UW20 Courses - Spring 2006

| Last Updated: 3/3/06 | 7:45 pm

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About UW20

Because all UW20 sections are theme-based, with their own individualized readings and writing assignments, it's important that you peruse the course descriptions below to find a theme that is of interest to you.

REQUIREMENTS: The following requirements and workload expectations are consistent across all sections of UW20. Students will complete a total of 25-30 pages of finished writing, developed through a process that may include pre-draft preparation, drafts, and revisions based on instructor's advice and classmates' comments. Each student will complete at least three writing assignments of increasing complexity. Papers will be based on assigned texts and often on additional reading; although instructors will develop assignments that reflect a variety of academic writing projects, one paper will require significant research.

Themes and Professors

Themes and Professors

(click on title for full course description)

Tiffany Bailey - Stranger in a Strange Land: Contemporary Depictions of Americans Abroad
CRN 54272 Section 29 | MW 0800 - 0915 ( DUQUES 361) & F 08:00am-08:50am (ROME 201)

Emily Bliss - Beyond Belles: Culture and Writing in the American South
These courses will be taught at the Mount Vernon Campus
CRN 54256 Section M03 | TR 1430 - 1545 ( ACAD 301) & F 02:30pm-03:20pm (ACAD 301)
CRN 55184 Section M06 | TR 1610 - 1725 ( ACAD 304)
& F 04:10pm-05:00pm (ACAD 304)

Arianne Chernock - The Empire Strikes Back? Colonial Uprisings in Ireland, India and Kenya
CRN 56132 Section 63 | MR 0220 - 0400 ( 2020 K #12)
CRN 56130 Section 61 | MR 0800 - 0940 ( ROME 202)
CRN 56131 Section 62 | MR 1110 - 1250 ( 2020 K #24) & R 11:10am-12:50pm (1957 E #314)

Christine Choy - Class, Identity, and Writing
CRN 55170 Section 46 | MF 1555 - 1710 ( PHIL 414A)
& W 03:55pm-04:45pm (1957 E #316)

Eric Drown - Conspiracy Theory
CRN 54252 Section 10 | TR 0935 - 1050 ( 1776 G #101) & F 09:35am-10:25am (1776 G #105)
CRN 54269 Section 26 | TR 1245 - 1400 ( 2020 K #16) & F 12:45pm-01:35pm (PHIL 415)
CRN 54257 Section 15 | TR 1420 - 1535 ( 2020 K #9) & F 02:20pm-03:10pm (PHIL 416)

Brian Flota - The Album As Art-I-Fact And Cultural Object
CRN 56136 Section 67 | MF 1110 - 1225 ( 1957 E #315)
& W 11:10am-12:00pm (PHIL 108)
CRN 57342 Section 68 | MW 8-9:15, F 8-8:50, (1957 E, #311)

Sandie Friedman - Culture and Memory
CRN 55167 Section 43 | MF 1110 - 1225 ( 1957 E #314) & W 11:10am-12:00pm (1957 E #309)
CRN 55168 Section 44 | MF 1555 - 1710 ( PHIL 217)
& W 03:55pm-04:45pm (PHIL 413)

Matthew Fullerty - Extreme Adaptation: Surviving Censorship from Text to Screen
CRN 54276 Section 33 | TR 1110 - 1225 ( 2020 K #16) & F 11:10am-12:00pm (ROME 352)

Cayo Gamber - Legacies of the Holocaust
CRN 55330 Section 57 | TR 0935 - 1050 ( 1957 E 316) & F 09:35am-10:25am (PHIL 416)
CRN 54253 Section 11 | TR 1110 - 1225 ( 2020 K 6) & F 11:10am-12:00pm (GELM 609)

Gustavo Guerra - Latin American Thought and Culture
CRN 54254 Section 12 | TR 0800 - 0915 ( ROME 352) & F 08:00am-08:50am (PHIL 413)
CRN 54259 Section 17 | TR 0935 - 1050 ( 1957 E 311) & F 09:35am-10:25am (1776 G 170)

Elizabeth Harlan - Based on a True Crime Story
CRN 55169 Section 45 | MF 1555 - 1710 (PHIL 111) & W 03:55pm-04:45pm (PHIL 110)

Stephanie Hartman - Food Fights: The Cultural Politics of Eating
CRN 54263 Section 21 | M 0935 - 1025 ( ROME 452) & WF 09:35am-10:50am (ROME 452)

Carol Hayes- California Dreamin': Disneyland, Brushfires, and Schwarzenegger
CRN 54273 Section 30 | MW 9:35-10:50 ( 1957 E, B16 ) & F 12:45pm-01:35pm (1957 E #309)
CRN 54275 Section 32 | MF 1110 - 1225 ( 1957 E #309 ) & W 11:10am-12:00pm (GELM 610)

Michelle Beissel Heath - Oh, the Stories We Tell: Reconsidering Dichotomy in Fairytales, Film, and the Western World
CRN 57349 Section 75 | TR 9:35-9:50 (1957 E, #308) F 9:35-10:25 (2020 K, #8)

Ryan Jerving - Uncommon Knowledge: Intellectual Property and Public Culture
CRN 56137 Section 54 | M 0935 - 1025 ( PHIL 109) & WF 09:35am-10:50am (1776 G #107)
CRN 55172 Section 48 | M 1420 - 1510 ( GELM 609)
& WF 02:20pm-03:35pm (XX 114)

David Johnson - Invisible Ink: Tracing Race and Rhetoric through Ellison and Burke
CRN 55164 Section 40 | TR 0935-1050 ( Duques 362 ) & F 0935-1025 (Duques 358)
CRN 57347 Section 73 | TR 12:45-14:00, F 12:45-1:35 (1957E, #214)

Randi Kristenen - Poets of the Underdog
CRN 56128 Section 59 | TR 1245 - 1400 ( XX 114) & F 12:45pm-01:35pm (PHIL 414A)
CRN 55176 Section 52 | TR 1420 - 1535 ( 1957 E #B14)
& F 02:20pm-03:10pm (GELM 609)

Kathy Larsen - Teens in America
CRN 55177 Section 53 | TR 0800 - 0915 ( GELM 402) & F 08:00am-08:50am (PHIL 414B)

Isis Leslie - The Emergence of Liberalism
CRN 54270 Section 27 | MW 0800 - 0915 ( GELM 502) & F 08:00am-08:50am (PHIL 417)

Andrea Levine - Writing the American Family
CRN 55187 Section M09 | TR 10-11.40 ( ACAD 312 ) NOTE: Open to WLP students only
CRN 55188 Section M10 | TR 1.00-2.40 ( ACAD 312) NOTE: Open to WLP students only

Derek Malone-France - Reading (and Writing) the Constitution
CRN 55165 Section 41 | MF 1110 - 1225 ( 1957 E #310) & W 11:10am-12:00pm (ROME 204)
CRN 56138 Section 39 | M 1420 - 1510 ( FNGR 222)
& WF 02:20pm-03:35pm (1776 G #106)

Diane Matlock - City Stories: Washington, DC Past, Present, and Future
CRN 56127 Section 58 | TR 0935 - 1050 (1957 E #601K) & F 09:35am-10:25am (PHIL 415)
CRN 55181 Section 56 | TR 1110 - 1225 (2020 K #9) & F 11:10am-12:00pm (PHIL 414B)

Rachel McLaughlin - Is Another World Possible?: Ecology and Feminism
CRN 54266 Section 23 | MW 1245 - 1400 (1957 E 212)
& F 12:45pm-01:35pm (DUQUES 360)

Meghan Mercier - Production by Numbers: Hollywood Musicals of the 1930s-50s
CRN 57343 Section 69 | MW 8-9:15, F 8-8:50, (1957 E, #316)
CRN 55171 Section 47 | MF 1555 - 1710 ( PHIL 414B)
& W 03:55pm-04:45pm (1957 E 311)

Mark Miller - The Transatlantic Gothic, 1700-1900
CRN 56141 Section 13 | TR 1245 - 1400 ( 1776 G #106) & F 12:45pm-01:35pm (ROME 206)
CRN 54274 Section 31 | TR 1420 - 1535 ( XX #114) & F 02:20pm-03:10pm (PHIL 108)

Charles Mueller - Carving an Axe Handle: The Individual and Tradition in Asian Thought
NOTE: This is a hybrid course
CRN 57355 Section 77 | MW 8:00-9:15 (2020 K St., #6) F 8:00-8:50 (online)

Mark Mullen - Covering Chaos
NOTE: This is a hybrid course
CRN 54271 Section M14 | TR 1300 - 1415 ( ACAD 127 ) & F 01:00pm-01:50pm (ACAD 127) NOTE : Open to WLP students only

Samantha Murphy - Reproducing Identity: Literature and Politics
CRN 57344 Section 70 | M 8-8:50, W-F 8-9:15, (1957E #314)
CRN 57345 Section 71 | M 9:35-10:25, W-F 9:35-10:50, (2020 K, #15)

Duc Nguyen- Disciplining the Overreacher
CRN 54258 Section 16 | M 0935 - 1025 ( ROME 201) & WF 09:35am-10:50am (2020 K #22)

Almila Ozdek - What is a Nation?
CRN 55166 Section 42 | MF 1110 - 1225 ( 1957 E #313)
& W 11:10am-12:00pm (ROME 206)

Pam Presser - Firing the American Canon: Symbolic Struggle and Cultural Wars
CRN 55174 Section 50 | M 1420 - 1510 ( DUQUES 362) & WF 02:20pm-03:35pm (1957 E #B14)

Rachel Riedner - Activist Writers and Alternative Communities: Zapatista and Anti-Globalization Writing
CRN 56135 Section 66 | TF 0220 - 0400 ( ROME 201)
CRN 56133 Section 64 | TF 0800 - 0940 ( ROME 459)
CRN 56134 Section 65 | TF 1110 - 1250 ( ROME 202)

Matt Riley - Science and Public Policy
CRN 56129 Section 60 | TR 1420 - 1535 ( 1776 G 106)
& F 02:20pm-03:10pm (GELM 402)
CRN 57348 Section 74 | TR 3:45-5:00, F 3:55-4:45 (2020 K, #11)

Phyllis Ryder - Sit in! Strike! Take it to the Street!: The Rhetorics of Social Protest
These courses will be taught at the Mount Vernon Campus
CRN 56121 Section M15 | MR 0830 - 1010 ( ACAD 304 ) NOTE: Open to WLP students only
CRN 56122 Section M16 | MR 1130 - 1310 ( ACAD 304)
CRN 56123 Section M17 | MR 1430 - 1610 ( ACAD 329)

