Spring 2011 First-Year Writing Seminars

Anthropology  1127.101

Transnational Interruptions

Transnationalism: for a global society, it's a significant term indicating the flows of people, ideas, and goods between and across regions. The question for us, then, is: How does transnationalism disrupt reified cultural categories and complicate analytical boundaries? In addition to reading assigned texts from ethnic and area studies such as Ronald Takaki's Strangers from a Distant Shore, Paul Gilroy's Black Atlantic, and Benedict Anderson's Spectre of Comparisons, students will examine newspapers and articles to identify and share with the class contemporary examples of transnationalism. Discussion will focus on how to destabilize and question disciplinary analytical categories in order to understand the assumptions and contexts behind their construction. In essay assignments, students will apply and expand on theoretical concepts of the course as they relate to current events and to issues of specific interest. Students may also choose to participate in service learning opportunities such as volunteer work with transnational migrant workers, sharing their experiences in discussion and writing.

TR 02:55–04:10 p.m.     Ivan Small      14997     Nerissa Russell   


Anthropology  1129.101

The Rustbelt

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

TR 11:40–12:55 p.m.     Catherine Koehler      15285     Nerissa Russell   


Anthropology  1131.101

Language, Mind, and Culture: Identities and Representations

How does our language affect the way we view the world? How do we use language to categorize ourselves and other cultures and peoples? How are these different identities represented in the public discourse (film, music, literature, popular culture)? How do these representations change over time? We will address these issues using an interdisciplinary approach from anthropology, linguistics, sociology, and semiotics, and discussing historical and contemporary examples from literature, music, and film that deal directly with issues of identity. Writing assignments will include responses to readings, personal narratives, creative point-of-view narratives, and critical essays.

MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m.     Michael Carpentier      15287     Nerissa Russell   


Art History  1135.101

Representing North Africa in Art

North Africa looms in American popular cultural imaginaries and representations as a space of exoticism, separate from the rules that govern “us.” How can we read these representations, and to what can we compare them? Focusing particularly on Morocco and Algeria, we will consider how artistic representation interacts with its socio-political context. We will explore alternative representations of such topics as the war for independence in Algiers and the border in Tangier. We will look at divergent viewpoints, including films such as Battle of Algiers, theory by Edward Said and Frantz Fanon, literature by Laila Lalami, and visual representations by artists such as Yto Barrada and Antoni Muntadas. Students will develop ideas on how to critically interpret representation, focusing on building arguments in writing assignments.

TR 11:40–12:55 p.m.     Holiday Powers      15000     Maria Fernandez   


Art History  1136.101

Mapping the Monstrous and Marvelous of the Middle Ages and Beyond

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

TR 10:10–11:25 a.m.     Kristen Streahle      15001     Maria Fernandez   


Art History  1137.101

The Creation of African Art

What is African Art? Why are so many different kinds of cultural expressions from such a large and diverse continent categorized in the same way? In this course, we will emphasize artistic creation from the perspective of artists, and students will study the arts of several African cultures.  Furthermore, we will analyze the creation of African art as a subject of inspiration and research.  While developing skills in critical analysis, visual literacy, and writing, students will study both scholarly and popular interpretations of the art objects. The course will incorporate visits to on-campus resources, such as the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art.

TR 02:55–04:10 p.m.     Amanda Gilvin      15002     Maria Fernandez   


Asian Studies  1116.101

The Huns

The Huns are commonly known as invaders from Asia in the fourth century CE who dominated Eastern Europe and campaigned in Western Europe until defeated in the mid-sixth century. This tale is but one aspect of a larger story about Huns and other peoples in nearly every part of Eurasia who were affected by them. The content of this writing seminar will include written accounts of the Huns and of events in the history of the Huns and in the histories of the peoples affected by them, epic tales such as the “Nibelungenlied,” geographic factors in their history, information about the life of Attila, the most famous leader of the Huns, and archaeological evidence.

TR 08:40–09:55 a.m.     Keith Taylor      15003         


Africana Studies and Research Center  1811.101

Women Writing in Southern Africa

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

TR 02:55–04:10 p.m.     Sarah Mkhonza      15005         


Africana Studies and Research Center  1815.101

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

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

MW 02:55–04:10 p.m.     Adeolu Ademoyo      15006         


Africana Studies and Research Center  1819.101

Literature and Sport

In this course, we will explore the “literariness” of sports writing. By reading and writing about a number of texts, “autobiographies,” novels, historical memoirs, and short stories, we will consider how difficult it is to categorize sports writing. We will read about sports codes, such as cricket, that, by themselves introduce new modes of thinking and writing about sport. We will also read two texts about football (improperly called “soccer” in the US) that will challenge us to think about sport and literature, sport and politics, and the very form of sports writing.

TR 10:10–11:25 a.m.     Grant Farred      15007         


Africana Studies and Research Center  1820.101

Hip-Hop Culture and Youth Identity

Is Jay-Z really the best rapper alive? Does hip-hop hate women? Should White youth be allowed to use the “N Word”? Ever hear of the “homo-hop” movement? This First-Year Writing Seminar provides an introduction to the study of hip-hop culture, and its impact on youth identity. We will use hip-hop as a critical framework for exploring cultural assumptions about race, gender and sexuality, and social class. We will explore how music and language might be used to unite disadvantaged youth in Africa, Europe, Caribbean, and the US. Throughout the semester, students will write responses to selected songs, films, and classroom debates. Students will formulate research proposals and investigate hip-hop in the Cornell community.

MW 08:40–09:55 a.m.     Travis Gosa      15289         


Africana Studies and Research Center  1823.101

Journey to Justice: African Americans and the Modern Civil Rights Movement, 1940-1980

This course will examine the African American push for civil rights. Students will gain insight into the movement as it evolved from moments of non-violent mass organizing and protests into the realm of Black Power and electoral politics. Through course readings and writing assignments, students will critically engage the following issues: tactics such as nonviolence and self-defense; the tensions between charismatic and group-centered leadership styles; the benefits and liabilities of coalition politics; and the impact of gender, sexuality and class on racial goals.

TR 10:10–11:25 a.m.     Jessica Harris      15008         


Africana Studies and Research Center  1824.101

Living for the City: African Americans and the Urban Experience

This course will examine the growth and evolution of African American urban communities from the colonial era to the twenty-first century. In addition to introducing students to the historiography of black urban history, the course will examine the manner in which the urban experience of African Americans shaped the contemporary world of African Americans throughout the United States and of all urbanites. Our critical scrutiny of the texts will encourage students to engage in fresh perspectives and creative approaches to understanding the experiences of African Americans in the urban milieu and will also develop their capacity for independent and critical thought, which in turn prepares them for writing effectively and persuasively.

TR 01:25–02:40 p.m.     Jessica Harris      15292         


Astronomy  1110.101

The Exploration of Mars

Will humans live on Mars someday? Did Martian life ever exist? What drives us to explore the solar system, and is exploration worth the risks? In this course, we will explore such questions through a study of the history and future of Mars exploration. Topics range from the first telescopic observations to the Mars Exploration Rovers to speculations about colonization and terraforming. Readings will include popular science texts by Carl Sagan and Steve Squyres, and classic science fiction such as The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. Students will write newspaper articles and magazine stories in addition to research essays. Our goal is not to memorize facts about Mars, but to use writing to understand our neighbor planet as a world and a new frontier. Winner of the Buttrick-Crippen Award for 2010–11.

MW 02:55–04:10 p.m.     Melissa Rice      15011     Martha Haynes   


Neurobiology & Behavior  1220.101

Nice Guys Finish First: The Evolution of Cooperation

How do you make your room-mates clean the kitchen? Why do people contribute to charity? Cooperation is not only central to our daily lives, but also important in nature, from chimpanzees hunting together to honeybee workers foraging for their queen. Charles Darwin found cooperative behavior so perplexing that it drove him “half mad”: why, when individuals benefit from being selfish, do we see so much cooperation? In this class, we will explore how economics, evolution, and ecology converge to help us explain cooperation and its consequences, using environmental conservation as a major example. We will observe human and non-human behavior on wildlife documentaries and the Cornell campus, and use elementary game theory and popular scientific texts as the basis for a variety of written assignments. Winner of the Buttrick-Crippen Award for 2010–11.

MW 02:55–04:10 p.m.     Jessie Barker      15081     Kern Reeve   


Classics  1531.101

Greek Myth

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

TR 11:40–12:55 p.m.     David Mankin      15082         


Classics  1531.102

Greek Myth

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

MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m.     Jeff Leon      15083     David Mankin   


Comparative Literature  1109.101

Writing across Cultures: Art and Politics in Latin America—The 1960s

This course explores the theoretical and practical stakes of “subjectivation” through the Latin American political and cultural experience of the 1960s. How can the phenomena of cultural assimilation and difference in Peru or of the New Man of the Cuban Revolution help us think about and redefine concepts like subject, nation, state, and ideology for the present? We will examine theoretical, essayistic, literary, and cinematographic texts from the 1960s as a way of thinking about the constitution of collective political subjects in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries in Latin America and beyond. We will also become better prepared for academic writing in the fields of literature and cultural studies by focusing on skills such as critical summary, close reading, comparative analysis, becoming attuned to language and tone, and marshalling evidence for analytic arguments. Authors may include Ernesto (“Che”) Guevara, Ricardo Piglia, Antonio Gramsci, and José María Arguedas.

