Fall 2019 First-Year Writing Seminars


From Labels to Lab-Grown Meat: Exploring the Food Industry

Through reading, writing, and discussion students will broaden their understanding of the food market and its components. The course will introduce students to marketing, strategy, industry structure, and public policy within the world of food. Students will write personal narratives about their own food purchasing and consumption. They will write about the market potential of novel and controversial foods, such as lab-grown meat. They will research food companies that have been successful and explain why they’ve been able to dominate their markets. They will write persuasive essays about food policy controversies like soda taxes and GMO labeling. This course is appropriate for anyone excited about food and the functions of the food market.

SEM 101 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Anne Byrne 18153 Miguel Gomez


Listening to Indigenous Voices to Solve Global Problems.

Evidence tells us that the world today is threatened by massive social and environmental imbalances: poverty, climate change, and continuing population explosion. After considering the causes of these imbalances under a regime of global capitalism, this course will look at a range of alternative ideas, specifically from Indigenous thinkers, about how the world should work if we want to keep it socially and ecologically in balance. The alternatives we will query come from a range of Indigenous writers of fiction, poetry, and theory, who locate themselves in Native American (north and south), Aboriginal, and Maori communities. Writing assignments will be based on critical encounters with these texts.

SEM 101 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Eric Cheyfitz 18155


Labor and American Media

This seminar is dedicated to two scholarly pursuits. First, we will conceptualize different forms of labor and work. Second, we will situate those modes of labor within our contemporary American media landscape. To these pursuits, we will ask a series of questions: Whose labor is culturally valued and devalued? What kinds of labor are rendered peripheral and invisible? How does media consumption generate its own kind of fan labor? Writings for the course will ask students to develop methodologies for answering these lines of inquiry; assignments include scholarly mission statements, research projects, textual analysis, and film reviews. In addition to assigned readings, students will be asked to watch visual media, and in particular films, for class discussion and assignments.

SEM 101 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Jonathan Cicoski 18158 Noliwe Rooks


Local Native American Archaeology

What was central New York State like before the arrival of Europeans? Who lived here? What was daily life like hundreds of years ago? This course outlines the history of central New York State from the earliest Indigenous occupations to the end of the sixteenth century, focusing on the early history of the Haudenosaunee (or Iroquois). During the sixteenth century, Haudenosaunee peoples were entangled in webs of social, economic, and power relations extending across the Northeast—including other Indigenous peoples as well as Europeans. Readings will explore what life was like in this region at different periods of time and writing assignments will help students understand how archaeologists uncover details about the past and why learning about local Indigenous history is important.

SEM 101 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Samantha Sanft 18164 Marina Welker


Gender and Sexuality in the Middle East

Veiled woman, Muslim terrorist, gay refugee, Islam, patriarchy, honor crimes... How have these figures and concepts come to shape our knowledge and imagination of the Middle East? How do these stereotypical representations map onto the realities of life in the region? This course explores the role of gender and sexuality in contemporary debates on veiling, modernization, gender violence, “war on terror,” and immigration. We will engage with ethnographical, historical, theoretical texts, and media sources (films, TV series, ads, photos, Op-Eds) from places as diverse as Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, and Palestine. Classroom discussions and writing activities will contribute to students’ critical thinking and writing skills necessary for analyzing how gender and sexuality are integral to political organization, distribution of power, and global inequalities.

SEM 102 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Elif Sari 18165 Marina Welker


Ethnofictions: Storytelling in Anthropological Writing and Filmmaking

If storytelling is the motor that makes the world turn, ethnofiction is the liminal space in which fact and fiction meet to allow new realities to emerge. In this course we will engage the politics of ethnographic writing and filmmaking, by questioning both the categories of fact and fiction. Taking intersectionality as an analytical lens, we will examine the lives, ideas, and movements located at “the margins” of nation-states, citizenship, protection, and knowledge production. We will ask what is at stake for both those speaking from the margins and those who find themselves entrenched in unquestioned hegemonies. By considering marginalized voices (feminist, queer, indigenous, and people of color knowledge-producers), we will ask then: “Whose story is it, anyway?” “Who gets to tell it?” “And how?”

SEM 103 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Mariangela Mihai Jordan 18166 Marina Welker


We Humans and Our Walls: Expression—Division—Connection

What can the varied ways humans use walls teach us about cultural identity, social difference, and political power? People have been painting the surfaces of walls for forty thousand years, building settlements behind walls for ten thousand years, and posting digital content onto walls for fifteen years. Engaging with works on community murals and protest graffiti, border walls and gated communities, crowd-funding and hashtag activism, this course challenges us to think critically about the roles different kinds of walls play in structuring contemporary societies around the world. Students will learn and practice skills for consuming and producing academic texts, with a special focus on close reading and expository writing. Graded written assignments will include an annotated bibliography, in-class and take-home essays, and a research paper.

SEM 104 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Amir Mohamed 18167 Marina Welker


Culture, Society, and Power: Cans to Cultured Meats—Food Technology, Risk, and Society

Can you imagine biting into a juicy burger of cell-grown meat? What health, environmental, and societal risks are entailed in introducing new food technology? Humans have utilized technology in food production, distribution, and consumption since tool invention, with instruments such as roasting spits and dishware, machines of mechanical reproduction, drones for food delivery, and petri dishes for cultured meats. We will draw from various fields and media: anthropology (Tim Ingold, Claude Lévi-Strauss), social theory, food science, policy, science fiction (Margaret Atwood, Charlie Jane Anders), podcasts ( StarTalk), and film to interrogate “progress” and associated or presumed risks and precarity in food technology from past to present to projected future.

Assignments consist of identifying issues, formulating arguments, composing a creative work, and engaging with current controversies.

SEM 105 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Annie Sheng 18168 Marina Welker


Architecture, Monuments, and Heritage

Can we talk about the violent destruction of a historical site the same way we discuss the construction of a war memorial? How do we reflect critically on the discourses around monumentality and heritage? This class aims to unpack the construction of monuments and to discuss the issues and debates around the destruction of architectural heritage. The class will follow a chronological narrative that will focus on seminal essays on architectural monuments. It will introduce critical articles, exhibitions, books, catalogs, and dossiers, each of which represent a different moment, format, and discourse. The writing assignments will consist of diverse topics and writing formats. These assignments will formulate creative links between our reading and writing.

SEM 101 MWF 02:30–03:20 p.m. Aslihan Gunhan 18175


Architecture, Sex, and Narrative

This course will explore how language and architecture work together to produce and naturalize Western understandings of (primarily) sex and gender. By analyzing architectural features such as bedrooms, bathrooms, and dining rooms, we will ask how the dynamics between cultural narratives and such spaces are used to define “normal” gender roles, thereby excluding marginalized groups along lines of sex, gender expression, and desire. As an example, we might consider how public toilets have historically been made inaccessible to women, African Americans, and transgender people. Course readings and writing exercises will help us analyze the importance of narrative in these dynamics, and allow us to ask how written tone and style might be used to signal people’s inclusion or exclusion in general society.

SEM 102 MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Sergio Preston 18176


Seeing, Reading, and Writing the Alhambra

This course is centered on Granada’s Alhambra, built, for the most part, during the middle decades of the fourteenth century A.D. It is both the most complete surviving medieval Islamic palace and the most popular tourist destination in Spain. Throughout the more-than-six centuries of its existence, the Alhambra has inspired admiration and interpretation, this latter being influenced by intellectual trends and cultural currents as varied as Romanticism, positivism, Orientalism, post-structuralism, post-colonial theory, and literature for tourists—it was even the setting for Washington Irving’s famed Tales of the Alhambra. In this class students will learn to view and to write about the Alhambra through the lenses offered by these various movements and currents, as well as through the eyes of its contemporary audience, the fourteenth-century poets, courtiers, kings, mystics, and the occasional Christian ally who frequented its beautifully-ornamented halls and patios.

SEM 101 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Cynthia Robinson 18177


Travelling Pictures and Objects in Islam

How do we understand Islamic attitudes towards images and representation? How do images and objects communicate ideas about Islam? This course takes as its focus the lives and travels of pictures and objects that were implicated in Islamic imperial conquests and the Indian Ocean maritime trade. By looking at Islam through materialities in the context of cross-border relationships made possible by both conquest and trade, this course locates Islam in areas as far as Africa, Southeast Asia, and East Asia. Using art historical methods for writing about objects and images, this class encourages students to think about the various (re)interpretations and imaginations of Islam and its manifestations in pictures and objects across time and in different cultures.

SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Anissa Rahadiningtyas 18184 Ben Anderson


Intersections of Art and Law

As art law scholar John Henry Merryman wrote in 1975, legal systems often express the values and attitudes of a culture; a quality equally associated with art. The intersections between art and law are rarely considered, but the points at which these two fields cross or collide are where cultural values are often tested. This course explores that relationship through examining artists’ interventions in the legal system, and boundary-bending collaborations between artists and lawyers, sometimes towards social justice reforms. Course readings reflect this experimental crossdisciplinarity, bridging art and law through art criticism, artists’ texts, judicial opinions, contracts, and cultural history. Diverse writing assignments include archive-based research, Wikipedia entries, and persuasive essays, requiring students to reflect on the impact of language and form when writing for different audiences and aims.

SEM 101   MW 02:55–04:10 p.m.   Lauren van Haaften-Schick    18558 An-Yi Pan


The Making of Modernity in India

How do we define terms like “traditional” and “modern”? These questions have been central to the formation of contemporary Indian society. Often used loosely in our daily lives, these terms get revived and recirculated, gaining special importance in the South Asian context, where the colonial past haunts the present. Drawing on debates in the disciplines of History, Political Science, and Sociology, we will think about controversies raised by such distinctions. The course will include the “reading” of a variety of sources such as flms, fiction, art, and music. The writing work will encourage students to communicate to both academic and non-academic audiences.

SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Yagna Nag Chowdhuri 18195 Dan Gold


Very Short Literature

In this course we will read Chinese jueju (four-line poems), Japanese haiku, the aphorisms of Chinese philosophy (from books like the Analects and the Dao De Jing), as well as contemporary poetry and short literature from Twitter and Weibo. Our goal will be to think about how language is shaped and compressed into chunks, usually sentences, that are simultaneously swift, transformative, and beautiful. We will write analytical and interpretive essays about short texts, do research into the contexts of traditional and contemporary short literature, and compose lots and lots of thesis statements, tweets, and status updates.

SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Nick Admussen 18196


Writing Black Experience and Black Lives

The study of selected works and ideas of writers of the black experience which allows students to read, respond, and write about different genres as they shape their own ideas on these and related topics. We will include poems, essays, short stories, which explore the black experience. Various approaches to writing and responding to literature at university level will be presented. Students will develop writing skills in critical areas that will be transferable to other courses and in their future academic and professional careers.

SEM 101 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Carole Boyce Davies 18207


Educational Innovations in Africa and the African Diaspora

This course deals with educational innovations geared to promoting equal opportunity based on gender, race, and class, in Africa and the African Diaspora. After an introduction of the concepts and theories of education and innovations and the stages of innovation as planned change, the course will focus on concrete cases and different types of educational innovations. The selected case studies, in the United States, include the creation and expansion of historically black institutions with a focus on Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University), Lincoln University, Spelman College, and the Westside Preparatory School in Chicago. The African cases to be studied include African languages for instruction in Nigeria, science education also in Nigeria, Ujamaa and education for self-reliance in Tanzania, classroom action research in Lesotho, Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) in African higher education with a focus on African Virtual Universities (AVU), the application of the Global Development Learning Network (GDLN) in Côte d’Ivoire, and OnLine learning at the University of South Africa (UNISA).

SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. N’Dri Assie-Lumumba 18208


Where the Wild Things Are: The Nature of Our Cities

Loud noises, flashing lights, large roaming creatures—life as an urban animal sounds like a nightmare! Yet humans are not the only organisms living in our cities. Who and what else lives around us, and why? How do animals and plants survive in altered, polluted habitats? To understand the answers to these questions and more, we will tackle topics such as resource availability, bioacoustics, predator-prey dynamics, stress responses, and alterations in mating behavior for wildlife living in urban settings. Readings will be drawn mostly from popular science articles and no prior knowledge is expected or required. Writing assignments will focus on reflecting on our own roles in the ecology of our cities, increasing public awareness about local conservation issues, and analyzing articles through well-supported critiques.

SEM 101 MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Allison Injaian 18219


Science Communication through Storytelling

What is it about the story of a National Geographic photographer traversing the jungle in search of jaguars or the story of mountaineers climbing Everest that draws us in and transports us into their worlds? If told well, a story can become an incredibly engaging experience that has the power to unite readers through the most basic human emotions. But science is often the opposite of this, focusing primarily on facts which overshadow the engaging personal stories leading to discoveries. Scientists need you to help them convey their stories! Through written analyses of storytelling techniques used in field journals from the 1800s to those used by today's lnstagram stars, you'll learn and put into practice the art of communicating science through analyzing and writing stories.