Steve Salchak - Critical Reading and Writing in an Age of BS
This course will be taught at the Mount Vernon Campus
CRN 55183 Section M05 | MW 1300 - 1415 ( ACAD 301 ) & F 01:00pm-01:50pm (ACAD 301)
NOTE: Open to WLP students only

Steve Salchak - Women's Leadership in a Global Context: Women Making a Difference Though Writing
This course will be taught at the Mount Vernon Campus
CRN 55185 Section M07 | MW 1430 - 1545 ( ACAD 306 ) & F 02:30pm-03:20pm (ACAD 306)
NOTE: Open to WLP students only

Heather Schell - Pests, Pets, and Meat:  Animals in American Culture
These courses will be taught at the Mount Vernon Campus
NOTE: These are hybrid courses

CRN 55179 Section M11 | MW 1000 - 1115 ( ACAD 306 ) & F 10:00-10:50 (ACAD 306) NOTE : Open to WLP students only
CRN 56955 Section M21 | MW 1300 - 1415 ( ACAD 312)
& F 1:00pm-01:50pm ( ACAD 312)

Samantha Shanley - Culture Shock—Immigration, Assimilation, and the Search for Identity
CRN 56139 Section 28 | MF 1555 - 1710 ( PHIL 416)
& W 03:55pm-04:45pm (DUQUES 258)

Megan Siczek - The Geography of Thought: Different Ways of Seeing?
NOTE: This is a hybrid course
CRN 57350 Section 76 | TR 2:20-3:35 (1957E, #309) F 2:20--3:10 (online)

Caroline Smith - Picture This: Writing About the Visual and Verbal
These courses will be taught at the Mount Vernon Campus
CRN 54279 Section M01 | MW 1300 - 1415 ( ACAD 306) & F 01:00pm-01:50pm (ACAD 306)
CRN 54255 Section M12 | MW 1430 - 1545 ( ACAD 302)
& F 02:30pm-03:20pm (ACAD 302)

Ginger Smith - Tourism and the Global Landscape
NOTE: This is a hybrid course
CRN 57346 Section 72 | M 8-8:50 (online), W-F 8-9:15 (1957 E, #315)

Elizabeth Sokolov - Moral Representation and the Literary Response to September 11
CRN 55180 Section 55 | TR 0935 - 1050 ( 1957 E 315) & F 09:35am-10:25am (1957 E 309)

Kimberly Stern - Topsy-Turvy: Comedy, Satire, and Revolt in the Victorian Period
CRN 54278 Section 35 | M 0935 - 1025 ( PHIL 414A) & WF 09:35am-10:50am (2020 K 21)
CRN 54277 Section 34 | M 1420 - 1510 ( PHIL 109)
& WF 02:20pm-03:35pm (2020 K 9)

Michael Svoboda - Global Warming, American Politics
These courses will be taught at the Mount Vernon Campus
CRN 54280 Section M02 | TR 1000 - 1115 ( ACAD 306) & F 10:00am-10:50am(ACAD 306)
CRN 54260 Section M13 | TR 1130 - 1245 ( ACAD 306)
& F 11:30am-12:20pm (ACAD 306)

Niles Tomlinson - Gothic America
CRN 54265 Section 22 | MW 1245 - 1400 (Duques 362) & F 12:45pm-01:35pm (BELL 106)

Phillip Troutman - Serious Comics:  Graphic Novels and Animé as History?
CRN 54262 Section 20 | M 0935 - 1025 ( PHIL 510) & WF 09:35am-10:50am (1957 E #601L)
CRN 54261 Section 19 | M 1420 - 1510 ( PHIL 415)
& WF 02:20pm-03:35pm (2020 K #16)

David Truncellito - The Many Faces of Religion
These courses will be taught at the Mount Vernon Campus
NOTE: These are hybrid courses
CRN 55182 Section M04 | MW 1000 - 1115 ( ACAD 301 ) & F 10:00am-10:50am (ACAD 301)
CRN 55186 Section M08 | MW 1430 - 1545 ( ACAD 304 )
& F 02:30pm-03:20pm (ACAD 304)

Lauren Weisholz - Feminist Utopias: Writing New Worlds
CRN 55162 Section 37 | MW 0800 - 0915 (1957 E, #B14)
& F 08:00am-08:50am (1957 E, #B14)

Abby Wilkerson - The Food Voice
CRN 54267 Section 24 | TR 0935 - 1050 ( 1957 E #314) & F 09:35am-10:25am (1957 E #308)
CRN 54268 Section 25 | TR 1110 - 1225 ( 1776 G #102)
& F 11:10am-12:00pm (GELM 402)

Zak Wolfe - Law as a Force for Social Change
CRN 55173 Section 49 | M 1420 - 1510 ( BELL 105)
& WF 02:20pm-03:35pm (1957 E #313)

Robbin Zeff - Political Junkie: Writing About Politics in the Nation's Capital
These courses will be taught at the Mount Vernon Campus
NOTE: These are hybrid courses

CRN 56124 Section M18 | TR 11:30 - 12:45 (Eckles 309) & F 11:30-12:20 (online)
CRN 56125 Section M19 | TR 2:30 - 3:45 (Eckles 309) & F 2:30 - 3:20 (online)
CRN 56126 Section M20 | TR 4:10 - 5:25 (Eckles 309) & F 4:10 - 5:00 (online)

Christy Zink - The Illuminated City: Artists and Intellectuals on the Urban Experience
NOTE: These are hybrid courses
CRN 56140 Section 18 | TR 1110 - 1225 ( XX 114 ) & F 11:10am-12:00pm (PHIL 510)
CRN 55178 Section 14 | TR 1245 - 1400 ( 2020 K #9 )
& F 12:45pm-01:35pm (PHIL 109)


Tiffany Bailey - Stranger in a Strange Land: Contemporary Depictions of Americans Abroad

As the title suggests, this course will involve examining books, essays, and films that depict the experiences of Americans who travel outside of the United States. Specifically, we will compare and contrast the various reasons Americans travel outside of the U.S. or leave their homeland to live abroad. More importantly, while exploring this theme, you will also learn how to articulate your critical analyses in writing. Class discussions are designed around a number of writing exercises and assignments that will guide you through the writing process, helping you write well-planned and concise papers without becoming overwhelmed. You will be introduced to the standards of academic and professional writing, refine your editing and revising skills, learn to conduct scholarly research, and develop a network of resources for writing. The primary goal of this course is to help you become a stronger writer, enjoy writing more, and help you build solid communication skills necessary for your academic and professional career as well as for life.

The materials used for this course will be engaging, varied, and informative. Through writing assignments and class discussions, you will have the opportunity to think and write about these materials on both a personal and a scholarly level. Some of the issues we will explore include: How do personal, professional, and political experiences influence a person's decision to go abroad? How does this affect the way writers write about these experiences and the audience they target with their writing? Are narratives and essays about living abroad intended to be entertaining, informative, political, or persuasive? If so, how? How do Americans abroad interpret the United States from a distance? What can these travel narratives tell us how natives of other countries view America? How do authors incorporate these views into their writing?

Emily Bliss - Beyond Belles: Culture and Writing in the American South

“Tell About the South. What's it like there. What do they do there. Why do they live there. Why do they live at all…” So wrote William Faulkner in his 1936 novel Absalom, Absalom!, and since then these lines have become a rallying cry for Southern writers and scholars. But what is the South? Is it a red clay and kudzu nest of Civil War re-enactors and their banjo-strumming grannies? Is it a cultural backwater of racism, sexism, and homophobia? Is it an enchanted land draped in Spanish moss, lit by moonlight, and perfumed by magnolias? Is it one big NASCAR track? Or is it a pulpit for Bible thumpers? Or does it even exist at all? Some have called the South a mere idea, a region of the mind, a mythology jointly constructed by Southerners and Yankees.

In this intensive writing course, we will study the cultures of the American South, with a focus on the ways Southerners have used writing to document, create, maintain, and nurture both the reality (whatever that is!) and the mythology of that region. As we develop your skills as academic writers, thinkers, and researchers, we will ask critical questions about the act of writing. What makes Southern fiction Southern? What does it mean to be a regional writer, and is that distinction a literary ghetto or an honor? Do your writing and research bear the imprint of a certain culture or set of biases? Are you, here at GW, an impartial scholar of the South? Or, in the very act of studying the South, are you contributing to Southern culture?

You will spend the semester working on a 20-page research paper that examines a place or culture in terms of regional identity and mythology. Your paper need not be about the South – a major goal for the class will be for you to find the broader applications of the analytical skills we'll develop throughout the semester. In addition to your project, you will write several smaller papers. These assignments will often employ elements of creative writing to isolate and develop skills that are critical to successful academic writing.

Texts may include Tell About the South: The Southern Rage to Explain by Fred C. Hobson; Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz; 1001 Things Everyone Should Know about the South by John Shelton Reed and Dale Volberg Reed; journal articles from the fields of Southern studies and English literature; and creative work by Harry Crews, Erskine Caldwell, Ralph Ellison, William Faulkner, Barry Hannah, Flannery O'Connor, Katherine Anne Porter, Peter Taylor, Alice Walker, Robert Penn Warren, Tennessee Williams, and Richard Wright.

Arianne Chernock - The Empire Strikes Back? Colonial Uprisings in Ireland, India and Kenya

This writing-intensive course will examine how various colonies – including Ireland, India and Kenya – have historically responded to and challenged British imperial rule. We will devote significant attention to the arguments and tactics used by colonized peoples to resist domination, in the process examining the tensions inherent in the idea of “empire” itself. In the final weeks of the course, we will consider the vexed legacy of imperialism to both colonizer and colonized, and weigh the ethical and moral responsibilities of countries to intervene in crises in the regions they once controlled. Texts to be consulted will include Niall Ferguson's Empire, Michael Collins' Essays, M.K. Gandhi's Hind Swaraj and David Anderson's Histories of the Hanged, among other works. Films will also be an integral part of the course.

In the process of investigating these themes, we will focus on improving your writing and thinking skills. Assignments will include theoretical meditations, critical comparative essays, book reports and in-class presentations – all projects designed to familiarize you with the kinds of work you'll be asked to pursue while an undergraduate at The George Washington University. The course will culminate with a research project on a topic of the student's choice (subject to my approval).

Christine Choy - Class, Identity, and Writing

The theme of this writing-intensive course will be on class and how it shapes our identity. We will read novels, poems, and critical essays that examine class as a critical apparatus through which to understand identity, including, but not limited to, race, gender, sexual orientation, as well as class. Texts for the course include Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own and Karl Marx's The Communits Manifesto.

Through our reading and research, we will ask these questions about class and identity: How has class been an influence or even a site of activism for these writers? How can it be an influence or site of activism for your own writing? How do essays and literature on class change or reshape society and culture? How does this writing help us to understand our own individual voices and identity?

