Map of first-year degree requirements across the Claremont undergraduate colleges and library instruction provided to each 2010-11.
The First-Year Seminar program is designed to help students become more literate people who think, read, write, and speak both critically and competently. All first-year students are required to take a First-Year Seminar in the Fall semester. Successful completion of the course fulfills the College's Written Expression educational objective. Enrollment is limited to 18 students per seminar. First-Year Seminars meet for 75-minute sessions twice a week--Monday and Wednesday 11:00 am - 12:15 pm or Tuesday and Thursday 2:45 pm - 4:00 pm. Although each seminar has a different instructor, topic, and set of readings, all seminars focus on close textual analysis and effective writing strategies. Common events, such as receptions, field trips, and evening lectures, promote discussion among students, instructors, and other members of the Pitzer community.
This seminar investigates the phenomenon of globalization from a variety of perspectives: historical, political, military, economic, cultural, and environmental. Topics/debates covered include: the historical origins of globalization; the implications for economic growth, income distribution, economic volatility, and labor market stability; the impact on democracy; the implications for physical security; the possibility of the emergence of a single, cosmopolitan global culture; and the fate of the territorial state as the site of governance.
In this course, we will explore the history, political economy, and cultural production of Latino/a rock and roll in las Americas. We will investigate the attitudes, dress, hairstyles, dance, and music of Latino/a rockers in Latin America and the United States. Rock and roll is a transnational phenomenon whose different manifestations point to race, class, sexuality, and gender divisions in different nations and contexts. In this course, we will look closely at the changes in rock and how these changes were interpreted in Latina America and Latinos/as in the U.S., as well as the reaction of governments and social groups.
Loyalties bind people to each other or may lead to disappointment or betrayals. These ties often justify or stymie purposeful action within organizations, families, and nations and explain enduring beliefs. Loyalty is also associated with consumerism and fanaticism, perhaps pathology. Materials include fiction, journalism, film, case studies, and social science.
What are some basic theories of justice and morality and how do they vary culturally? Is it proper to judge the values and practices of people in other societies? We'll consider these questions and examine our own assumptions by studying ethnographies, fiction, and film, and by conducting our own field research.
This seminar explores the diverse ecological and cultural landscapes of California, examining how different groups (Native American, Hispanic, African-American, Asian, and European) have transformed California's rich natural resources. Topics include: Native Americans in the Los Angeles Basin and the Redwood Forests; Spanish-Mexican missions of southern California; African-American miners in the Sierra; Chinese and Japanese farmers in the Central Valley; and the wildland-urban interface of L.A.
This seminar explores the problem of poverty in the U.S. and around the world. Students learn research methods (how to find sources, using electronic databases), and pick a topic area (for example, women, children, minorities) and/or geographic area (anywhere in the world) to conduct their research. The seminar is writing and speaking intensive. Students have regular opportunities to orally present the findings from their research in the seminar, and weekly writing assignments are planned to help develop students' writing skills.
If we are all created equal, how is it our lives are so different? Using readings from economics, political science and sociology as a framework for analysis, we will examine the choices we have made in getting here and the choices that confront us here and their implications for our future--individually and collectively, politically, socially, financially and economically. We will consider our own aptitudes and aspirations and notions of success and failure. We will explore the economic framework within which we test ourselves and will weigh our place in it.
This seminar explores the principles, aspirations, and legacy of the Enlightenment, a broad cultural movement in the eighteenth century that has powerfully influenced modern politics, science, and social ideals. Concepts that will receive particular attention are the self, progress, rational thought, science, and the social construction of race, class, and gender. Readings will include works by major Enlightenment thinkers, such as Voltaire, Locke, and Newton, as well as their later critics, including Marx and Foucault.
This seminar will utilize field research, community interaction, and classroom meetings to address the following questions: Who are the indigenous communities near Pitzer? How do they view the world? What experiences have they survived to simply exist today? What are their current goals and challenges? E. Steinman.
This seminar will explore a range of critiques of major social, economic, and cultural institutions in the U.S. and global society as a means of developing fundamental critical thinking and writing skills. Institutions and issues to be examined include nationalism; gender, race, class, and sexual relations; the family; TV and other media; capitalism, neocolonialism, and modern "progress"; science and education.
