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 explored, and move on to one or two of the best romantic novels on offer, also carefully explored: Pride and Prejudic and A Room with a View are the likely choices. Throughout, your own writing will be a subject of sustained attention.
SEM 101 MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Harry Shaw 18283
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.
Doubling, Disguise, and Desire 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 parallel plotlines, in confusions of gender and identity, 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, Tom Stoppard, Jean Genet, and Suzan-Lori Parks, and viewing them, when possible, in live or filmed performance. And we’ll write a lot.
SEM 103 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Stuart Davis 18285
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.
FEMINIST, GENDER & SEXUALITY STUDIES 1107 Queer Cinema
This class will track how queer cinema intervenes into public debates around issues of gender and sexuality. Reading feminist and queer theorists, we will discuss the stakes of seeing and being seen: how looking can be gendered, and how visual fetishism and scopophilia can structure sexual relations. In class, we will always keep one eye on the politics of queerness and the other on queer erotics. We will watchBrokeback Mountain, Paris is Burning, Vertigo, Blade Runner, and many more. By studying queer cinema, you will become aware that you write from a particular body, and that your arguments change if you shift this voice. You will use the essays you write to put into practice the multiple voices queer cinema promises to provide.
SEM 101 MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Zachary Price 18261
FEMINIST, GENDER & SEXUALITY STUDIES 1108 Women’s Work
We all know that “a woman’s work is never done,” but what exactly is that work? Tracing a literary history of women’s work and women workers, this course takes a circuitous route from the kitchen to the office, and from the tragedy of Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” to the capitalist double-entendre of Britney’s “Work B**tch.” Along the way, we’ll think about many other forms of feminine labor, both organized and not. Readings may include texts by Karl Marx, Betty Friedan, Muriel Rukeyser, Michelle Tea, and Sara Ahmed. Writing assignments will include the collection and transcription of oral histories and personal narratives, as well as multi-draft critical essays, all designed to hone close reading skills and encourage the development of complex theses and cohesive arguments
SEM 101 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Elizabeth Blake 18262
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 on the topic.
Students who enroll in this course are highly recommended to attend occasional film screenings on Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m.
GERMAN STUDIES 1112 Music and Letters
Homer’s epics make no mention of music, because to the earliest European poets it was an integral and therefore not distinct part of their performance. Although since then considered separate arts, in German culture music and letters have enjoyed an exceptionally close relationship. Modern literature attempts to make sense of music and uses music to approach the senseless. This course addresses 1) music as poetic device and 2) music as theme in German literature since 1800. Exploring these issues, we will work on developing arguments in critical writing. Readings may include Hölderlin, Hoffmann, Kleist, Nietzsche, Rilke, Mann, Bernhard, and Jelinek. We will also familiarize ourselves with the tradition of the art song (Lied) and watch at least one opera by Mozart and/or Wagner.
SEM 101 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Klas Molde 18265 Ekaterina Pirozhenko
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, and 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 MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Paul Dobryden 18266 Ekaterina Pirozhenko
GOVERNMENT 1101 Utopia
Utopias are imaginary visions that paint an idealistic picture of what that society might be. In some cases ("dystopias"), these visions are forbidding predictions of what society will become. In this course we will read widely, devouring both utopias and dystopias, in search of the fundamental principles that shape societies. As we discuss these readings, you will be asked to design a utopian society, choosing how you would structure power, arrange economic production, create architectural forms and their spatial connections, harness and exploit technology, ensure compatibility with the natural environment, socialize the young, and incorporate religious belief. When you are finished constructing your utopian vision, we will ask you to explain how we might create that society, given where we are now.
SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Richard Bensel 18277
GOVERNMENT 1101 Social Inquiry
How can we understand and evaluate social phenomena, whether in the news, in conversation, or in our own direct life experiences? Too often college students remain unaware of the many tools of social inquiry available to them and are therefore limited in their ability to analyze material they encounter during and after college. In this seminar exploring specific subjects they would like to study, students will develop tools of social inquiry such as causal reasoning and research methods; they will examine the ethics of research design. Through readings, discussion, films, and, of course, intensive writing, students will explore topics drawn from such disciplines as government, anthropology, sociology, and psychology, all of which are linked through the common thread of the modes of social inquiry that lie at their core.
SEM 102 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Andrew Mertha 18278
GOVERNMENT 1101 Politics and Drama
What does art have to do with politics? What do the dramas of fifth-century B.C.E. stage and teach about democracy? From Aeschylus to Sophocles to Euripides to Aristophanes, this course studies ancient Greek tragedies and comedies in their historical context and also for their ongoing relevance to contemporary political questions about justice, authority, power, and the rule of law. Short, frequent response papers will develop the skills of close textual analysis and theoretical reflection to be employed in longer, more nuanced arguments.
SEM 103 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Jill Frank 18279
When Paper Beats Scissors: The Role of Courts in International Politics
What explains the power of law in the absence of force? Why are countries increasingly settling international disputes in the courtroom rather than on the battlefield? In this course we will seek to understand the sources of law in international politics through the study of courts like the International Court of Justice, the European Court of Justice, and the International Criminal Court, among others. We will grapple with historical (what are the origins of international law and courts?), empirical (do courts have authority? how can we know?) and moral (should courts have authority?) issues related to international courts along with close examinations of a few important cases. Students will be asked to write on these topics in a variety of styles including legal memos, op-eds, and academic research.
SEM 104 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Michael Allen 18280 Matthew Evangelista
GOVERNMENT 1101 Modeling International Security
What are the root causes of major wars? Are democracies more likely to fight each other, and if so why? Will China and the US fight a global war in the future? What is the best strategy against ISIS? Scholars in security studies have attempted to formulate mathematical models to help understand these and related questions. In this class we will examine some of these applications and think more broadly about when mathematical models are helpful in determining sound security policy. No prior knowledge of mathematical modeling is required; writing assignments will ask students to critically examine a few debates in security studies and to express the results of that analysis in a range of writing styles aimed at different audiences, from academic specialists to the general public.
SEM 105 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Youyi Zhang 18281 Andrew Little
Debates on Democracy in America
This course examines contemporary and historical debates about democracy in America. What does democracy entail and whom does it include? We will begin with an exploration of key works in American democratic theory, such as the Declaration of Independence and Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. The remainder of the class will be devoted to exploring democratic debates over issues related to ethnic and racial diversity, religious pluralism, immigration, and educational opportunity. Throughout all of this we will explore opportunities for democratic deliberation that endeavor to create common understanding between initially divergent positions. The course is intended to help students who want to become civic innovators (or democratic problem solvers) to development the skills and orientations they need to succeed in that role.