SEM 101 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Joseph Welklin 18335 Elliot Shapiro


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 essays focusing on readings and discussions in class.

SEM 101

TR 08:40–09:55 a.m.

Jonathan Warner

18220 Roby Courtney

SEM 102

TR 01:25–02:40 p.m.

Samantha Davis

18221 Roby Courtney

SEM 103

MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m.

Daniel Gallagher



Reading Films

We live in an image-saturated world. How do we make sense of the moving image and its powerful roles in shaping culture and mediating our relationship with the world? This course will equip students with the tools to understand and decipher film language. It introduces and interrogates the basic notions, technologies, terminologies, and theories of film analysis. We will study visual and compositional elements, like mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing, and sound. Films we discuss will include different geographies, genres, major directors, schools, and film movements. Through writing students will learn to analyze films with accurate, medium-specific vocabulary, develop informed and nuanced arguments, and critically reflect on the position of the viewer.

SEM 101

MW 02:55–04:10 p.m.

Jonathan Monroe


SEM 102

MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m.

Keyun Tian

18236 Debra Castillo

SEM 103

MW 07:30–08:45 p.m.

Junting Huang

18237 Debra Castillo


Books with Big Ideas

What do Frankenstein and Things Fall Apart have in common? What lies behind the fantastical stories of Aladdin? Do we have to like Garcia Marquez and Shakespeare? These texts and authors re-imagine the human experience at its most intriguing level. In this course we will discuss human rights, intimacy, joy, isolation, and other controversies at the heart of these books. Throughout the semester, students will learn how to articulate an informed and nuanced position on these issues via formal practices in analytical readings, drafting, peer review, and self-editing. Actual selection of readings may vary depending on the instructor’s focus.

SEM 101

TR 10:10–11:25 a.m.

John Un


Debra Castillo

SEM 102

TR 11:40–12:55 p.m.

John Un


Debra Castillo

SEM 103

MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m.

Hannah Karmin


Debra Castillo



In 2015 Japan's SoftBank Robotics Corporation announced the world's first robot with feelings. Many people were excited, many more disturbed. If robots are simply, as the dictionary suggests, machines “designed to function in the place of a living agent,” then what is so disturbing about them? Since robots are designed to replace human labor (first economic, and now also emotional), do they represent a threat as much as they do an aid? What happens when robots exceed their purpose, and become more humanlike? How do robots read, write, and feel? How do the activities of coding and writing, or decoding and reading differ? Students will be equipped with the vocabulary and writing strategies to rigorously analyze, compare, and debate the meaning of robots in the human imagination from different epochs, countries, languages, and media. In doing so they will write in a variety of registers about works such as the play R.U.R. by Karel ?apek, who invented the term “robot.” Other materials may include philosophical texts, fiction, videogames, films, graphic novels, and hip-hop concept albums.

SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Marie Lambert 18152 Debra Castillo


A Taste of Russian Literature

Explore the culinary tradition and culture of Russia in broad historical, geopolitical, and socioeconomic context through the lens of Russian folklore, short stories of Gogol, Chekhov, and Bulgakov, works of contemporary Russian-American writers, visual art, and international film. The literary journey will take you from the lavish tables of the XVIII-century aristocracy, to the hardship and austerity of GULAG prison, to the colorful and savory regional fare of the former Russian Empire and Soviet Union, to the fridge and pantry staples in the everyday life of Russian family. Your writing assignments will help you develop critical thinking and argumentative skills, precision and clarity of expression, ability to write with discipline, creativity, and a sense of style.

SEM 101 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Raissa Krivitsky 18154


Stories of Empires

What is an empire? Could we compare the Romans to the Incas, or the French to the Chinese? How have the ways in which we have represented empires affected our understanding of it? Furthermore, is it possible to connect our current global refugee crisis, or the popularity of the film Avatar (2009) to any previous and contemporary imperial formations? To answer these questions, one must not only address what makes these political entities similar or different, but also consider whether any theoretical proposition predicated solely on military and economic might would be adequate. In this FWS the question of empire will be addressed through historical, theoretical, and representational perspectives by looking at films, music, and literary texts. Throughout the semester, students will learn how to articulate and craft nuanced positions on the topic via formal practices in class discussion, close readings, drafting, peer-review, and self-editing.

SEM 101 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Vinh Pham 18156 Debra Castillo SEM 102 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Vinh Pham 18157 Debra Castillo


Cannibal Cultures

The cannibal is always the other. Eating human flesh as a practice or a ritual always happens in the remote past or in far-away places. And yet, the cannibal lives among us. In spite of real cases of cannibalism, most of these cannibals inhabit our reality only in books, films, songs, or artworks. Nevertheless, they form an important part of our cultural imaginary. This course investigates figures of the cannibal in contemporary aesthetic texts (and some of their influential predecessors) with a focus on different cultural contexts. Issues that will be at the center of our attention are cannibalism's deployment to mark cultural differences, as well as for political and ideological purposes, its relation to sensationalism and (spectatorial) pleasure, and its varying configurations in different cultural contexts and media. As we engage with a wide range of texts, from novels to television series, from films to video clips, from art to philosophical reflections, we will use them as models and inspirations for different writing exercises.

SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Andrea Bachner 18159

This course deals with cannibalism—explicitly violent content will be part of the class.


Reading Poetry

Poems are puzzles, and in this class you’ll figure them out by writing about them. You’ll learn how to answer the key question “What is this poem about?” and how to explain your 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. Readings include poems by Emily Dickinson, Robert Louis Stevenson, A. E. Housman, Robert Frost, Alexander Pushkin, Mikhail Lermontov, and others (all reading is in English).

SEM 101 MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Nancy Pollak 18160


New Narratives of Nature

In today’s era of global environmental change, the relationship between humans and nature is being reimagined. In this course we will seek to understand ongoing environmental changes and the effects of naming or narrating them in particular ways. Readings will be wide-ranging, including selections from Charles Mann’s 2018 book The Wizard and the Prophet, on whether we humans are animals like any others, and how we might survive and thrive in the face of environmental degradation. Together, we will try to work out how to argue and ask questions thoughtfully in this era of crisis and controversy. Writing assignments will build towards a research proposal, where students will develop realistic, data-driven research questions about topics of their choice.

SEM 101 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Eleanor Andrews 18161 Tracy Carrick


How Do We Feed the World?

In 2009 the U.N. declared that food production must double by 2050 in order to feed the world’s growing population. There are currently one billion people suffering from hunger and that number is growing. At the same time, up to fifty percent of food is wasted in places where there is more than enough to eat. This course uses competing perspectives in an attempt to answer the question: how do we feed the world? Students will develop an in-depth, interdisciplinary, and case-based understanding of this question by writing a series of essays based on their interests. A final paper will propose a plan to international organizations on how to best feed the world. The readings include academic and journalistic articles, popular books, and official reports.

SEM 102 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Ryan Nehring 18162 Wendy Wolford


The Social Lives of Milk

This course uses one popular commodity—dairy—as a lens through which to understand socio-cultural change, dynamics of economic development, and the politics implicit in food systems. We will consider core concepts within sociology and related public policy, and students will encounter and produce several forms of evidence-based writing. Using one connecting theme to ground various literatures will help us touch on an array of global histories and present-day complexities. Students will practice writing policy briefs, create a research paper, and collaboratively produce a “Who does dairy?” oral history project with Cornell- and Ithaca-based individuals. This latter effort will allow everyone to learn more about their collegiate context and share stories from farmers, researchers, students, and practitioners within the Tompkins County community.

SEM 103 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Tess Pendergrast 18163 Tracy Carrick


Writing and Sexual Politics: Disobedient Women, Untamable Words

Life and literature are full of rules. What happens if you break them? In the course we will read texts by and about women who are rule-breakers; all of them are in some way "too much" (too opinionated, too angry, too large or too small, too emotional, too ugly, too strange). Our subjects will be uncomfortable, taboo, unconventional, and fearless. With authors such as Alison Bechdel, Audre Lorde, Virginia Woolf, and Han Kang, this class will ask students to question not only the rules of the world we live in, but of our language itself. Writing both analytically and creatively, students will be encouraged to push boundaries with the questions they ask, the positions they take, and their very practice of writing.

SEM 101 MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Emily Mercurio 18169 Laura Brown


Writing and Sexual Politics: Gender and Race in Speculative Fiction

Speculative fiction allows readers and writers to wonder about what the future might hold, but what might that future entail for women and non-binary people of color? What perspectives might women of color bring to the topic, and what possibilities might those perspectives reveal? In this class we will read speculative fiction by women of color in order to better understand how a group so frequently erased from visions of the future might imagine alternative futures for themselves. We will think critically about how their work tackles issues pertinent to women of color, including racial and gendered violence, reproductive rights and technologies, legacies of oppression, and strategies for survival. Course materials will include works by Nnedi Okorafor, N.K. Jemisin, Louise Erdrich, Octavia Butler, and others.

SEM 102 MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Mariana Alarcon 18170 Laura Brown


Writing and Sexual Politics: Sensational Women—Power, Desire, and Gender Norms

From 19th-century Sensation Fiction heroines to contemporary congresswomen, what might it mean to be a sensational woman? This class explores questions about gender roles, ambition, desire, and power, while also considering how writers represent these questions. Sensational is variously defined as relating to the senses; designed to produce great public interest; titillating but inaccurate or exaggerated; and remarkable—a complex and contradictory set of definitions. We will consider representations of sensational women in various media, studying how these definitions have shaped the public perception of such women as well as how women have re-inhabited these definitions. This focus on the sensational will help us interpret course texts, and will also contribute to a broader understanding of gendered power in the US today.

SEM 103 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Kate McCullough 18171


Writing and Sexual Politics: Women and the Novel

How have women writers helped create the modern novel? And how has women’s writing changed the way we read? In this course we will explore novels by and about women, from the rise of the novel in the eighteenth century to our own time. We will discuss these works’ stories of independence, equality, liberty, hierarchy, and slavery. And in approaching each novel, we will also read and evaluate a critical essay to help us create our own approach to larger questions about the "female imagination," the social status of women, the role of independence in female creativity, and the relation between gender and race. The readings will include novels by Charlotte Brontë, Virginia Woolf, and Toni Morrison.

SEM 105 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Laura Brown 18173


Writing and Sexual Politics: The Queer Art of Memoir

How does one write the self? What is the political “value” of personal experience? This course poses these questions with a particular focus on memoirs from LGBTQ+ writers, including authors such as David Wojnarowicz, Audre Lorde, Justin Chin, and Samuel R. Delany. Moving across queer history, we will examine the plurality of ways that memoir can manifest itself, from more “normative” narrative modes to queerer mediums like the letter, poem, or graphic novel. Alongside these texts, we will also explore a variety of analytical and personal essay styles, including creative nonfiction that you yourself will produce. Thus not only will this course introduce you to history’s most important queer voices, but it will also give you the chance to foster your own.

SEM 106 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Peter Shipman 18174 Laura Brown


Writing Across Cultures: The Literature of Science

Science and art, reason and imagination, thought and feeling, straight-laced and loosey-goosey: these are some of the most ingrained dualities of our culture. But where do they come from? Are science and art really such different ways of seeing and knowing the world, and if so, how? This course takes a comparative approach, pairing influential primary texts from various periods of scientific history with literary texts that take up their ideas. Scientific texts by Galileo, Darwin, Heisenberg, Turing, and from debates about climate change; literary texts by Godwin, Cavendish, Wells, Dick, and Butler. Students writing a variety of analytic, argumentative, and creative essays will attempt to challenge the idea that literature simply has nothing to say about science, or is limited to critiquing its soullessness.

SEM 101 MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Nathaniel Likert 18185 Jane Juffer


Writing Across Cultures: Irony, Sincerity, and Authenticity

Sincerity and authenticity are often considered hallmarks of good literature. We praise work that feels original, natural, and honest, whereas we condemn work that strikes us as imitative, formulaic, or pretentious. But why do we value sincerity and authenticity so highly? What does it mean to be authentic? In other words, what does it mean to “be yourself”? How could you ever not be yourself? How can you tell when someone is being insincere? Am I being sincere right now? How do you know? No, seriously, how do you know? In this course we will read works of literature that explore these and related issues, including works by Oscar Wilde, Sylvia Plath, David Foster Wallace, Fred Moten, and Rupi Kaur, among others.

SEM 102 MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Bryce Thornburg 18186 Jane Juffer


Writing Across Cultures: Always a (Re)Mix—American Champloo

Champloo is an Okinawan word used to describe a local style of panfry, meaning “stirred together,” or “mixed up.” In addition to exploring major works, themes, and authors of twentieth-century and contemporary Asian American literature, this course will examine textual spaces where Asian and American cultures are “stirred together” in an effort to articulate what a uniquely Asian American culture might look like. Although this is primarily a literary course, students will be expected to engage with other forms of media such as film and music. Look for readings by Maxine Hong-Kinston, Chang-Rae Lee, Jhumpa Lahiri, John Okada, Julie Otsuka, Viet Thanh Nguyen, and Theresa Cha.