This class will teach students how to think critically and apply that thinking into writing academic arguments. Students will shape their own individual writing projects, culminating in a major, in-depth research paper. Within this research paper, students are expected to think and research critically on a variety of texts that provides useful information and evidence on their research question, and to use that research to write thoughtfully, analytically, and creatively on their research question.

Eric Drown - Conspiracy Theory

University Writing 20 aims to enhance first-year students' abilities to read, think, and write critically, as well as to equip them with university-level research and project-management tools. In these sections, we'll meet these goals by studying conspiracy theories and the people who create them. On first glance conspiracy theory hardly seems worth studying. What, after all, can be learned from reading the writings of paranoid crackpots given to delusional accounts of the world? But, as you will see, conspiracy theory is a form of thinking to which most Americans subscribe at one time or another to explain some aspects of their lives. Moreover, it is a form of writing with some significant parallels to university writing. Both academics and conspiracy theorists conduct extensive research, use elaborated arguments to convince others to see things their way, and circulate their work in highly critical public arenas. By developing sophisticated analytical methods and conducting first-hand research in conspiracy communities, you'll learn to see conspiracy theorists as astute, if eccentric, observers of society. More importantly, you'll learn how to use academic research and writing to formulate and answer questions that are more than merely academic. Writing assignments may include writing your own conspiracy theory, critical reviews of other scholars' work, and a research-based essay, as well as participation in an online discussion group. Other assignments as necessary.

Brian Flota - The Album As Art-I-Fact And Cultural Object

In what ways can the sequential ordering of music—the songs and sounds on an album—serve to increase our attentiveness to details, themes and tropes as writers? Since the 1967 release of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the album has developed its own canon of masterworks. Joining media such as painting, sculpture, poetry, the novel and film, the album has contributed defining moments of beauty, politics, community and psychological depth to large audiences spanning multiple generations. In this course, we will examine the unwritten rules of “album-making,” the role of cover art and liner notes in the listening experience, the marketing of artists, what makes “great” or “horrible” albums, musicality, anti-musicality, the importance of sales figures, the political content of lyrics and music, and the powerful critical apparatus that has formed the various lists of “essential” albums. We will also reconsider the relevance of the album in the age of compact discs, online downloading and iPods. More importantly, we will explore how the examination of the album can help us develop the critical, analytical, theoretical and structural skills needed to approach writing in both the university and in the professional marketplace. Also, we will examine how the current critical discourse about albums can or cannot serve as potential compositional models for student writers. Reading will consist of various record reviews, introductions to album-based music guides, Nick Hornby's High Fidelity, Ashley Kahn's A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane's Signature Album and Charles L. Granata's Wouldn't It Be Nice: Brian Wilson and the Making of the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds. Course requirements include in-class presentations, weekly journals, and three essays, with revisions. This class is writing intensive and will culminate with a twelve to fifteen-page research paper.

Sandie Friedman - Culture and Memory

If you had to choose one memory from your whole life, which one would it be? Which aspects of your identity would you want this memory to reflect? What emotions would it contain, and who would be there? The Japanese director Kore-eda Hirokazu poses these questions in Afterlife , and we begin our semester with an analysis of his film. The characters in Afterlife have died and, at a way station between life and death, must choose a memory in which to spend eternity. For the first paper in this course, you will imagine yourself in this situation and write an essay based on your chosen memory. For the next essays, you will expand your field of inquiry from individual to collective memory: How do societies choose those memories that come to define them? What do collective memories reveal about the political and cultural forces within the community? As a class, we will visit the National Museum of American History and write essays about which American collective memories the museum represents and why. For the research project, you will choose a memorial site and research its history, developing an argument about how its shape reflects not just what it commemorates, but the values of those who built it. Three principles have guided the design of the writing element of the course. First, I believe that writing is a medium for thinking, so we will use informal writing in each class to develop ideas, not merely to record them. As Patricia Hampl writes in "Memory and Imagination": "I don't write about what I know: I write in order to find out what I know." Second, I believe that compelling essays come about only through revision -- even for gifted and experienced writers. So I will work with you over the course of the semester on deep revision (which is not the same as editing!). Third, we will write increasingly complex essays, building towards the research project. In moving through the sequence of assignments, you will acquire writing skills (building arguments, analyzing texts, crafting lucid sentences, incorporating multiple sources) that will be transferable to other classes. Aside from practical applications, I also believe that this kind of thinking and writing work can be transformative--that it can lead to a richer and more reflective life.

Matthew Fullerty - Extreme Adaptation: Surviving Censorship from Text to Screen

In what contexts does art get banned? Why do books, short stories, plays, and their film adaptations, undergo censorship? What does this mean for the author, historical and contemporary audiences, and the text itself? As a focus for argumentative university-level writing and research this course frames the intersection of adaptation and censorship. Where is the line between adapting and appropriating an artistic vision? What are the questions of authorial integrity in representing experience? The class will provide a means of debating written and visual culture as sites of social and political conflict, change and truth-assertion.

We will look at banned texts in their historical, political, social, sexual and religious controversies as well as how they are understood and re-written for consumption today. How does ‘extreme adaptation' between genres complicate questions of meaning, value, ideology and creative freedom? How much should the artist be compromised at the expense of ‘protecting society' and how much should society support the desire to ‘re-imagine' past literature and film? Texts include Anthony Burgess's and Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange , Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita and its two film versions, and Spike Jonze's film Adaptation .

Cayo Gamber - Legacies of the Holocaust

One of the primary legacies of the Holocaust has been the call to remember. In this course, we will discuss the various ways in which the Holocaust is remembered. We will bear witness to first-hand testimonies of memoirists (for example, Charlotte Delbo in Auschwitz and After) and the video testimony of survivours (in Yale's Fortunoff Video Archive). In addition, we will question the ways in which the Holocaust has been "interpreted" in middle-school and high-school curricula, in documentary film (for example, in Claude Lanzmann's Shoah), and in art (such as, Alan Jacobs' "Then and Now"). Finally, we will interrogate the "Americanization" of the Holocaust (for example, in Art Spiegelman's Maus I and II, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Donna Deitch's film of The Devil's Arithmetic).

Over the course of the semester, you will choose a topic-related to the theme of the course -and will dedicate yourself to locating pertinent research; evaluating the merit of your research; fully attending to the arguments made by the scholars; thoughtfully and accurately incorporating those scholars' ideas into your own writing; and using their research findings in order to shape your own engaged and engaging arguments. Each of these tasks is incorporated into the series of assignments you will perform, in stages, over the course of the semester. In addition, one-on-one conferences, peer review, drafting, and revision will aid you as you develop coherent, complex, and compelling arguments.

Gustavo Guerra - Latin American Thought and Culture

This writing intensive course explores issues and topics surrounding Latin American and Latino/ Latina studies. The course explores the significance and multiplicity of meanings of identity as a tool of analysis in literature, history, and politics. Some of the questions we will pursue are: How does identity interact in Latino and Latina contemporary writing? How do issues of class, or national origin circumscribe the possible meanings attached to sexuality, identity, sense of place, etc?

Elizabeth Harlan - Based on a True Crime Story

All around us, mysteries are used as a form of entertainment. In newspapers, magazines, books, and movies, true crime stories are quite popular. The TV lineup is fraught with documentaries of cold cases, trials, and forensics, as well as “ripped from the headlines” episodes of prime time dramas. This course will examine why our society is so fascinated with mysteries and where the line is drawn between when people are saddened, horrified, or afraid due to the crimes we hear or read about, and when we are more detached and are able to see a real crime (or a representation of one) simply as entertainment.

Additionally, newspaper accounts of historical and modern mysteries will be analyzed to discover how media coverage and public reactions have changed. Readings will include Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, journalistic accounts of crimes, and scholarly articles relating to crime; movies and TV shows will be analyzed as well. Assignments will involve both group and individual projects, such as reviews, summaries of scholarly articles, and a research project, which will include incorporating both scholarly and non-scholarly writing into a in-depth analysis of a particular crime.

Stephanie Hartman - Food Fights: The Cultural Politics of Eating

So what was the last thing you ate? Whether it was a hamburger or a granola bar, French cheese or fried chicken, it had a story behind it—probably several: personal memories, narratives of regional or national identity, maybe even epic accounts of global conquest and resistance. There are countless ways of making sense of what we eat: historical, autobiographical, economic, aesthetic, anthropological, spiritual, and ethical, as well as nutritional. If you want to be able to enjoy a meal without thinking about its political and cultural implications, don't take this course.

“Food Fights” uses the subject of food as a window into the complex networks of power that shape the movements of our daily lives. It also examines writing about food as a field of struggle for control over food's meanings. Readings will include Fast Food Nation and shorter works of many genres. We'll start small, with first-person essays, and then will expand in scope to studies of controversial global issues. But whether we're reading a humorous tribute to local barbecue by Calvin Trillin or an account of the different terms activists and corporations use to discuss genetically modified organisms, we'll be tracing connections between the personal and the political, and attending closely to the writer's use of language.

The main project will be to research, write, and revise a substantial critical research paper. Other writing assignments may include a food memoir, an analysis of food magazines or news stories, an examination of the culinary philosophy of a chef, and focused responses to the readings. As well as preparing you for the challenges of college writing, this course should make you more aware of how we think and write about food, and why this matters.

Carol Hayes - California Dreamin': Disneyland, Brushfires, and Schwarzenegger

California: The land of Hollywood dreams, surfers, and Disney fairytales, a land where people are intensely interested in the “image” they project – or, in writing terms, in how they represent themselves, their clients, their corner of California. Beyond these dreams – or images of dreams – California is also the land of natural disasters, controversies over immigration, and the 2003 recall election, a landscape that has been shaped by arguments over class and race as much as by nature and Disney. In this writing and research course, we'll read a number of texts focused on California, with the goal of examining these texts as models for how representation, argumentation and scholarship work at the university level. These texts, such as Mike Davis' Ecology of Fear, take stories that we've all heard about (for example, news stories that represent the “tragedy” of California families displaced time and again by brushfires), and look at how these representations are shaped, who shapes them, and what the effects of these representations are on society (in terms of class, race, gender, the environment, and other critical frameworks). In other words, the texts we'll be reading interrogate what lies beneath – and what is produced by – the glittering dreams of the “Golden State.” I'll ask you to model your writing after these types of inquiries, so that you'll be approaching writing as a process of intellectual engagement, a complex process that focuses on the politics of representation.