SEM 106 MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Gretchen Ritter /William Pennington 18282
From Talk to Walk: Designing and Implementing Social Policy
From the think tank that puts forth initial ideas about how to attack a social problem to the agency that provides actual services, a variety of organizations are key to creating and implementing social policy in the United States. Using examples such as the Brookings Institution, the Gates Foundation, and Community Action Agencies, we will examine how different types of organizations interact with public policy to shape and implement it. Readings combine academic sources with news and policy reports, such as the State of the Union address and Joel Fleishman’s The Foundation. Writing assignments will include policy briefs and analyses, program proposals, and a multi-level policy analysis.
SEM 107 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Delphia Shanks-Booth 18463 Suzanne Mettler
Diasporic Fauna: Histories of Overseas Animals
From Zheng He’s return to China in 1415 with a giraffe to exhibitions of orangutans in Europe in the 1920s, the spectacle of “exotic” species in foreign lands has shaped human imaginings. In this writing seminar we’ll explore recent efforts to historicize changing relationships between human beings and exotic wildlife. We’ll grapple with key questions in environmental history and animal studies: What role have foreign animals played in the human imagination throughout history? How have certain species, and even certain individual animals, raised considerations of political, socio-cultural, and scientific problems? What does the spectacle of foreign wildlife in zoos and circuses reveal about who we are? Students will hone their writing skills through engagement with primary and secondary sources, theories of animal-human relationships, and literature.
SEM 101 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Matthew Minarchek 18286 Eric Tagliacozzo
Islam and Science in the Modern World, 1800–Present
What does science mean? The history of science presents a puzzle. Vibrant cultures of astronomy and medicine have long flourished in Muslim societies, yet they have often been considered unscientific within Western frameworks. Why has knowledge produced by Muslims been understood at different times as either “scientific” or “unscientific”? To address these questions, we will examine Muslim cultures of science and explore alternative understandings of science. Through readings and discussions we will follow Muslim astronomers sailing the Indian Ocean and an Egyptian traveler writing about science in Paris. In turn, we will examine a global corporation of traditional Muslim medicine and how Pakistani saints discussed psychoanalysis. Readings will include travel accounts, histories, and fiction. Students will craft strong arguments through formal and creative writing exercises.
SEM 101 MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Andrew Amstutz 18405 Durba Ghosh
1968: Year of Global Unrest
In 2011, Time Magazine selected “the protestor” as its Person of the Year. But 2011 was not the only year associated with global dissent; 1968, arguably the pinnacle of 1960s radicalism, saw a wave of upheaval from Mexico City to Paris, China to Czechoslovakia, and even the Cornell campus. What made the year 1968 so explosive? What factors contributed to this outpouring of unrest in such a diverse range of places? And what perspective does this provide in understanding recent and ongoing events? This course draws on a wide range of sources including first-hand accounts, contemporary media reports, and scholarly analysis. Writing assignments will include readings responses and argumentative analytical essays.
SEM 101 MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Sean Fear 18295 Fredrik Logevall
Placing History: Maps, Power, and the Past
What is a map? Is it a technology? A work of art? A text? In this course we will learn and write about maps from the past and maps about the past. Students will discuss the meaning of a wide range of maps, from John Snow’s 1854 map of cholera cases to community maps made in the 1990s by indigenous people in Nicaragua. Our goal will be to ponder how maps work and who they work for. We will also think about cartography as a tool for analyzing history, power, and politics. Students will hone their writing style through an examination of various mapmaking techniques. The course will make use of the library’s map collection and digital cartography resources.
SEM 101 MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Joe Giacomelli 18404 Aaron Sachs
The Birth of Europe? Culture and Society in the Carolingian Empire
Every year, the German city of Aachen awards the Charlemagne Prize to individuals who have promoted European unity. At a time when the value and existence of the European Union are increasingly questioned, we should perhaps look back at the medieval king from whom the prize takes its name. The legacy of Charlemagne and his dynasty, the Carolingians, has haunted us until the present day. In the present course, we will follow medieval Europe’s most famous family from their rise in post-Roman Gaul to their supposed decline two centuries later. Our purpose is not simply to count kings and their famous deeds, but to unravel the social and cultural dynamics of the Carolingian period by surveying a variety of legal, historical, and religious sources. Writing assignments will ask students to draw evidence from these sources to support historical arguments.
SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Maximilian McComb 18287 Oren Falk
North from Mexico: Mexicans in the U.S.
According to projections, by the year 2050 a majority of the U.S. population will be of Latino descent, a significant portion of which will be comprised of individuals of Mexican heritage. What will such a demographic change mean for the U.S.? By engaging with firsthand accounts, musical works, films, historical novels, and Chicano/Borderlands studies we will learn about ethnic Mexican culture and history on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico international boundary. In the process we will ask: What were the push and pull factors that led Mexicans north into the U.S.? What were their experiences? How were they received? What impact have ethnic Mexicans had on American society? How did they influence and how were they influenced by those groups already present in the U.S.? Seminar discussions and assignments will largely revolve around assigned readings and writing exercises, that will analyze and synthesize arguments.
SEM 101 MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Alberto Milian 18296 Maria Cristina Garcia
Imperial Transitions in the Ancient Mediterranean World
The ancient Mediterranean world was home to some of the world's most famous empires: Achaemenid Persia, Athens, Macedonia, and Rome. Renowned for their cultural and intellectual achievements, each state pursued policies that brought their citizens and subjects into a war of some kind almost every year. Through comparative history, this course will explore how, and why, all four empires rose and fell in succession. It will focus on the expansion and breakdown of empires, based on primary sources including the Behistun inscription, Herodotus, Thucydides, Arrian, Polybius, Caesar, and Livy. By engaging directly with the ancient sources, writing assignments will explore theories of imperialism, political and military institutions, approaches to state formation, relationships with subject peoples, the strains of war on society, and how empires interact with one another.
SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Tim Sorg 18297 Barry Strauss
The East is Read: Propaganda in Communist China
“Long Live Chairman Mao!” “Resist the American Imperialists!” When we think of Communist China, propaganda nearly always comes to mind. And yet, we rarely reflect on what exactly propaganda is: What are its ultimate goals? At whom is it directed? When and why is it effective? This course will delve deep into the world of propaganda and state power in the People’s Republic of China from its founding in 1949 to the present. Students will engage directly with original Chinese propaganda publications including English-language periodicals and Mao’s “Little Red Book,” as well as audio-visual materials including posters, songs, and films. Writing assignments will encourage critical appraisals of the power and persuasion of state propaganda, as well as creative exercises exploring what makes for effective propaganda.