SEM 103 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Christopher Berardino 18187 Jane Juffer


Writing Across Cultures: Global Poetry as Cultural Critique

What are the boundaries and borders of poetry? What does it actually mean to think of poetry as a representation of our society? Of our world? How does poetry reflect our current political, economic, and social realities? This course will introduce students to the practice of reading and writing about contemporary works of poetry from around the world in order to gain a keen understanding of how our own social, political, and cultural locations influence our readings of texts, and how diverse voices and experiences resonate cross-culturally. Reading texts by Black, Brown, Asian, post-colonial, and queer writers such as Audre Lorde, Rupi Kaur, Ocean Vuong, Derek Walcott, and Long Solider will highlight questions surrounding the politics of identity, race, gender, religion, sexuality, nationality, and translation.

SEM 104 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Ama Bemma Adwetewa-Badu 18188 Jane Juffer


Writing Across Cultures: 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 book about nuclear proliferation built around the Fibonacci sequence. 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 105 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Greg Londe 18189


CANCELLED - Writing Across Cultures: It’s All Chinese To Me

CANCELLED - Cantonese, Fukienese, Tiawanese, Mandarin, Tahishanses . . . it’s all Chinese to me.” In her memoir Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston identified a conundrum familiar to many US-born children of Chinese immigrants when she asked: “What is Chinese tradition and what is the movies?” What is “Chinese tradition”? Does it mean the same thing to people in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, or to Chinese diasporic communities in North America? Does “Chineseness” change across time and space? While there will be occasion to discuss what “Chineseness” means in different Asian contexts, this course will focus primarily on how ideas of “China” and “Chineseness” have been historically constructed by, for, and in the West—particularly in the US. Course materials include Chinese American literature, as well as films, photographs, and historical and sociological studies of East/West relations.

SEM 106 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Shelley Wong 18190


Writing Across Cultures: The Bible and Ancient Authors

In this seminar we will read, discuss, and write about key works by Classical authors such as Homer, Plato, Virgil, and Ovid, as well as selections from the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament. The focus of writing and discussion will be on developing analytical skills for understanding and exploring these works as literary, historical, and intellectual artifacts.

SEM 107 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Andrew Galloway 18191


Writing Across Cultures: Aliens and Others—Science Fiction at the Borders

How do we square the fundamental themes of science fiction—humanity's colonization of the stars, encounters with the alien Other, apocalypse—with modern critiques of the colonial mindset? Through analytical essays, short freewriting exercises, and shorter creative experiments, this course asks what it means to encounter the nonhuman being, as well as ourselves, particularly through writings by historically oppressed peoples. It covers a time period from the discovery of a "New World" to modern-day pop music. From writers and artists like Robert A. Heinlein to Archie Weller, Octavia Butler to Janelle Monáe, this class asks students to produce rigorous analyses of speculative fiction emanating from the margins. By the course’s conclusion students should have a firm grasp of collegiate-level academic writing.

SEM 108 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Noah Lloyd 18192 Jane Juffer


Writing Across Cultures: The Culture of the Raj

Judging from the recent spate of popular novels and movies dealing with the British rule in India, the "Raj" was a time of pageantry and color, adventure and romance. But to what extent is this image historically accurate? How did people live their lives, and how did the colonial rule affect not only Indian society and culture but also contemporary Britain? The Raj did invent many of the modern forms of spectacle and public ceremonial display, but is there anything else that survives to the present day? What do we know about “race” and nationalism, for instance, or literature and imperial ideology, and the various “cultural” ways we understand ourselves—then as much as now? Readings will draw on both literary and historical texts, and include some current films and popular fiction.

SEM 109 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Satya Mohanty 18193


Writing Across Cultures: Humor, Lightness, Wit

When is it right or wrong to laugh? What are the limitations of humor? What happens when comic perspectives tackle tragic themes? In this seminar we’ll see how nineteenth- and twentieth-century American and British writers handle a variety of topics with a light touch. We’ll discuss the value and the ethics of lightness. Your writing assignments, which will include both formal essays and creative tasks like composing an original comedy sketch, will invite you to consider how and when you can uplift your own writing with humor, lightness, and wit. Puns are strongly encouraged. Readings may include Oscar Wilde, W.H. Auden, and Kurt Vonnegut, among others.

SEM 110 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Christopher Hewitt 18194 Jane Juffer


Writing and Community Engagement: Inhabiting Gardens

What’s in a garden? Art or nature, private property or public good, space of solace or site of farm labor—together we will tackle these questions as we consider these complex man-made spaces that nevertheless teem with plant and animal life. Students will read literary texts about gardens from a variety of time periods and geographical regions, as well as gardening manuals and accounts of contemporary community garden activism. Not only will the curriculum introduce students to garden texts, but it will also get them involved in a community engagement project at Cornell Botanic Gardens. Students will work directly in the Gardens, then write critical and creative reflections that they will share on the Gardens’ website or in a community workshop or exhibition.

SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Madeline Reynolds 18209 Laura Brown

Students must be available for one of the following two presentations on campus at the end of the semester. The presentations will take place November 11 and November 19 at 7:00-9:00 pm. The class will also include a visit to a community garden one weekend afternoon in October.


Writing and Community Engagement: Imagining, Making, Living—Black Feminist Freedom

From organizations, like Combahee River Collective, to mass movements, like #BlackLivesMatter, to cultural productions, like Black Panther, creativity, collaboration, and critique have always been at the heart of transformative change. For Black feminists, especially, creating a more equitable and sustainable future has always meant learning how to think differently in order to imagine otherwise and ultimately live freely. In this course we will explore, through key Black feminist texts and Black women’s literary expression, the relationship between feminist theory and political practice. We will consider issues surrounding race, class, gender, sexuality, and community through public writing, zine workshops, and collaborations with the 4-H Urban Outreach Program in order to generate freedom dreams that actively critique their socio-political present and center collective thought and action.

SEM 102 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Jessica Rodriguez 18210 Laura Brown

Student schedules must accommodate Tuesday or Thursday (3:00-4:00 pm) trips to 4-H Urban Outreach during the latter half of the semester. Transportation provided.


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.

SEM 101

MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m.

Carl Moon


Charlie Green

SEM 102

MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m.

Chelsea Thomeer


Charlie Green

SEM 103

MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m.

Yessica Martinez


Charlie Green

SEM 104

MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m.

Carl Moon


Charlie Green

SEM 105

MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m.

Kathryn Harlan-Gran


Charlie Green


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.

SEM 101

MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m.

Kathryn Diaz


Stuart Davis

SEM 102

MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m.

Anastasia McCray


Stuart Davis

SEM 103

TR 10:10–11:25 a.m.

Bwesigye Bwa Mwesigire


Stuart Davis

SEM 104

TR 01:25–02:40 p.m.

Lindsey Warren


Stuart Davis

SEM 105

TR 11:40–12:55 p.m.

Zachary Price


Stuart Davis


American Voices: Making a Magazine

The New Yorker magazine has been making and showcasing great writers since 1925. In this seminar it will be our guide to twentieth- and early twenty-first-century cultural life. How has this powerful magazine shaped American literature, for good and for ill? Who finds an audience in our society? By what means and to what ends? We will read Alice Munro, Vladimir Nabokov, John Updike, James Baldwin, Janet Malcolm, Pauline Kael, and other New Yorker stalwarts. What’s more, we will learn from the multiple genres the magazine contains: personal essays, short stories, investigative reporting, literary and film criticism. Students will sharpen their close reading, analytic writing, research skills—and produce their own magazine over the course of the semester.

SEM 101 MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Ben Fried 18216 Stuart Davis


American Voices: Women of Color Righting Their Own Stories

What can the artistic innovations of women of color teach us about citizenship and national identity in America? As these topics become increasingly contested in popular discussion, some writers and visual artists insist on recognizing social ills while creatively broadening our ability to see beyond them. In this course we will explore this creativity in works by women of color, with particular attention to the literary and visual offerings of non-binary femmes and women in the US and Caribbean. How do they offer us tools for imagining ourselves outside conventional notions of identity and nation? Through careful reading, looking, writing, and listening, we will devote ourselves to a respectful and generative consideration of this multidimensional gathering of voices, including our own.

SEM 102 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Cristina Correa 18217 Stuart Davis


American Voices: The 1950s

Popular views of the U.S. 1950s conjure images of sameness: suburbia, rigid gender roles, the glowing TV. But under this Cold War conformity, a radical, multi-racial, and queer obverse of America still evolved. In this course we'll look at this “other” 1950s and chart its relationship to that (perhaps fictional) "popular" one. We'll ask: How does a culture define itself? How does it become "popular"? How does it desire? Students will participate in collaborative exercises, conduct research, and write in several genres concerning texts by James Baldwin, Gwendolyn Brooks, the Beats, and films such as All about Eve, Rebel without a Cause, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

SEM 103 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. James Ingoldsby 18218 Stuart Davis


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.

SEM 101

MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m.

Anum Asi


Charlie Green

SEM 102

MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m.

Chi Le


Charlie Green

SEM 103

MW 02:55–04:10 p.m.

Peter Gilbert


Charlie Green

SEM 104

MW 07:30–08:45 p.m.

Charlotte Pattison


Charlie Green

SEM 105

TR 11:40–12:55 p.m.

Brianna Thompson


Charlie Green

SEM 106

TR 01:25–02:40 p.m.

Alec Pollak


Charlie Green

SEM 107

TR 02:55–04:10 p.m.

Weena Pun


Charlie Green


Cultural Studies: Breaking the Play

What is a play? How do we read plays, and how is this different from reading other creative writing, or other speech acts? This course will examine in detail the mechanisms behind theatrical and non-theatrical language using techniques from both scholars and actors, focusing on the tension between speech and the written word. Possible works covered may include Stuff Happens by David Hare, Rossum’s Universal Robots by Karl ?apek, works by William Shakespeare, The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler, as well as poetry, speeches, political tracts, and more. In addition to extensive close reading and analytic writing, students will be expected to memorize (short passages of) text and to read aloud in class.

SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Seth Koproski 18245 Kate McCullough


Cultural Studies: The Global Body Politics of Hunger

We all eat, or need to eat; while this seems obvious, even neutral knowledge, eating itself is fraught with complexity. This course does not only engage with eating, however—throughout the semester, we will be exploring what it means to have a body that requires food. We will consider what hunger, as an organizing principle, exposes about our own understandings of embodiment, colonialism, global resource inequality, and our consumptive practices. Possible texts include Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions, Hang Kang’s The Vegetarian, and the 2018 film Dumplin’. Writing for the course will include several creative and analytical assignments, culminating in a longer work of public writing and ending with the possibility to write and film a short documentary, record a podcast, or begin a critical memoir.

SEM 102 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Maggie O'Leary 18246 Kate McCullough


Cultural Studies: What’s Wrong with Story Telling? Pursuing Divergent Paths

Many realms of popular culture and mainstream education rely on stories to convey lessons and morals, and these stories often proceed in the linear narrative form of beginning, middle, and end. In this class we begin by exploring different texts that illustrate this linearity, including the problem-solving narratives of preschool children’s television, the parenting guides on “dealing with your ADHD teen,” and the recovery narratives of adult memoirs. How do these narratives help people process information, tell their life stories, and come to resolutions about complex issues? Yet, from a different perspective, how do these stories encourage a kind of conformity and marginalize some populations? What kinds of divergent thinking are precluded through these narrative forms? For alternatives to the straightforward narrative, we look to the field of neurodiversity, where scholars have studied brain development in order to question medical diagnoses of “disorders” such as ADHD and autism; queer theory, which has linked linear modes of thinking to heteronormativity; and memoirs of refugees, who have used notions of space and diaspora to illustrate their often fragmented journeys.

SEM 103 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Jane Juffer 18247


Cultural Studies: Existentialism and Humanism in Anime

How do we know we exist? What makes us human? These questions inspire the core theme of anime: the essence and worth of humanity. In anime and manga, that theme is often conveyed through the exploration of the human mind’s relation to human behavior, and through the discovery of a savior who embodies both sides of the paradox of humanity: human and monster. That paradox repeats the question about humanity in concrete terms: are humans monsters? Together, we will ask how human-monsters can explain human essence and “save” humanity. To explore these questions, we will examine anime and manga such as Aijn, Neon Genesis, and Attack on Titan as well as essays and presentations on the essence of being a human.

SEM 104 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Sasha Smith 18248 Kate McCullough


Cultural Studies: Inventive Writing

How are "new" things made and what do they remake? How do writers navigate untraditional narratives? Writing is, at its foundation, an endeavor of communication, but new stories require new tools of communication. This course will study the inventions of adventurous writers as they sought to communicate the as-of-yet-uncommunicable. Focusing on those narratives traditionally oppressed and overlooked, we will use new forms to re-imagine what is strange or marginalized. We will encounter a variety of genres and mediums in this course and experiment, together, outside the structures of dominant narratives. Like the writers we are reading, we will invent our own tools to write “new” stories and essays that remake the unfamiliar, familiar. The imaginative writing we practice will be both creative and analytical.