Michelle Beissel Heath - Oh, the Stories We Tell: Reconsidering Dichotomy in Fairytales, Film, and the Western World

We've all heard (or uttered) them lately, statements such as “it's us against the enemy,” “freedom versus terrorism,” “marriage is between a man and a woman,” “humans are not animals (particularly monkeys),” and “we will do what is right and fair.” The world around us seems frequently filled with schisms, with binaries of privilege and horror: right/wrong, good/bad, freedom/terror, win/lose, villain/hero, black/white, male/female, adult/child. The list can go on and on. Indeed, the ideas and values embedded in these dichotomies can seem so basic to us that we tend to take them for granted. In this writing-intensive course we will attempt to stop taking them for granted, asking ourselves questions about why and how such dichotomies come into being, what purposes and needs they may serve, and what seen and unforeseen effects, advantages, and disadvantages they may offer. Above all, we will use our explorations and considerations of such questions to help us develop, improve, and foster our critical reading, critical thinking, and writing skills through assignments – a reading journal, peer reviews, several short papers, and a lengthy research project and paper – meant to help us consider our own roles as writers and cultural story-tellers. The texts we will use to help us reconsider dichotomies will be the shared stories that we, as a society, like to believe have helped shape our mores and morals: what are often labeled fairy-tales. The fairy-tales we will consider will be classic (á la the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen) as well as modern or re-envisioned, but not always overtly recognizable as fairy-tales (ghost stories, stories of unusual creatures, folklore, urban legends, and conspiracy theories are among the seemingly limitless options).

First and foremost, then, this course is about writing. We will use our course theme of fairy-tales and dichotomy to launch discussions of, reflections on, and improvements of our own writing, paying especial attention to the requirements of academic writing (which we may trace through some of the published essays and critical texts we will read, and which may be opposed to some of the more “creative” or “fictional” sorts of writing we will read). In addition to our discussions of shared readings and writing experiences, we will often use class time as a workshop for our own academic (primarily analytic, persuasive, research and argument-oriented) writing. Overall, frequent writing assignments, peer reviews, and revisions will be a given: you will be writing or revising at least one paper or piece of writing every week.

Possible texts (in addition to traditional fairy tales, critical texts, and other short works) include William Shakespeare's The Tempest , J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan , L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz , Gregory Maguire's Wicked , and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein , as well as film versions of many of these.

Ryan Jerving - Uncommon Knowledge: Intellectual Property and Public Culture

You might think your thoughts are your own, but you'd be wrong. That melody stuck in your head, that clever phrase, that elaborate critique of the global military-industrial-media complex you've come up with—- all of it, in part or in whole, came from some place else within the common cultural storehouse. And increasingly, it's likely, at least legally, to belong some place else too as copyrights, trademarks, and patents come to enclose much of what you might otherwise safely call "yours." In this course, we'll consider this tension between the cultural reality of collective creation and the legal/economic reality of private claims to intellectual property. And we'll ask what this problematic will mean for you as a 21st-century citizen, consumer, and writer.

You will design the specific case studies our class will tackle concerning issues such as file sharing, sampling, internet fan fiction, indigenous cultural rights, freedom of information and homeland security, or the role of patents in the world-wide AIDS crisis. We'll frame our discussion within somewhat broader questions of national identity, theories of language, and the work of art in the age of mechanical (and now digital) reproduction, with an extended consideration of how American history and public culture has been or could be appropriated and re-imagined. And as we learn to conduct, cite, and document primary and secondary research; develop arguments that incorporate and rework the ideas and language of others; engage in academic "fair use"; invoke and play with established writing genres; and revise in collaboration with our peers—-as we do all that, we'll explore the particularly murky waters of intellectual ownership to which the act of writing inevitably leads.

David Johnson - Invisible Ink: Tracing Race and Rhetoric through Ellison and Burke

In 1945, Ralph Ellison began writing Invisible Man , an essential and challenging novel about race, identity, history and culture. Throughout the writing process, Ellison corresponded with Kenneth Burke, who had just begun work on A Rhetoric of Motives , gained valuable insight into race from the rhetorical perspective, and actually edited his novel accordingly. Similarly, Burke altered his essay on rhetoric as Ellison provided information about race from the literary perspective. In sum, each writer ‘watched' the thoughts of the other, gradually incorporated these thoughts into his own intellectual system, and then galvanized these ideas to construct a written text.

This course engages students in the project of ‘watching' the thoughts and language about race of various writers through the Ellison/Burke theoretical lens. We will look at such texts as David Walker's Appeal, Views on Colonization, Our Nig, The Anti-Slavery Speeches of Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Confessions of Nat Turner, and Shadow and Act in terms of Ellison's concept of ‘identity' and Burke's concept of ‘motives,' in order to see specifically how American thinkers write about the African American situation. We will also peek at some primary sources, including letters from a prominent Georgetown family who resided at Dumbarton House during the early part of the Federal period, so that we can catch a glimpse of some local notions about race.

The upshot of this course is for you to view through serious writings various thought processes, in this case about the African American experience, so that you can invent and arrange your own thoughts about this issue in several informed, organized, and important essays. In short, your writing will be founded on sound and complex thinking and not merely on acquired rhetorical skills.

Randi Kristensen - Poets of the Underdog

Poet Audre Lorde claims that poetry “forms the quality of light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action. Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought.” Peoples of African descent around the world have engaged in struggles with language and image in multiple media—writing , film, and music—to communicate their “hopes and dreams toward survival and change” within their own communities, some of which has reached and affected global audiences.

This is a course in critical reading, thinking and writing that focuses on the creation, reception, transformation, and effects of critical and creative works by writers, filmmakers and musicians of African descent. Writing assignments include an autoethnography, in which students reflect on their own relationship to language, a major research paper on an aspect of Black culture and its transmission, and a hybrid creative/analytical assignment. Shorter assignments ask students to consider the relationship of Black culture to globalization, and the process described by Lorde above, how hopes and dreams become action. Texts and/or authors may include Martin Luther King's “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”; Isaac Julien's film on rap and dancehall, The Darker Side of Black ; Paul Gilroy's The Black Atlantic ; Beverly Bell's Walking on Fire: Testimonies of Haitian Women , Mumia Abu-Jamal, Suzan-Lori Parks, Staceyann Chin, and others selected by students. Poets, musicians and other artists considered may include Mutabaruka, Tanya Stephens, Mos Def, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Wyclef Jean, Toni Morrison, Boots Riley, and student selections.

Kathy Larsen - Teens in America

One might argue that from the end of World War Two (and perhaps more precisely from the coining of the term "rock and roll" by Alan Fried in 1951) to the present, the perception of America's teenagers has undergone a massive, and for the most part, unsavory shift. From juvenile delinquent films such as Blackboard Jungle to hormonally over stimulated “teen films” such as the American Pie series, teenagers have typically been presented as dangerous, disturbed, alien, or idiotic. Ironically (or not), this is often done via venues aimed at a predominantly teen audience, raising questions of exactly what message is being sent, to whom, and why? At the same time adolescence is being demonized, it is also being idealized as a period of pristine innocence to be protected at all costs. This has led to a century's worth of calls for censorship that have most often used this innocence as a justification for government and private monitoring of literature, mail, airwaves, and movie screens among other things.

Thus adolescence is often a hotly contested site for sociologists, psychologists, lawmakers, filmmakers, musicians, and corporations out to sell the latest “cool” product. The one voice that is often left out of all these debates however is that of the adolescents being fought over. This course seeks to interrogate the construction of “youth culture” (who is doing it and for whom is it is being produced) and to formulate a series of responses to the generally accepted teenage stereotypes. In other words, we will try to shift the parameters from monologue to dialogue, moving “talking back” out of the realm of punishable offenses and into the arena of encouraged discourse.

Possible questions we may want to pose include asking what kind of impact these images have on self-perception, the direction the representation of America's youth is taking in the twenty-first century, and what alternatives, if any, are being presented. However, students' own research, conducted across a variety of disciplines, ultimately will form the basis for both class discussion and writing assignments. The final project will involve a student written and edited e-zine.

Andrea Levine - Writing the American Family

Family values, Nascar dads, gay parenting, and Cindy Sheehan: each of these phrases, issues, and icons makes clear how profoundly conceptions of the American family shape our contemporary political landscape. Conversely, political appropriations of language about the family also influence cultural norms. For instance, an event like the “Million Mom March” (the 2000 march to support gun control regulations) arguably helps to create our ideas about who is a “natural” or “good” mother and about appropriate public roles for mothers—questions that often appear to turn on matters of race and class. This course, then, will begin with the supposition that the way we talk and write about the role of the family matters a great deal, even working to locate particular people within and outside of the category of “American” citizenship itself.

We will start the semester by exploring ideas about the “public” and “private” spheres put forth by cultural critics, philosophers, and historians. We will then turn to the diverse ways in which the American family has been represented within the popular imagination, studying phenomena ranging from the creation of the supposedly typical American family of the 1950s, to the child-raising practices advocated on television shows like “Nanny 911” and “Supernanny,” to the rash of recent debates within the popular press about mothers who work outside the home and the people who care for their children. As we examine this eclectic group of academic and popular texts, (which will also include fiction and Hollywood films). we will pay particular attention to the ways in which generic and disciplinary expectations shape their rhetorical strategies and effectiveness. These close reading practices will inform all of our writing projects this semester, as we make choices about genre, voice, audience, and authorial “authority. Please be prepared to encounter challenging and often lengthy reading assignments as well as essentially continuous writing assignments.

Isis Leslie - The Emergence of Liberalism

Modern liberalism as we know it is the product of a centuries-long evolution of ideas. This intensive writing course is a selective intellectual history of liberal ideals—e.g. the values of universal equality, “inalienable” rights, participation, democracy. Over the course of the term, we will consider the significance of antecedents to liberalism, for example, in Athenian democracy and classical Rome, and the individualizing force of Christianity. We will also consider the development of early modern political theory as articulated by Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Adam Smith and Immanuel Kant.

Paying special attention to changing ideals of selfhood and autonomy, as well as to ideas of toleration, representation, democracy, equality, and legitimacy, we will engage the assigned texts (and possibly, films) in a series of close reading and writing exercises that are designed to sharpen your critical ability to assess influences, continuities, developments, as well as differences, among the ideas of thinkers who are in conversation with one another over time.

This course is designed to improve your overall ability to locate thinkers within traditions and to identify their unique contributions to these traditions, to make you a more astute reader and stronger writer as you enter the conversation of your academic or professional discipline.

By the end of the course, you will have written 25-35 re-drafted pages, including a final research paper that will be your own analysis of the issues raised in the course and that draws on the extensive writing you have done throughout the term.