SEM 101 MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Christopher Tang 18298 Jian Chen
HISTORY 1180 Viking America
Five centuries before Columbus’s fateful journey, Europeans in flimsy wooden ships were trekking westward across the Atlantic. This course examines the Norse discovery of America ca. 1000 AD, focusing on the so-called “Vínland sagas.” We will study these sagas as medieval historians’ attempts to write about their own past, contrasting their works with modern historians’ takes on the same issues. We will also engage with Native American perspectives, with the contact zone between texts and material evidence, and with the afterlife of the Norse journeys in popular imagination. Students will write short essays reviewing and reassessing existing historiography, with the aim of refining our sense of the relationship between events and their textualization, both now and in the past.
SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Oren Falk 18299
State Surveillance in History
How and why do states watch their citizens? This course explores historical practices of state surveillance from the perspective of both the “watchers” and the “watched.” Special emphasis will be given to twentieth-century Europe, but examples from other parts of the world and the US will also be featured in the readings. Some of the readings will be primary sources: memoirs, diaries, surveillance files. Other sources will include films and short fiction and some scholarly pieces on the workings of state security and secret police organizations. Writing assignments will include reflections, analyses of sources and audiences, book reviews, and imitations of genres such as surveillance reports or agent interviews.
SEM 101 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Holly Case 18288
HISTORY 1301 History of the Essay
The analytical essay seems to be the basic form of nonfiction writing—but why? And how did it come to be seen this way? Why don’t you learn to write prose poems in college, or memos, or just elaborate lists? Or are those also essays? How has the essay varied across time and cultures? How has its form been influenced by historical forces, and how did essayists become shapers of their historical moments? The word “essay” just means an attempt, so this course will be experimental and exploratory, analyzing many different essays in their historical context, and pausing occasionally to dwell on key writers like Montaigne, Thoreau, Woolf, Sontag, and Baldwin. And of course you will be expected to make several attempts at both analytical and creative essay-writing.
SEM 101 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Aaron Sachs 18289
HISTORY 1402 Global Islam
In this course we will examine Islam as a global phenomenon, both historically and in the contemporary world. We will spend time on the genesis of Islam in the Middle East, but then we will move across the Muslim world—to Africa, Turkey, Iran, Central-, East- and Southeast Asia—to see how Islam looks across global boundaries. Through reading, class discussions, and frequent writing, students will try to flesh out the diversity of Islam within the central message of this world religion.
SEM 101 MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Eric Tagliacozzo 18294
Dress, Cloth, and Identity in Africa and the Diaspora
African-inspired fabrics are showing up on the catwalks of Burberry, L.A.M.B., and H & M. This course uses a multi-disciplinary approach to examine the importance of textiles in African social and economic history and the long engagement between African consumers and textile producers from other world regions. It explores the role of textiles and dress in marking status, gender, political authority, and ethnicity; as well as the consequences of colonial rule and contemporary globalization on African textile industries and consumers. Our analysis also considers the principles of African aesthetics and dress that continue to shape the African diaspora in the Americas. Students will write five short essays, an abstract, annotated bibliography, and a research paper on an article of dress or a cloth that will be featured in an exhibit in the Cornell Costume and Textile Collection Gallery.
SEM 101 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Judith Byfield 18300
Writing Italy, Writing the Self: Jewish-Italian Literature and the Long Twentieth Century
The Jewish community of Rome is the oldest one in all of Europe, dating back to 200 BCE, and the authors of some of the most important twentieth-century works of Italian literature are Jewish. In this course we will examine how some of these writers (Moravia, Saba, Bassani, Primo Levi, Carlo Levi, Ginzburg, Sereni, Bruck, Loewenthal, Janaczek, Elkann, and Piperno) have articulated the self against the background of the historical events that have shaped the past hundred years: two world wars and different social movements of the pre- and post-WWII eras. The seminar includes two or three film screenings.
SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. K. E. von Wittelsbach 18311
JEWISH STUDIES 1913
Writing Italy, Writing the Self: Jewish-Italian Literature and the Long Twentieth Century
The Jewish community of Rome is the oldest one in all of Europe, dating back to 200 BCE, and the authors of some of the most important twentieth-century works of Italian literature are Jewish. In this course, we will examine how some of these writers (Moravia, Saba, Bassani, Primo Levi, Carlo Levi, Ginzburg, Sereni, Bruck, Loewenthal, Janaczek, Elkann, and Piperno) have articulated the self against the background of the historical events that have shaped the past hundred years: two world wars and different social movements of the pre- and post-WWII eras. The seminar includes two or three film screenings.
SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. x-listed with ITAL 1113 18312
LINGUISTICS 1100 The Death of Language
This course will address issues related to language death, including: What does it mean for a language to be endangered? For a language to die? Should we care? Are some languages more viable or valid than others? We will discuss issues such as the role English and other global languages, language as a vehicle for culture, linguistic prejudices, language revival programs, etc. The course will touch on languages and dialects around the world, including Ainu (Japan), Nivkh (Russia), Guaraní (Paraguay), and Ebonics (United States). The main text will be supplemented by primary sources, electronic, and print. Short writing assignments will focus on revision, group discussion, and argumentation.
SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. John Whitman 18319
LINGUISTICS 1100 Linguistics and (pre-)History
How do linguists use language as a tool to discover prehistory? In addition to the more obvious sources of historical data (documents, physical remains, etc.), scholars often make use of linguistic data in constructing theories about (pre-)historical events and patterns. In this class we will examine and write about four basic questions. First, how do linguists uncover earlier stages of linguistic history? Second, what kinds of inferences can be legitimately drawn from linguistic data for (pre-)historical investigation? Third, how can we distinguish between plausible and implausible uses of linguistic data? Fourth, what role does ideology play in shaping or misshaping historical reconstruction? Some particular topics that may be covered: The Indo-Aryan invasion hypothesis; Ancient Macedonian; The peopling of the Americas and pre-Columbian contact; Egyptian influence in Africa. Students will write critical analyses of proposals evaluating them for logic, attention to contradictory evidence, ideology, and rhetoric. They will also try their hands at constructing both a good and a specious theory.
