UW20 Courses - Summer 2010

Last Updated: 4/7/08 | 5:00 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.

Summer Courses

Regular Classroom



Emily Bliss - All You Need is Love?

Cultural and media messages inundate us with the idea that happiness lies in money, material objects, and social status. Yet, a sense of emptiness – of chronic searching – seems endemic to any life dedicated mainly to accruing things and attaining power. A primary reason for that, according to neuroscience and psychology, is that fulfillment is tied to the neurobiology of interpersonal connection and emotional intimacy. Those Beatles were on to something.

In this writing- and research-intensive course we will examine how sociologists, psychologists, and neuroscientists have used writing to explore the relationship between human connection and personal fulfillment. We will also consider the role of language in connectivity, meaning, and community.

The course will involve short writing assignments, discussions, workshops, and four analytical papers of increasing length and complexity. Our reading will include Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl; The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm; Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert; Social Intelligence by Daniel Goleman; A General Theory of Love by Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini, and Richard Lannon; and Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam. As we write and revise, we will practice analyzing information, connecting seemingly unrelated concepts, and applying theory to our lived experiences.


Katherine Larsen - Media Fandom: Geeks, Fanboys and Stalker Chicks

Lonely Trekkies in Vulcan ears, hysterical Twilight fans weeping at the sight of Robert Pattinson, basement dwellers,  pale in the glow of a computer screen. These are our stereotypes of media fans.  They make us laugh, they make us nervous, they are objects of derision, but who are they really and what do they do?

This writing and research intensive course will begin with an examination of the current research on fans and fan communities.  We will then look closely at fan practices in online fan communities, fan conventions, and analyze fan generated media.  Student research will involve close examination of a online fan community.   


Jee Yoon Lee - Detecting Evidence

Every criminal leaves behind evidence. To bring the criminal to justice depends on the perceptions of those investigating it. But what if everyone involved, even the victim, participates in the crime? How then can truth be discerned and justice served? In Akira Kurosawa's critically acclaimed film RASHOMON, the questions of perception and truth are at the heart of understanding a sinister crime. 
This course will focus on the ways in which this film—and writers of crime and detective fiction—carefully conceal and reveal details in an effort to manipulate the reader's perception.  Students will be invited to examine their own use of evidence and narrative structure as they engage in the craft of academic writing. The literature of the course relates to crime and how crime is perceived by those committing it, the victims of it, and onlookers both on and off the page. Course materials will include a deep analysis of American crime fiction, nonfiction, television, and film. Other requirements include active participation, weekly short essays, and a longer research paper.