Derek Malone-France - Reading (and Writing) the Constitution

As the newly founded Roberts era of the US Supreme Court commences, questions abound regarding the future jurisprudential character of the nation's highest judicial body. Not surprisingly, the dominant theme in the current discussions surrounding the Court is the long-standing conflict between ‘progressive' and ‘conservative' approaches to Constitutional interpretation. Ever since the ratification of the Constitution in 1789, American's have debated the proper scope and nature of judicial activity and its relationship to this foundational document. How should judges read the Constitution? As an immutable bedrock of stability, the development of which is the sole province of the legislative branch and the amendatory process? Or as an evolving document, whose productive vagaries allow for each new generation to adjust its meaning to fit changing circumstances and social norms? To what extent should judges “make law,” as opposed to merely “applying” it? And is it always possible to clearly distinguish between the two?

In this course, we will examine such questions through the lens of two leading statements of alternative positions on Constitutional interpretation by two of the current Court's senior justices. We will read Justice Antonin Scalia's articulation of the conservative or ‘originalist' position in A Matter of Interpretation and Justice Stephen Breyer's articulation of the progressive position in Active Liberty . We will compare the perspectives of these two texts—along with those of other documents by leading figures in American law—to the positions outlined by the influential Constitutional framers Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison in The Federalist (and to the anti-Federalist arguments in the letters from ‘Brutus'). We will also engage in a collective research and writing project in which we will develop and implement surveys that analyze public perceptions of the issues at stake in the debate between conservatives and progressives and the viability of each alternative in light of historical understandings of the Constitution and the practical demands of contemporary democratic society in the US. And we will publicize our findings in various ways, so that our collective research and written work will have relevance beyond the limits of our classroom.

Diane Matlock - City Stories: Washington, DC Past, Present, and Future

The “official” tourist website for Washington, DC claims that “the District of Columbia's neighborhoods, people, history, and culture truly embody the American experience--from Duke Ellington to John Phillip Sousa and from the Civil War to civil rights.” Produced by the Washington, DC Convention and Tourism Corporation, the website also offers visitors the opportunity to discover the capital as “more than just a tourist.” To do so, we must experience the diversity of Washington, DC—one of the few cities in the world designed specifically as a national capital. Built to embody the new Republic's aspirations, the city has come to represent what it means to be an American. In this course, we will explore Washington, DC as a site, space, and symbol of the American experience. We will therefore examine texts, images, objects, and places as we interrogate the interplay between material practices and the realm of ideas, and show that we can, and need to, analyze everything about the places we inhabit. To investigate what different types of evidence reveal about the District of Columbia's role in the creation of the American nation and American identity, we will employ a variety of approaches—including such disciplines as anthropology, art and architecture, cultural studies, environmental studies, history, literature, military science, music, political science, and tourism.

As we explore Washington, DC both intellectually and physically, we will engage in a series of interconnected reading and writing assignments that will develop our analytical skills and culminate in a major research project using primary sources from the special collections of local libraries and museums. In addition, we will create a website about “our” Washington, DC and what we uncover during our semester of investigating the capital as day-trippers and scholars.

Rachel McLaughlin - Is Another World Possible?: Ecology and Feminism

How acceptable is it to modify the genome of a potato? How about that of a mouse? Who has a right to clean air and water? Should animals be raised solely for the purpose of being eaten? Do the disabled automatically deserve access to the same services as the able? Is deforestation acceptable if the profits provide food and medicine to human beings? Should corporations provide restitution for the presence of industrial chemicals in breastmilk?

This course will investigate the philosophical and activist ideas behind social movements that aim to recast the distribution of power among the different forms of life on earth. Ecofeminists believe that humankind's domination of the natural world is causally linked to other forms of social injustice such as racism, poverty, and violence against women and children. One of the main objectives of ecofeminist thinkers is to ask questions about how we create and perpetuate meaning—through culture, language, and representation. We will hone our skills as readers, thinkers, and writers by observing how the activity of meaning-making is charted by ecofeminist writers from a variety of disciplines who will help us to understand the complicated histories of cultural categories like “human,” “nature,” “science,” “animal,” and “machine.” We'll read a variety of texts by scholars, photojournalists, scientists, and memoirists in our attempt to interrogate how different kinds of writers, working in a variety of genres, treat the themes of ecology and feminism in their work. We will pay close attention to their analytical methods, use of research and evidence, and rhetorical and argumentative strategies in an attempt to develop these skills for ourselves in our own writing projects.

While we will spend the first half of the course analyzing the central themes of ecological and feminist theory, the latter half of the course will focus on one central question: “Is another world possible?” Students will write a substantial research paper on a topic of their choosing that makes use of the conceptual framework explored in the first half of the course. Possible topics include genetic engineering; globalization and development; environmental racism; disability rights; animal rights; overpopulation; agribusiness; conservation movements; and water rights.

Meghan Mercier - Production by Numbers: Hollywood Musicals of the 1930s-50s

Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Esther Williams... their films still grace the airwaves of nostalgia cable channels. Musicals have much to offer the contemporary audience, from an earnestness unfamiliar in our age of irony, to the kind of quickly-intercut shots and creative camera angles usually thought to be the property of the MTV generation. This class will explore early musicals as rich sites for multiple kinds of analysis. As commentaries on the preoccupations and assumptions of their times, they will be fodder for thought about race, gender, sexuality, and class; as highly stylized and conventional assemblies of scenes, they fall easily into component parts for our study. Students will write on social and technical aspects of films, research recent and contemporary reactions to select films, make individual presentations on research projects and writing issues, and will produce a culminating project on a particular star. Students will work individually and in groups, and share what they produce with their peers for critical comment. Because we will view at least one film a week, the class will agree on a separate “film showing” time slot. Titles include Top Hat, Singin' in the Rain, Show Boat (James Whale version), and Stormy Weather.

Mark Miller - The Transatlantic Gothic, 1700-1900

"All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story."
-Isak Dinesen

This course will explore the way in which the significant historical “sorrows” produced by transatlantic exchange, colonialism, and the expansion and fragmentation of global empires have been described and disguised in Gothic literary, architectural, and more generally aesthetic traditions. In our study of historical traumas, such as poverty, slavery, and genocide, and their appearance in the Gothic tradition, you will augment your capacity for critical thinking, writing and research by approaching texts in sustained and meaningful ways. Not only will you analyze the course readings in formal essays with revisions, informal writing assignments, and peer reviews, you will also, in dialogue with me and your peers, develop a research project that responds to your own individual interests and concerns.

We will read a wide variety of texts. You and your classmates will select many of the course readings yourselves as part of a collaborative project. Your work on this collaborative project will also directly contribute to your final research essay. We may examine some of the following issues and texts: the economics of the Gothic in essays by Karl Marx or Claudio Veliz's recent comparative study of North and South American economies, The New World of the Gothic Fox ; psychoanalytic readings of the Gothic in essays by Sigmund Freud; the postcolonial Gothic in Cuban dissident José Martí's essay “The Truth About the United States” (1898); the racialization of the Gothic in Tod Browning's film Dracula (1931), lynching postcards, and short stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Charles Brockden Brown; and the political Gothic in classics such as Charles Perrault's “Bluebeard” (1697), Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto (1764), and in U.S. laws such as the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 and the Indian Removal Act of 1830.

Charles Mueller - Carving an Axe Handle: The Individual and Tradition in Asian Thought

In this course, we will reflect on the relationship between the individual and culture. In the West, we are accustomed to regarding these two concepts separately. Influenced by Locke, we often consider the individual as a sort of blank slate. Culture, on the other hand, is often viewed as a conglomeration of practices that are either wholly arbitrary or that are inevitably determined by oppressive power structures (as in Marx or Foucault).

This course will look at some alternative approaches to this issue offered by major thinkers in the Confucian, Taoist, and Buddhist traditions. The metaphor we will use to commence our investigation will be that of the axe handle mentioned in the Chinese Book of Odes. According to a poem from this collection, when shaping an axe handle, “the pattern is not far off.” Later Chinese thinkers were intrigued by this phrase, finding within it a philosophical metaphor for the way in which human nature provides the “pattern” for an edifying culture.

After exploring the Confucian discussion of this issue, we will turn our attention to Taoist texts (many written specifically as a reaction to the Confucian tradition) and Buddhist writings (in particular, the doctrines of non-self and Buddha-nature.)

The format of the class will be highly interactive. As we investigate the relationship between the individual and culture, we will share ideas that we form based on our discussions, reading, and research. One key component of the class will be individual blogs where we will informally write about specific issues touched on in our readings. These blog entries will form the “grist” for more formal assignments. Other writing will include annotated bibliographies, a compare and contrast paper, and a final research paper. Written assignments will be done as a guided process that includes pre-writing, multiple drafts, peer feedback, and extensive revision.

Hybrid Course: "Hybrid" is the name given to courses that blend face-to-face classroom instruction with online learning to improve learning outcomes. Hybrid courses thus move a significant amount of course work to an online environment.

Mark Mullen – Covering Chaos

With apologies to Winston Churchill, it often seems as if the motto of the news media could be “I have nothing to offer you but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.” The daily news is filled with tales of suffering: war, disaster, torture, terror, Jen and Brad’s breakup. . . And, as with my previous sentence, even the most respectable daily news outlets seem to diminish the magnitude of the suffering they portray by granting equal time and status to fragments of celebrity gossip, sensationalized crime stories, and jokes of the day. Yet access to regular news coverage remains a high priority for a majority of people in the US. While viewership for the traditional “Big Three” television network news shows continues to decline, this has been more than made up for in the proliferation of new forms of news coverage, ranging from 24-hour cable news networks, magazine shows, and, more recently, the rise of blogs and podcasting.

We will spend the semester examining the ways in which the news media cover international events, with a special focus on war reporting and coverage of disasters (famine, earthquakes, etc.). Starting with an exploration of the history of war reporting, we will also consider the development of the mainstream vs. the alternative press, the role of objective journalism, the impact of military, governmental and civilian censorship, the ethics of using disturbing and/or offensive images, and the influence of changing patterns of media ownership. As a specialized form of communication, news coverage throws many of the challenges inherent in writing in general into sharp relief (tailoring your work to a specific audience, for example, or maintaining credibility) and we will be using examples of war and disaster journalism to help hone our writing skills in these areas. This course will also challenge you to develop sophisticated research projects comparing US and International journalistic coverage of events, and developing a critical analysis of specific instances of war and disaster reporting.