MW 08:40–09:55 a.m.     Karen Benezra      15093     Petrus Liu   


Comparative Literature  1126.101

Comparative Arts: Blues of the Ports—Popular Music on the Fringes

New Orleans, Havana, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Seville, Piraeus—port cities have been pivotal sites of cultural exchange, often spawning controversial social identities, rituals, and musical forms. Through a combination of audio and visual media, as well as literary and academic texts, students will examine the musical and cultural life of port cities while learning the fundamentals of critical thought and prose. Surveying musics as disparate as blues and tango and authors as diverse as Claude McKay and Federico Garcia Lorca, students will glean how, on the fringes of civilization, port cities have created an atmosphere favorable for the flowering of some of the world's most captivating musical traditions.

MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m.     Ryan Dreher      15094     Petrus Liu   


Comparative Literature  1133.101

Studies in Literary Theory: Literature and Radicality

Can we understand literature as being inherently politically radical? How have literature and literary writing been marshaled not only to question political norms but to dismantle them at their foundations?  What kind of agency and political impact can we attribute to literature? This course will examine a variety of different kinds of radicality in literary form and political content. For instance, we will look at literature than challenges the social standards of its time through various kinds of perversity (Baudelaire) and sexuality (Gide's The Immoralist), and we will look at explicit political statements (Marx's "The Communist Manifesto"). To explore the inherent politically radical nature of literature, class discussions and writing assignments will focus on close reading and developing strong arguments.

MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m.     Tatiana Sverjensky      15096     Petrus Liu   


Comparative Literature  1133.102

Studies in Literary Theory: Rhetoric and Politics

While it may seem an outdated concept, belonging to ancient times, rhetoric, as the form or manner in which we speak, is intimately bound up with everything we read, see, hear, or say—from newspapers and blogs, to TV shows and the arts. What is rhetoric? How does it work? Is there one rhetoric or many? And what is political about it? The course will follow the history of writing about rhetoric towards the modern understanding that the form of language has a determining effect on its content, and that both influence the way we think and act. Reading may include excerpts from Aristotle, Plato, Augustine, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Nietzsche, and others. We will focus on close reading and methods of critical writing.

MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m.     Liron Mor      15097     Petrus Liu   


Comparative Literature  1133.103

Studies in Literary Theory: Metaphysics, Morality, and Selfhood in the Novel

How can we know the true nature of the world? What standards, if any, guide our action? How, finally, can we know ourselves? This course will examine philosophical and literary responses to these questions; we will trace the intersections and divergences between these different forms of thinking about truth, knowledge, freedom, and personal identity. We will also aim to understand and develop argumentative rigor and stylistic sophistication in writing. Readings may include selections from writers such as Rene Descartes, David Hume, James Joyce, Immanuel Kant, Plato, Thomas Pynchon, and Virginia Woolf.

MW 02:55–04:10 p.m.     Aaron Hodges      15098     Petrus Liu    


Comparative Literature  1133.104

Studies in Literary Theory: Cyborg Selves

Are we becoming cyborgs? Does it matter? What does the increasingly blurry line between “human” and “technology” mean for our experience of identity and memory (both individual and shared), of freedom, consumption, agency, love, desire—in short, for all the things that tell us who we are in the world we inhabit? Students in this class will examine historical and contemporary examples of cyborgs in literature, film, popular culture, media and visual art. We’ll read and discuss scholarly writings on cyborgs as well, and work throughout the semester to produce a portfolio of finely crafted, polished essays that address two major questions: How has the not-quite-human figure of the cyborg marked a changing sense of the human condition?  And what can it tell us about what it means to be human now, in an age of advanced technology? 

MW 08:40–09:55 a.m.     Madeleine Casad      15099     Petrus Liu   


Comparative Literature  1133.105

Studies in Literary Theory: How To Become A Woman—Literature and a Girl's Coming of Age

What does it mean in literature to become a woman? How does one leave girlhood behind? And why should we care what literature has to say about it anyway? Through readings of such works as Carson McCullers’s The Member of the Wedding and Marguerite Duras’s The Lover, we will analyze literature’s figurations of a feminine coming of age. At the same time, we will engage with such thinkers as Sigmund Freud, Simone de Beauvoir, and Judith Butler to see how becoming a woman is conceived in theoretical texts. Writing assignments will engage students in a dialog between theoretical and literary texts in order to discover how literature complicates theory and how it formulates the problem differently.

MW 07:30–08:45 p.m.     Carissa Sims      15100     Petrus Liu   


City and Regional Planning  1109.101

Poverty and Inequality in Latin America

Latin America is the most unequal region in the world, with millions living in poverty as many individuals have gotten very rich. Why has this happened? This course seeks to understand the social, economic, and political forces that have shaped Latin America’s inequality, examining academic texts, testimonials of individuals, and film. We will explore the historical roots of inequality (including pre-colonial and colonial influences) as well as more modern dynamics, focusing on who has gotten left behind and why. Students will have writing assignments that encourage them both to analyze more deeply the class materials and to improve their writing skills.

TR 02:55–04:10 p.m.     Marcela Gonzalez      15104         


City and Regional Planning  1109.102

Cities and Climate Change

Today urban areas produce close to seventy-five percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Clearly, cities have a key role to play in creating the conditions for a sustainable future, and curbing global emissions. How are they facing the formidable challenges posed by climate change? The course seeks to familiarize students with approaches and responses to climate change from an urban perspective. Readings include selections from Resilient Cities (Newman, et. al.) and The Climate Crisis (Archer & Rahmstorf), among others. We will also examine news reports, Internet sites, and documentary film (A Sea Change). Assignments include an op-ed piece, a film review, and a research paper. The course ends with a vision exercise in which students design their ideal climate-resilient city of the future.

TR 02:55–04:10 p.m.     Myriam Figueroa      15105     John Forester   


Development Sociology  1200.101

Having a Lot on Our Plates: An Introduction to the Sociology of Food

As our food system becomes increasingly globalized, many Americans are becoming concerned about the disconnect we have between our food and where it comes from.  In this course, we discuss, read, and write about sociological perspectives on how our food is produced, how it gets to us, and what the implications of these processes are for producers, consumers, and the environment. In a sequence of writing assignments, students will choose a food item to trace through the global processes that carry it from “farm to fork.” Additional writing assignments will draw on our exposure to local perspectives through guest speakers and field trips to places such as the Ithaca Farmers’ Market and Cornell’s student-run organic farm, Dilmun Hill.

TR 10:10–11:25 a.m.     Andrea Woodward      15293     Chuck Geisler   


Development Sociology  1202.101

International Conservation: People and the Protection of Biodiversity

Do people need biodiversity? If so, how do we preserve it? And who pays when we protect natural areas? This course uses a sociological lens to examine the construction of the biodiversity concept, how the human- nature relationship has changed throughout history, and the underlying political perspectives that support various positions on conservation. We will also address contemporary debates on conservation strategies using case studies to evaluate the efficacy of these competing approaches. Readings will be drawn from social and biological science journals, NGO publications, official documents, and popular environmental literature. Students will improve writing skills through writing in various genres including: rhetorical analysis, exposition, persuasion, and an argumentative research paper.

MW 02:55–04:10 p.m.     Kayte Meola      15295     Chuck Geisler   


Development Sociology  1203.101

Medicine, Technology, Women, and Power

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

MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m.     Marygold Walsh-Dilley      15296     Chuck Geisler   


English  1105.101

Writing and Sexual Politics: All the Single Ladies

From sad spinsters to glamorous bachelorettes, single women in literature and film long for a different life with “Mr. Right” by their side. Or do they? This course is concerned with the often reviled but always riveting figure of the single woman and with her fictional adventures and metamorphoses. The fascination with unmarried women has given us captivating tales of horror, puzzling stories of renunciation, and inspiring coming-of-age narratives. We will consider contemporary images of single women and their 19th- and 20th-century forerunners (from Emily Dickinson to Lily Bart) and look closely at conceptions of gender equality, romantic love, and personal freedom as well as the clichés and conventions that shape them. Writing assignments will include short responses and multi-draft essays.

TR 10:10–11:25 a.m.     Kamila Janiszewska      15800     Mary McCullough   


English  1105.102

Writing and Sexual Politics: Sexual Relations of Early American Literature

Sex and sexuality weren’t a defining feature of American culture until the 1960s, right? Wrong. In fact, as this course explores, that wouldn’t be true even if we said before the 1860s. In this course we’ll read, discuss, and write about seduction, queerness, same-sex desire, transgender performance, androgyny, child sexuality, pregnancy, interracial relationships, singleness, polyamory, voyeurism, pornography, prostitution, consent, rape, pleasure, punishment, and more. We’ll encounter these topics in texts from mostly colonial and pre-Civil War America by familiar writers like Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Frederick Douglass, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and by writers whose work was well-known in its day: Hannah Foster, Julia Ward Howe, Harriet Jacobs, Horatio Alger, and others. Written work will be both formal and informal, practiced on paper and online.