SEM 105 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Alice Turski 18249 Kate McCullough


Cultural Studies: Doctors and Patients Writing

Every physical body decays and becomes ill, yet communicating pain and need is remarkably difficult. Why is it so difficult to understand, communicate, and cope with illness? How can doctors and patients overcome these difficulties? In this course we will read writing by both doctors and patients to explore and, if possible, push through these difficulties. Writers will likely include Richard Selzer, Claudia Rankine, Atul Gawande, Eula Biss, and others. Students will write regularly, experimenting with essays and other nonfiction forms.

SEM 106 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Charlie Green 18250


Cultural Studies: Any Person, Any Study—Creating the University

Who is the university for and what does it do? How is your presence on campus a result of historical and political shifts in pedagogical thinking, social justice movements, legislation, and funding? This course will explore these questions alongside historical accounts of the university as well as contemporary representations of college life, internships, and life after graduation to interrogate coming of age in a place that continues to be both alienating and liberating—full of experimentation, deadlines, desires, and expectations. With particular attention to works by first-gen, queer, women, and writers of color, we question if the university can liberate us or just usher us into increasingly confined forms of adulthood. Key texts include: Dear White People, Make Your Home Among Strangers, Girls and Looking.

SEM 107 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Joseph Miranda 18251 Kate McCullough


Cultural Studies: Comics! Graphic Novels! Transmedia Knowledge!

Graphic novels and comics have long mixed research and storytelling. From Maus to Logicomix to Fun Home, graphic novels tackle complex historical, philosophical, and literary issues. The For Beginners and Introducing… comic books series include such titles as Climate Change for Beginners, Black Women for Beginners, Quantum Theory, Mind and Brain, and Derrida. Finally, the field of graphic medicine translates medical science for at-risk communities. Supporting Cornell’s public mission of community engagement, this course teaches students to read and compose argumentative essays, info comics, multimedia presentations, and other forms of transmedia knowledge. Students learn critical and creative skills for sharing research with specialists, community members, policy-makers, funding agencies, and the general public using software such as Word, Comic Life, and PowerPoint. Transmedia knowledge is fun!

SEM 108 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Jon McKenzie 18252


Cultural Studies: Communicating Climate Change

Many of us like stories of personal experience. But this preference for stories on the individual human scale may be one reason that contemporary societies have struggled to develop effective responses to climate change: ordinary storytelling modes aren’t adequate to the long time spans and vast reaches of environmental change. This course will ask you to read, write, and design many different forms and genres in order to experiment with the problem of communicating climate change, from pie-charts to science fiction and from poetry to documentary film. What can each form tell us about climate change that the others cannot?

SEM 109 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Caroline Levine 18253


Cultural Studies: Writing About Zombies

Zombies have existed at some level of reality for centuries, walking the uncertain spaces between binary “certainties” such as us and them, rich and poor, slave and master, and, of course, alive and dead. This class will explore the presence of zombies in the global popular imagination and will examine how zombies occupy a variety of spaces where contemporary social tensions are reflected and refracted. Students will write interpretive essays based on zombie films and other media, making use of cultural studies theories and criticism.

SEM 110   TR 10:10–11:25 a.m.   Chad Uran  18254

SEM 111   TR 01:25–02:40 p.m.   Chad Uran  18255


Cultural Studies: Addictive Media or How to Survive What You Love

What is addiction in the twenty-first century? The substances of addiction have changed throughout history, but so too has our definition of addiction, who can be addicted, and how we should treat it. This course will examine addiction through an assortment of different media texts, from science fiction films to documentaries to Tinder. We will analyze movies such as The Social Network, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Her as well as hook-up apps like Tinder, and popular video games like League of Legends and Fortnite. By the end of the course we will create our own definitions of addiction that adequately address the dangers as well as possible benefits of addictive media.

SEM 112 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Zach Price 18256


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.

SEM 101

MW 08:40–09:55 a.m.

Alice Mercier


David Faulkner

SEM 102

MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m.

Carlos Gomez


David Faulkner

SEM 103

MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m.

Kyhl Stephen


David Faulkner

SEM 104

MW 07:30–08:45 p.m.

Sophia Veltfort


David Faulkner

SEM 105

TR 08:40–09:55 a.m.

Ashley Hand


David Faulkner

SEM 106

MW 08:40–09:55 a.m.

Grace Catherine Greiner


David Faulkner

SEM 107

MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m.

Neal Giannone


David Faulkner

SEM 108

MW 02:55–04:10 p.m.

Mariana Alarcon


David Faulkner


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.

SEM 101

MW 08:40–09:55 a.m.

Kelly Hoffer


Brad Zukovic

SEM 102

TR 02:55–04:10 p.m.

Victoria Baugh


Brad Zukovic

SEM 103

MW 02:55–04:10 p.m.

Jasmine Reid


Brad Zukovic

SEM 104

MW 07:30–08:45 p.m.

Richard Thomson


Brad Zukovic

SEM 105

TR 08:40–09:55 a.m.

Sara Stamatiades


Brad Zukovic

SEM 106

MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m.

Sarah Jefferis



SEM 107

MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m.

Sarah Jefferis


SEM 108

TR 02:55–04:10 p.m.

Amelia Hall

18638       Brad Zukovic

SEM 109

TR 08:40–09:55 a.m.

Jennifer Rabedeau

18640       Brad Zukovic


British Literature: Jane Austen Made Me Do It

We needn’t add zombies to Pride and Prejudice to know that Jane Austen still walks the earth, undead. Her influence on popular culture—movies, sequels, “updates,” fan fiction—is greater today than ever. Something about her writing makes us want to (re)write. We will read Pride and Prejudice (1813) and Emma (1816) in their revolutionary historical context, to watch Austen manipulating her contemporary popular culture, especially that threatening new thing called “the novel,” consumed largely by women. (Indeed, her first completed novel, Northanger Abbey, can be read as “Gothic” fan-fiction.) We will also sample some modern-day transformations of Austen’s works—and perhaps invent some, learning from her stylistic games. Writing assignments may include commonplace-book and encyclopedia entries, literary analyses, critical syntheses, archival research, creative projects.

SEM 102 MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m  David Faulkner 18198 Kevin Attell


British Literature: To Be Like Gods—Antiquity to Renaissance

What would it be like to be all-knowing, all-powerful, forever young? The desire to become like gods is as old as humanity, and quests to achieve that goal constitute a major theme in literature, from the myths of antiquity to the futuristic fever dreams of twenty-first-century transhumanists. Literature allows us to play out these fantasies and explore their consequences—their highest highs and most terrifying lows. Part One of this two-part course (which can be taken separately) will explore the human quest to become like gods by journeying to Other Worlds, taking gods as lovers, violently assaulting the heavens, devilish bargains, and inventive technologies in texts from antiquity to the Renaissance. Readings include various mythologies, Ovid, Arthurian legends, Marlowe, Shakespeare, and Milton.

SEM 103 MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Jonathan Reinhardt 18199 Kevin Attell


British Literature: Eros and the Sonnet

What do we talk about when we talk about love? Is desire all smoke and mirrors, interfering with our good judgment, or does it focus our minds, making elusive truths appear more real? Thinkers call these questions the problem of eros, and it has its own poetic form: the sonnet. This course will study the sonnet’s formal properties, themes, and classical, medieval, and Renaissance histories. Readings will include selections from Apuleius, Ovid, Da Lentini, Dante, Petrarch, Wyatt, Howard, Sidney, Spenser, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Raleigh, Queen Elizabeth, Donne, and Herbert. Ultimately, we will investigate how poetry about the pains and pleasures of desiring what remains forever elusive can reveal fundamental insights into the nature of truth, beauty, and the endless complexities of the human condition.

SEM 104 MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Jonathan Reinhardt 18200 Kevin Attell


British Literature: Oscar Wilde

“My existence is a scandal,” Oscar Wilde once wrote. With his legendary wit, his exuberant style of perversity and paradox, and his audacious sexual transgressions, his scandals continue to fascinate and delight. Through different approaches to interpretive writing, we will explore his work in a variety of genres, including his brilliant comedy The Importance of Being Earnest, his banned drama Salomé, and his Decadent novel The Picture of Dorian Gray.

SEM 105 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Ellis Hanson 18201


British Literature: Literary Ecologies of Nature and Culture

From global warming to deforestation, human intervention has transformed our planet. Grounded in the environmental humanities, this course explores how different mediums construct the relationship between two intersecting categories: nature and culture. We will analyze a range of literary works from the coal-fueled Industrial Revolution through the twenty-first century, as well as visual art and film. How do different forms of art and narrative structure our understanding of the “natural”? And how have human interactions with the environment changed over the past couple of centuries? Through class discussion, critical essays, and creative projects in our mediums of choice, we will practice articulating complex natural-cultural relationships of our own.

SEM 108 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Elisabeth Strayer 18204 Kevin Attell


British Literature: The Idea of a University

Here at Cornell, the university governs our lives. But what is a university? How did the university become such a dominant force in our cultural imaginations that it takes center stage in novels, television, movies, and other media? In this course we’ll trace the development of the university from a medieval institution aimed at educating members of the clergy to the rite of passage it represents today. Along the way, we’ll look at historical documents like charters and polemics alongside fictional accounts of life at the university. Assignments may include critiques of the university and founding documents for your ideal university. Together, we’ll ask what the roles and responsibilities of the university are—and why the university has remained such a powerful cultural icon.

SEM 109 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Jennifer Rabedeau 18205 Kevin Attell


British Literature: Romantic Writers, Thinkers, and Iconoclasts

“All circumstances taken together,” wrote an observer in England, “the French Revolution is the most astonishing thing that has hitherto happened in the world.” In 1789 radical and lasting change also was taking place in England—in the new kind of poetry and first-person prose that was being composed, published, and widely read. The writers later called Romantics demonstrated the value of thinking based on thinking and writing about feeling. Their writing draws its energy from making demands on a reader’s imagination and his or her critical intelligence. We will focus in this course on Wordsworth’s poetry, Wollstonecraft’s vindications of human rights, their contemporaries’ works of fiction and poetry—and the starting points for those texts—passages in Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Social Contract, Julie, and Confessions.

SEM 110 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Cynthia Chase 18206 Kevin Attell


Writing About Literature: Writing About the Arts at Cornell

This seminar will introduce students to the lively arts scene at Cornell. Students will read conceptual essays about the arts in dialogue with their weekly writing about arts events around Cornell. We will discuss the differences and connections between exhibitions of fine art and new media art, installations of outdoor art throughout the campus, architectural monuments (Cornell’s arts buildings were designed by the world’s leading architects), landscape architecture, and design. We also will attend concerts and plays and “sound events” to consider the impact of “live performance” on campus life. In addition to performances hosted by Music and Performing and Media Arts, the seminar will benefit from the events of the Cornell Council for the Arts, from the holdings of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, the Cornell Library’s Hip Hop Archive and Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, and the costume collection in Fiber Science and Apparel Design.

SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Timothy Murray 18241


Writing About Literature: Writing About Fiction

This course examines modern fiction, with an emphasis on the short story and novella. Students will write critical essays on authors who flourished between 1870 and the present, such as James, Conrad, Joyce, Woolf, Hurston, Nabokov, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Faulkner, Rhys, Welty, Kafka, and Morrison. We will focus on short fiction, with the seminar culminating in the study of one or two short novels. Close, attentive, imaginative reading and writing will be central throughout.

SEM 102 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Jeremy Braddock 18271


Writing About Literature: Reading Poetry

In this course students will read contemporary poetry collections and write critical and personal essays in response. Classwork combines elements of close-reading, translation, and creative writing. The poets studied in this course explore the relationship between intimate and political, language and reality, historical trauma and imagination.

SEM 103 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Valzhyna Mort 18272


Writing About Literature: Forms of Poetry

In this class, we will study the history and evolution of several traditional forms in English poetry including blank verse, sonnet, common meter, ode, couplet, and syllabic poetry and free verse, as well as some French Forms such as the villanelle and triolet. Students will write short papers on six of the forms and give one in-class report on a topic of their choice. They will also write an original example of one of the forms studied.

SEM 104 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Robert Morgan 18273


Queer Women in Stand-up Comedy

With the success of Hannah Gadsby’s 2018 stand-up special Nanette, connections among gender, sexuality, feminism, and stand-up comedy (once again) came to the fore of public discourse. In this class we will interrogate these connections by looking at the work of queer women comedians who pioneered and shaped stand-up comedy—such as Jackie “Moms” Mabley, Margaret Cho, or Ellen DeGeneres—as well as performers who have been shaking up the world of stand-up comedy in recent years. The course will introduce students to some key concepts of feminism, as well as to select feminist theories related to comedy and humor. Students will practice and develop their critical skills via weekly short responses focusing on these concepts, a few longer essays, and creative writing assignments.

SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Kriszta Pozsonyi 18293 Lucinda Ramberg


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.

  SEM 101        TR 10:10–11:25 a.m.                     Leigh York                                18311       Douglas McBride

SEM 102

TR 01:25–02:40 p.m.