Hybrid Course: "Hybrid" is the name given to courses that blend face-to-face classroom instruction with online learning to improve learning outcomes. Hybrid courses thus move a significant amount of course work to an online environment. If you have any questions about this class, please contact Professor Mark Mullen at ishmael@gwu.edu

Samantha Murphy - Reproducing Identity: Literature and Politics

The area of inquiry for this course section will revolve around the construction and reproduction of identity through the overlapping means of literature and public politics.  Anxieties about reproduction and reproductive possibilities are a prevalent cultural phenomenon.  Images of procreation offer privileged access to the process by which certain desires, imperatives, and proprieties become naturalized while others remain excessive, perverse, or excluded from functionality and necessity.  Today, medical science has divorced sex from procreation, complicating reproduction on political, social, and aesthetic levels. This is not just a contemporary phenomenon.  Anxieties of monstrous births, strange inseminations, and perverse parenting are encoded throughout medical and social discourse.  This class will juxtapose reproductive belief, rhetorics, and policies of the early modern period with those of today.  In doing so, we will read, question, and write about: how bodies are sexed and gendered; how the circulation of desire affects identity; what the function of the head of state's body is in relation to the identity of the people.  Over the course of the semester, we will engage in all the steps of the writing process – reading and evaluating competing sources, developing areas of inquiry, gathering textual and extra-textual evidence, practicing focused research, participating in public discussion and debate, reviewing your own and others' work critically, and drafting a research paper.

Duc Nguyen - Disciplining the Overreacher

Writers continue to use the story of the “Overreacher” to entertain us, to tell and explain personal and social history, and to justify or demonize especially dominant personalities. The overreacher is usually conceived as one who seeks status and accomplishment somehow beyond what is appropriate. Such a character disrupts a natural order. To restore that order, he is brought to a contrary state. After all, if he succeeds, would we be able to say he has overreached? The variety of the familiar story of Dedaelus and Icarus should remind us how rich the story can be. In the case of lofty Icarus, who aimed to soar as high as the gods, the sun dashed his hubris by melting his waxwings. Brueghel painted the scene of his fall. In Brueghel’s painting, Icarus’s story is but a small part of a large vista. The world continues undeterred or unaffected by the splash of a man falling from the sky. W.H. Auden wrote a poem about the painting. So did William Carlos Williams. Other examples of the overreacher include the fanatic, the mad genius, tragic hero, conniving henchman and destructive demagogue.

I have made the Overreacher the theme of this writing class. We will look at it as part of larger vistas. We will discuss it as it manifests across different disciplines. Although most recognizable as a literary strategy, the story is not restricted to works of fiction and myth. Biographies, non-fictional studies of an historical era, and contemporary press and media also characterize people and events using the schema. We will analyze what effects the trope has on how we understand not just the arts but our world. How many times have news programs teased us with snippets that anticipate the fulfillment of the overreaching plot? Our stories are the stories of Charles Kane, Dr. Faustus, Julius Caesar, Adolf Hitler, and the United States. You will also be responsible for researching an instance outside the assigned texts where you see the overreacher archetype being constructed and for creating a variation yourself.

Almia Ozdek - What is a Nation?

In his 1882 lecture “What is a Nation?”, Ernest Renan describes nation as a group of people who may not have a common race, religion and language, but who share a “spiritual principle”. For him, the nation is a “long past of endeavours, sacrifice, and devotion”, which brings together people who want to perpetuate the values of their common past. In 1983, Benedict Anderson is skeptical towards Renan's romantic concept of nation, and explicates on the paradoxes of the term: the nation is a sign of modernity for the historians while it is a sign of pure antiquity for the nationalists. And in 1990, the postcolonial critic Homi Bhabha sees nation as a “transitional social reality”, which changes its meaning and function according to new social, political, and economic situations.

This course will explore the different meanings the concept of nation has acquired in today's arguably multicultural world which runs on transnational capital. What does it mean to belong to a nationality today, when the citizens of different countries circulate around the world with much more ease than ever? What does it mean to have a national culture today, when national cultures are propagated by consumer products? How about the national borders, when the media have turned the world into a global village?

In our interrogation of such questions, we will look at genres from film to novel and to non-fiction. You will be expected to write reviews of literature and responses/essays for the material we study. There will be a final research paper in which you will introduce your own material to analyze and formulate an argument. Through peer-reviews and oral presentations, you will receive feedback on your work and learn to write to an audience, thus acquiring the skills to articulate yourself more effectively in your future pursuits.

Pam Presser - Firing the American Canon: Symbolic Struggle and Cultural Wars

The writing classroom is a site of intense symbolic struggle. What exactly is good writing? How important is emphasis on aspects associated with traditional writing instruction, such as punctuation, word choice, or sentence structure? What set of ideas should be developed and promoted in the classroom? What are the connections between writing and knowledge production? What constitutes rigorous research? Questions like these provoke heated debate in the academy.

This course will start with the assumption that classrooms are contested spaces, and instructors don't agree how best to choose classes to teach, or how to study the texts once they are selected. These debates are often referred to as "culture wars." As a student, you are well-equipped to participate in this conversation, since you have expertise about which pedagogical strategies work best for you, encouraging you to become engaged with the subject you are studying, and you also know what methods fail to inspire you.

The course title is intended to invite inquiry about key terms such as "American canon" and "culture." As a class we will discuss and write about pedagogical issues such as: Do critical theories have practical applications? Is popular culture a suitable academic subject? What constitutes American literature? What can comics, movies and children's books reveal about the culture which produced them? How does time/culture/location/identity/ impact on our literacy, language use, rhetoric and consciousness? 

Class members will participate in the selection of course readings and the design of writing and oral presentation assignments. Writing assignments may include a reflective essay on educational experiences and a collaborative research project involving the construction of a syllabus.    

Rachel Riedner - Activist Writers and Alternative Communities: Zapatista and Anti-Globalization Writing

In this course, we will read the writings of the Zapatistas of the mountains of the Mexican southeast, looking at how the Zapatistas have used a variety of different writing as a site of activism that produces alternative, even radical, social meaning. Through our investigation of the Zapatistas as well as philosophical works that compliment and complicate their writing, we will consider writing as a site of political activism and social transformation.

As we read Zapatista writing, we will ask the following questions: How and why is writing a site of social and political activism and struggle? How do we read alternative public writing and rhetorics? How does different forms of public writing ask us to reflect on who speaks in the public sphere and who is being spoken about? How does writing encourage us to change the words, ideas, and social traditions that we identify with? How does it ask us to reconsider how we share social knowledge, goals, and habits? How does it ask us to reflect upon the basis that our identities are constructed? How, in our own writing, do we create alternative, even radical, social meaning?

As we read, we'll think specifically about our own writing. We will ask ourselves what we can learn about our own writing by reading and researching writers and artists who advocate for social and political change. Because activist writing encourages us to recognize voices who have not been represented in the public sphere, and encourages us to speak and to act, we'll consider how our own writing has meaning within and beyond the classroom. All students will complete a major research paper as well as two shorter papers. Students will be asked to use different rhetorical strategies in their writing assignments and to think carefully and creatively about language.

Matt Riley - Science and Public Policy

This course is designed to help students think of themselves as writers functioning in a community, or rather a number of communities, from the classroom to the university to the world at large. It will present each student with an opportunity to write an article for publication on a topic that concerns him or her, addressed to an audience of his or her peers. From the many possible topics that relate to science and technology, we will narrow our focus to fit the interests of the class once we meet. Then, as the course progresses, each student will focus on one topic that is especially important to him or her, and which is, or should be, important to his or her peers. This will be an intensive course. You will have much reading, writing, and research to do. But the work will be spent on something that is important to you, something that you want to investigate and argue about.

Phyllis Ryder - Sit in! Strike! Take it to the Street!: The Rhetorics of Social Protest

In this writing course, we will consider what it takes to persuade people to change their deeply-held beliefs. What did it take, for example, for the Civil Rights Movement to shift American attitudes about race? We will look at the activities of multiple groups involved in the Civil Rights Movement—from the SNCC college students (your age!) who coordinated voter registration marches in Mississippi, to the interracial CORE Freedom Riders who endured beatings for sitting together in bus terminals, to the crowds in Selma and Birmingham who marched with Martin Luther King's SCLC. How did they imagine themselves, as simultaneously oppressed and capable of change? How did they imagine their audiences—the white mobs who beat them, the African Americans who blamed them for the inflamed hostility and violence, the FBI who refused to stop that violence, the larger American public who watched and waited? Studying the Civil Rights movement will provide us with concrete insights about rhetoric—the process of analyzing one's situation and determining how to present oneself, how to view one's audience, and how to choose the best action to achieve one's goals. And this, after all, is the very heart of good writing.

After we examine the Civil Rights movement together, you will have an opportunity to analyze the complexity of a movement of your choice in your research paper. For example, students interested in science or education might consider the strategies of the Intelligent Design movement. Students interested in arts and popular culture might analyze how the feminist “guerilla girls” keep a (hairy) critical eye on the politics of arts museums. Economics or international relations students might examine the rhetorics of indigenous groups who resist globalization. Students interested in GW itself might analyze the arrest of GWU students during the 2004 Progressive Student Union sit-in at the Marvin Center.

The format of class will be interactive; as we dig into the question about what constitutes effective rhetoric together, we'll share the conclusions we draw from our readings and research. You will write research proposals, annotated bibliographies, and multiple drafts; your peers and I will comment on these so that you receive feedback at many stages of your writing process. Students in this course will also participate in the University Writing Symposium at the end of the semester, a public venue for sharing and responding to research with other writers and scholars.

Steve Salchak - Critical Reading and Writing in an Age of BS

“One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. But we tend to take the situation for granted. Most people are rather confident of their ability to recognize bullshit and to avoid being taken in by it. So the phenomenon has not aroused much deliberate concern, nor attracted much sustained inquiry. In consequence, we have no clear understanding of what bullshit is, why there is so much of it, or what functions it serves.” So begins On Bullshit , a serious piece of analysis by distinguished Princeton philosopher Harry G. Frankfurt, and so begins our course. In this course, we will begin by exploring the concept of bullshit as developed by Frankfurt, other professional scholars, and ourselves and then use that concept to inform our own practices as writers and readers. In an effort to avoid the production of bullshit in your writing, you will develop a sustained research project of your own choosing and design that culminates through a series of assignments in a 10 – 12 page well-reasoned, well-sourced, and well-framed argument.

Steve Salchak - Women’s Leadership in a Global Context: Women Making a Difference Though Writing

Young women around the world live in many different contexts – cultural, political, economic, personal, etc. -- and these contexts each bring with them a different set of challenges and opportunities for developing and exerting leadership. Taking special care to question our own cultural assumptions about the experiences of young women around the world, we will begin this course by discovering the leadership and writing of women from a variety of settings. Looking into the role that writing has played in giving women voice and the role that writing can play in your own process of developing effective leadership, as you study the examples of others you will also critically examine your own context to identify the opportunities and challenges if provides for developing and exerting leadership through writing. In addition to studying the literacy practices and leadership styles of women in a variety of historical and cultural settings, you will develop a sustained research project of your own choosing and design that culminates through a series of assignments in a 10 – 12 page well-reasoned, well-sourced, and well-framed argument.