SEM 102 MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Michael Weiss 18320
LINGUISTICS 1100 Words and Pictures
This class explores the collaboration of language and image in creating meanings at multiple levels. We will discuss and write about popular culture—caricatures, comics, graphic novels, and advertising—along with high culture artifacts such as paintings and illuminated manuscripts, 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 18321
LINGUISTICS 1100 Words
This course looks at English vocabulary from linguistic, historical, and sociological perspectives, addressing questions such as: What are words and where do they come from? How are they classified? Why do their meanings change over time? Is the way we view the world shaped by the way our vocabulary divides it up? How is our (self-) identity affected by the words we use? We will treat morphology (how words are constructed), lexicography (making dictionaries for different purposes), the sources of English spelling conventions, etymology (word histories), lexical semantics (word meanings), and the emergence of “semantic engineering” in politics and advertising, as well as metaphor, slang, euphemism, folk etymology, and other forces which reshape our vocabulary. Students will collect new words, and new meanings for old ones. The writing assignments for the course form an ordered sequence designed to develop skills at a variety of types of writing, from personal narratives to researched arguments.
SEM 104 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Wayne Harbert 18322
Language: Translation and Writing
Translating seems on the surface like a pretty simple process if one knows how to speak a foreign language, but what is really needed to be able to translate a text or interpret at an international summit? How good does one have to be in a language to be able to translate into it? Is Linguistic knowledge all that is needed to do translations? In this class we will explore issues in translation processes, ranging from the deep linguistic knowledge needed and issues involving factors beyond Linguistics like technical and cultural knowledge.
SEM 105 MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Shohini Bhattasali 18323 John Whitman
Sounds in the World Around Us
Sounds, of human language and from other sources, occur all around us. We process sounds and language seamlessly, unconsciously. What are sounds and how do they serve as the building blocks of language? In this course we consider the elements of spoken and written language and develop tools to investigate the role sound plays in communication. We consider human speech sounds, other aspects of sound conveyed beyond linguistic meaning (social information, emotion), and effects of new technologies on modes of communication. Readings provide background for these topics as well as primary sources of different styles. Class assignments are structured so that students practice writing in a variety of different formats and styles. The class will develop observational and analytic skills, while emphasizing writing as a process. We will experiment about language together. We will pay particular attention to languages of the Americas
SEM 106 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Carol Rose Little 18324 John Whitman
Creating the Science of Language
What makes a science science? Is it the methodology used or the subject of study? We will consider these questions by exploring the development of linguistics as a science. We will have many questions to write about and discuss concerning science and linguistics as a science: Can the mind be a domain of scientific study? Is our conception of science biased by history or culture? In addition to readings from linguists such as Steven Pinker and Noam Chomsky, we will draw from historical and contemporary sources. We will look at the writings of Galileo and his contemporaries to learn what controversies beset the establishment of physics as a science; to examine current conceptions of science and language, we will turn to sources such as newspaper articles, magazines, and blogs.
SEM 107 MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Mary Moroney 18325 John Whitman
LINGUISTICS 1100 Language and the Law
How do language and the law intersect? This course will explore basic linguistic theory relating to speech acts, linguistic fuzziness, and bilingualism, and connect it to legal issues involving language. Topics include language-related power asymmetries in court, the problems of vague and ambiguous language in legal interpretation, laws about language, and the distinction between lying and perjury. We will read important court cases related to language rights, problems, and crimes, as well as excerpts from books such asWordcrime: Solving Crime Through Forensic Linguistics (Olsson 2009). Most importantly, students will learn to write essays in which they construct an argument and then defend it using both readings assigned for the course and relevant outside readings the students find on their own.
SEM 108 MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Sarah D’Antonio 18326 John Whitman
LINGUISTICS 1100 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 109 MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Jennifer (Mia) Wiegand 18327 John Whitman
LINGUISTICS 1100 Myths and Reality
Language is all around us and plays a role in almost all of our activities. For this reason, we tend to form many opinions about language which are either false or inaccurate on closer inspection. For example, many people think that the English language is deteriorating. They point out that young people have trouble applying the most elementary grammar rules. Similarly, many people are under the impression that certain languages are more
logical than others, or that certain languages are more primitive than others. In this course we will examine some common language myths, and look for others that are portrayed in the popular media. In particular, we will discuss popular ideas about the dialects of American English, including African American Vernacular English (AAVE). Writing assignments will involve thinking about language in a critical and systematic way.
SEM 110 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Todd Snider 18328 John Whitman
From Cuneiform to Cryptography
We will explore the development, implementation, and if relevant, the decipherment of a number of writing systems, including cuneiform, Egyptian hieroglyphics, and Mayan, as well as those used to record several modern languages. We will study the linguistic principles behind different writing systems and compare some of the techniques used in decipherment with those used in cryptography. Writing assignments will help students develop as writers by focusing on the writing process, from how to identify interesting problems to how to present a complete and polished product. No previous exposure to other writing systems is necessary.
SEM 111 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Emily Barth 18329 John Whitman
MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1101
Icons and Idolatry, from Rome to the Reformation
How does one depict divinity in art? Searching for a suitable answer to this question produced some of the most exquisite works of art of the Middle Ages but also vehement disagreements and controversies about its appropriateness, debates that still resonate in the modern day. This course will ask students to engage critically with some of the sources surrounding medieval devotional images, ranging from the age of Constantine the Great in the fourth century to that of Martin Luther in the sixteenth, in order to investigate the tensions surrounding their manufacture and veneration. Students will develop their writing and thought through a range of assignments, including short reaction and response pieces, close-readings of medieval sources, and critical essays.
SEM 101 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Samuel Barber 18330 Eric Rebillard
MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1101
Beowulf and Legendary Sagas: The Art of Heroism
What is Germanic heroic legend? Images of axe-wielding Viking raiders may spring to mind, but how can studying literature from medieval Europe challenge such stereotypes? By reading Beowulf along with related texts from medieval Scandinavia, such as Grettir's Saga, The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki, and The Saga of the Volsungs, we will explore various representations of heroic legends and assess the literary style and themes in our texts. Special attention will be paid to style, which ranges from sentence structure, point of view, and voice, to the general manner or form in which a work of art is constructed. Class discussions and a series of papers will encourage clear writing, close reading, and analysis of the texts.