This course surveys the history of world soccer. We will see how culture, politics, and history play out on the stage of stadium and field. We will see how the World Cup has become a catalyst for political and cultural debate and how it has both made and destroyed political regimes.
This seminar will use three windows to look into women's experiences with human rights globally, namely: (1) war, liberation movements, and struggles as a way to examine how women fare in the political arena; (2) food as an example of women's access and control over basic economic resources in places as far as Asia and Africa, and as close as U.S. inner cities; and (3) women and the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Southern Africa.
This seminar will explore the impact of a variety of socio-environmental teratogens (e.g., lead, pesticides, malnutrition, and drugs) on the development and functioning of physiological and behavioral systems. The impact of these agents will be addressed at the cellular, organismic, and sociocultural levels. This seminar will include a "toxicology tour" of the Los Angeles area.
How do we make ethical decisions in our lives? Recent scientific studies on the human brain indicate that we rarely apply general rules or ethical principles. Moral behavior is primarily determined by social and cultural practices, learned habits, and the development of character traits. This course explores classic works of philosophy and literature to understand the contemporary significance of character ethics.
15. Character Ethics: From Confucius and Aristotle to Jane Austen (P. Miller). How do we make ethical decisions in our lives? Recent scientific studies on the human brain indicate that we rarely apply general rules or ethical principles. Moral behavior is primarily determined by social and cultural practices, learned habits, and the development of character traits. This course explores classic works of philosophy and literature to understand the contemporary significance of character ethics.. 16. The Trojan War ( M. Berenfeld). What do Brad Pitt, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, and countless sports teams have in common? The Trojan War! This course explores the Trojan War through the archaeology, art, and mythology of the Greeks and Romans and the popular imaginings of cultures ever since, to figure out what "really" happened when Helen ran off and Achilles got angry and the Greeks came bearing gifts.. 17. Mathematics of Gambling (J. Hoste). Through the analysis of casino games such as Roulette, Craps, Keno, and slot machines, we will develop the mathematical topics needed to properly assess risk. These include combinations, permutations, probability, expected value, and random walks. We will also study the psychology and sociology of gambling and consider the impact gambling has on society.. Burrow. Burrow. Martin ?.
Writ 1 - Fall. Not research based, half-semester course.. HSA 10 - (Spring). The program in humanities, social sciences, and the arts is structured to promote both breadth of understanding and the in-depth study of a particular disciplinary or interdisciplinary area of special interest. Each student takes HSA 10, a seminar course geared to developing writing and analytical skills, in the spring of his or her first year. A minimum of ten further HSA courses are required in order to graduate. At least four of these must be taken in the student's chosen area of concentration; five (usually including one of the concentration courses and four others) go to satisfying distribution requirements; and two are electives. At least one course (in addition to HSA 10) must include substantial writing. As a means of integrating the study of the humanities, social sciences, and arts into the life of the Harvey Mudd community, the department requires that at least five of the ten courses in addition to HSA 10 be taken from departmental faculty. With only a single prescribed course, the program affords students substantial flexibility to pursue their individual interests and experiment with new areas of study. Study abroad is common and easily fit within the program requirements, as are work in music and other creative endeavors. HSA 10: This course introduces students to inquiry, writing, and research in HSA, through focused exploration of a particular topic selected by the instructor in each section. To encourage reflection on the place of HSA within the HMC curriculum, the course begins with a brief unit on the history and aims of liberal arts education. Also: This seminar course introduces students to inquiry, writing, and research in HSA, through focused exploration of a particular topic selected by the instructor in each section. To encourage reflection on the place of HSA within the HMC curriculum, the course begins with a brief unit on the history and aims of liberal arts education. Writing assignments include a substantial research paper on a topic of interest chosen by the student in consultation with his or her instructor. The course ends with student research presentations in each section, followed by a Presentations Days event featuring the best presentations from across all sections.. 1. Evaluating psychological claims (Mashek). People often make psychological claims as they attempt to explain and predict the behaviors of self and others. In this section of HSA 10, students will learn to identify claims about the psychobiological, cognitive, personality, and social underpinnings of human behavior. Then, they will evaluate examples of these claims, drawn from the media, in light of psychological research.. 