Heather Schell - Pests, Pets, and Meat: Animals in American Culture

Charles Darwin caused an enormous stir when he published The Descent of Man in 1871. The book developed some disturbing implications from his earlier work, On the Origin of Species : humans, the naturalist suggested, shared an ancestry with other animals and still had much in common with them. This idea was, and continues to be, shocking to many people in the Western world. He also argued that sympathy for animals was a recent “moral acquisition,” a newly evolved ethical sense. This class will take up the ramifications of both those ideas as they have played out in the United States. Over the past century, animals have served as the unwitting battleground for debates about ethics, human rights, ecology, spirituality, freedom, and the free market. Oprah was sued for publicly criticizing beef. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently wrapped up a two-year investigation into Roy Horn's mauling at the paws of his tiger, Manticore; their report was over 200 pages long. These examples, though both extreme, illustrate the fact that America takes its relationship with animals very seriously. This semester, so will we. We will read a selection of fiction and non-fiction texts that mark important moments in this relationship; possible readings may include White Fang , A Sand County Almanac , Silent Spring , Jonathan Livingston Seagull , Animal Liberation , and The Companion Species Manifesto . As one of two major class projects, students will each develop a research project that they will pursue for the entire semester; they will also select a scholarly article to contribute to the class reading list. This is a hybrid class that merges traditional in-class meetings with technology-based learning outside of the classroom. For this particular class, “hybridity” requires a commitment to mastering basic audio technology. We will devote January to learning how to create polished podcasts, after which the class will begin producing a weekly internet radio show. Responsibility for overseeing the show will cycle through student teams, with each team having two opportunities to produce the show. During the other eight weeks, the teams will research, write, and record a weekly story under the editorial guidance of the acting producers. The class's creation and assessment of these podcasts will take the place of regular Friday meetings once the show is up and running.

Hybrid Course: "Hybrid" is the name given to courses that blend face-to-face classroom instruction with online learning to improve learning outcomes. Hybrid courses thus move a significant amount of course work to an online environment. If you have any questions about this class, please contact Professor Heather Schell at schellhm@gwu.edu

Samantha Shanley - Culture Shock: Immigration, Assimilation, and the Search for Identity

What are the effects of embracing a culture other than one's own? Must immigrants alter their cultural systems of belief when entering a new country, or are they just pressured to do so? How are people affected by straddling two societies—one in which they were born, and another in which they live? Furthermore, what are the effects of immigration on the societies to which people migrate?

In this writing course, we will look at the experience of several real and fictional immigrants by reading short stories, novels, essays, and articles, and exploring the ways in which assimilating into another culture sheds light on how people come to believe certain truths about life and culture in the first place. Writing assignments will ask you to look at the historical, social, and cultural aspects of immigrants’ lives, the impact of human migration on a global scale, and finally, you will explore the reasons why certain socio-cultural practices are either embraced or shunned by those who are foreign to them. In effect, this course takes an analytical (and perhaps existential) look at issues of cultural and religious tolerance in an effort to uncover the reasons why certain groups of people hold onto traditional beliefs tightly while others seek to define themselves in beliefs from abroad.

Letters of Transit: Reflections on Exile, Identity, Language, and Loss , edited by Andre Aciman Lost in Translation: A Life in a New Language , by Eva Hoffman The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini Writing with Style , by John Trimble, amd Nonfiction essays and articles, as assigned.

Megan Siczek - The Geography of Thought: Different Ways of Seeing?

To make sense of the world, we sometimes want to believe that all people should essentially play by the same set of rules. But what are these rules and is it right to assume that all cultures are cognitively geared to follow them? In this writing-intensive course, students will critically explore the “Geography of Thought” of East Asians and Westerners, starting with the traditions of thinking that arose in ancient China and Greece and extending these cognitive patterns to modern societal contexts.

Hybrid Course: "Hybrid" is the name given to courses that blend face-to-face classroom instruction with online learning to improve learning outcomes. Hybrid courses thus move a significant amount of course work to an online environment.

Caroline Smith - Picture This: Writing About the Visual and Verbal

Walking down M Street, you pass a small bookstore with a window display that catches your eye. One of the books jumps out at you. The cover design is intriguing; the title is too. On impulse, you purchase the book. In this case, your consumer decision has been affected by the interplay between the visual and verbal – an interrelation that will serve as the theme for this course. We'll consider how images differ from written texts. For instance, how is “reading” a painting different from “reading” an essay? We'll examine how the visual and verbal often work together. For example, how do designers incorporate effective text and images into a product's packaging? And, we'll look at the ways in which both mediums serve as a means of communication. How might a novel convey meaning in a way different from a film adaptation? In class, we will explore a variety of texts – from the paintings of Andrew Wyeth to the packaging of Crest toothpaste to David Fincher's adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club . In turn, these visual and written texts will serve as the starting points for our writing assignments, as we experiment with our own methods of argumentation. Writing assignments for this class are as varied as the texts we will consider. You will write response papers and short essays, and you will pursue an independent research project on the topic of your choice – anything from music videos to advertisements to photography would be fair game. At the conclusion of the semester, you will produce an illustrated, personal narrative, which will be based upon a series of blogs that you will write for class this term. As a class this semester, we will explore – through observing, reading, researching and writing – the ways in which both the visual and verbal affect our everyday lives and shape our culture.

Ginger Smith - Tourism and The Global Landscape

In this UW20 hybrid course, students meet in class twice a week and interactively online in Blackboard to explore an overview of travel and tourism and hospitality management, to understand tourism's increasing importance worldwide, and to evaluate its effects on their own lives – past, present, and future. UW20 writing requirements are based on key tourism issues. Through a structured draft-writing process, each student composes short essays and develops an original case study as part of a final research paper on a particular tourism topic of personal interest. Classroom sessions are conducted in seminar format and include lectures as well as student peer group and individual discussions and presentations. Tourism industry experts occasionally will speak as guests both in class and via the chatroom in the UW20 Blackboard course website. Required readings, assignments, quizzes, and discussion forums are posted online for completion in Blackboard.

Hybrid Course: "Hybrid" is the name given to courses that blend face-to-face classroom instruction with online learning to improve learning outcomes. Hybrid courses thus move a significant amount of course work to an online environment.

Elizabeth Sokolov - Moral Representation and the Literary Response to September 11

September 11, 2001—a fateful autumn day when “everything changed.” Having witnessed that day and lived in its aftermath, you are now in a unique position to investigate how literature, too, “changed” or responded to September 11. We will ask the following questions regarding September 11 literature: What does a literature look like that responds to an unimaginable horror? Is there an appropriate way to artistically represent September 11? Should we be bothered by representations that risk triteness or sentimentality? Is there, in effect, a “moral” way to artistically represent September 11, or does any attempt to approach the horror fall short?

Our study will include poetic, fictional, and musical responses to September 11. Poetry underwent a national resurgence in the aftermath of the tragedy, and we will examine both previously-written poems that were given another life, and poems written in direct response to the tragedy. We will then study one of the first novels to fictionalize the events of September 11: Jonathan Safran Foer's, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close . In our last weeks we will model a research project in class by analyzing Bruce Springsteen's album “The Rising,” also inspired by the events of September 11.

In all of the above genres, it is not only the words or lyrics that lend meaning, but how those poems, songs, and novel are structured . Through assignments in each genre, you will become comfortable making the sophisticated leap from writing about content only, to writing about content and form. You will learn to interpret the significance of line breaks, rhythm, and meter in poetry; dynamics and mood in music; and how to understand the blank pages and occasional nonsensical prose in Foer's novel. For your final research paper, you will study an artistic response to September 11, which may be one of the genres we studied, but may also be a new genre such as comics, architecture, children's literature, memorials, film or documentary. You will leave this class fearless in your approach to any new text, and, through our emphasis on drafting and revision, fearless toward any new writing assignment that comes your way.

Kimberley Stern - Topsy-Turvy: Comedy, Satire, and Revolt in the Victorian Period

What does Charles Dickens have in common with Jon Stewart? While the revered Victorian author may appear to be worlds apart from the host of “The Daily Show,” both figures generate serious critiques of their societies – both belong to the world of satire. While Victorian culture is often described as a “society of manners,” some of the period's most celebrated writers produced devastating critiques of its social and political currents, promising to turn the Victorian world “topsy-turvy” in ways that we still feel today. In this writing seminar, we will use satire from the nineteenth century – a period noted for the emergence of religious conflict, political reform, and the women's movement -- as a way of understanding what it means to write “against the grain,” to develop an original argument, and to adapt your writing to the very different challenges that await you at GW and beyond.

Because all satire plays upon traditional forms of writing, this course is especially concerned with how writing itself can become a battleground in the war of ideas. To this end, we will pay special attention to how controversial writers (such as Oscar Wilde, Lewis Carroll, or Gilbert and Sullivan) participate in cultural disputes that take place primarily through writing. As you generate short academic papers, creative pieces of writing, and a research project of your own design, we will raise important questions about the social function of writing. For example, how do writers establish their authority while speaking against tradition? Do different genres of writing reflect specific social, political, or cultural perspectives? To what extent is writing performative? In other words, can writing do just as much as it says ? As we learn to evaluate and interrogate sources from a range of written media -- including fiction, the political essay, cartoons, children's stories, film, and drama – we will thus continually reflect on how to intervene in a public debate, address different audiences, and become part of a bustling, dynamic community of writers.

Michael Svoboda - Global Warming, American Politics

Even when arguing about the natural world we rely on the worlds we create with words. For this reason, a better understanding of the written word, both as readers and as writers, is a prerequisite for our effective engagement with nature. In our work together this semester, we will experience this interrelationship in two different but related encounters with “the environment.”

The first, a critical reading of the fiery debate ignited by Bjorn Lomborg's The Skeptical Environmentalist , will present “the environment,” especially the possible effects of increased CO2 levels, as a global concern. In this portion of the course, you will learn and practice several critical thinking/writing skills in order to present and defend a position on a particular environmental issue. By working through the different phases of this project, you will better understand the role writing plays in research and scholarship.

In our second encounter with the environment, we will reconsider the global debate in the context of American media and politics. Our recent experiences with hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma have raised a number of difficult questions: Is our society ready to address the problems we face? Or will we just televise, blog, and game each disaster as it comes? Can we talk about world environmental issues, like global warming, in ways that make compelling political sense for the American public? Using rhetoric's tools of invention, we will explore several different ways we might adapt environmental messages for different audiences and media. The writing you do for this portion of the course could thus be quite diverse.

These two extended encounters with “the environment” will be supplemented by brief encounters with environmental works by artists, comics, essayists, musicians, naturalists, playwrights, politicians, poets, and screenwriters. And by some good, green fun of our own. Expect to spend some time outside!