SEM 102 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Edward Currie 18331 Samantha Zacher
MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1101
Where the World Ends: Foundations of Medieval Geographies
Some of you still think people in the Middle Ages thought the world was flat. What did medieval writers think about global geography? Many of them had a complex picture of the earth, balancing classical sources with more recent explorations, and they offer a way for us to question our own ideas of our place in the cosmos. This class will examine the elements of medieval European conceptions of global geography, including writings from Plato and Aristotle, the Bible, Macrobius, Isidore of Seville, Bede, and more, while practicing the craft of our own expository prose by investigating the extraordinarily varied and often powerful ideas and styles of these writers. We will also examine maps, and some assignments will involve coordinating written accounts with visual geographies.
SEM 103 MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. John Greenlee 18332 Oren Falk
MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1101 The Im-/Material Middle Ages
People in the Middle Ages were surrounded by devotional objects, in vast variation, and often staggering beauty: manuscripts guiding daily prayers, relics of dead saints, altarpieces depicting the crucifixion, and more. This is not a class about Christianity, but instead a seminar that uses sacred objects to investigate how “materiality” and “immateriality” are treated in the Middle Ages, by looking at a number of poems, sermons, polemical writings, and other narratives. Our aim will be to explore medieval ideas of the intersection between the physical and the spiritual, such as arma Christi iconography, the Eucharist, and the metaphor of body as book. Discussions will seek to draw out details and major themes to develop the skills for writing informal responses, close readings, and critical essays.
SEM 104 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Ruth Mullett 18333 Masha Raskolnikov
MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1101 Magic in Arthurian Legends
From the earliest courtly romances to Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Arthur’s court still captivates our cultural imagination. Magic is integral to the continuing appeal of these tales as a source of explanation, justification, testing, and conflict. In this course students will write analytically about the role of magical objects, creatures, and people in a variety of Arthurian literature. They will compare value arguments made about magic in these tales. What is magic’s role in upholding or questioning the values of Arthur’s court? What kind of events or policies can magic justify? Which kinds of magic are within bounds and which are transgressive? Assignments will include short responses, critical analyses of these questions as well as others, and a creative writing piece.
SEM 106 MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m. Abigail Sprenkle 18335 Andrew Galloway
MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1102
Fighting Words: Anglo-Saxon Heroes and their Poetry
“Where now are the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?” These words, familiar from Tolkien’sLord of the Rings, come from the Old English poem "The Wanderer." A personal lament as well as a communal one, the warrior’s longing for better days reflects Christian and secular heroic traditions. This class offers an introduction to Old English poetry in translation and its modern adaptations and inspirations, including Tolkien’s writings and W. H. Auden’s verse. We will consider how poetic language and form can negotiate multiple sources of knowledge and belief as well as other aspects of cultural identity for the individual and community. Through class discussion, writing exercises (including creative), and formal papers, students will strengthen their writing and critical reasoning.
SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Danielle Wu 18336 Samantha Zacher
MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1104
Shapeshifters and Cybermen: The Almost-Human as Allegory
Medieval texts can hold conversation with modern science fiction and fantasy, especially in how both consider creatures that challenge the borders between human and Other. This class will use both to consider the almost-human: beings that expose the weaknesses of categorization, from the self to sex and the cosmos, and conflicts between social imperatives like duty, love, and war. We will also investigate direct uses of the Middle Ages in modern fantasy writing. Readings will include supernatural romance and lovesick werewolves; zombie films and the walking dead of Icelandic sagas; X-Men and King Arthur’s band of super-human warriors; the alien adventures of the Doctor and his companions and the journeys of medieval faerie lovers and their ladies. Writing assignments will be creative as well as expository.
SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Marybeth Matlack 18337 Andrew Galloway
MEDIEVAL STUDIES 1104 Superheroes and Semiotics
If you think about it, superheroes are ridiculous. Yet comic books have produced some of the most durable and resonant symbols in American culture. Understanding how this works is more difficult than it seems at first sight. In their unique blend of word and picture, comics do something that no other medium does, and to explain this we need tools from a field called semiotics-—the study of symbols and how they work. To use its tools, we will read theorists from Plato to the present, including key medieval thinkers in the “realist” and “nominalist” debates and modern theorists like Saussure and Derrida, alongside Batman, Wonder Woman, Spider-man, and Wolverine. Assignments will include short response papers, persuasive essays, and one optional creative writing project.
SEM 102 MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Danielle Reid 18498 Tom Hill
From Zen to J-pop \(^o^)/! Listening to Japanese Society through Music
What do a thirteenth-century Zen Buddhist chanter and holographic pop superstar Hatsune Miku have in common? They both come from Japan, a complex society that this course explores through its music. Our reading and listening assignments span from ancient times to the present. Considering notions of Japanese society from multiple angles, we will read historical texts alongside manga comics, and listen to traditional music alongside contemporary popular and underground styles. Through writing assignments that emphasize critical thinking, creativity, and links between musicality and writing style, this class aims to develop your voice in formal academic writing, while encouraging you to listen to music as a reflection of societal issues in Japan and beyond.
SEM 101 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Jillian Marshall 18338 Alejandro Madrid
NEAR EASTERN STUDIES 1963
Things the Prophets Never Told You: Archaeology and Religion of Ancient Israel
A casual reading of the Hebrew Scriptures might lead one to believe that the normative religion of the Israelites was that spelled out in the Torah and Prophets. However, a more critical appraisal of the Biblical texts, along with an analysis of extra-Biblical texts and archaeological materials, demonstrates that the Israelites were often closer to their pagan neighbors than to modern Judaism or Christianity. Students will explore these similarities and differences in their essays. Topics may include: cult prostitution, magic, funerary rites, temple ritual, and Hebrew mythology. Readings will be from the Hebrew Bible, translations of extra-biblical texts, articles on archaeology, and modern synthetic treatments of Israelite culture.
SEM 101 MWF 02:30–03:20 p.m. Jeffrey R. Zorn 18339
NEAR EASTERN STUDIES 1967
Law, Society, and Culture in the Middle East
“In place of the mystery under which other religious traditions have covered their origins, Islam was born in the full light of history.” This observation by the French scholar Ernst Renan will frame our investigation of what we do and do not know about the Prophet Muhammad. In this seminar, we will read the Qur’an and analyze it in an effort to better appreciate how its ideas unfolded over time in dialogue with an audience of pagans and monotheists. We also will study key episodes in the Sira or Biography of Muhammad—his birth, first revelation, night journey to Jerusalem, flight to Medina, marriages, fortunes on the battlefield, and death—with special attention to the relationship between Islamic narratives and their biblical and post-biblical antecedents. All readings in English. Students will write analyses and comparisons of texts and a final essay on a chosen theme in the life of the Prophet.
SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. David Powers 18619
Biology, Gender, and Objectivity
Darwin’s insight that female mate choice is an important evolutionary mechanism was dismissed by many of his contemporaries because they assumed females were passive. Are preconceptions about gender a distorting influence in contemporary biology? If so, how—and how does or should science avoid such bias? This course will equip students to engage what biologists and philosophers of science have had to say on these questions. No background in biology or philosophy will be assumed. Readings will be drawn from both scientists and philosophers and may include selections from E. O. Wilson, Anne Fausto-Sterling, Evelyn Fox Keller, and more. Students will develop the ability to concisely and fairly describe a contentious issue and formulate a coherent argument for their own position on the topic.
SEM 101 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Brandon Conley 18340 Ted Sider
PHILOSOPHY 1111 Knowledge and the Senses
This course will look at issues concerning knowledge, belief, and our five senses. Is your color blue the same as my color blue? Am I justified in believing what my senses tell me? What should I think about hallucinations or visual illusions? We will look at different philosophical responses to questions such as these. We will read both historical and contemporary philosophical texts, including such philosophers as Rene Descartes, John Locke, and George Berkeley. Through (re)constructing, evaluating, and defending arguments, students will learn to write clearly and persuasively.
SEM 101 MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Marta Heckel 18341 Ted Sider
PHILOSOPHY 1111 Philosophy of Science
What separates science from pseudoscience? How can we come to know that a scientific theory is correct? And what do scientific theories tell us about the nature of the world? In this course we will examine how one can confront these and other questions about science using philosophical methods. In doing so, we will look at the answers offered by famous figures, such as David Hume and Karl Popper, and by contemporary philosophers. You should come away from the course with a better understanding of how to interpret, analyze, and create your own arguments and with a better idea of how to clearly communicate this understanding in your writing.
SEM 102 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. David Fielding 18342 Ted Sider
PHILOSOPHY 1111 Questions about Ethics
Some think that we are obligated to help the less fortunate; others claim that killing is (in all cases) impermissible; and still others believe that we all must observe the Sabbath. But what does it mean to say that an act is obligatory, impermissible, or mandatory? Are there objective facts about this, or is it just a matter of personal preference or convention? And why should we care what morality requires? In this course we'll survey a number of different answers to these questions. The aim is to teach students to critically evaluate (often very complex and abstract) arguments, as well as how to write about those arguments in a clear, well-organized, and persuasive manner. Students will be required to write a number of short essays, as well as a longer final paper in several drafts.
SEM 103 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Eric Rowe 18410 Ted Sider
PHILOSOPHY 1111 The Nature of Morality
We make moral judgments (“that was wrong!”) and act for moral reasons (e.g., doing something because it’s right) all the time. But what is the nature of morality? What makes an action right (wrong)? Does it all depend on the consequences? Another important question concerns the nature of rightness (wrongness) itself. Is morality an objective feature of the world, or is it all in the head? In this writing-intensive course we will focus on these sorts of questions. Through explaining and evaluating arguments of philosophers, we will develop skills in writing clearly and persuasively. In addition to exploring morality’s nature in general, we will tackle two specific issues, namely whether we can justify criminal punishment, and whether we can justify harming animals for our benefit.
SEM 104 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Daniel Murphy 18419 Ted Sider
PHILOSOPHY 1111 Ethics
What is best for you? What is best for others? What ought you do? What ought you eat? Do we have obligations to future generations? What does it mean to be morally responsible for your actions? Where do morals come from? The purpose of this class is to cultivate your ability to articulate rationally persuasive arguments in support of answers to these ethical questions. We'll be reading classic works from Plato, John Stuart Mill, and David Hume, as well as contemporary works from Derek Parfit, Peter Singer, Philippa Foot, and Peter Strawson. The class is designed first and foremost to help students develop the ability to (i) explain the complex ideas and arguments presented in the texts, (ii) formulate arguments defending their own conclusions, and (iii) accomplish both of the aforementioned through prose that is clear, concise, and rationally persuasive.
SEM 105 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Austin Duggan 18448 Ted Sider
PHILOSOPHY 1112 Philosophy and Death
In this course we will explore metaphysical and ethical issues around death and killing in philosophy. What is death? The simple answer would be “the end of life.” If there is no afterlife, is death really bad for the person who dies? Is it rational to fear death? If immortal life is possible, is living forever without death desirable? Are all deaths misfortunes? If you want to say no, then is every type of killing morally impermissible? What about euthanasia? Or, abortion? Can suicide ever be a rational choice? Through reading and discussing philosophical texts dealing with these questions and several writing assignments, students will develop their philosophical writing as well as analytical skills.
SEM 102 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Yuna Won 18344 Ted Sider
Speaking for God: Philosophy of Prophecy and Scripture
In this course students will learn how to improve the clarity, conciseness, and persuasiveness of their writing while also delving into a topic in the philosophy of religion. The focus of the class in both the texts we read and in student papers will be questions such as: What does it mean for someone to be authorized to speak for God? Which sorts of interpretations of religious texts respect their supposed sacred nature, and which ones imply or assume that they are not really sacred? What beliefs about what God is like might make a difference to how we answer these questions? Texts will include excerpts from a large variety of sources, including historical philosophers such as Baruch Spinoza as well as contemporary philosophers such as Cornel West. Writing assignments will move from explaining and critiquing the arguments of others to offering arguments of one’s own.
SEM 103 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Catherine Mathie Smith 18345 Ted Sider
PERFORMING & MEDIA ARTS 1106 Divas
What makes a diva a Diva? How has the concept of what constitutes a Diva changed over time? Why does the Diva have such a popular appeal? What kind of political/social impact does the Diva have on the public sphere? This course examines performances of such Divas as Josephine Baker, Maria Callas, Judy Garland, Liza Minelli, Madonna, Dolly Parton, Lady Gaga, and Beyonce alongside critical and theoretical texts concerning celebrity and fandom. Analyzing play texts, narrative films, and performance/music videos will help students develop the particular skills required to write about performance. With an emphasis on in-class discussion and peer editing, this class will foster and enhance each student’s ability to produce coherent, concise, persuasive prose in the form of critical arguments.
SEM 101 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Stephen Low 18449 David Feldshuh
PERFORMING & MEDIA ARTS 1119 Performing the South
What is the South? What does it mean to be from or in the South? How does the southerner appear in U.S. popular culture, academic work, and in everyday interactions? This course will explore the South as it emerges in theatre, performance art, film, television, music, and journalism; and in the everyday performance of self. Students will analyze these and other examples of performance through the lenses of critical texts drawn from the fields of performance studies, theatre studies, gender and sexuality studies, and Black studies and critical race theory. With an emphasis on in-class discussion and peer editing, this class will foster and enhance each student’s ability to produce coherent, concise, persuasive prose in the form of critical arguments.
SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Erin Stoneking 18346 David Feldshuh
PERFORMING & MEDIA ARTS 1127
The Prison Plays: Crime, Punishment, and Western Dramatic Literature
Right now the United States incarcerates more of its citizens than any other country in history, and is culturally saturated with narratives of penality, fromPrison Break to Orange is the New Black. Yet even a cursory look at theatre history reveals that crime and punishment are nearly ubiquitous preoccupations in Euro-American cultures. In this time-traveling course students will examine the history of prison drama to try and understand why we remain so fixated on the “criminal element” today. At the same time, students will develop their critical, creative, and persuasive writing skills through peer and instructor review and a multi-draft essay process. Dramatists covered include: Aeschylus, Euripides, Shakespeare, Galsworthy, Brecht, Williams, Wallace, Puig, and Parks.
SEM 101 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Nick Fesette 18347 David Feldshuh
PERFORMING & MEDIA ARTS 1128 Arts Writing: Journalism and Public Media
What do excellent journalistic and academic writing have in common? Both draw upon similar skills and values: clarity, attention to detail, awareness of audience, and the writer's deep, informed engagement with a topic. Moreover, to discuss current arts events effectively, the writer must push beyond simple, factual reporting to interpret or translate, with a distinctive voice, creative work for specific audiences. Students in this seminar will attempt a range of assignments in arts writing: reviews, feature articles, interviews, educational materials, critical analyses, and blogs. We will take advantage of exhibits at Cornell's Johnson Museum and performances at the Schwartz Center, as well as local music, films, and television, to consider how to apply the principles of good writing to a variety of public media.
SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. J. Ellen Gainor 18348
Eastern European Film
Eastern Europe has contributed 17,849 unique films to the global cinema. In this class students will watch, discuss, and write about a variety of films—thrillers and comedies, Oscar winners as well as lesser-known films—from Poland, Russia, Bosnia, and Turkey. In addition to learning basic terminology, students will have the opportunity to become acquainted with the cultures, history, and geography of Eastern Europe. Students will write film reviews, analytic, and personal essays. All films are subtitled.
SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Ewa Bachminska 18349 SEM 102 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Ewa Bachminska 18487
Scent, Sociality, and Sex: Smell and Our Daily Lives
We will explore the sense of smell and its effects on our daily lives—functional mechanisms, cultural preferences, social interactions, and sexual attraction—through a varied list of readings. We will employ scientific journal articles, popular media, and novels such as Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, to help us better understand the differences between scientific, academic, and colloquial writing. Assignments will progress from opinion pieces to more extensive analytical writing, culminating in a project driven by the student’s personal interests within the topic of the course.
SEM 101 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Jessica Gaby 18350 Thomas Cleland
An Exploration of Cognition and Perception
Understanding pathology requires knowledge about the cognitive and perceptual systems that underlie behavior, and how these systems are implemented in the brain. Oliver Sacks’ collection of case studies inThe Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat will illustrate numerous neurological disorders and exemplify the applied research mindset. Empirical articles written by basic science researchers will complement Sacks’ writings and provide a foundation for understanding the disorders depicted therein. In order to learn how theory-driven science can inform clinical practice and how clinical populations can provide insights into the link between brain and behavior, we will critically evaluate and synthesize both basic and applied perspectives through class discussion and a variety of writing assignments.
SEM 101 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Ethan Jost 18351 Morten Christiansen
Understanding Events: The Special Case of Visual Narratives
Visual narratives are integral to our lives. With visual media surrounding us, do any of us take time to consider what makes visual narratives so engaging, so complex and yet easily comprehensible at the same time? This seminar will provide an introduction to understanding how people perceive visual events. We will read, discuss, and write about the cognitive mechanisms behind the comprehension of everyday actions, perception of film, and other visual narratives. The main goal of this seminar is to stimulate in-depth critical thinking and to develop efficient academic writing skills that students would use to form well-written, coherent, and elaborate essays. The requirements will involve weekly writing assignments, short and long essays, as well as in-class writing exercises and discussion.
SEM 102 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Ayse Candan 18352 James Cutting
Great Debates in Psychology
What is the self? Is personality partly genetic, or are experiences what truly matter? Questions such as these have been at the heart of controversies in psychology for over a century. Together, we'll look at some of the great debates in the history of psychology, focusing on the “big picture” ideas. We'll be studying writing by (and about) psychologists at the heart of these great debates, ranging from Freud and Jung to Skinner and Chomsky, looking at why these individuals were so effective as writers. Writing activities and assignments will allow you to take a position—or perhaps even create a unique synthesis of ideas—on the psychological controversies discussed in the course. Together, we'll improve our skills as writers and learn how to create well-crafted arguments.
SEM 103 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Stewart McCauley 18353 Morten Christiansen
ROMANCE STUDIES 1102 Queer Hispanisms
With the emergence of queer-themed expressions in a global context, representations of queerness and alternative sexualities in Hispanic cultural contexts are particularly interesting for their tensions with culturally specific notions of masculinity, femininity, and family. The seminar will explore stories, theories, and politics of queer sexuality and gender in the Hispanic world by examining works by Latin American, US Latino/a, and Spanish authors. In order to take stock of different contexts for imaginaries and expressions of queerness, we will discuss a wide range of literary and critical texts, and films, from Pedro Almodóvar’s queer cinema to José Donoso’s novelistic rendering of cross-dressing, from Cherrie Moraga’s Chicana feminism to Beatriz Preciado’s transgender activism. Students will develop their own interests and interpretations through reading responses and essays.
SEM 101 MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Itziar Rodriguez de Rivera 18354
ROMANCE STUDIES 1102
Writing the Self in French Literature
How do we form our conceptions of self and how might storytelling provide insights into the ways in which we construct our identities? What does it mean for the self to “come into being” in a text? Through an investigation of primarily French autobiographical works, we will discuss questions of authenticity and desire, the fictionalized representation of “selves,” and the role of memory in our imaginary self-representations. We will explore notions of the self in relation to reverie, nature, politics, gender, and sexuality. Readings include translated excerpts from authors such as Montaigne and Rousseau, along with critical and philosophical texts, and film. Writing assignments will encourage students to question, analyze, and think critically about these works.