Juan-Jacques Aupiais


Douglas McBride

SEM 103

MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m.

Soren Bo Larsen


Douglas McBride

SEM 104

TR 11:40–12:55 p.m.

Annekatrin Sommer


Douglas McBride


Writing Berlin

Germany’s capital is a city that constantly reinvents itself. This course will offer a glimpse into Berlin’s rich history in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries—from the rise of the metropolis during the Weimar Republic to the rubble after WWII to today’s multifaceted, multicultural, forward-looking capital. We will explore points of view, images, and perceptions of Berlin and its people in the literary productions of writers such as Siegfried Kracauer, Alfred Döblin, Kurt Tucholsky, Wolfdietrich Schnurre, Monika Maron, Wladimir Kaminer, Emine Sevgi Özdamar, and Kathrin Röggla. We will discuss changing identities (nation, class, gender, and ethnicity, for example), consult works of literary critics and scholars, practice attentive reading and writing, and learn to construct evidence-based arguments of our own.

SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Ekaterina Pirozhenko 18316


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   TR 11:40–12:55 p.m.       Douglas McBride 18317

SEM 102   MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m.  Daniel Friedman     18318 Douglas McBride


Small Forms, Big Ideas

Small forms can contain big ideas. This course will put contemporary microformats, such as tweets, snaps, lists, and text messages, in dialogue with a much broader spectrum of small, short, and simple forms, from anecdotes, jokes, and aphorisms to fables, short stories, and feuilletons. With a focus on German literature and philosophy, we will read exemplary cases of small literary forms (e.g., Brecht, Dörrie, Kafka, Lichtenberg, Walser), along with short philosophical reflections on the economy of language, the effects of miniaturization, and the desire for simplicity (e.g., Adorno, Benjamin, Nietzsche, Polgar, Schlegel). Writing activities will provide related training in small academic forms like notes, glosses, abstracts, protocols, excerpts, and commentaries, which will become the crucial building blocks of academic work on larger scales.

SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Erik Born 18320


Power and Politics: Cities, China, and the Environment

In the past decade humans became a predominately urban species. One in ten people on earth live in China’s cities, and their future and their impact on the environment is the main focus of this course. We will grapple with questions such as why is China urbanizing so quickly? Which cities are growing fastest? How are political, economic, and climate concerns shaping their development? We will read texts from political science, economics, and sociology as well as policy and environmental reports. Writing assignments will progress from memos, blog posts, and opinion pieces to more complex analytical essays.

SEM 101 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Jeremy Wallace 18321


Power and Politics: Genocide

This course critically examines the way humans experience and remember genocide. To the victimized, it is a horror. To those afar, it is unbelievable. To the survivors, it haunts. We will read accounts by both witnesses and perpetrators; we will watch news reports, movies (Hotel Rwanda), and documentaries (Enemies of the People). Museum content and life in post-conflict societies will be key to understanding genocide’s continuing impact. Students will produce a range of writings and visual materials such as op-eds, reviews, photo essays, reconciliation proposals, and a social science paper. Such activities will be supported by resources from the new Genocide Archive at Cornell and books such as Reverien Rurangwa’s Genocide—My Stolen Rwanda and Henri Locard’s Pol Pot’s Little Red Book.

SEM 102 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Gaurav Toor 18322 Tom Pepinsky


Writing the Environment

How do we tell the stories of the environments that surround us? This course explores how contemporary writers blend observation, history, interviews, and scientific research to tell these stories. From climate change to the grassy park down the street, the subjects this course addresses grant us an opportunity to discuss topical environmental and social concerns, and to examine how writers have successfully and artfully approached these issues. Readings include authors such as Annie Dillard, Ian Frazier, Jesmyn Ward, and John McPhee, among others, and brief selections from environmental theorists and thinkers. Writing assignments will include short exercises to hone specific writing skills and essays that will ask you to question and be critical of the environments in which you spend your time.

SEM 101 MWF 02:30–03:20 p.m. Matt Dallos 18323 Eric Tagliacozzo


The Camera as Historian: Colonial-Era Photographs from Asia

We will look at photographs taken in Asia during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—of public celebrations and executions, prostitutes and missionaries, royal portraits and mugshots. We will learn how to read these photographs analytically, not merely for the “look of the past,” but for what they can tell us about ideals of power, desire, and modernity. How do we read photographs to see them not just as images but as arguments? How do we, then, write arguments about (and using) photographs? We will end the course with a short paper that will bring together descriptive writing, historical context, and analysis of selected archival photographs from the Kroch Asia Library.

SEM 102 MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Juan Fernandez 18324 Eric Tagliacozzo


Climate Change and Human History

Climate change has been impacting human history as long as there have been humans around to be impacted. This seminar will introduce students to writing at the college level through an investigation of the deep historic roots of what appears to be a modern phenomenon. We will focus on historical debates about climate change from the dawn of human pre-history until the present day. This course is global in scope; readings will feature case-studies from China, the Mediterranean, Africa, and Latin America. We will read a combination of scientific scholarship, historical articles and book chapters, and primary-source evidence.

SEM 103 MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Kevin Bloomfield 18325 Eric Tagliacozzo


Pirates to Protestants: Seafarers in the Medieval Atlantic

From Vikings and exiled monks to explorers and adventurers, the Atlantic has been the setting for some best-known figures and exploits of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. These in turn have inspired some of the most compelling and memorable writing of the period, ranging from the sagas of the Vikings to Irish legends of fantastic, otherworldly voyages. Alongside this fascination with those who live on the sea, though, there is often an element of suspicion. Where do these people go and what do they do for so many months or years? In this course we will look at seafaring stories from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, consider contemporary depictions, and explore, through written responses, attitudes towards those who leave behind the safety of land.

SEM 104 MWF 02:30–03:20 p.m. Craig Lyons 18326 Eric Tagliacozzo


The Early Modern Death Penalty

It is clear that the death penalty is a source of controversy in our time, but how did pre-modern societies view executions? In this course we will look at early modern descriptions of executions and the controversies surrounding them. We will consider the rituals around executions, the final words of the condemned, and printed reactions to executions in the early modern public sphere. Specific cases of interest will range from royal executions, including Charles I of England and Marie Antoinette, to treasonous conspirators, such as Guy Fawkes. We will look at the social importance of executions from religious dissidents to thieves and highwaymen. Writing assignments will require thoughtful reflections on historical attitudes to the legal, social, political, and emotional aspects of executions.

SEM 105 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Kaitlin Pontzer 18327 Eric Tagliacozzo


Making Up People: Psychology, Medicine, and Philosophy

No one had PTSD in the nineteenth century, bacteria did not cause disease until the 1860s, and no one had human rights until the 1940s. What do these statements mean? How has “human nature” changed over time? We will attempt to answer questions like these by looking at examples in the history of psychology, medicine, and philosophy. To understand these developments in their historical contexts, we will read a variety of primary sources by authors like Sigmund Freud, Louis Pasteur, and Friedrich Nietzsche as well as secondary materials by historians of science and philosophy. Assignments will be directed at improving writing skills, but also learning to have fun with difficult ideas.

SEM 106 MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Nathaniel Boling 18328 Eric Tagliacozzo


Post-World War II America: Crisis and Continuity

Why are the years following World War II considered so remarkable in the landscape of American history? Several critical events and debates that rocked the nation from the 1940s onward reverberate today, such as involvement in wars, civil rights, women’s rights, concerns about teenagers, and crises in American cities. Enriched by a variety of primary sources, including films and TV shows, this course analyzes the central events, people, and forces that transformed American society and culture from the years after World War II to the present. The course aims to help students learn how to write persuasively about scholarship and primary sources, while gaining a deeper appreciation for the lasting influence of the major events, crises, and interpretations of post-World War II American history.

SEM 101 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Kelly King-O’Brien 18332


Rudyard Kipling's India: Literature, History, and Empire

Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936), most famous today as the author of children’s stories, including The Jungle Book, was one of the most popular and acclaimed writers of his day. He was also a noted chronicler of the world of the British empire. In this class we will read the short stories, poems, and novels that Kipling wrote about India—including his most famous novel, Kim. Students will explore the intersections between Kipling’s stories and the history of British rule in India, and also consider the broader question of how fictional works can be used to explore the history of past cultures.

SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Robert Travers 18333


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 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Eric Tagliacozzo 18334


China’s Classical Age

The Han Dynasty (206 b.c.e.-220 c.e.) saw the development of institutions, values, and practices that had lasting influences on later societies. Much as people today invoke Greek exemplars such as democracy, Han models of ethics, governance, religion, and medicine remain vital. In this course we will learn the ways in which historians analyze a wide array of Han era sources, and place those sources in their historical contexts. We will cultivate writing, analytical, and research skills with short exercises, by building arguments in essays, and through essay peer review.

SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. TJ Hinrichs 18336


In Search of Ethiopia: History, Myth, and Politics

Ethiopia, one of the oldest states in Africa, has a rich history that is often enveloped in myths and legends. Home to a number of ethnic and religious communities, Ethiopia’s political geography changed as new dynasties came to the forefront. Each new dynasty offered its own creation myth that legitimated its power and control over other communities. Ethiopia’s colorful and dynamic history has helped nurture the political aspirations of many beyond its boundaries. Christian chroniclers claimed it as the home of the Queen of Sheba. Continental Africans and Africans in the diaspora celebrated it as a symbol of African achievement and a beacon of independence because it was the only indigenous African state to retain its independence following Europe’s division of Africa in the nineteenth century. The name of Ethiopia’s last emperor before he assumed the throne, Ras Tafari, helped launch a new religion—Rastafarism. This course juxtaposes Ethiopian history against the myths and legends that shaped Ethiopia and gave rise to Ethiopianism, a complex array of cultural, religious, and political movements in other parts of Africa as well as the African diaspora.

SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Judith Byfield 18337


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 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 several film screenings and a meeting with at least one of the authors read in the course.

SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Kora von Wittelsbach 18338


Jews on Film: Visible and Invisible

Why were Jews virtually invisible in films produced during the Hollywood’s “golden age”? Is this a surprise, given the leading role played by American Jews in founding the studio system? Writing about the films studied in this course will help students situate and interpret the presence (and absence) of characters identifiable as Jews in Hollywood films released from the silent era through the present. We will view approximately six films in their entirety and study excerpts from others. Films to be studied in whole or part may include: The Immigrant, The Jazz Singer, The Great Dictator, Casablanca, The Apartment, Funny Girl, Annie Hall, Barton Fink, and A Serious Man. Students will write film analyses, review essays, reflective responses, and explorations of contextual material. Readings from film studies and popular journalism will situate these films within the historical, cultural, and industrial contexts in which they were produced.

SEM 101 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Elliot Shapiro 18339


Language, Thought, and Reality: How to Build a Language

In the twenty-first century there has been a resurgence of constructed languages, driven in part by their visibility in Avatar, Game of Thrones, and the film adaptations of Lord of the Rings. However, hundreds of languages have been constructed for reasons as diverse as finding God, uniting nations, aiding the disabled, and communicating with computers. The majority have been deemed failures, either because they were unpopular or lacked linguistic sophistication. We will explore the linguistic tools necessary to compose linguistic systems with the expressive power, systematicity, and limitations of natural languages, from the level of sounds to words to sentences. The ultimate goal is for each student to begin constructing their own language and to justify in writing its linguistic validity and practical or artistic merit.

SEM 101 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Joseph Rhyne 18340 John Whitman


Language, Thought, and Reality: Language, Myth, and Reality

Interested in learning why your generation is the end of English as we know it? It's not. Language plays a role in almost all of our experiences, and we tend to form opinions about language which, upon close inspection, are false or inaccurate (the English language is deteriorating, certain languages are more logical/more complex than others, etc). In this course we will examine some common language myths, both in popular media and in our everyday lives. Students will think critically in developing ideas about popular conceptions of dialects of English, other languages of the world, and "recent" concerns about their own language. Students will learn how to plan, construct, and execute their arguments in well-formed academic essays.

SEM 102 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Frances Sobolak 18341 John Whitman


Language, Thought, and Reality: The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is increasingly prevalent in our lives (for example, social media bots and fake news generators) and the decisions we make regarding its usage today will have widespread implications on how artificial intelligence develops in the future. In this course students will learn about a number of ways in which artificial impacts their lives. In their final project, students will present the arguments for and against specific applications of artificial intelligence and will propose a way of using artificial intelligence that guards against some of its darker outcomes.

SEM 103 MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Marten van Schijndel 18342


Aspects of Medieval Culture: Middle English Poetry

This class will explore the poetic traditions of medieval England from the twelfth through fifteenth centuries. We will read a range of poetic styles, from alliterative and debate poetry to collections of lyrics and dream visions. Our exploration of Middle English poetry will culminate in an examination of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. We will discuss a wide variety of themes—such as death and morality, love and erotics, religious devotion and classical reception—and ask how the form, matter, and physical materials (both medieval and modern) of poetry interact on the page. Analysis will include class discussion, in-class writing, memorization, journal responses, and formal essays.