MW 08:40–09:55 a.m.     Jonathon Senchyne      15801     Mary McCullough   


English  1105.103

Writing and Sexual Politics: Haunted Houses

In the United States, we often epitomize home ownership as “the American Dream.” What happens when that dream turns into a nightmare? This course combines the study of literature with social analysis to investigate what literary representations of haunted houses can teach us about gender and racial inequality in the United States. How do haunted houses in United States literature link differences of gender and race to particular places? What ruptures between private desires and social expectations are revealed in haunted houses? Through discussion, written responses, and close reading, students will investigate the different ways that haunted houses disrupt and preserve dynamics of social inclusion and exclusion. A substantial portion of the course will focus on the social politics of death.

TR 02:55–04:10 p.m.     Heidi Hoechst      15803     Mary McCullough   


English  1105.104

Writing and Sexual Politics: Prostitutes, Punishments, and Pleasures in Early American Literature

Sex and violence: most people secretly, or not so secretly, love and fear both. This course investigates sex and violence in early American literature, from the Puritans to the 1918 text Autobiography of an Androgyne. We will define “sex” and “violence” loosely, and our readings will challenge and enrich your own definitions. We will investigate topics such as gender, desire, friendship, and the nation. We will read authors like Whitman and Hawthorne, as well as lesser known texts. You will also read materials in Cornell’s Gender and Sexuality archive. Our writing assignments will address both contemporary and early American experiences, and you will write a series of shorter papers ending in a final research project.

TR 01:25–02:40 p.m.     Brant Torres      15804     Mary McCullough   


English  1105.105

Writing and Sexual Politics: Libertine London—Sex, Scandal, and the City

From the creation of the closet to the invention of the coffee house, urbanization has shaped our cultural presumptions about sex and sexuality. The modern city formed itself around a carving up of spaces, one that highlighted the divisions between public and private places. Using London as its main paradigm, this course will examine the effects that such city spaces, houses, and layouts had on modern concepts of sexuality. Subtopics include: the country versus the city, the figures of the libertine, the prostitute, and the homosexual, cities and the marriage market, secrecy and satire, politics and pornography. A series of critical writing assignments will explore a variety of literary genres along with museum visits and film screenings. Authors may include Rochester, Swift, and Pope.

TR 02:55–04:10 p.m.     Sarah Eron      15805     Mary McCullough    


English  1111.101

Writing across Cultures: Apologizing Well, from Socrates to the Present

Public figures are always appearing on TV to say they’re sorry; nations, too, occasionally apologize for past misdeeds, often decades after everyone both sinned against and sinning has been safely buried. Some people are chronic apologizers, born to feel guilty if the weather turns rainy, and others are incapable of forgiving a wrong. But apologizing, or refusing to apologize, shines a light on a great deal about a given cultural moment beyond individual avoidance of blame. We will examine the rhetoric of apologizing and what it takes to ask for and to receive forgiveness. To assist student writing, and as a rubric of analysis, we trace the history of apology from Plato’s Apology and medieval arts of letter-writing to controversial contemporary public apologies. We will look at a variety of apologies—from Socrates and Chaucer to Ian McEwan’s Atonement, Bill Clinton, and Kanye West, and write a few of our own.

TR 01:25–02:40 p.m.     Masha Raskolnikov      15821     Margo Crawford   


English  1111.102

Writing across Cultures: Travel Narratives

This first-year seminar will examine literature that connects the process of writing and the process of travel. The travel narrative will be considered as a liminal (borderline) text that teaches us how new ways of thinking are created in the in-between spaces. We will focus on movements through space and time and movements through dominant cultural narratives and ideologies. Writing assignments will pivot on critical thinking that happens in the in-between spaces and the travel that can energize students’ own writing. Our texts may include William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, Ama Ata Aidoo’s Our Sister Killjoy, Allen Ginsberg’s Indian Journals, and Sherman Alexie’s Reservation Blues.

TR 11:40–12:55 p.m.     Margo Crawford      15823         


English  1111.103

Writing across Cultures: Strangers in Strange Lands—Englishmen Abroad

In this course, we will read works of fiction featuring Englishmen (and sometimes Irishmen) engaged in overseas travel.  Travel and geographical discovery have haunted the European imagination at least since the Renaissance, and travel narratives have had a significant impact on British history and literature.  We shall explore classics like Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe as well as 20th-century novels like A Passage to India and The English Patient.  Occasionally, we will also look at essays, short stories, and poems.  Through the writing assignments, we will try to answer some of the numerous questions these texts trigger: How does one cope with the fact of being a stranger in a foreign land?  How do phenomena like colonialism and war affect travel? Why do people travel at all?

TR 08:40–09:55 a.m.     Nandini Ramesh Sankar      15824     Margo Crawford   


English  1111.104

Writing across Cultures: The Special (Un)Dead: Saints and Vampires

In this course, through examination of texts that center separately on vampires and saints, we will discuss and investigate saints and vampires as both cultural constructions and constructors of cultures. The emphasis will always be on reading one through the other, through such texts as The Golden Legend, Twilight, and True Blood. Various writing exercises will continue this focus on otherworldly creatures who maintain their existence in part through a special relationship to blood. The choice of vampires and saints will also give us a chance to trouble the distinction between medieval and modern, as we navigate the boundaries between the supernatural and natural. In discussion and writing, we’ll ask how vampires and saints say something similar about the cultures they represent and create.

TR 10:10–11:25 a.m.     William Rogers      15825     Margo Crawford   


English  1111.105

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

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

TR 11:40–12:55 p.m.     Elizabeth Tshele      15827     Margo Crawford   


English  1127

Shakespeare from Stage to Screen

For four hundred years, Shakespeare has been responsible for more smash hits than any other other dramatist or screenwriter.  He is the most quoted poet in the English language, and his dramatic works are the most frequently enacted and filmed.  What accounts for this enduring popularity?  What about the plays has made them at once so permanent and so adaptable?  This class will give students the opportunity to work very closely with just a few of Shakespeare's plays: a total of four or five over the course of the semester.  We will look to the playtexts themselves as inspiration for the extensive writing we will do over the course of the semester.  But we will also consult film clips and performances to focus on these plays as works produced by and for a public theater.

MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m.     Matthew Kibbee             15809     Rayna Kalas   

MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m.     Kaitlyn Bonsell        15810     Rayna Kalas   

MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m.     Noor Desai              15811     Rayna Kalas   

MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m.     Lynne Stahl             15814     Rayna Kalas   

TR 10:10–11:25 a.m.          Rayna Kalas            15815         

MW 02:55–04:10 p.m.       Shilo McGiff           15816     Rayna Kalas   


English  1134

Memoir and Memory

In this course, we will examine how authors construct their public, written selves.  Since the self is, at best, a difficult and multi-faceted concept, we will consider a variety of texts in our endeavor to understand an author's choices of literary techniques in his or her narration of the remembered, created self.  We will read book-length memoirs such as Jamaica Kincaid's My Brother, Tobias Wolff's This Boy's Life and  Sandra Cisneros's The House on Mango Street, and we will explore other texts such as reflective essays, poems, or visual renderings (e.g. Spiegelman’s Maus). Together we will investigate writers' methods of self-exploration and presentation, and through reading and the frequent writing of essays we will explore how and why people write about themselves, always asking, "How does writing shape lived experience?"

MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m.         Clayton Pityk              15872     Katherine Gottschalk   

TR 08:40–09:55 a.m.              Adin Lears                  15873     Katherine Gottschalk   

TR 10:10–11:25 a.m.              Anisha Warner            15874     Katherine Gottschalk   

MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m.         Corey Wronski           15875     Katherine Gottschalk   

MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m.          Venessa Strachan       15876     Katherine Gottschalk   

MW 07:30–08:45 p.m.           Tacey Atsitty              15877     Katherine Gottschalk   

TR 02:55–04:10 p.m.              Anne Marie Rooney   15878     Katherine Gottschalk   

MW 08:40–09:55 a.m.            Katherine Gottschalk 15879         


English  1147

The Mystery in the Story

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

MWF 08:00–08:50 a.m.         Shyla Foster                15851     Stuart Davis   

MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m.         Daniel Sinykin            15852     Stuart Davis   

TR 08:40–09:55 a.m.               Jillian Spivey             15853     Stuart Davis   

TR 11:40–12:55 p.m.              Bradley Depew           15854     Stuart Davis   


English  1158.101

American Voices: Imagining Cities—The Big Apple, The City of Angels, and Other Dystopias

In much fiction, cities take on a life of their own, becoming the leading character—especially the (in)famous cities of Los Angeles and New York. This class will analyze the uses of urban geography to construct and question identity. How do race, socio-economic status, gender, and citizenship factor into imagined cities? How does geography limit or challenge these interactions? And why have many representations devolved from idyllic dreams to bleak dystopias? Readings might include Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, Nathanael West’s Miss Lonelyhearts and Day of the Locust, Karen Tei Yamashita’s Tropic of Orange, and geographers David Harvey and Doreen Massey. Essays will give students the opportunity to develop their own arguments and to try their hand at the stylistic and rhetorical conventions modeled by the readings.