2. Facts and Interpretations (Sullivan). Like scientists, humanists and social scientists must gauge the accuracy or explanatory power of any evidence they use in the process of advancing their claims. In this class, we'll consider just how slippery "facts" may be for scholars of any discipline. In particular, we'll consider the ways in which perspective and choice of method can shape the utility of evidence. We'll also spend some time looking at measurement challenges and at the ways in which travel - over time, and from the hands of one scholar to another - affects facts.. 3. English with an Accent (Balseiro). This seminar samples literary varieties of English from Europe, Africa, India and the Americas. Thematically, many of the works we will read - from Shakespeare's The Tempest to Nourbese Philip's She Tries Her Tongue - concern voyages and the centrality of language in culture and transformation. Most of the texts we will study were written by masters of English prose such as Joseph Conrad and Chinua Achebe for whom English is a second or third language. In a world increasingly divided by a common language, this course consists in an examination of the varieties of English and of the meanings and forms of their use in literature.. 4. Moral Theories and Issues (Wright). In this course, we will examine how philosophers reason about specific moral issues--such as abortion, freedom of speech, or drug policy--as well as how they attempt to construct general moral theories. Our focus will be on exploring contrasting methodologies, in order to provide a foundation for each student's own in-depth exploration of an individually chosen topic in applied ethics.. 5. The Economics of Oil and Energy (Evans). In this course, we explore our future choices for energy production in the United States, including technological choices. The approach that we take emphasizes the economic costs and rewards of the options that we face. Our global and national decisions will have a profound impact upon our economy and our environment. Some members of your generation of students graduating from Harvey Mudd College will play an important role in shaping our energy future. In this class we consider what that might involve.. 6. Political Analysis (Steinberg). Politics has a profound influence on our daily lives, and thus requires careful scrutiny and active engagement. This course provides an opportunity to analyze complex political problems, to debate the merits of competing worldviews and policy proposals, and to communicate your views through high-impact writing and public speaking. Drawing on insights from political science and related fields, we will consider contemporary controversies as well as long-standing debates and will explore the links between the two.. 7. US-China Relations: History and the Present (Tan). This course examines the diplomatic, economic and cultural ties between China and the US from the early 20th century to the present. The first half focuses on the historical account as well as literary and visual representations of this relationship. The second half explores a variety of contemporary issues, including environment and energy, trade and currency, security, and cultural exchanges.. 8. An Introduction to the History of the Book (Groves). In this course, we will study how an extremely successful technology--the codex form of the book--influenced cultural history (primarily in Europe and North America, but with some attention to other regions). We will begin with the development of literacy as a precursor to the codex, and we will end with contemporary developments in electronic textuality. Along the way, we will spend a number of class sessions in Special Collections at Honnold Library looking closely at rare books, the artifacts that are at the center of our study. Readings will include Walter Ong's _Orality and Literacy_ and Umberto Eco's _The Name of the Rose_.. 9. Technology and U.S. Society (Barron). This course is an exploration of the history of technological change in American society. We will be concerned with two interrelated sets of issues: 1) the socio-cultural factors that have influenced technological development in the United States, and 2) the most important effects of technological change on American society?. 10. People and Other Animals (Mayeri). People understand what it means to be human by looking at animals. But when we look at animals - in wildlife films, in biology, or in literature, what do we see? Hawks or doves? Love birds or dogs? In the vast array of representations of animals in our society, stories about human nature abound. In this course, we will analyze animals as symbols, and perhaps also learn something about what it means to be an animal.. 11. Religious experiences (Dyson). This course looks at how people come to recognize certain experiences as religious, the significance and authority they ascribe to those experiences, and the kinds of knowledge produced through experience: bodily, emotional or intellectual. We will use case studies to examine these issues in context, and will consider a range of experiences deemed religious, from mystical states, conversion, ritual practices and visions.. Meg. Rosenkranz. Burrow. Rosenkranz. ?. ?. Chen, Burrow. Burrow. Rosenkranz. Meg. Burrow.
Courses. Faculty Contacts. Freshman Writing Seminar. Freshman Humanities Seminar 10 (Spring and Fall). Not required, but recommended, most take. Research-intensive component.. Literature 10. Expected requirement.. Gov 20. Literature 10. FHS 10. Gov 20. Liberty and Excellence (Blitx, Thomans, Nichols). Gender and Society (Selig). Shakespeare (Rentz). Mary?. John Farrell, Chair of Literature Dept.. Lisa Cody, Director of FHS Program, on sabbatocal 2011-12, may move to Audrey Bilger, Faculty Director of the Writing Center, Literature Dept.. ?. Chappell. Chappell. Burrow.