SEM 101 MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Sophia D’Ignazio 18347 Oren Falk


Aspects of Medieval Culture: History of the English Language

Pop or soda? Lightning bug or firefly? You guys or y’all? How did English develop into the language it is today? Why does English have so many foreign words? Why is English spelling often at odds with pronunciation? We will consider these questions by reading literature written in Old, Middle, and Early Modern English, including Beowulf, Chaucer, and Julian of Norwich, and Shakespearean sonnets. The course will conclude by looking at the status of English today, reading poets such as Claudia Rankine and Natasha Trethewey. We will write about linguistic, literary, and historical aspects of English, as well as questions of “properness,” regional dialects, text messaging, and the status of English as a global language.

SEM 102 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Ryan Lawrence 18348 Oren Falk


Aspects of Medieval Culture: Donning the Shining Armor—Knights in Medieval Literature

The image of a knight in shining armor swaggering around the battlefield with a sword in his hand and a damsel on his arm has come to epitomize the Middle Ages for the present. These elite warriors captured medieval imaginations, inspiring fantastical stories about Roland, King Arthur’s round table, and Joan of Arc that give us insight into the values of these cultures. To what extent do these tales reflect the realities of a professional warrior in the Middle Ages? How do the concepts of knighthood and chivalry develop and how do these tales invent, reinforce, or question them? Students will respond to these questions and others in close-reading assignments, literary and historical analysis papers, and a research project.

SEM 103 MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. Abigail Sprenkle 18349 Oren Falk


Aspects of Medieval Culture: Food in the Medieval World

The proverb “you are what you eat” was just as true in the medieval period as it is today. What foods did medieval peoples eat? How did food help define their identities? In this course students will explore food in the medieval world from both archaeological and textual perspectives. Students will learn how people living between 450 and 1500 AD produced, consumed, and thought about food. Readings will include scientific articles, selections from history books, and medieval texts ranging from cookbooks to literary epics. Through writing assignments focused on crafting evidence-based arguments, students will learn how to interpret both scientific and literary scholarly work. There will be an option for creative work within the structure of the class.

SEM 104 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Alice Wolff 18350 Oren Falk


Aspects of Medieval Culture: Byzantine Cities

Byzantium was an empire of cities. From representations of individual buildings, to the symbol of city walls, to personification of the city, Byzantine artists had a versatile visual toolbox for depicting individual cities in their artwork. The choices made by artists (or their patrons) reveal Byzantine attitudes toward urbanism. What is the mark of a prosperous city? These depictions also became the starting point for discussions of how cities functioned in late antiquity. Were cities always as prosperous as they appeared? Students will write formal analyses of these works of art and form arguments about Byzantine urbanism, while positioning their ideas against the works of other scholars.

SEM 105 MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m. Tyler Wolford 18351 Oren Falk


Aspects of Medieval Culture: Nationalisms Before Nations—England’s Cultural Identity

How does nationhood, or the lack thereof, inform a community’s understanding of identity, especially in periods of profound cultural shifts? This course will explore this question by examining the history and literature of medieval England. We will focus on texts that exemplify some of England’s dramatic transformations of identity in a period when the concept of the nation did not yet exist. We will read Arthurian legends written in the wake of the Norman conquest by authors like Marie de France. We will also examine works written during the Hundred Years’ War, a period of close contact between England and France, by others like John Gower and Christine de Pizan. Through formal essays and assignments, the students will learn the fundamentals of writing and research.

SEM 106 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Thari Zweers 18352 Oren Falk


Aspects of Medieval Culture: British Bromance

Cool stories, bro? This course will cover foster siblinghood and sworn brotherhood, the complexities of premodern homosociality and homosexuality, “gold-friends” securing retainers’ loyalty, and of course drinks, pranks, parties, and dares. We will read the Irish epic The Tain, English Arthurian romances, Welsh legends and more, comparing different models of deeply meaningful same-sex friendships. Writing assignments will focus on crafting persuasive, clear arguments. Students will acquire skills in mining texts for evidence, conducting historical research, anticipating counterarguments, expressing relevancy, and adapting writing for different audiences.

SEM 107 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Anna Waymack 18353 Oren Falk


Legends, Fantasy, and Vision: Introduction to Oral Tradition and 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 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Thomas Hill 18343

MUSIC 1701

Sound, Sense, and Ideas: Sounds Medieval—Fact and Fantasy

Can we hear a medieval castle, tournament, cathedral..., or are these sounds lost forever? What can the study of music reveal about a past culture, and what do our ways of consuming it today say about our own? In the realm of (scholarly) guesswork, where does the distinction between fact and fantasy lie? Through critical and analytical writing assignments, grappling with primary and secondary sources, this course examines various musical approaches to the middle ages. Alongside musico-historical study of courtly love song, we will consider modern performers engaging with the repertory (from “historically informed” ensembles to German “Minne-Rockers”), and popular culture approaches to the medieval sound-world in contemporary film, from rock music in A Knight's Tale (2001) to medievalist fantasies such as Game of Thrones.

SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Anna Steppler 18344 David Yearsley

MUSIC 1701

Sound, Sense, and Ideas: The Art and Craft of Music Journalism

In a supportive atmosphere that will nurture risk-taking and foster steady improvement, you'll sharpen your prose, your mind, and your tongue by reading the work of great music journalists of the past and present (from George Bernard Shaw to Alex Ross) who've written ardently and unforgettably about music. Listen like a writer and write like a listener. Learn to be critical, witty, polemical, conciliatory, and/or inflammatory as the concert, song, or dance demands. You'll find your voice and hone your appreciation of music and life through the act of writing regularly about both. No previous experience or technical knowledge is required: it doesn't matter at all if you can't read a note of music, only that you love it.

SEM 102 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. David Yearsley 18345

MUSIC 1701

Sound, Sense, and Ideas: Sound Writing—Music and Media

How do changes in media and technology shape the ways we create and listen to music and sound? How do we adequately represent these changes in the form of writing? This course will explore these broad questions in such contexts as the history of the MP3, the advent of the music video, techno-optimistic dreams surrounding the "music of the future," dub and hip-hop sampling, and avant-garde experimentation with mixed media. By zooming in on figures from Luigi Russolo to Laurie Anderson, Bell Labs technicians to Janelle Monáe, students will complete written and creative projects including a performance review, research paper, and a podcast in order to develop analytical skills essential to success both in higher education and to becoming a critical media user.

SEM 103 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Jordan Musser 18346 David Yearsley


The Palimpsestuous Woman: Biblical Women in the Modern World

A palimpsest is a manuscript that has been erased and overwritten, upon which traces of the original remain. This course will examine women of the Bible (such as Eve, Sarah, and Mary) and the ways in which they are erased, overwritten, and reconceptualized in the modern world. How do modern women in communities such as Haredi Jewish, Amish, and conservative Evangelical interpret these biblical characters and their own power and roles as women in their communities? We will juxtapose critical reading of biblical texts alongside ethnographic accounts, poetry, art, and film, and essays will approach the questions: in what ways can a text be reused to fit the needs of different readers? What are the mechanisms of interpretation used to maintain a community’s boundaries?

SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Kirsten Smith 18242 Haines-Eitzen Kim


Introduction to the Quran

This course will expose English-speaking students to the major ideas of the Quran, with attention to how those ideas emerged in conversation with the inhabitants of Arabia and the Near East in Late Antiquity. We will read the Quran in English translation, with attention to the form, style, language, and sound of the text. Topics to be discussed will include law, theology, polemics, ritual, and interpretation. The course is structured around a progressive set of writing assignments and will include both informal exercises as well as formal essays. No knowledge of Arabic is needed.

SEM 101 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. David Powers 18243


That’s in the Bible? Archaeology and the Religion of Israel

A casual reading of the Hebrew Scriptures might lead one to believe that the normative religion of the Israelites was 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, Hebrew mythology, etc. Readings will be from the Hebrew Bible, translations of extra-biblical texts, articles on archaeology, and modern synthetic treatments of Israelite culture.

SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Jeff Zorn 18244


On Islands: Poetics of the Insular in World Literature

In literary imagination, islands teem with aesthetic and functional possibilities. They can be idealized as pure, innocent Edens, but also as objects of desire passively awaiting exploitation. They can provoke visions of "savagery" and cultural judgment, even violent fantasies of otherness. We will read and write about islands in world literature, asking questions about identity and difference, existence, certitude, and knowledge, hope, and despair. Texts will include the Sinbad Voyages, medieval picaresque narratives, Gulliver's Travels, and modern works of utopian, dystopian, and science fiction. Through close readings of literary texts, students will write essays that vary in goal and complexity. Written assignments include but are not limited to: critical and comparative literary analysis, in addition to research-based argumentative essays.

SEM 101 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Rama Alhabian 18257 Deborah Starr


Philosophy in Practice: Environmental Ethics

Many of today’s most pressing moral and political questions have to do with the way we relate to the natural world: How should we respond to the threat of climate change? How should we treat non-human animals? Is it wrong to eat them, to experiment on them, to use them for entertainment? Are environmental pollution and the destruction of biodiversity wrong only because of the harm they cause us? Or might they be wrong in themselves, regardless of the impact they may have on humans? This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to investigating these issues, drawing on mainstream and scholarly work in environmental law, climate science, and moral philosophy. Assignments will include short reconstructions of important arguments as well as longer essays.

SEM 101 MW 07:30–08:45 p.m. Alexander Boeglin 18258 Rachana Kamtekar


Philosophy in Practice: Problems in Applied Ethics

Is abortion morally permissible? Is assisted suicide? Is death bad for the person who dies? What makes for a meaningful life? Is it morally permissible to eat animals? Is discrimination ever morally justifiable? In this class you will learn how to dissect and properly critique philosophical arguments while also learning how to articulate and write about your own opinions in such a way that they can withstand detailed critical analysis and feedback. Through discussion of interesting philosophical problems and written assignments students will improve the clarity and rigor of their own thinking and writing.

SEM 102 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Alex Esposito 18259 Rachana Kamtekar


Philosophy in Practice: Freedom and Authenticity

Have you ever found yourself wondering how, if the mind is just like a complex machine, we could possibly have free will? If you aren’t the ones making the choices in your life, what is it that makes you, you? These are the kind of questions we will be covering in this course. We will be reading works by Western philosophers, both contemporary and from history, who address the topics of whether we are free, and what it is that makes our actions authentically reflect who we are deep down. Taking this course will develop your ability to think and write logically and carefully, and you will learn the invaluable ability to present complicated and nuanced ideas in a way that is concise and understandable.

SEM 103 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Benjamin Sales 18260 Rachana Kamtekar


Philosophical Problems: Puzzles in Metaphysics

Are you just a brain in a body or are you an immaterial soul? What makes you the same person you were ten years ago? Does time really exist and, if so, what is it? Questions like these concern the fundamental nature of the world around us and our place within it. In Puzzles and Metaphysics we’ll tackle these questions, and many more, while also developing valuable writing skills. Topics will be explored through readings in Western philosophy, both classic and contemporary. With reading responses and a series of essays, students will hone the skills of expressing and constructing plausible and persuasive arguments.

SEM 101 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Matthew Paskell 18277 Rachana Kamtekar


Philosophical Problems: Between Theory and Reality—The Philosophy of Science

Most of us think of science as having a mainline to the truth; if some claim is supported by science, then it is surely true. What gives science this special status? And what exactly gets to count as “scientific” in this sense? Just the natural sciences, or the social sciences too? What about anthropology and history? Do all “sciences” really share the same methodology, and is that methodology really more reliable than other methodologies? Is science always our best tool in finding out about the world, or are there some aspects of the world that science (even a fully developed science) can’t tell us about? In this class we will explore these questions and others with a view to literature in the philosophy of science.

SEM 102 MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Fran Fairbairn 18475


Philosophical Problems: Moral Relativism and Moral Skepticism

Ordinarily, we all know what’s right and wrong. But there are some reasons for skepticism. One reason has to do with relativism: what if what is right and wrong is somehow relative to individuals, or to cultures? Another reason for skepticism comes from reflection on the sources of our intuitions of moral rightness and wrongness: what if our moral intuitions are not really trustworthy? The philosophical aim of the seminar will be to get clear on our own thoughts on this difficult subject. To help our progress, we shall study the work of some recent and past philosophers perplexed by these questions. Our practical aim will be to learn to write as clearly as we think.

SEM 103 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Theodore Korzukhin 18530


Philosophical Conversations: Reason and Belief in God

Is belief in God rational? Are there any good arguments that show that God exists? For example, does the existence or life-permitting nature of the universe provide reason to believe that God exists? Are there any good arguments for the opposite conclusion? For example, does the existence of evil and suffering show that atheism is true? Does one need arguments to be rational in believing in God in the first place? In this course we will examine these and related questions from a philosophical perspective. Through class discussion and a series of writing assignments, students will learn to clearly and concisely summarize the arguments of others as well as to develop clear, persuasive arguments of their own.