MW 08:40–09:55 a.m.     Noor Hashem      15855     Dag Woubshet   


English  1158.102

American Voices: The Politics of Style

How can a literary text be political? Might it become political not just in its subject matter, but also in the way it’s written? How can texts which don’t always speak explicitly of the events of their time be political in some other, maybe even more radical, way? By reading, writing about, and in some cases, imitating texts with complicated relationships to their context, we will consider how literary style might already be a political act.  Texts may include Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and selections from Shadow and Act, Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience and Hawthorne’s short stories. Writing assignments will include reading journals, style imitation exercises, and formal analytic essays.

MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m.     Ingrid Diran      15856     Dag Woubshet   


English  1158.103

American Voices: Nineteen Eighty Five

This course will focus on thinking and writing about the literature of 1985.  We’ll read three novels published that year (Don DeLillo’s White Noise, Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, and Haruki Murakami’s Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World) and place these in the context of the contemporary social and cultural milieu, especially film, television, and the emergence of home-video-game technology.  We’ll focus on close literary analysis of the novels, but there will also be substantial secondary theoretical readings on postmodernism and globalization.  While spotlighting such a specific historical moment should ideally give us some sense of its zeitgeist, in general we’ll read these very diverse texts on their own terms.

TR 11:40–12:55 p.m.     Nicholas Roth      15857     Dag Woubshet   


English  1158.104

American Voices: The Culture of the 1930s

This class examines the United States during the time of its last major economic crisis—the 1930s. We will study the forms of culture that represented the real social effects of the Depression, as well as art that appeared to suggest an escape or a diversion from the devastating crisis. Focusing primarily on literary responses, we will also have significant units on the importance of film and radio, which were, then as now, sources of entertainment, information, and propaganda. Our aim will be to understand the relationships among these ways of representing the world; we'll discuss and write about their real differences while keeping an eye open for their hidden affinities.

MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m.     Jeremy Braddock      15858         


English  1158.105

American Voices: Diverse Voices of American Identity

Who is “American?”  How is American identity conceptualized and acted out in diverse cultural communities within the land defined as the United States of America?  In what ways do contemporary novels about these communities reflect these communities and define them for an audience beyond community borders?  In this seminar we’ll read a series of contemporary novels by authors like Toni Morrison, Junot Diaz, Leslie Silko, Kiana Davenport, and Cormac McCarthy that exemplify the multifaceted role of story in communicating cultural identity.  Through journal writing, autobiographical essays, and critical analytical essays, students will explore diverse conceptions of American identity as they are communicated in contemporary novels and consider how those conceptions can both solidify and productively unsettle notions of “being American.”

TR 01:25–02:40 p.m.     Virginia Kennedy      15859     Dag Woubshet   


English  1158.106

American Voices: The Eccentric in Contemporary Fiction and Poetry

“They just can’t seem to . . . They should try harder to . . . They ought to be more . . . We all wish they weren’t so . . . They never . . . They always . . .”—from “Elliptical” by Harryette Mullen.  What makes a creative work off center, irregular, extravagant? When it comes to creativity, where is the center and who decides? This course will examine works such as Harryette Mullen’s Sleeping with the Dictionary, Elizabeth Alexander’s American Sublime, Colson Whitehead’s The Intuitionist, and Octavia Butler’s Fledgling, works populated by genetically altered vampires, inspectors who intuit elevator malfunctions, and the first Afro-American Esperantist. Students will develop and revise a series of essays.

MW 02:55–04:10 p.m.     Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon      15860         


English  1158.107

American Voices: Crime Stories

This seminar will serve as a tour through the history of crime fiction, from Poe's archetypal Dupin stories, through Conan Doyle's Holmes tales, Chandler's LA noir, and Highsmith's subversive narratives, to the great Scandanavian novels of the late twentieth century and the present-day meta-mystery of China Mieville. Through reading, discussion, and a variety of writing assignments, we'll investigate the nature of the literary puzzle, the psychological model of the detective, and the uses of genre fiction in Western culture.

TR 10:10–11:25 a.m.     John Lennon      15861         


English  1167

Great New Books

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

TR 11:40–12:55 p.m.               Anna Rose Casey       15862     Charlie Green   

MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m.          Benjamin Garcia        15863     Charlie Green   

MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m.         Christian Howard       15864     Charlie Green   

TR 08:40–09:55 a.m.              Elizabeth Rogers         15865     Charlie Green   

TR 01:25–02:40 p.m.              Charlie Green             15882         


English  1168.101

Cultural Studies: The Figure of the Badass in Literature and Film

The Road Warrior. Rambo. Ellen Ripley. Coriolanus. All walk alone. All stand up for what’s right. All are Badasses.  But what exactly makes a “Badass,” and what does it mean to be one?  This course will examine our conception of the Badass through many mediums: we will engage with literary texts, critical essays, and films.  Through these works, we will seek to better understand what exactly the Badass is, and how he or she intersects with issues of gender, race, technology, sexuality, and cinematic representation.  Writing and revising will form an integral part of this course, allowing you to develop and work through your own analyses.  Texts may include Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, Old English poetry, Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling, The 6th Day, Mad Max, and Aliens.

MW 08:40–09:55 a.m.     John Robbins      15868     Jane Juffer   


English  1168.102

Cultural Studies: Martial Arts Discipline and Punish

Bruce Lee and other martial arts actors portray characters who are extremely disciplined, but how do their films discipline us as an audience and create in us a social, cultural and political subject that is just as finely-tuned? This seminar uses the action cinema of Hong Kong as an occasion to think and write about philosophical and ethical questions, with an emphasis on French theorist Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish. Films will include 36th Chamber of Shaolin and Fist of Legend, among others; we will also consider the Street Fighter game series and a selection of literary texts, such as Beowulf and Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, in order to extend our conversation across media and cultures. Student writing will involve close reading, critical debate and theoretical critique.

MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m.     Matthew Bucemi      15869     Jane Juffer   


English  1168.103

Cultural Studies: Architexts—Castles, Prisons, Offices

From Gothic castles to modern office cubicles, architectural settings can have as much significance as literature’s characters and plots.  This course attempts to map the symbolic and poetic spaces of buildings as they shape, and are shaped by, the values and forms within texts.  We will investigate ways of reading architecture—and how architecture, in turn, helps determine or deconstruct social bodies.  How are castles haunted by the specters of history?  How do prisons “incarcerate” certain reading practices?  How do offices assume (or subvert) a view of humans as machines?  We will write about such questions while reading authors that may include Borges, Melville, e. e. cummings, or Tom Wolfe, and looking at architecture such as Bentham’s Panopticon, Tschumi’s Follies, and episodes of The Office.

MW 07:30–08:45 p.m.     William Cordeiro      15870     Jane Juffer   


English  1168.104

Cultural Studies: The Pleasure and Politics of Television

Why should television be considered a worthy object of academic study? Conversely, how can we think and write about television in complex ways without treating it as just another object of academic study? This course analyzes television through the methodology of cultural studies and popular culture. We look not only at specific television programs in terms of their textual qualities but also at the realms of production, distribution, and reception. And we consider questions of access: how and with what effects have marginalized groups gained access to television production? Our focus, however, is mainly consumption. Can one like a text and also find it politically troubling? What are the intersections of politics and pleasure? What is the relationship between access to production and access to consumption?

TR 10:10–11:25 a.m.     Jane Juffer      15871         


English  1168.105

Cultural Studies: Writing on Art, Art from Writing

This course addresses many and varied relations of word and image: How do written texts respond to visual art? How does art respond to texts? How can we as writers render in words that which is without language but calls for interpretation? How do artists render in painting or sculpture the substance of a text? How is an episode from Ovid or the Bible represented in multiple works of art, and how may visual renderings of a familiar tale both retell it and interpret it? How does a static work of art render time and memory? Writers considered may include Ruskin, Pater, Hazlitt, Shelley, Keats, Hogarth, Diderot, Baudelaire, Auden, John Ashbery. Works of art from such as: Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Rubens, Turner, Rauschenberg, Twombly, the Laocoön group, and the the Elgin Marbles.

TR 01:25–02:40 p.m.     Tatiana Senkevitch      15883         


English  1170

Short Stories

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

MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m.         Laurel Lathrop            15830     David Faulkner   

MW 07:30–08:45 p.m.           Megan Coe                 15831     David Faulkner   

TR 08:40–09:55 a.m.              Natalie Ysamin Soto  15832     David Faulkner   

MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m.         Rachel Coye               15833     David Faulkner   


English  1191.101

British Literature: The Private Life—The Ordering of Inner Thoughts in Devotional Literature

Socrates’ prayer from the Phaedrus—“May the outward and inward man be at one”—is striking to the contemporary reader.  Modern society so clearly rewards external performance and image management over the cultivation of a rich and mature inward person.  The constant exposure of the hypocrisy and scandal of well-known figures reminds us, however, of the dangers of a public life that far outpaces a neglected private life.  In this course, we will examine the life of devotion that produces the quiet ordering of the inner person and study the literature of the English devotional tradition.  Authors may include John Donne, George Herbert, Francis de Sales, and John Bunyan.  Through in-class writing and formal essays, we will develop skills in close reading and critical thinking.

MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m.     Jane Kim      15884     Fredric Bogel   


English  1191.102

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

Why do stories of murder, incest, diabolism, and seduction continue to fascinate? What drew nineteenth-century audiences to tales of wickedness and woe? In this course, we’ll study and write about popular romantic-era tales of horror, from nursery stories and sensational plays to classic send-ups of the genre such as Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and John Keats’s The Eve of St Agnes. We’ll analyze their ornamental and elevated style and their often artificial conventions, such as desolate settings, tortured spirits, and fainting heroines. Taking these texts as indicative of the spirit of the age, we’ll identify the anxieties they express and assuage, with particular interest in the sense of power gone mad that is often at the heart of gothic literature.

TR 10:10–11:25 a.m.     Mariam Wassif      15885     Fredric Bogel   


English  1191.103

British Literature: Animals, Monsters, and Aliens

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

TR 11:40–12:55 p.m.     Bryan Alkemeyer      15886     Fredric Bogel   


English  1191.104

British Literature: “I Wanted to Be Sure to Reach You”—Literature and Address

The words “I” and “you” occur everywhere in our daily lives. Whether studying advertisements or texting friends, shouting across rooms or listening to music, we participate in “I-you” relationships, sending and receiving messages of various kinds. In this course, we will give our attention to the complex “I-you” dynamics in poems (e.g., William Wordsworth’s “Tintern Abbey”), plays (e.g., Susan Griffin’s Voices), short stories (e.g.,  James Joyce’s “A Little Cloud”), letters, journals, essays, and more.  The following questions will be central to our conversations and to our writing: how does the context of the words “I” and “you” affect the way we read and respond to them? Whom might the words “I” and “you” include, whom might they exclude, and how do we decide?

TR 01:25–02:40 p.m.     Giffen Maupin      15887     Fredric Bogel   


English  1191.105

British Literature: From Castle to Forest—Medieval Places and Landscapes

Why does The Canterbury Tales open with the famous description of an April landscape?  Why do the most interesting things happen to Arthur and his knights when they leave Camelot? From King Arthur's court to Fairyland, medieval literature is full of notable places and landscapes: real and imaginary, beautiful and terrifying, magical and mundane. We will consider how these settings, and character's interactions with them, play a key role in shaping medieval stories. Texts include selections from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and other Arthurian tales, lyric poetry, and The Travels of Sir John Mandeville. Students will develop writing skills over a series of short responses, drafts, and essays.

TR 11:40–12:55 p.m.     Susan Winders      15888     Fredric Bogel   


English  1191.106

British Literature: Enlightenment Science Fiction

Stories about aliens, space travel, and technology run amuck—in short, science fiction—might seem like a new invention, but the concerns of the genre date back to the Enlightenment of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In this course, we’ll read current fiction about mysterious planets and technologies alongside older narratives of discovery, wonder, and scientific catastrophe. We’ll think about how Enlightenment satires of science and reason point ahead to visions of apocalypse and dystopia in contemporary works. We’ll also see how the monsters of the eighteenth century anticipate those of later eras. Students will write critical essays and short imaginative pieces on the following authors and films: Descartes, Diderot, Swift, Shelley, Asimov, Ballard, LeGuin, Delany, Dick, Blade Runner, and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m.     Jess Keiser      15889     Fredric Bogel    


English  1270.101

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

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

MW 02:55–04:10 p.m.     Stuart Davis      15890         

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


English  1270.102

Writing About Literature: Poetry

What can reading poetry teach us about good writing and critical thinking? This writing seminar deals with a variety of poetry, from the Renaissance to contemporary musical lyrics, in order to make students better readers and writers. We will work collectively in a seminar setting to 1) learn about the formal aspects of poetic texts; 2) improve writing skills; 3) develop habits of critical thinking; 4) learn how to write critical papers; 5) talk about what is at stake in reading a poem and doing critical analysis.

TR 10:10–11:25 a.m.     Barbara Correll      15891         

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


French  1102.101

Queer Rhetorics

What is rhetoric, and what could make it queer? Is it possible for rhetoric not to be queer? This course explores the logos, the pathos, and the ethos of ‘queer’ writing from the U.S., with the objective of analyzing the relationships between form and content in writing. Novels to include: the memoir Valencia, whose author Michelle Tea has been described as “a punk rock Judy Blume”; Leslie Feinberg’s Stone Butch Blues, detailing the experiences of a transgender person growing up in a blue-collar town in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s; and Achy Obejas’s Memory Mambo, a novel about the impact of exile on the life of a Cuban American lesbian. We will also read essays in queer theory, broach problems of racism, classism, and ableism in LGBT movements, discuss the music of the riot grrrl movement, and watch a few films. Writing assignments will be as varied in style as the reading assignments.

MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m.     Shanna Carlson      15299     Kathleen Long   


French  1106.101

(Ill) Legitimate Loves: Marriage in 17th Century French and Spanish Theatre

Through a reading of various plays by Racine, Corneille, and Molière as well as Lope de Vega Calderon and de Castro, students will examine the ideas of love and marriage and the possible subversions and perversions of these themes. We will use these texts as a source and motivation for our our reading, writing, and critical analysis, while not loosing sight of these plays as performances. Film screenings, performances, modern adaptations of these works and historical material related to the plays in production will be included. Student work will involve extensive writing, both formal and informal, as well as a short theatrical performance or staged reading.

MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m.     Luisa Rosas      15303     Kathleen Long   


German Studies  1107

Robots, Cyborgs, and Automata in Literature and Film

“Androids,” “replicants,” and “cylons”: recent decades have seen a proliferation of robots in pop culture, not to mention in the real world, yet these futuristic manifestations have a cultural history dating back to the early twentieth century, if not earlier. Arguably, and paradoxically, writing about robots has always been about exploring what it means to be human. What might the persistence of this mechanical Other have to tell us? How are robots used to pose questions about work, capitalism, domination, consciousness, and the human condition? In this course, we will pursue these questions in fiction, theory, and film, with Kleist, Capek, Jünger, Pynchon, Freud, and Marx, among others. A sustained focus on critical reading closely integrated with regular essays and feedback will sharpen writing skills.

TR 11:40–12:55 p.m.     Carl Gelderloos      15305     Douglas Brent McBride   


German Studies  1109.101

From Fairy Tales to the Uncanny: Exploring the Romantic Consciousness

As didactic texts that present explicit—and implicit—moral lessons, fairy tales shape identity by questioning as well as affirming cultural values. This seminar uses selections from the Brothers Grimm to analyze characteristic features of the genre and examine its historical evolution. Our investigation will focus on how the transformation of oral folk tales into literary texts in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries sparked an interest in androids, the paranormal, and the pathological and spurred German Romantics to experiment with new forms of fiction that established the matrix for popular genres like horror, mystery, fantasy, and sci-fi. The focus of the course is on improving writing skills.

TR 02:55–04:10 p.m.              Alexis Briley               15314     Douglas Brent McBride   

MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m.         Miyako Hayakawa      15414     Douglas Brent McBride   


German Studies  1111.101

Goethe, Schiller, and Their Contemporaries

The course will provide an introduction to the study of German cultural and political history through the discussion of exemplary writings from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Poems, short stories, and plays will include Schiller's Ode to Joy and Beethoven's rendition of it in his Ninth Symphony, his drama Don Carlos, and a novella by Kleist reflecting the author's preoccupation with the principal political events of the age, the American and French revolutions. We will read The Tragedy of Gretchen, Faust's young lover, from Goethe's Faust, and explore the issue of infanticide. We will close with Mozart's Magic Flute, the work that most eloquently restates the Enlightenment's faith in the perfectibility of the human race. Readings are in English. No knowledge of German is required.

MWF 01:25–02:15 p.m.     Klas Molde      15416     Douglas Brent McBride 


German Studies  1170.101

Marx, Nietzsche, Freud

A conceptual grasp of Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud is essential for understanding critical discourse in the humanities and social sciences. This seminar explores key terms in the analytical models these revolutionaries pioneered: political economy, post-metaphysical philosophy, and psychoanalysis (including contrasts as well as points of convergence). Discussions and assignments will focus on texts that created the foundation for critically analyzing society, politics, and culture. Our guiding question will be: Do alternative ways of thinking exist in opposition to those held to be natural, inevitable, or universal? The focus of the course will be on developing critical skills in reading and writing.

MWF 02:30–03:20 p.m.         Douglas McBride      15417         

TR 10:10–11:25 a.m.              Laura Kelingos      15418         


Government  1101.101

Power and Politics: Humanitarianism and International Aid in World Politics

Over the last fifty years, billions of dollars have been given in international aid, yet critics argue that aid is ineffectual and, at worse, harmful to recipients. In this course, we will examine these critiques by analyzing the goals and impacts of aid through a series of empirical studies of aid in practice, ranging from the crisis in Darfur to the recent earthquake in Haiti. Course readings and writing assignments will focus on the roles and competing agendas of donors; the implications of providing humanitarian aid in conflict zones and complex emergencies; and recent movements, such as community-based development, that are trying to make aid more effective. Writing assignments will help students develop critical academic and policy perspectives on these issues.

TR 11:40–12:55 p.m.     Martha Wilfahrt      15420     Nicolas van de Walle   


Government  1101.102

Power and Politics: Theory and Practice of Human Rights

This course focuses on the struggle for the protection of human rights. We begin the course with a theoretical and legal introduction to human rights, covering the major human rights treaties starting from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and working our way to the establishing of the International Criminal Court. In the second part of the course, we will look at specific human rights cases and abuses, and consider how effective international actors, states, communities, and individuals have been at punishing and preventing human rights abuses. The central questions guiding this course and students’ writing are: What are human rights? Who uses the language of human rights to further their goals, why do they use them, and how effective have they been?