Learning Objectives. Degree Requirements. Faculty Contact. Courses. Dara Regaignon, Director of Writing Program (Ken Wolfe, History Dept. for 11-12). CRITICAL INQUIRY (ID1): Fall. First-year students are required to take the Critical Inquiry seminar (ID 1) in the first semester. Twenty-eight or more sections are offered by permanent faculty from throughout the College. Each section has a unique--and usually interdisciplinary--topic. The goal of the Critical Inquiry seminar is to prepare first-year students to participate fully and successfully in the intellectual community that is Pomona College. To this end, students learn in ID 1 to engage the work and ideas of others; to articulate nuanced, reflective positions of their own; and to present their ideas in a sustained, persuasive manner. Recent seminar topics are listed in the Critical Inquiry [pdf] section of the Pomona College Catalog. During the summer before their first semester at the College, all entering first-year students are provided a description of upcoming seminar offerings and are asked to submit their ranked preferences. 2010-11 Seminars 1. Mimetic Desire in the French Novel 2. Michael Jackson 3. Consciousness 4. Modern China in Fiction 5. Globalization: Good or Evil? 6. The Ethics and Politics of Memory: Re-Telling the Spanish Civil War 7. The Collapse in Family Values? 8. I Disagree 9. Language, Culture and Human Nature 10. Fantasy Literature Takes on the Church 11. The Politics of Classical Art 12. On Being Ill 13. Becoming Men and Women 14. 9 out of 10 Seniors Recommend this Freshman Seminar: Statistics in the Real World 15. Virtuous Markets 16. Penguins, Polar Bears, People and Politics 17. The European Enlightenment 18. Growth 19. Democracy and Citizenship in the Contemporary United States 20. The Built Environment: Questions of Aesthetics, Design and Sustainability 21. Earth-Its Origin, Cosmic History and Future 22. Sonnet, Still Life, Lives 23. In the Beginning: The Bible and Beyond 24. Performing Sex and the Body 25. Medical Ethics 26. Queer Fictions 27. Christianity and the Idea of Poverty 28. Imagining Japan, Imagining the West. 1. Mimetic Desire in the French Novel (Abecassis). A major insight of novel as a genre concerns the nature of desire. Do we really desire persons or objects because of our own true, self-generated desire? Or is desire mimetic, an imitation of a conscious or unconscious model? Stendhal and Proust mercilessly peel away all romantic illusions concerning the authentic origins of desire. In reading Stendhal's The Red and the Black and Proust's Swann in Love in conjunction with René Girard's Deceit and Desire in the Novel, we will analyze in detail the mechanism of mimetic desire and reflect upon its applications to the study of psychology, anthropology and culture writ large. All readings in English.. 2. Michael Jackson (Bailey). Who is the man? Who is the artist? Who is the myth? While rehearsing for his "This Is It" tour in 2009, Michael Jackson died. His untimely death has rekindled a growing interest in the man and his legacy. Through our study of his recordings, videos and conversations, as well as writings about Jackson by others, we will attempt to uncover the man behind the myth and understand his celebrity, his artistry, and his place as one of the most successful entertainers of all time--the "King of Pop!". 3. Consciousness (Banks). We all have it. It is the center of our existence. Some would say it is our existence, but understanding of it has been persistently elusive. How can my consciousness or anyone's emerge from the activity of a bunch of neurons leavened by some biochemicals? Is my sense of free will compatible with scientific determinism? If not, how can I say that "I" made a decision--wouldn't that decision be determined by prior events? Recent developments in neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy have opened up the study of these questions in ways undreamed of for centuries. This seminar will cover the central aspects of consciousness as currently understood scientifically. The most interesting research we will examine is at the growing edge of our understanding. Consequently, much of the reading will be about questions still unanswered--topics that will challenge our creativity and insight.. 4. Modern China in Fiction (Barr). China has undergone enormous changes since the collapse of the Qing dynasty in 1911, and compared to just 30 years ago it is already a very different place. In this seminar, we will investigate the Chinese experience as represented in 20th-century Chinese literature. How do these texts address and transform enduring issues in China, such as the gaps between young and old, state and individual, mainland and Taiwan? What elements from the Western literary tradition have these authors adapted for their own purposes? To explore these questions, we will read classic works by authors such as Lu Xun, Shen Congwen and Eileen Chang--all active in the period before 1949--as well as Pai Hsien-yung, Mo Yan, Ha Jin and Yu Hua, who have established their reputations since the 1970s. We will also consider the images of China presented in one or two film adaptations by Chinese directors. All readings in English.. 