Niles Tomlinson - Gothic America

Hamlet famously tells his companion: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." He is, of course, referring to the (re)appearence of his spectral father. But he is also alluding to the disjointedness of time itself which occurs with every ghostly event. Moreover, he implies the opening up of a haunted space that will continue to echo within the confines of the castle and within his own mind.

So, what does it mean to be haunted? Why does haunting occur? How, more specifically, does the American project of purification and progress—the "Shining City Upon the Hill"—construct itself on and against a gothic sensibility (a dark side)? This course will examine discourses of haunting in America as they apply to specific sites, specific historical events, and specific cultural manifestations. We will be looking at haunting through a variety of lenses (including historical, psychological, theoretical, political) as a way to identify and understand competing rhetorics. As a method of inquiry, this course will use literature, film, essays, and case studies of famous hauntings. As a final project, students will be responsible for a research paper which investigates and constructs an argument about a haunted occurrence (either a historical event or an individual site).

Phillip Troutman - Serious Comics:  Graphic Novels and Animé as History?

Can comic books and cartoons do serious historical interpretation?  Is there a legitimate image-based writing of history?  How do visual media help us see the past in new ways?  How do we decide how to evaluate them or why to value them?  Students will analyze graphic novels (essentially, very long comic books) and animé (animated films) that "do history" in a variety of modes, including autobiography, journalism, fiction, fantasy, and realist history.  Students' research and writing will expose and analyze the research and writing choices made by graphic artists and authors.  Emphasis is on the process of writing a major research paper:  developing personal interests into topical problems; researching for argument versus information; writing an annotated bibliography; comprehending and making original use of other scholars' work; sketching, drafting, revising, and editing, in distinct phases; and most importantly, responding responsibly to peers' drafts and revising responsively to peers' comments.  Students will also help develop the new Gelman Graphic Novels Collection, identifying and recommending titles for purchase.  The course aim is not only for students to learn to anticipate the expectations of academic readers, but also to develop an investment in their own research and writing, their own inquiry, their own analytical style.  (One field trip to a local comics store is required.)

David Truncellito - The Many Faces of Religion

Religion has played a number of roles in the history of humankind. People have lived and died for religion; people have tried to prove that their religion is right by way of argumentation, and have tried to show that their religion is right by way of war. There have been as many religions as there have been cultures, times, and nations (perhaps more!). Religions involve systems of belief, codes of morality, social conventions, literary traditions and canons, iconography, and rituals. Even in America, which ostensibly enjoys separation of church and state, religion permeates all aspects of political, social, cultural, and even educational life.

In this course, then, we'll think about the many aspects of religious belief: historical, cultural, psychological, sociological, anthropological, and personal. Questions we'll think about and write about will include: What is religion? How is it practiced in different places? Why do people believe? Do they have good reasons for believing? Is this question even meaningful? Is religion a good thing? Can we ask this question in such general terms? What is the appropriate role of religion in personal/academic/political/social life? Is it important to respect others' religious beliefs? Why or why not? What do you believe, and why?

Each of you has surely thought, perhaps at length, about religion.  But putting your thoughts in writing will help you to clarify those thoughts.  There are many different ways to write about religion, and this course will afford you a variety of opportunities to do so.  For instance, you'll write an autobiographical paper in which you try to codify your religious views, a persuasive paper in which you try to justify those views, and a research paper in which you pursue an aspect of religion which you've yet to think much about.

A cornerstone of the design of this course is students' choice: you will choose the topics for your papers, a religious institution to visit, and some of the course readings.

(N.B. This course is open to students of any religious (or non-religious) background; no particular belief or knowledge is required or expected.  What is essential, though, is a willingness to think and write about religion in a reflective, critical fashion, and to discuss the matter in a collegial and respectful manner.)

Hybrid Course: "Hybrid" is the name given to courses that blend face-to-face classroom instruction with online learning to improve learning outcomes. Hybrid courses thus move a significant amount of course work to an online environment. If you have any questions about this class, please contact Professor David Truncellito at truncell@gwu.edu

Lauren Weisholz - Feminist Utopias: Writing New Worlds

If the term utopia is meant to describe an ideal, if imaginary, society, we must ask—for whom is this society ideal? And if the term utopia describes an ideal society, then what does the term feminist utopia describe? Is it merely a redundancy, a juxtaposition of two terms that more or less have the same idealistic (some would say impossible) goals? Or does the juxtaposition of these two terms offer rich and complex interrogations of the possibilities and limitations of each? Can one be feminist without being utopian, and can one be utopian without being feminist? Do these distinctions even matter?

In this course we will explore these questions as we look at the ways in which feminist concerns and utopian projects intersect and diverge. Using actual utopian communities, feminist literary theory, and feminist utopian literature as our guides, we will examine the strategies by which utopian projects seek to remake society, feminist theories interrogate a broad array of gender assumptions, and feminist utopias rewrite existing social structures. As we do so, we will focus on the ways in which each of these concerns critique and reimagine social institutions such as gender roles, education, labor, motherhood, and government. This will require that you engage in substantial reading, writing, and critical thinking, which will include writing workshops, several shorter papers and a longer research paper that tackles an issue of your choosing related to utopia, feminism, or feminist utopia. By engaging in a process of writing that requires critical thinking and critical imagination, you will have the opportunity to engage in a variety of writing tasks that will enable you to acquire the writing skills necessary to participate in an ongoing dialogue with your peers, the academic community, and the world outside of academia.

Abby Wilkerson - The Food Voice

How does food speak for us? How does our talk of food reveal the literal and figurative places we occupy in the world? How are ways of life expressed and realized through particular foodways? How does food convey social dissent or social belonging? How are our identities and personal relationships shaped and expressed through food? How are our lives and communities shaped through relations of growers, producers, consumers, preparers, sellers, and servers? How do food practices reflect and reveal the norms and hierarchies that shape and are shaped by specific social worlds? How can we use the food voice as a means of critically evaluating these social norms and hierarchies?

This course considers food as a medium for human interaction, a point of contact between public and private worlds. We will explore how food and food writing serve as tools for meaning-making by (1) examining autobiographical narratives as well as scholarship which provides critical frameworks for these readings, (2) creating personal narratives and reflections, and (3) conducting ethnographic-style research projects presenting and analyzing personal interviews.

Zak Wolfe - Law as a Force for Social Change

Dr. King tells us that "law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress." (Martin Luther King, Jr., "Letter from a Birmingham Jail.") To be sure, concepts of law have been used many times throughout our history to prevent social progress. Sometimes the law creates intellectual justification for injustice, such as the once-revered concept of "separate but equal" and the notion that a person can be property. Despite this history, progressive movements continue to claim the law as their own, invoking the language of rights at every stage and ultimately turning to the court system and to new legislation to effect their demands. How do we reconcile the history of what law has been with what we hope it can be? This course will explore the language of law, as used by the legal system and by advocates for change. We examine changing conceptions of equality, competing ideas about the role of government, and most fundamentally, the inherent complications in attempting to use law as a means of creating a just society. Students will learn to explore these demanding topics through scholarly writing, including reflection on assigned readings such as King, a civil rights lawyer's autobiography, case law, and contemporary human rights advocacy pieces. In addition to papers in which the students reflect on assigned readings, students will produce a major final research paper by selecting an appropriate topic in contemporary public debate and crafting a persuasive argument that evaluates the legal arguments used by advocates and considers the appropriateness of the use of law to resolve this debate.

Robbin Zeff - Political Junkie: Writing about Politics in the Nation's Capital

Washington, DC, is the ultimate political town-where national politics is local. This writing-intensive course will explore the exciting world of contemporary American politics by monitoring how political issues are debated and observing how national policy is made. Students will conduct original research on a topic of their choice that will have them digging deep into the inner-workings of the library's database holdings and doing fieldwork into the hallways of Congress. Both short and long writing assignments will be used to learn the rigors and expectations of academic writing. Course reading will cover the craft of research and writing as well as contemporary political issues and events. In addition, students will be required to monitor daily news sources to stay on top of the current political landscape. A significant amount of work for this course will be conducted online; students will participate in online class discussions, use content management software, and use digital technology to facilitate research, writing, and revision.

Hybrid Course: "Hybrid" is the name given to courses that blend face-to-face classroom instruction with online learning to improve learning outcomes. Hybrid courses thus move a significant amount of course work to an online environment. If you have any questions about this class, please contact Professor Robbin Zeff at rzeff@gwu.edu

Christy Zink - The Illuminated City: Artists and Intellectuals on the Urban Experience

From the first flips of the switch that overwhelmed the metropolis into electric light in the 19 th century to recent discoveries of underground cities cast in darkness, writers, artists, and urban scholars around the world have struggled with just how to decipher and encapsulate the modern urban landscape. Now that the city is your home--or, at least, your adopted one--you belong to this urban experience, are responsible to it, create it, reinvent it by your very living within its borders and under its bright lights. You walk the sidewalks and take in the emotional life of the city in the grand tradition of writers and scholars such as Walter Benjamin, who brought together in his Arcades Project a blend of experience, critical reading, history, philosophy, poetry, photography, and his own inventive arguments, resulting in what he called a “magic encyclopedia” of the city.

This writing-intensive course, then, will examine how artists and intellectuals have illuminated and reimagined contemporary urban space and its experience in both American and international cities--in effect creating the city through their works. As we involve ourselves in critical inquiry about the interplay of the individual and the city, we'll follow other writers and artists under the thrall of the bright city of promise, but we'll also accompany them down shadowed alleyways to look into the secret, darker city as well. You'll be invited out into the city streets to critique, research, and conceive as a writer with a developing artist's eye just what the city means, what its “grittier” realities entail, and how it might be reinvented through your words.

Conducted in a hybrid format, the course involves both in-class meetings and interactive online study. You don't need preexisting computer expertise for this class. Here, you will creatively and critically engage with multiple genres and multimedia presentations of writing and work as part of a physical and virtual community of writers. Course readings themselves address hybrid and multidisciplinary sources--the scholarly, interdisciplinary work of urban studies; poems, stories, and creative nonfiction; works by visual artists; film; and web and multimedia projects. Materials may include Fritz Lang's Metropolis , Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities , Diane Arbus' photography monograph, Fernando Meirelles' and Katia Lund's Cicade de Deus (City of God), and the magazine The Next American City , among selections of other critical, theoretical, and creative works. Writing assignments invite you further into the city of Washington to interact with the writers and artists here, delving into intensive research and then creating a multimedia writing project involving your own reimagined, fully illuminated city.

Hybrid Course: "Hybrid" is the name given to courses that blend face-to-face classroom instruction with online learning to improve learning outcomes. Hybrid courses thus move a significant amount of course work to an online environment. If you have any questions about this class, please contact Professor Christy Zink at czink@gwu.edu