TR 11:40–12:55 p.m.     Michelle Greco      15422     Matthew Evangelista   


Government  1101.103

Power and Politics: The Constitution, Sex, Marriage, and Privacy

How does the right to privacy affect the development of gender equality, birth control, gay marriage, and abortion rights? This seminar explores the legal, social, and political development of the Supreme Court’s doctrine of the “right to privacy.” We will examine the political thought surrounding the creation of the right to privacy and its progeny, and examining the Court’s construction of legal categories, for example, between when life begins (debates around abortion) and when life ends (assisted suicide). Readings will include Roe v. Wade and Griswold v. Connecticut as well as prominent thinkers such as Betty Friedan (The Feminine Mystique), Louis Brandeis, Richard Posner, and Laurence Tribe. Students will write reaction papers as well as formal papers.

TR 10:10–11:25 a.m.     Michael Dichio      15425     Dawn Chutkow   


History  1123.101

Older Posts: Social Networking in Early America

Social networking was as popular three hundred years ago as it is today. In early America, social networks connected Lowcountry planters with Massachusetts Puritans. Networking was the glue that knit the Atlantic world into a cohesive whole. The fear of illicit networking also filled the imaginations of slave-owners with images of conspiracy and rebellion. In this course, we will examine early American court documents, narratives, pamphlets, and correspondences for evidence of these early networks. How were networks established and maintained? Who comprised colonial American networks? How did race, gender, and class shape and complicate these networks? Writing assignments will encourage students to engage directly with primary source documents and develop clearly articulated and cogently analyzed arguments.

TR 10:10–11:25 a.m.     Nicole Maskiell      15433     Mary Beth Norton   


History  1124.101

Puritans, Pietists, and Patriots: American Religious History, 1630–1783

Was the United States founded as a Christian Protestant nation? Much contemporary political debate centers around this question. This course explores how colonial Americans’ religious experiences shaped their ideas about society, government, slavery, and revolution. We ask: What was the relationship between colonists’ spiritual ideals and political and social reform? What religious principles, if any, influenced the Founders? Readings include Jonathan Edwards’ sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” and the Declaration of Independence. To develop solid academic writing skills, assignments will include critical responses to readings, analyses of primary sources including material items, and research essays.

TR 11:40–12:55 p.m.     Dianne Cappiello      15430     Margaret Washington   


History  1133.101

Mongrel America: Miscegenation, Passing, and the Myth of Racial Purity

Racial divisions have served as potent tools for consolidating power, upholding unjust practices, and shaping the American historical imagination. Whether in the form of slavery, segregation, extralegal violence, or the one-drop rule, the insistence on preserving racial distinctions reflects a desire among some Americans to cling to a myth of racial purity. Despite persistent efforts to enforce these boundaries, other Americans have consistently blurred, transgressed, and undermined these seemingly rigid racial categories. Drawing on texts by Thomas Jefferson, Nella Larsen, James Baldwin, and others, this class will explore and write about the quixotic desire for white racial purity, the reality of “amalgamation,” and the relationship between the two. Ultimately, students will analyze the impact of “Mongrel America” on the ways in which Americans understand citizenship and their history.

TR 01:25–02:40 p.m.     Mari Crabtree      15431     Nick Salvatore   


History  1134.101

Science in War and Peace: A Historical Approach to Science in Japan

Is science itself neutral, and only the use we make of it good or bad? Or is scientific knowledge always produced within socio-political contexts, and therefore inherently value-laden? This course will introduce students to the social and intellectual history of science in Japan, and evaluate Japanese historical experiences concerning the relationship of science to politics. It will explore themes such as: science as a symbol of Westernization, social control and science, eugenics, science and warfare, and scientists’ involvement in the peace movement in postwar Japan. Using both historical and contemporary materials, including films, newspaper articles, and scientists’ essays, students will turn their thoughts and analyses into well-supported, convincing arguments.

TR 02:55–04:10 p.m.     Akiko Ishii      15432     Victor Koschmann   


History  1190.101

Gandhi and the Politics of Nonviolence

This course will examine the writings of Mohandas K. Gandhi, a leader of the nonviolent movement against British colonialism in India. In particular, students will consider whether Gandhi’s philosophies of self-reliance, moral discipline, civil disobedience, nonviolent protest, and vegetarianism are applicable to living in the modern world. We will read some of Gandhi’s well-known criticisms of modernity, including Hind Swaraj and My Experiments with Truth, and address the sources, impact, and legacy of Gandhi’s ideas, including the relationship between Gandhian non-violence and the American Civil Rights Movement. Written assignments will involve close readings of Gandhi’s work with an eye toward engaging whether his ideas translate to being a modern and morally responsible individual in the early twenty-first century.

MW 08:40–09:55 a.m.     Durba Ghosh      15435         


History  1402.101

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.

TR 02:55–04:10 p.m.     Eric Tagliacozzo      15434         


Horticultural Sciences  1160.101

Nature Writing

Today more than ever we need individuals who not only enjoy or study nature, but also can write effectively about it so that others will know what they know, and feel what they feel. We will begin by "reading like a writer" as we examine the work of others, from Thoreau and Whitman, to Edward Abbey and Wendell Berry, to emerging new voices in this genre. Initial writing assignments will focus on contrasting author techniques (e.g., essay structure, style, voice) in relation to thesis and audience. Nature writing is more than a desk job, and in the spirit of getting "out there," we will have at least two field trips and associated writing assignments. By end of semester students will research, write, and revise two in-depth essays on topics of personal interest, one in the "celebrating (or confronting) nature" tradition, the other in the "natural history," "popular science," or "environmental" category.

MW 08:40–09:55 a.m.     David Wolfe      15700         


Linguistics  1100.101

Language, Thought, and Reality:  Testing the Language Instinct

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

TR 10:10–11:25 a.m.     Esra Kesici      15701     Wayne Harbert   


Linguistics  1100.102

Language, Thought, and Reality: The Death of Language

This course will address issues related to language death, including: What does it mean for a language to be endangered? Why should we care? Are some languages more viable or valid than others? We will discuss issues such as the globalization of English, language as a vehicle for culture, linguistic prejudices, language revival programs, etc. This course will touch on languages and dialects around the world, including modern Hebrew (Israel), Mayan (Mexico), Bunong (Vietnam), and Ebonics (United States). Students will write short papers on a subset of the language issues discussed in class and one longer paper on a related issue of their choosing.

MWF 09:05–09:55 a.m.     Becky Thompson      15703     Wayne Harbert   


Linguistics  1100.103

Language, Thought, and Reality:  From Cuneiform to Cryptography

When ancient writings are discovered we are faced with a challenge: how can we decipher an unknown script or an unknown language? Such puzzles have bedeviled scholars for centuries, and are not unlike the challenges a cryptanalyst faces when trying to break a code. In exploring the techniques behind the decipherment of such scripts as Egyptian Hieroglyphics and Linear B, this class will also address the nature of writing systems from Cuneiform, Chinese, and Meso-American to the modern day. Writing assignments will vary from formal descriptions of writing systems to analyses of decipherment techniques. No previous exposure to other writing systems is necessary.

TR 08:40–09:55 a.m.     Teresa Galloway      15704     Wayne Harbert   


Linguistics  1100.104

Language, Thought and Reality: How to Build a Language

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

MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m.     Edward Cormany      15705     Wayne Harbert   


Linguistics  1100.105

Language, Thought, and Reality:  English Outside the Box

Do grammar books know all the answers about English? Some do acknowledge regional dialects and others identity-based varieties, but most ignore the many context-specific "grammars" we all recognize. What features mark sports announcer talk, flight attendant style, in-group talk, and news headlines? What happens when we choose words for their age, shape, or origin? Can and should a sentence have multiple meanings? Students will read extracts from famous figures in history and from linguists and others who think about language, and will make their own linguistic observations. Writing assignments will include language data you have collected, explanations of your findings about your own data, persuasive opinion pieces, and pieces using language under extra constraints.

MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m.     Wayles Browne      15706         


Linguistics  1100.106

Language, Thought, and Reality: Words and Pictures

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

TR 11:40–12:55 p.m.     Dorit Abusch      16030         


Latino Studies Program  1102.101

(Re) Writing SoCal

How do Latina/o writers imagine Los Angeles? Do we imagine cities or do they imagine us? This course will look at some contemporary work of Latina/o fiction of and on Southern California, while addressing various issues of identity, memory, and culture in the narration of social and material environments. We will discuss novels and short fiction from authors such as Helena Viramontes, Alex Espinoza, Héctor Tobar, and Felicia Luna Lemus; as well as non-fiction prose and critical essays. Students will be encouraged to engage with the texts and to cultivate a greater appreciation for literature through frequent writings of short response papers, class discussions, presentations, and essays. To place this seminar on your ballot, select SPAN 1102.

MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m.      X-listed w/ Span 1102      15786         

Medieval Studies  1101.101

Aspects of Medieval Culture: The End Is Nigh—The Apocalypse in Medieval Europe

The coming of the first millennium, famines, plagues, war, and natural disasters were all seen by some during the Middle Ages as signs of the imminent end of the world. This course is about their ends of the world, and ours. It will begin by comparing different traditions of the apocalypse—the Bible’s Book of Revelation and the Old Norse Ragnarok, then examine the medieval tradition of apocalyptic writing through sagas, mystical writings, saints’ lives, homilies, and mystery plays (in translation). The class will conclude with some modern depictions of the apocalypse such as Good Omens, and a selection of post-apocalyptic movies. This course will hone students’ writing and analytic skills through class discussion, writing exercises, and formal essays.

MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m.     Rae Grabowski      15707     Thomas Hill   


Medieval Studies  1101.102

Aspects of Medieval Culture: (Un)True North—Encountering the Arctic in Medieval Literature

Ithaca winters not cold enough for you? How about a foray into the Arctic? This course examines literary encounters with “Northern” landscapes, fauna, and peoples from the Middle Ages onward, beginning with how medieval writers shaped “ideas of North” through various literary media. We will then examine the inheritance of these views in modern literary and cultural movements, from fantasy literature to accounts of polar exploration. Finally, we will consider how literary studies can help us understand and engage current environmental issues pertaining to the Arctic. Texts will include Icelandic sagas, the Kalevala, Scandinavian and Inuit folk tales, Pullman’s Golden Compass, and eco-philosophical works such as Barry Lopez’s Arctic Dreams. Assignments will include research papers, short responses, weekly journals, and creative writing.

MW 08:40–09:55 a.m.     Danielle Cudmore      15760     Samantha Zacher   


Medieval Studies  1103.101

Legends, Fantasy, and Vision: Giants, Trolls, and Elves—Scandinavian Mythology and Folklore

This course will explore the belief systems of the Scandinavian peoples before their conversion to Christianity, as well as their folk-tales and traditions, some of which persist until the present day. Be prepared for giants, trolls, elves, dwarfs, shape-changers, fratricide, and cannibalism as we read texts such as the Eddas, the legendary Fornaldursögur, ballads, and folk-tales from various Scandinavian nations. The focus of this course will be primarily text-oriented, but we will occasionally explore archeological and art-historical evidence. We will develop tools for analyzing closely and critically these stories and other materials, and we will cultivate skills for writing in various ways about them.

MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m.     Russell Stepp      15761     Oren Falk   


Medieval Studies  1103.102

Legends, Fantasy, and Vision:  Demons and the Divine in the Christian Desert

The image of the desert has long been burned into the minds of Christian authors. From the earliest Scripture, the desert has been constructed as a space where the fantastical—even the supernatural—was commonplace, a landscape inhabited by demons but also the divine. In this seminar, we will examine the diverse representations of “desert” in late antique and early medieval Christian literature by setting these texts in conversation with contemporary works of art—literary, cinematic, pictorial—in an effort to understand how we as moderns have inherited this notion of the desert. Just what do the Desert Fathers have to do with Desert Storm? What does Jerome have in common with Georgia O’Keefe? Assignments will include informal responses and critical essays.

TR 10:10–11:25 a.m.     Zachary Yuzwa      15762     Kim Haines-Eitzen   


Music  1701.101

Sound Sense and Ideas: Music of War and Peace

In 2003, the BBC reported that the US Army had used Metallica’s Enter Sandman and Barney’s I Love You in the interrogation of Iraqi detainees, playing the songs repeatedly at high volume inside of shipping containers. Music’s use as a weapon is a recent phenomenon, but music and war weave a complex history together. How does music engender or mediate international conflict? Topics include music on the battlefield, music and national identity, and music in/as diplomacy. We will also consider composers’ responses to war, including Britten’s War Requiem, Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, and Penderecki’s Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima. Students will develop critical thinking and writing skills by engaging with classic texts (including Plato, Rousseau, Adorno), recent writings, and musical works.

MWF 12:20–01:10 p.m.     Mark Ferraguto      15763     Neal Zaslaw   


Near Eastern Studies  1967.101

Law, Society, and Culture in the Middle East

An exploration of the nature of the classical Islamic judicial system and notions of justice. Class discussions will be based upon the close reading of historical materials, including legal documents, judicial opinions, and court cases (all in English translation!), which will form the basis of writing assignments. Themes to be treated will include the marital regime, relations between parents and children, gender, slavery, the intergenerational transmission of property, the status of non-Muslims, crime and its punishment, law, and the public sphere.

MW 08:40–09:55 a.m.     David Powers      15764         


Philosophy  1110.101

Philosophy in Practice: The Ethics of Killing

We justify killing in a variety of ways. For instance, we kill animals for food; we kill criminals in the name of justice; and we endorse killing on a large scale in a ‘just’ war. What are our justifications for these practices, and do they stand up to scrutiny? This course will comprise an exploration of the various moral views and theories that can help us to better understand the ethical dimensions of killing. Readings will be drawn from a variety of historical and contemporary sources such as Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, Judith Jarvis Thomson, and James Rachels. Writing assignments will be aimed at helping students to critically assess the views and arguments of others, and to construct arguments to support their own positions.

TR 02:55–04:10 p.m.     Sean Stapleton      15765     Derk Pereboom   


Philosophy  1111.101

Philosophical Problems: Hedonism, Ancient and Modern

Hedonists claim that, ultimately, pleasure is the only thing of value, and that pain is the only thing of disvalue. Although usually conceived of as a risqué, sensualist philosophy, its historical proponents have remarkably emphasized moderation and traditional morality. What is it that makes one’s life go well? A hedonist answers “if your life is pleasant!” What do we owe other people, morally speaking? A hedonist answers “to create as much pleasure for them as you can!” Although these answers seem simple enough, we’ll see that they must become more complicated for a hedonist to make his or her view plausible. We will read closely from both historical works (from Ancient Greece and from Modern Britain) and from contemporary philosophy. Our focus will always be on extracting and interpreting interesting ideas and claims from our texts, and piecing them together in arguments for or against hedonism. Our goal is to figure out whether any such arguments are successful, or whether we can modify them in order to make them succeed, for or against hedonism.

MW 02:55–04:10 p.m.     Andrew Alwood      15766     Derk Pereboom   


Philosophy  1111.102

Philosophical Problems: Relativism

If you are not a relativist in some sense about some things, you have a friend who is. Just what does it mean to be a relativist about, for example, morality? What should one be a relativist about? The philosophical aim of the seminar will be to analyze and 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.

MW 07:30–08:45 p.m.     Theodore Korzukhin      15767     Derk Pereboom   


Philosophy  1111.103

Philosophical Problems: God and Morality

Is God good? How is morality related to religion? In the first half of the course, we’ll study the “problem of evil.” Jews, Christians, and Muslims–traditional monotheists–believe that a perfect God controls the universe. Yet the universe seems imperfect, for it contains many “evils.” (Think of crimes, diseases, or even ordinary aches and pains.) Are monotheistic religions implausible, then? How have monotheists responded to this challenge? Are their responses persuasive? In the second half of the course, we’ll ask whether morality somehow depends on religion. Is God the source of morality? Is morality possible without God? Is believing in God conducive to living virtuously? Students will write short papers analyzing the arguments of Hume, Plato, and other philosophers, including some distinguished Cornellians.

MW 07:30–08:45 p.m.     John-Paul Erdel      15768     Derk Pereboom   


Philosophy  1111.104

Philosophical Problems: Skepticism About Ethics

Can there be ethics without religion? Does evolutionary psychology show us that genuine altruism is impossible? Should we accept cultural relativism and reject the existence of objective moral values? In this class, we will explore different ways in which thinkers have challenged the existence of objective moral values. Throughout the semester we will focus on investigating four or five specific challenges. Since many of these challenges come from outside of philosophy, we will look first at what philosophers have said about objective values, and then in discussion and writing assignments, apply the tools and methods of philosophy to texts written by non-philosophers. The writing assignments will be of two kinds: critical essays in which students provide an analysis of one or more essays, or argumentative papers, where they are to argue for or against some philosophical thesis. The students will also keep a journal, in which they are encouraged to keep track of questions that they encounter while reading.

TR 11:40–12:55 p.m.     Zachary Abrahams      15769     Derk Pereboom   


Philosophy  1112.101

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

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

MW 02:55–04:10 p.m.     Lawrence Bruce-Robertson      15770     Derk Pereboom   


Philosophy  1112.102

Philosophical Conversations: Aristotle's Natural Philosophy

Aristotle in “The Physics” investigates change and the most general conditions for change. We discuss how he understands the principles of change, causality, matter, the definition of change, the infinite, space, time, the void, the paradoxes of motion, and the prime mover. To understand his views on these topics, we will examine how he applies them in his works on biology, meteorology, and cosmology. Good philosophical writing is controlled, clear, and effective in communicating the thoughts of the author. You will develop these virtues by clearly explicating and carefully assessing what Aristotle argues.