5. Globalization: Good or Evil? (Bromley). meetings, including those of the G-20, the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund. Such protests imply widespread agreement that globalization is dangerous and must be stopped. At the same time, the World Bank has demonstrated that globalization reduces poverty and increases overall global welfare, and recent polls show that most Americans support globalization and believe that it improves their standard of living. In this seminar, we will seek to understand the benefits and dangers of globalization-- economic, cultural, environmental and political--by considering three specific cases: McDonald's, movies and climate change. How do we determine which aspects of globalization are good, and which are evil? In grappling with these questions, we'll read contemporary popular, political and scientific texts, including Fast Food Nation, Jihad vs. McWorld, An Inconvenient Truth and One World: The Ethics of Globalization.. 6. The Ethics and Politics of Memory: Re-Telling the Spanish Civil War (Cahill). What do reconstructions of the past reveal about the present? How a culture remembers its traumatic past has political and ethical implications for its present and future. The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) began when General Francisco Franco's forces overthrew Spain's democratically-elected government. While during Franco's dictatorship only the fallen on the right were memorialized, since his death in 1975 and its subsequent transition to democracy, Spain has begun to honor those who fought against Franco--and to publicly remember the atrocities of his regime. In this seminar, we will examine how recent Spanish literature and film participates in this reconstruction, exploring how the Civil War continues to structure Spanish life in the twenty-first century. We'll look at short stories, novels, plays, and films, thinking about how literary and artistic forms as well as issues of race, class, and gender affect representations of history and memory. All readings in English.. 7. The Collapse in Family Values? (Conrad). Political economists in the late 1800s predicted that capitalism would lead to the commodification of housework and childbearing, making the family obsolete. Are their predictions coming true? Between 1970 and 2007, marriage rates declined in nearly every industrialized country. The marriage rate per 1,000 people fell from 10 to 5.8 in Japan, from 10.6 to 7.4 in the United States and from 7.35 to 4.21 in Italy. Fertility rates have also fallen in those three countries, and in Austria, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea and Switzerland fertility rates are all well below the population replacement rate--meaning that, in absence of immigration, the population of these countries will shrink. In this seminar, we will explore this apparent decline in family values-- drawing from both literary sources and research in the social sciences--in order to understand why it has happened and the social implications of these changes.. 8. I Disagree (De Silva). The most important skill in any relationship--personal, professional, political--is knowing how to disagree. Why? In this seminar we consider the problem of living with difference. What does it take to be the one juror out of twelve who votes innocent? What are the dangers of living with people who agree with you? How does a scientific community confront troublesome new ideas? A religious community? Is it weak to compromise? Do you enjoy being right? Do you prefer being wrong? It is an unfortunate fact that the word "disagreeable" is usually taken to mean "unpleasant." In this seminar, we will rehabilitate the word and revive the noble art of disagreement. Participants will be expected engage with the wider college community as we grapple with these questions.. 9. Language, Culture, and Human Nature (Diercks). No matter what culture or nation they are born to, children effortlessly and flawlessly learn the language and culture that surround them. This fundamental human ability is the greatest unifying characteristic that separates us from animals and yet has created immense diversity--at present the world boasts almost 7,000 different languages. What constitutes this shared knowledge about how to learn language? What is the relationship between language and culture? How do language and culture affect how we perceive new experiences? In this seminar, we will consider these and related questions, looking at how children learn language (and why animals cannot) and how new languages are created. We'll also look at how men and women use language differently and the structure of language varieties like African American English in order to explore the relationship between cognitive and social structures.. 10. Fantasy Literature Takes on the Church (Eisenstadt). In Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials, church authorities violently sever children's souls from their bodies; the series concludes with two children saving the world by killing God and having sex. In this seminar, we'll examine Pullman's trilogy, thinking about the extent to which this is a critique of the church as an institution, Christianity itself or perhaps even Western religion writ large. To do this, we'll look at the texts His Dark Materials draws on--such as the Christian Bible and C. S. Lewis' Narnia books (the fantasy series that most faithfully represents Christian sacred history) --to help us understand the tradition in which Pullman is writing. We'll then turn to literary and philosophical texts, including Milton's Paradise Lost and Nietzsche's Antichrist, to help us build a critical lens through which to analyze His Dark Materials in detail.. 