SEM 101 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Dean Da Vee 18278 Rachana Kamtekar


Philosophical Conversations: Ethics of Dying in Ancient Philosophy

What is death, what is dying, and should we be worried about either or both? How does worrying about death affect our psychological health and our behavior? For ancient philosophers, correctly answering these questions is the foundation of living well. Readings will be drawn from the philosophers Epicurus, Lucretius, Plato, Epictetus, foundational Buddhist texts, and some contemporary authors. Topics will include: the nature of death, dying; the harms death and dying pose; death, dying, and happiness; political dimensions of death; fear and grief; the existence and afterlife of souls. The course is writing intensive, including short weekly writing assignments and papers. Class goals include development of skills at reading primary resources, writing critically about primary resources, understanding some of the landscape of positions in ancient ethical theory, and relating ancient writing on death to contemporary issues.

SEM 102 MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m. John Proios 18279 Rachana Kamtekar


Philosophical Conversations: Philosophy of Friendship

What makes a good friend? We all have views on friendship that have been informed by our past relationships, among other things. In this class we will read a variety of literature on friendship, including Aristotle and Toni Morrison. The writing in this class will track your thinking about friendship. The first assignment will be to articulate your views about friendship, the last assignment will be to articulate how your views have evolved, and the middle assignments will be reading reflections. Through exploration of this fascinating topic, the aim of this class is to teach you how to write and think clearly. By honing your writing skills, you will develop a greater command of your own intellectual processes and strengths.

SEM 103 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Bianka Takaoka 18280 Rachana Kamtekar


Philosophical Conversations: Philosophy of Video Games

This course will examine the aesthetics, concepts, and norms of the video games, its associative sub-culture, and the gaming industry. Students will be introduced to a wide range of philosophical theories in normativity, aesthetics, and conceptual analysis. A wide variety of recent and on-going debates in gaming will then serve as targets for ethical analysis. Topics will include gaming journalism/reviews, publishing practices, multiplayer etiquette, and intellectual property rights. Readings will come from a variety of sources including philosophers, psychologists, lawyers, journalists, and gamers. Most writing assignments will require students to take and defend a position using the principles and theories covered throughout the course.

SEM 104 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Daniel Manne 18281


Gender and Crime: The Case of the Female Detective

Some say crime’s a man’s world, but female detectives like Lisbeth Salander, Clarice Starling, and Miss Marple can be found solving crimes and busting bad guys across media. Drawing from TV, film, fiction, and theatre across a range of cultural moments, this course explores the ways in which the female detective impacts the conventions of the crime narrative in which she functions. Texts include How To Get Away With Murder, Veronica Mars, Silence of the Lambs, and Jennifer Healey’s virtual reality crime drama The Nether. Students will develop strategies for attentive reading and thoughtful writing. Assignments include reviews, position papers, pitches, and analytical responses, and will focus on critical thinking, preparation, clear prose, argument structure, and well-supported claims.

SEM 101   MW 08:40–09:55 a.m.   Aoise Stratford  18286

SEM 102   TR 10:10–11:25 a.m.     Aoise Stratford   18287


Going Undercover: Radical Undercover Journalism and the (Re)creation of Self

What would it be like to go through life as a completely different person? In order to expose and combat social injustice, journalists have crossed lines of race, gender, age, class, and appearance, and gone undercover, sometimes risking their reputations, sanity, and even their lives. But what are the results of these experiments? Do the ends justify the sometimes ethically-questionable means? How does “going undercover” affect an individual or a community? By examining works of John Howard Griffin, Sarah Jones, Morgan Spurlock, Barbara Ehrenreich, Norah Vincent, and a variety of identity-probing texts, we examine the complex facets of diverse identities. The course facilitates a range of writing assignments and culminates in students devising and executing their own undercover journalism and research projects.

SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Rosalie Purvis 18289 David Feldshuh


Testimonial (In)justice on the Documentary Stage

Creating documentary theater is a process of falling in love: with stories, with people, with theatrical possibilities. Critically intimate relationships between documentary artists, their community partners, and the stories being told are often the sustaining force behind the form’s painstaking, time-consuming writing process. This course uses the documentary process as a model for the types of inquiry and argumentation required by academic writing. Documentary artists engage closely with testimonial evidence, articulate compelling questions, and grapple with the ethical and political potentialities those questions engender. Throughout this course we will be working to unearth similar modes of learning through the production of professional and academic writing. Like the artists we study, we will develop approaches to writing that nurture and extend our understanding of content.

SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Caitlin Kane 18292 David Feldshuh


Socks, Pads, and Other Stuff(ing): Drag Performance

"We're all born naked and the rest is drag"—RuPaul. This course explores drag as a mode of queer cultural performance. Through a wide range of readings and viewings that introduce a diverse array of drag traditions and aesthetics, we will search for an understanding, even a simple definition, of drag. In so doing we will explore drag performance as a queer cultural practice, a means of community formation, a potential disruption of gender norms and binaries, and as a radical act of liberation. By engaging in class discussion, practicing a variety of analytic writing styles, and establishing an essay drafting and revising process, students will develop and hone their college writing skills all while investigating drag performance and being absolutely fabulous.

SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Samuel Blake 18268 David Feldshuh


Performing Rights: Race, Class, and Gender

Performance continues to serve as an effective laboratory for shaping and understanding our humanity. It offers itself as an embodied force for generating unique ideas and perspectives for evaluation, intervention, and activism in our world. At a time when the reverence for human rights continues to decline in both democracies and autocracies, the recourse to performance to illuminate the sanctity of human rights cannot be overstated. Through an engagement of academic and creative resources (i.e., texts and films), this seminar situates the discourse of rights within the conceptual frameworks of race, class, gender, and performance. This course allows for a wide range of assignments designed to cultivate and deepen the analytical skills of students.

SEM 101 MW 08:40–09:55 a.m. Elaigwu Ameh 18269 David Feldshih


Spectacular Science: Writing for the Theatre and the Scientific Method

What happens when we represent the scientific experiment onstage? How can we use the scientific method to ignite creative modes of storytelling and critical analysis? In the cross-pollinations between science, theatre, and writing, what magical mutations emerge? These questions provoke an interdisciplinary crossover between the theatre and laboratory, while centering exploration through this course’s core: writing. Throughout this course students will work through a variety of writing methodologies, while attending to the productive overlaps and cross-over between them. How is the preparatory work for a lab report similar to the outline of an original play? How do the research methodologies in the humanities and sciences mirror one another? How is re-writing a draft consistent across contexts, and when must a specificity of style be cultivated?

SEM 101 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Kelly Richmond 18270 David Feldshuh


Immersions and Engagements: Performance and the Evolution of Participation

This class will investigate work which demands or encourages interaction between audience and performer, examining various styles of interactive engagement in contemporary performance including Site Specific work, on site-collaboration/improvisation, and Choose-your Own-Adventure. Contemporary performance often startles, surprises, and instigates much more than a passive viewing from its audience. Immersive Performance, for example, eliminates the physical stage, placing its viewers at the center of the event necessitating a shift in perspective for all present. What would inspire an audience to leave its seats or change positions? What causes discomfort or distraction? What encourages (or demands) interaction? Class readings will include source inspiration material, contextual and video excerpts, and performance texts. Students will be encouraged in their writing to examine the overall effectiveness of these pieces. What are the core artistic values and intentions of the work, the company, the author, or the group—who generated the work—how successful are these authors/creators in achieving these goals? Additionally, students will be asked to imagine their own immersive event.

SEM 101 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Beth Milles 18274


False Beliefs about Ourselves and Others

Why do people hold false beliefs? People hold an assortment of odd beliefs, such as conspiracy theories (e.g., Princess Diana was killed by the Royal Family) and medical misbeliefs (e.g., vaccines cause autism), with little to no evidence to substantiate them. This seminar focuses on the psychology that leads people to form false beliefs about themselves, others, and the world. For example, people hold many false beliefs because of motivations to understand, feel safe, and in control of their environment. Focusing on this subject, students will develop five essays throughout the semester, culminating in a final research report on a self-designed experiment using a topic discussed in the class.

SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Carmen Sanchez 18275 Thomas Gilovich


The Psychology of Morality

What is the psychology underlying morality? How do we decide who to trust? What role do emotions and norms play in our moral judgments? This course will address morality from a scientific perspective, asking not “what is moral” but “how do people answer the question of ‘what is moral?’.” We will review original research to answer questions regarding why people find certain people and certain acts as moral or immoral and discuss this research during class. Additionally, we will examine our own judgments to moral dilemmas. Writing assignments will emphasize concisely articulating and exploring the implications of psychological findings, proposing new research, and conveying scientific findings to the public.

SEM 102 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Rajen Anderson 18276 David Pizarro


The Craft of Storytelling: Race, Gender, and Postcolonial Writing

This seminar will focus on autobiographical and life writing stories by contemporary women writers from different areas of the Francophone world, from the French Caribbean to North and West Africa. More specifically, we will look at the innovative ways in which female authors have used literary and cultural representations as well as first-person narratives in order to raise questions of history, resistance, and agency in postcolonial contexts. By discussing intersections of race, class, gender, and power, we will address issues of diasporic experience, identity formation, and creativity. We will read a variety of translated texts of different genres, such as short story, fiction, auto biography, poetry, and film, along with theoretical texts. Students will develop their writing skills as they engage, analyze, and think critically about these works.

SEM 101 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Elise Finielz 18282 Irene Eibenstein-Alvisi


The Craft of Storytelling: Decameron

All of us tell stories for a variety of reasons—to entertain, to console, to teach, to persuade—to discover and explore both our inner lives and the world we inhabit. Stories are one of the prime ways in which we make sense of a world that is not always propitious. They serve as instruments by which we seek to shape our future. In this seminar we shall consider how the craft of storytelling helps us face the task of living: the love and the happiness and the community we seek, the virtues we espouse, our talents and our vulnerabilities. Our principal reading (in English translation) will be a masterpiece of European literature, Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron (ca. 1349–51), which showcases one hundred stories told by ten young Florentines fleeing the Black Death of 1348. Students will write both analytic and personal essays.

SEM 102   MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m.   Irene Eibenstein-Alvisi   18283

SEM 103   MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m.   Irene Eibenstein-Alvisi  18284


The Craft of Storytelling: Spiritual Autobiography

What does it mean to be "spiritual"? (And how does that category get distinguished from its frequent companion, "religious"?) How do we tell stories about parts of ourselves that resist description; parts of ourselves that may go unrecognized in much of our daily lives? (Does spirituality, put this way, start to sound a little like sexuality?) This course encourages students to develop their thinking and writing skills through the study of four texts that write the spirit with the body: Augustine’s Confessions, Georges Bernanos' Diary of a Country Priest, Tracy K. Smith's Ordinary Light and Richard Rodriguez’ Darling. What, we'll ask, do we talk about when we talk about God? What do we talk about when we talk about ourselves? To quote Joan Rivers: can we talk?

SEM 104 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Cary Howie 18285


Image and Imagination: Life of the Actor/The Actor of Life

In the age of a proliferation of images, the actor remains one of the most fascinating and alluring figures of media and the actor/actress is often a glamorous star. But what does it really mean to be an actor or an actress? What are the boundaries between life and fiction? Is acting confined to theatre and cinema, or an experience that everybody can have? In this course we will look into global cinema and performing arts, as well as literature, sociology, and theories of acting, to explore the life of the actor/actress, but also the performing of everyday life. Through collective in-class and online discussions, creative and analytical writing, students will gain interdisciplinary skills that will help them understand the language of images and gestures.

SEM 101 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Lia Turtas 18288 Irene Eibenstein-Alvisi


Thinking and Thought: On Love

Love is everywhere—in our own lives, but also in literature, film, art, and media. Yet we spend very little time thinking critically about love and its companion, sex. In this course we will analyze love from a multiplicity of perspectives, drawing on philosophical, religious, literary, visual, and sociological texts. We will consider such topics as philosophical approaches to love, feminist thinking on love and sex, state regulations of sexuality, love and sex in literature, film, and popular culture, sex on campus and the hook-up culture, as well as the intersections between race, ethnicity, class gender, and sexuality.

SEM 101 MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m. Itziar Rodriguez de Rivera 18290


Thinking and Thought: Dante’s Examined Life

Why do we study? What is the point of learning? Do we aspire to more than career success? A philosopher once said that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Is this true? In this course we’ll answer this question while venturing into Dante Alighieri’s Inferno, a work that not only describes the state of souls after death, but also urges us to consider how we, in this life, envision ourselves and our communities. Reading the poem in English translation, we shall use it as a frame for further interrogation. Students will write both analytic and personal essays.

SEM 102 MW 02:55–04:10 p.m. Irene Eibenstein-Alvisi 18291


Animals in Global Cinema: Human and Non-human

In this class students will learn about animal welfare and conservation through international films. We will discuss wildlife, companion and farm animals in conjunction with human cultures and politics. The course will cover various animal species, e.g., pangolins, dogs, and sheep in fiction films, documentaries, and animated movies. Students will learn how to compose film reviews, critical essays, and creative assignments. The class includes guest speakers, a visit to Cornell barn, library, and museum. All films are available for streaming through Canvas for students to watch them in their free time.