SEM 102 MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Adam Schoene 18355 Kathleen Long
ROMANCE STUDIES 1102 Desire, Fear, and the Exotic Other
Who is the exotic other? Is s/he anything other than our projection of desire and fear onto a subject that we assume radically foreign to us? How is the exotic other fabricated, defined, and represented in literature, art, and media? And what happens when the exotic other stares back at you? In this course we will encounter some of the forms exotic others may take, from “noble savages,” to cannibals and zombies, from “wild women” to “lazy orientals.” We will reflect on the violence of the exotic gaze and on various means to resist the tendency to eroticize and commodify the other. Is a real encounter with the other possible? Students will address these questions in writing critical essays and creative pieces.
SEM 103 MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Alex Lenoble 18356 Kathleen Long
ROMANCE STUDIES 1102 Alien Americas
The truth is out there! In this seminar we will approach the figure of the “alien” in Latin America and Latin@ Studies. This course focuses primarily on short stories and poetry from the Hispanic literary tradition (in translation) and the human/alien divide. As a class, we will scrutinize and respond to the language authors use to define the alien—with special consideration for this figure in migration, popular culture, and beyond. Readings include selections from Junot Diaz, Alicia Camacho Schmidt, Octavio Paz, José Vasconcelos, Sylvia Wynter, and the anthology Cosmos Latinos. Over the course of the semester, students will develop strategies for writing critically and creatively. Particular emphasis will be placed on fostering skills such as literary analysis, argumentation, and style.
SEM 105 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Lacie Rae Cunningham 18489 Kathleen Long
ROMANCE STUDIES 1109 Intersubjective Bodies and Photography
In the examination of digital images and prints archived at the Johnson Museum, this course will develop the concept of “intersubjectivity” as a negotiated relationship between photographer, photographic subject, and viewer. What configuration of visible elements and invisible circumstances position the viewer as a voyeur as opposed to a witness? When is the photographer considered a provocateur instead of a documentarian? Moreover, how can the individual represented as the object of photography imbue agency as a subject? In addition to exhibit reviews and interviews with photographers, critical readings will include selections from Hannah Arendt, Ariella Azoulay, John Berger, Andy Grundberg, and Susan Sontag, as well as the photography of Robert Frank, Katy Grannan, Dorothea Lange, Nikki Lee, Danny Lyon, Sally Mann, and Cindy Sherman.
SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Eddie Curran 18358 Kathleen Long
The day/time on this seminar used to be TR 11:40-12:55. It is now TR 10:10-11:25.
Social Networks and Health
How do social networks impact health? Recent social science research points to how the structure, quality, and diversity of relationships between people engender unequal health outcomes. This body of work highlights how connectedness can be a risk or protective factor depending on context. For example, is it better to be popular during flu season? How do dating norms contribute to STI outbreaks among high schoolers? Can your friends’ friends influence weight gain? In this course students are encouraged to think critically about social relationships’ effects on health. Course readings will draw on empirical research studies, as well as media articles and relevant pop culture. Writing assignments will progress from short responses to longer syntheses with a continuing emphasis on clarity in communication.
SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Rachel Behler 18361 Benjamin Cornwell
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY STUDIES 1123 The Politics of Sound
We tend to think of sounds and silences either as straightforwardly, transparently meaningful, or else as neutral background noise; the Western tradition usually has privileged the visual over the aural. Yet sound (and its absence) acquires different cultural and historical meanings in different contexts. In short, politics—people’s choices, interests, values, and powers—are embedded in the way we experience sound in everyday life, art, commerce, science, and technology. Drawing upon the interdisciplinary field of Science and Technology Studies to rethink assumptions about the role of sound in our lives, students will write papers ranging from descriptions and reading responses, to evaluating and synthesizing arguments, to independent research.
SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo 18362
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY STUDIES 1126 Lives on Trial: Histories of Biomedicine
This seminar will explore modern medical science as a social process, examining its history and its ethical, political, and cultural dimensions. We will consider the development of this field from the early 19th century till the present, examining how biomedical scientists have defined research questions, mobilized resources, and built new methods for conducting laboratory and clinical investigations. Specific topics may include the birth of the clinic, germ theory, psychiatry, pharmaceutical research, and molecular biomedicine. Writing assignments will include analysis of the readings, opinion pieces linking contemporary issues to historical material, a book review, a film review, and a final paper based on a research proposal.
SEM 101 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Mehmet Ekinci 18363 Stephen Hilgartner
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY STUDIES 1127
Risk and Society: Knowledge, Technology, and Politics
Hurricanes. Guns. Ebola. Financial meltdowns. Contaminated food. Climate change. Cyber warfare. We live in a hazardous world of uncertainty, surrounded by claims about risks, some sounding the alarm, some seeking to reassure. Scientists, engineers, and managers try to measure and model the risks embedded in complex systems, hoping to improve our understanding and guide decisions. This seminar will consider risk from the perspective of the social sciences. How do individuals, organizations, and societies produce knowledge about hazards? How do they decide which threats deserve their attention? How do conflicting viewpoints about risk shape technology and politics? We will examine controversies in public health, disaster management, finance, and emerging technologies. Students will gain practice writing short analytic papers, Op/Ed pieces, fictional narratives, and personal reflections.
SEM 101 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Stephen Hilgartner 18364
An Introduction to Writing in the University
This writing seminar is designed for first- and second-year 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 individual students.
Do not request this course on a ballot. Instructor consent is required. Students who believe that they need intensive work on academic writing should first complete the ballot, and then attend the Knight Institute Writing Consultation. Call (607)255-6349 or visit 174 Rockefeller Hall for more information. "S/U" grades only.
Opening up New Worlds Through Research and Rhetoric
Drawing upon personal or academic experiences and interests, students select their own topics and design research portfolios that highlight significant analytic research. To do this, you will step through the Cornell Library gateway and receive a semester-long guided tour through one of the world’s most amazing research libraries––its vast search engines, its abundant print and electronic collections, its precious special collections and archives. This introduction to college research explores using data bases, evaluating information, and engaging both to produce effective academic writing. Study techniques of analysis for converting scholarly information into thesis, synthesizing and acknowledging sources, developing voice and style, crafting technically and rhetorically sophisticated prose. Readings provide models of interdisciplinary scholarship highlighting researched-based writing in the sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. This course is especially appropriate for students who feel they have only just begun developing their academic research and writing skills.
SEM 101 MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Darlene Evans 18374
First-year students preferred. Those other than first-year students should contact instructor for permission.