11. The Politics of Classical Art (Emerick). We refer to ancient Greek art of the fifth century B.C.E. as classic, and thus celebrate a 2,500-year-old phenomenon as a "great achievement" and as somehow foundational. How did this happen? Who claimed Classic art as "classic"? We will make the case that, first of all, the ancient Greeks themselves did. Athenians had the biggest stake in the program and used it to take political control in their Aegean sea-going Ionian empire they set up to oppose that of Persians during the 440s and 430s B.C.E. The aftermath can astonish us. This classic visual culture became a beacon for Hellenistic princes, for Roman senators and emperors and then for people in the West generally right down to modern times. How did the art of a particular moment come to be considered timeless and transcendent? What is a "classic art"? What are its cultural uses?. 12. On Being Ill (Gravendyk). Illness seems at once universal and highly variable: some have never suffered more than the occasional cold, while others live with chronic illness. In this seminar, we will use our experiences of and encounters with illness to explore its cultural representation in film, literature and memoir, attempting to answer a range of questions: What are the typical narratives about illness, and what happens when the sick person refuses to conform to those narratives? Can illness provide a locus for group identification along the lines of race, gender, sexuality or disability? Why is illness sometimes connected to genius? How do representations of illness in film and literature shape our experiences of illness? How do they shape our encounters with the ill? Readings will be drawn from a range of literary and critical sources by Woolf, Sontag, James, Emerson,. 13. Becoming Men and Women (Grigsby). The transition to adulthood in a complex society is not a single event. Instead, it is a process, usually lasting several years or more, and involves role changes in multiple social institutions--education, family, religion, politics, media and work. The transition to adulthood also varies by gender, race, socioeconomic status and from one society to another. In this seminar, we will examine life course theories of socialization and development based upon scholarly research in psychology, sociology and anthropology. We will also draw upon memoirs, biographies and novels about the transition to adulthood to help us understand and elaborate on these theories and perspectives. Works include Caroline Knapp, Drinking: A Love Story; Paul Monette, Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story; Dave Eggers, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius; and a collection of short memoirs about growing up biracial or bicultural.. 14. 9 Out of 10 Seniors Recommended... Statistics in the Real World (Hardin). Headline: "Company Charged with Gender Bias in Hiring." Was the hiring biased? How can we tell? What do we measure? Is such a strong claim justified? The research supporting the headline is probably less definitive than you'd expect. In this seminar, we will investigate the practical, ethical and philosophical issues raised by the use of statistics and probabilistic thinking in realms such as politics, medicine, sports, law and genetics. We will explore issues from fiction, the mainstream media (newspapers, webpages, TV) and scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals. To do all of this, we will consider a wide range of statistical topics as well as encountering a range of uses and abuses of statistics in the world today.. 15. Virtuous Markets (Hueckel). Are there such things? Are not markets simply the forum for the pursuit of self-interested "greed"? Does not economics, the discipline de-Are there such things? Are not markets simply the forum for the pursuit of self-interested "greed"? Does not economics, the discipline devoted to the study of markets, rigorously avoid questions of morals? Yet modern economics is descended from the work of the 18th-century moral philosopher Adam Smith. While since that time the so-called "dismal science" has been characterized as describing a world populated by actors greedily pursuing their own narrow interests, some recent work--notably that of Deirdre McCloskey--has moved us back to Smith's richer ethical discourse. In this seminar, we will draw on the work of Smith, McCloskey, Amartya Sen, Edmund Phelps and others to develop a framework through which to analyze the ethical character of market behavior. Students will then apply those insights to develop and defend their own ethical evaluation of a controversial market outcome of their choosing.. 