SEM 101 TR 10:10–11:25 a.m. Ewa Bachminska 18296


Technology and Society: Reimagining Inequality in Emerging Tech

Advocates of new, often experimental technologies often make grand promises of “progress” but these utopic visions can obscure other perspectives and reproduce biases. In this writing-intensive seminar we will take an explicitly intersectional and multi-media approach to ask: How do people narrate their experiences with technologies, and what are the politics of that storytelling? What/whose stories get ignored when we take these progress narratives for granted? We will unpack the assumptions built into the dominant narratives of progress and seek to understand how privilege plays out through the dimensions of race, class, gender, and disability. We will engage critically and generatively with diverse stories of technological progress—including energy transitions, genetic medicine, reproductive technology—through scholarly writing, science fiction, and audio-visual storytelling.

SEM 101 TR 02:55–04:10 p.m. Derek Parrott 18297 Rebecca Slayton


Science and Society: Stories of (Agri)Culture

This seminar will teach you to write clearly about issues in agriculture, paying particular attention to the mutual shaping of science and society. For inspiration, we will critically read compelling writers from a variety of genres, such as Liberty Hyde Bailey, Rachel Carson, Evelyn Fox Keller, and Michael Pollan. We will draw extensively on Cornell-based resources and stories through visits with university archivists, historians, laboratories, and scientists. Writing assignments may include: magazine style science articles about researchers at Cornell, as well as oral histories with agriculturalists in the Ithaca or Cornell communities. This course will culminate in the submission of a collaborative proposal for a Mann Library exhibit on stories of agriculture and society at Cornell.

SEM 101 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Becca Harrison 18298 Bruce Lewenstein


Science and Society: Writers of the Near Future Inc., A Training Module

The basic premise of this course is the following scenario: In the not-so-distant future, a science fictional enterprise called Near Future Inc. requires its new employees to take a course—this course!—on how important scientists and technologists were sophisticated writers also. Students in the course will role-play being the trainees of Near Future Inc., and they will read and discuss the correspondence, press releases, essays, articles, lectures, autobiographical accounts, and futuristic manifestos written by influential scientists since the Industrial Revolution. Through written work, students will improve their communicative, argumentative, and creative writing skills in relation to science and technology. Students who are intrigued by the histories and theories of life sciences, cybernetics, space sciences, and military technologies are encouraged to take this course.

SEM 102 TR 08:40–09:55 a.m. Mehmet Ekinci 18299 Stephen Hilgartner


Science and Society: Knowledge, Power, and Mathematics

From the movement of heavenly bodies to the algorithms of Facebook, mathematics has offered new and different ways of knowing the world around us. Yet the meaning and value—indeed the power—of mathematical knowledge has been negotiated and reimagined throughout history. In this course, we will explore the social, cultural, and political dimensions of mathematics: from Galileo and Ada Lovelace to DeepBlue and Steven Hawking. We will examine the messiness at work in the production of mathematical knowledge in order to sort through the messiness behind clear and thoughtful writing. Throughout the semester, students will develop skills and gain insight into the synergy of reading, writing, discussion, and reflection. Note: this Is a writing course; a background in mathematics is not required.

SEM 103 TR 11:40–12:55 p.m. Ellen Abrams 18300 Suman Seth


Writing about Daily Life in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia

Who actually built the pyramids? Did the courtyards of Babylonian temples really serve as brothels? What hung in the gardens of Babylon? After a general introduction to the history of the ancient Near East, this course focuses on the society and culture of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. Topics include literature, science, medicine, education, family life, fashion, feasting, and religion. Writing assignments focus on analyzing primary sources (in English translation), especially letters crafted by Egyptians and Mesopotamians themselves, which provide the most direct insight into the daily struggles and concerns of these ancient peoples. Students are encouraged to find their own voice in writing through learning to interpret the voices of history.

SEM 101 MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m. Alexandra Kleinerman 18301


Elements of Academic Writing: The Many Lives of Cities

How do our own experiences shape the stories we tell about the cities—both large and small—where we live? By learning about the many different lives people lead in cities we can explore connections between social and environmental issues, and learn about the political and economic stakes of urban life today. The Writing 1370 classroom is a dynamic workspace where students assemble the scholarly tools necessary to explore these complex, interdisciplinary questions. By collaborating with peers to pose questions, examine ideas, and share drafts, students develop the analytic and argumentative skills fundamental to interdisciplinary reading, research, and writing. With smaller class sizes, two 50-minute class sessions, and weekly student/teacher conferences, Writing 1370 is an alternative route FWS that provides a workshop setting for students to learn flexible and sustainable strategies for studying the essential elements of academic writing and for producing clear, precise academic prose that can address a variety of audiences and meet diverse rhetorical aims.

SEM 101 MW 10:10–11:00 a.m. Scott Sorrell 18307

WRIT 1370 provides a more intensive and individualized learning environment that is particularly appropriate for students who have not had much formal high school writing instruction; are unfamiliar with academic or research-based writing, or feel a general lack of confidence about academic writing.


Elements of Academic Writing: Human Health and the Environment

How do environmental exposures effect our health? Chemical and ecological changes in the environment impact individual health as well as large-scale medical practices and public policy. In this class we will delve into research in order to think and write about problematic, positive, and innovative relationships between human health and the environment. The Writing 1370 classroom is a dynamic workspace where students assemble the scholarly tools necessary to explore these complex, interdisciplinary questions. By collaborating with peers to pose questions, examine ideas, and share drafts, students develop the analytic and argumentative skills fundamental to interdisciplinary reading, research, and writing. With smaller class sizes, two 50-minute class sessions, and weekly student/teacher conferences, Writing 1370 is an alternative route FWS that provides a workshop setting for students to learn flexible and sustainable strategies for studying the essential elements of academic writing and for producing clear, precise academic prose that can address a variety of audiences and meet diverse rhetorical aims.  

SEM 102 MW 11:15–12:05 p.m. Jessica Sands 18302

This course is particularly appropriate for multilingual writers. WRIT 1370 provides a more intensive and individualized learning environment that is particularly appropriate for students who have not had much formal high school writing instruction; are unfamiliar with academic or research-based writing, or feel a general lack of confidence about academic writing.


Elements of Academic Writing: Language, Identity, and Power

How does language shape our world and our sense of who we are? How do identity factors like gender, sexuality, race, class, culture, and nationality influence our meaning-making practices? How do labels and names construct meaning and carry power? What languages and language practices do we associate with power and why? The Writing 1370 classroom is a dynamic workspace where students assemble the scholarly tools necessary to explore these complex, interdisciplinary questions. By collaborating with peers to pose questions, examine ideas, and share drafts, students develop the analytic and argumentative skills fundamental to interdisciplinary reading, research, and writing. With smaller class sizes, two 50-minute class sessions, and weekly student/teacher conferences, Writing 1370 is an alternative route FWS that provides a workshop setting for students to learn flexible and sustainable strategies for studying the essential elements of academic writing and for producing clear, precise academic prose that can address a variety of audiences and meet diverse rhetorical aims.

SEM 103 MW 12:20–01:10 p.m. Kate Navickas 18306

WRIT 1370 provides a more intensive and individualized learning environment that is particularly appropriate for students who have not had much formal high school writing instruction; are unfamiliar with academic or research-based writing, or feel a general lack of confidence about academic writing.


Elements of Academic Writing: Human Health and the Environment

How do environmental exposures effect our health? Chemical and ecological changes in the environment impact individual health as well as large-scale medical practices and public policy. In this class we will delve into research in order to think and write about problematic, positive, and innovative relationships between human health and the environment. The Writing 1370 classroom is a dynamic workspace where students assemble the scholarly tools necessary to explore these complex, interdisciplinary questions. By collaborating with peers to pose questions, examine ideas, and share drafts, students develop the analytic and argumentative skills fundamental to interdisciplinary reading, research, and writing. With smaller class sizes, two 50-minute class sessions, and weekly student/teacher conferences, Writing 1370 is an alternative route FWS that provides a workshop setting for students to learn flexible and sustainable strategies for studying the essential elements of academic writing and for producing clear, precise academic prose that can address a variety of audiences and meet diverse rhetorical aims.

SEM 104 MW 01:25–02:15 p.m. Jessica Sands 18310

This course is particularly appropriate for multilingual writers. WRIT 1370 provides a more intensive and individualized learning environment that is particularly appropriate for students who have not had much formal high school writing instruction; are unfamiliar with academic or research-based writing, or feel a general lack of confidence about academic writing.



Elements of Academic Writing: The Many Lives of Cities

How do our own experiences shape the stories we tell about the cities—both large and small—where we live? By learning about the many different lives people lead in cities we can explore connections between social and environmental issues, and learn about the political and economic stakes of urban life today. The Writing 1370 classroom is a dynamic workspace where students assemble the scholarly tools necessary to explore these complex, interdisciplinary questions. By collaborating with peers to pose questions, examine ideas, and share drafts, students develop the analytic and argumentative skills fundamental to interdisciplinary reading, research, and writing. With smaller class sizes, two 50-minute class sessions, and weekly student/teacher conferences, Writing 1370 is an alternative route FWS that provides a workshop setting for students to learn flexible and sustainable strategies for studying the essential elements of academic writing and for producing clear, precise academic prose that can address a variety of audiences and meet diverse rhetorical aims.

SEM 105 MW 02:30–03:20 p.m. Scott Sorrell 18309

WRIT 1370 provides a more intensive and individualized learning environment that is particularly appropriate for students who have not had much formal high school writing instruction; are unfamiliar with academic or research-based writing, or feel a general lack of confidence about academic writing.


Elements of Academic Writing: Metaphor in Art, Science, and Culture

Metaphor is the essence of human creativity—a form of thought, desire, and the language of the unconscious mind. How does metaphor operate in literature, pop culture, politics, and the thought of theoretical scientists such as Einstein and Richard Feynman? Can we improve our capacity to think metaphorically? The Writing 1370 classroom is a dynamic workspace where students assemble the scholarly tools necessary to explore these complex, interdisciplinary questions. By collaborating with peers to pose questions, examine ideas, and share drafts, students develop the analytic and argumentative skills fundamental to interdisciplinary reading, research, and writing. With smaller class sizes, two 50-minute class sessions, and weekly student/teacher conferences, Writing 1370 is an alternative route FWS that provides a workshop setting for students to learn flexible and sustainable strategies for studying the essential elements of academic writing and for producing clear, precise academic prose that can address a variety of audiences and meet diverse rhetorical aims.

SEM 106   TR 10:10–11:00 a.m.   Brad Zukovic  18304

SEM 107   TR 11:15–12:05 p.m.   Brad Zukovic  18303

WRIT 1370 provides a more intensive and individualized learning environment that is particularly appropriate for students who have not had much formal high school writing instruction; are unfamiliar with academic or research-based writing, or feel a general lack of confidence about academic writing.


Elements of Academic Writing: Connecting Cultures

What is culture? How does culture set standards for our behavior? How do we negotiate the intersections between cultures? How do the processes of culture determine the politics of assimilation, the power of language, and the spaces we inhabit? Particularly in writing, how does culture help us determine strategies appropriate for convincing a variety of distinct audiences and purposes? The Writing 1370 classroom is a dynamic workspace where students assemble the scholarly tools necessary to explore these complex, interdisciplinary questions. By collaborating with peers to pose questions, examine ideas, and share drafts, students develop the analytic and argumentative skills fundamental to interdisciplinary reading, research, and writing. With smaller class sizes, two 50-minute class sessions, and weekly student/teacher conferences, Writing 1370 is an alternative route FWS that provides a workshop setting for students to learn flexible and sustainable strategies for studying the essential elements of academic writing and for producing clear, precise academic prose that can address a variety of audiences and meet diverse rhetorical aims.

SEM 109 TR 01:25–02:15 p.m. Darlene Evans 18305

WRIT 1370 provides a more intensive and individualized learning environment that is particularly appropriate for students who have not had much formal high school writing instruction; are unfamiliar with academic or research-based writing, or feel a general lack of confidence about academic writing.


Research and Rhetoric: Podcasts 101

Do you love Radiolab, This American Life, Serial, Stuff You Should Know, or even The Joe Rogan Experience? Or, are you curious about all of the hype around podcasts? Whether you’re an experienced podcast-listener or new to the phenomena, in this course you will both study some popular podcasts and produce short and long pieces. We will analyze podcast episodes and seasons for their narrative style, use of evidence, framing devices, and other rhetorical moves as a way to understand different podcast genres as compositions. We will also learn to use Audacity (a free software), conduct interviews, collect usable secondary research, write scripts, and incorporate creative common sounds and music to create short sound bites and an extended longer podcast (12–15 minutes). This course treats podcasts as researched multimodal compositions for public audiences. Requirements: students must regularly bring a working laptop (available on loan at the library) and download Audacity.

SEM 101 TR 01:25–02:40 p.m. Kate Navickas 18319