TR 08:40–09:55 a.m.     Scott O’Connor      15771     Derk Pereboom   


Plant Pathology  1100.101

Liaisons with Friends and Foes: Symbiotic Associations in Nature

Observations of one group of organisms living on or in another organism were once considered nothing more than a biological oddity. However, we now recognize these symbioses to be an essential part of all life on Earth and a driving force in evolution. In this class, we will explore the types, coevolution, and mechanisms underlying a broad range of symbiotic relationships in nature. Students will learn to write using some of the different writing styles common in science, and will enhance each other's writing through cooperative peer review. Classes will consist of writing exercises, conceptual discussions, writing discussions and critique, and in-class demonstrations of interesting symbiotic interactions. We will utilize a broad range of reading materials reflecting the many writing styles in scientific communication.

MW 08:40–09:55 a.m.     Eric Nelson      15772         


Psychology  1120.101

The Psychology of Consumerism—Does Buying Make us Unhappy?

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

MW 02:55–04:10 p.m.     Jun Fukukura      15773     Melissa Ferguson   


Psychology  1140.101

Perception Cognition Development: Language and the Body—Theories of Embodied Cognition

We know what grasping an idea means. But do we physically grasp ideas? When we say “we’re rolling,” are we really? Language is replete with metaphors depicting physical actions. Then, is a body necessary for language learning? Can we learn motion verbs without performing bodily movements in the environment? Could we acquire the word “grasp” if we never grasped things? Would blind people understand the sentence “Look up” like sighted people? How would tropical people understand “white like snow”? In this course, we will address the aforementioned issues by reading and writing relevant material. Lakoff and Johnson’s Metaphors We Live By exemplifies material that will be subjected to written debates. You will learn to structure an academic essay and to cogently defend your embodiment stance in writing.

TR 08:40–09:55 a.m.     Catalina Iricinschi      15774     James Cutting   


Romance Studies  1104.101

In the Face of Brutality

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

TR 08:40–09:55 a.m.     Tamra Fallman      15777         


Romance Studies  1105.101

The Difficult Female: Rebellion and marriage in Cervantes and Shakespeare

How do you solve a problem like Katerina or Preciosa? Simple: control her through marriage. In this course, we will examine how both Cervantes and Shakespeare give their female characters a great deal of latitude, allowing them to resist their gendered cultural expectations. Rebellion, whether expressed through cross-dressing, mingling with gypsies, or sexual infidelity, lends itself well to comedy, but it can only go so far, and as is the case in much early melodrama, order must be restored. Some of the themes we will explore include the female as the caretaker of man’s honor, woman as a harbinger of male destruction, the feminine muse and the protesting female. Readings will include Cervantes’s Exemplary Tales and Interludes, as well Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and Othello. Students will write brief essays on a particular aspect of their choosing from the readings culminating in a research paper at the semester’s end.

TR 10:10–11:25 a.m.     Tamra Fallman      15778         


Romance Studies  1106.101

Civilization, Barbarism, and the “Other”: Examining the Latin American Short Story

Latin American literature has always had a strong short story tradition, so much so that Jorge Luis Borges, arguably the most influential Latin American writer of the twentieth century only wrote fiction in this genre. In this course, we will read stories that span 200 years of Latin American history and culture, and we will explore such themes as: the clash of modernity and traditional societies; civilization and barbarism, and the dominating force of the “other,” whether it be a supernatural force or the urges of one’s subconscious. Works will include stories from Dario, Peri Rossi, Borges, Garcia Marquez, Cortázar, and Vargas Llosa. Students will write brief essays on a particular aspect of their choosing from the readings culminating in a research paper at the semester’s end.

TR 01:25–02:40 p.m.     Tamra Fallman      15779         


Society for The Humanities  1110.101

Reporting from Hell

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

TR 11:40–12:55 p.m.     Sidney Orlov      15780         


Spanish  1102.101

(Re) Writing SoCal

How do Latina/o writers imagine Los Angeles? Do we imagine cities or do they imagine us? This course will look at some contemporary work of Latina/o fiction of and on Southern California, while addressing various issues of identity, memory and culture in the narration of social and material environments. We will discuss novels and short fiction from authors such as Helena Viramontes, Alex Espinoza, Héctor Tobar, and Felicia Luna Lemus; as well as non-fiction prose and critical essays. Students will be encouraged to engage with the texts and to cultivate a greater appreciation for literature through frequent writings of short response papers, class discussions, presentations and essays.

MWF 10:10–11:00 a.m.     Oscar Omar Figueredo      15784     Tamra Fallman   


Science & Technology Studies  1123.101

Technology and Society: Examining Tech Disasters and Risky Technologies

How do you explain the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster? Or airplane accidents? Or more recently, the Gulf oil spill? Are certain technologies inherently risky or do the people who design and use them help contribute to these catastrophic accidents? How do you account for the natural elements in disasters? Is there such a thing as a completely natural disaster, or are human decisions implicated even in "natural" catastrophes such as earthquakes and floods? In this course, we will explore the relationships between society, nature, and technology to gain understanding of the many technological failures and breakdowns we constantly observe in the media. Texts will include news articles about accidents and disasters, scholarly works that examine and theorize these phenomena, and documentaries about tragedies involving technologies.

TR 10:10–11:25 a.m.     Yulianto Mohsin      15847     Ronald Kline   


Science & Technology Studies  1123.102

Technology and Society: The Eye of the Storm, A Study in Science and Technology

Natural disasters, such as the recent earthquake in Haiti, raise important questions concerning the interactions between science, technology, and society. How do scientists, engineers, policy workers, and humanitarians deal with the risks that surround natural disasters? Why are certain environmental events classified as natural disasters while others are not? Is a natural disaster actually natural? What kinds of social, scientific, and technological elements are included in creating and sustaining such events? Through this course, we will consider these and other questions in order to critically analyze the role of science and technology in the identification of and recovery from natural disasters. Writing assignments, including reading responses and analytic essays, will provide opportunities to engage with issues developed throughout the course.

TR 01:25–02:40 p.m.     Carmen Krol      15848     Suman Seth   


Theatre, Film & Dance  1236.101

Murdering Maids: Staging Women and Violence

Women were killing their lovers, husbands, parents, children, and themselves long before the beginning of Western drama, and we’ve been writing and staging plays about it ever since. But how do those plays represent these women? What do they tell us about social attitudes, gender relations, and breaking the law? Lady Macbeth is often thought of as a fiend, but is there a way in which she might problematize that label? This course will look at a wide range of plays such as the Greek tragedy Medea, the musical Chicago, and Suzan-Lori Parks’s edgy Fucking A, in order to explore questions about gender, violence, and dramatic representation. Writing assignments will require close reading as well as comparative, creative, and analytical writing.

TR 08:40–09:55 a.m.     Aoise Stratford      15788     Sabine Haenni   


Theatre, Film & Dance  1237.101

Performance and the Five Senses

Is it true that we’re living in a “visual age”? How do our senses relate to each other: how does vision relate to hearing, for example, or hearing to touch? This seminar will explore a variety of themes relating to sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. From Smell-o-Vision to Blue Man Group, studying how the senses are used in performance can help us ask valuable questions about society, art, language, and the human body. Writing assignments will range from short responses to formal critical essays based on a variety of materials—readings, video, and audio—including plays for the theatre, radio, performance art, television, and cinema.

MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m.     Clare Hane      15789     Sabine Haenni   


Theatre, Film & Dance  1310.101

Master of Mayhem: The Classic Trickster Figure in Comedy

A great (and ancient) comic tradition is built around the character of the trickster: a cheeky, clever prankster who outwits his antagonist and often masterminds the entire comic plot. We will study several classic tricksters from a range of periods and forms, including ancient Roman comedy, Italian Renaissance comedy, and American cartoon shorts of the 1930s and ’40s. We will consider how contemporary comic characters like Bugs Bunny derive from earlier figures and also examine several variations on the character to develop a clearer understanding of what makes this one of the most enduring comic techniques. Writing assignments will involve critical analysis of the texts, and comparisons across different periods will particularly be encouraged.

TR 10:10–11:25 a.m.     Sarah Norman      15790     Sabine Haenni   


Writing  1380

An Introduction to Writing in the University

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

MW 10:10–11:00 a.m.            Joe Martin                   12957         

MW 12:20–01:10 p.m.           Joe Martin                   15899         

MW 01:25–02:15 p.m.           Judy Pierpont              15901         

TR 11:15–12:05 p.m.              Tracy Hamler Carrick 15902         

TR 01:25–02:15 p.m.              Judy Pierpont              15903         

Do not request this course on a ballot. Students who believe they need this kind of intensive work should either call 255-6349 or come to 174 Rockefeller Hall to make an appointment with a member of the Workshop staff. “S/U” grades only.


Writing  1420.101

Opening up New Worlds Through Research and Rhetoric

Step through the Cornell Library gateway and receive a semester-long guided tour through one of the world’s most amazing research libraries––its vast search engines, its abundant print and electronic collections, its precious special collections and archives. This introduction to college research explores using data bases, evaluating information, and engaging both to produce effective college-level writing. Study techniques of analysis for converting scholarly information into thesis, synthesizing and acknowledging sources, developing voice and style, crafting technically and rhetorically sophisticated prose. Readings provide models of interdisciplinary scholarship. Drawing upon personal, scholarly, or professional interests and experiences, students select topics and design research portfolios that highlight significant analytic research. In addition, peer mentors help guide students through research and writing processes. This course is especially appropriate for students who feel they have only just begun developing their analytic research skills.

MWF 11:15–12:05 p.m.     Darlene Evans      15791