16. Penguins, Polar Bears, People, and Politics (Karnovsky). What drove explorers to risk their lives in Antarctica or the Arctic? What made some expeditions successful while others ended in cannibalism, starvation or freezing to death? What impact did these early expeditions have on the indigenous people of the Arctic? What are the current challenges facing polar fauna and the people who live in Greenland, Arctic Canada and Russia? What research is being conducted in the polar regions today? What international policies govern these icy regions? In this seminar, we will explore such ecological and ethical questions by examining the diaries of explorers and polar inhabitants, scientific papers and governmental policy statements. Students will have the opportunity to correspond via email with people-- including scientists--who are currently in the polar regions.. 17. The European Enlightenment (Kates). European society in the 18th century was riddled with inequalities of all kinds: religious bigotry and political despotism, as well as new forms of racism, slavery and class strife. The writers and artists associated with the European Enlightenment suggested radical ways to address these problems. These proposals encompassed both the political and social realms, imagining new forms of friendship and marriage, as if those relationships might constitute analogies to politics itself. In doing so, they blurred the lines between the governmental and the social, the political and the private, and established a moral foundation for our modern era. Readings will include primary works from the period by such authors as Rousseau, Voltaire, Diderot, Montesquieu and Richardson.. 18. Growth (Kuehlwein). In The Matrix, Agent Smith likens the human obsession with ever higher levels of consumption to a virus. Is growth that pernicious? Or is it a natural and noble goal? How do we define growth and what causes it? These are the primary issues we'll explore in this seminar. We'll start by looking at whether growth is primarily driven by incentives or geography. Then we'll ask if growth is leading to environmental ruin or whether its main catalyst, technological change, can save us from the problems of pollution and exhaustible resources. Is it helping to eradicate global poverty or just widening the gap between rich and poor? Is it contributing to worker alienation or creating interesting new jobs? Most fundamentally, does growth make us happier? We'll examine these questions through economic, sociological and environmental lenses to provide a more complete understanding of this multi-faceted topic.. 19. Democracy and Citizenship in the Contemporary United States. (Menefee- Libey). Lincoln called on all Americans to dedicate themselves to government of the people, by the people and for the people. But, nearly 150 years after the Gettysburg Address, what does Lincoln's challenge mean to us? We will read, talk about and write about diverse authors' attempts to engage that and related questions. How can we make sense of the contrasting ways people define democracy today? What does it mean to be a citizen in the contemporary United States? What democratic obligations do we have to ourselves and one another? Are we really capable of governing ourselves, or do we even want to? Who do we mean when we say "We the People?" What does being a college student have to do with any of this? By the time we're done, I hope you will begin to develop your own answers-- or alternatives--to these questions.. 20. The Built Environment: Questions of Aesthetics, Design and Sustainability (O’Malley). Sym Van Der Ryn argues that "In many ways the environmental crisis is a design crisis. It is a consequence of how things are made, buildings are constructed and landscapes are used." In this seminar, we will examine these objects, buildings and landscapes to see just why our made world looks and functions the way it does. Tracing the imperatives of 19th-century industrial revolution, early 19th century utopian optimism, American pragmatism, and the "Sustainability" movement, we will attempt to define the way in which our attitudes, values and cultural beliefs continue to change and reshape our built environment.. 21. Earth—Its Origin, Cosmic History and Future (Penprase). Where did the elements that form the earth and our bodies form? How did the stars and sun form from the Big Bang? How did the earth form? In what sense is it unique? What factors influenced the formation of life? Could this have happened elsewhere in the solar system, or in the galaxy? And how have humans affected the planet, and what impact are we having on the longterm prospects for the earth to harbor life? What other planetary scale effects will determine the fate of the earth? In this seminar, we will examine these questions and more through a combination of readings, discussion, directed inquiry, in-class presentations and focused writing assignments. By the end it is hoped that we will have better perspective on what makes the earth unique, and to what degree humans are capable of tipping the balance in its ability to harbor life.. 22. Sonnet, Still Life, Lives (Rosenfeld). The English poet Ben Jonson likened the sonnet to an instrument of torture, a "tyrant's bed," where the poet strapped down his thoughts and "some who were too short were racked and others too long, cut short." By contrast, T.S. Eliot suggested that the sonnet "is not merely such and such a pattern, but a precise way of thinking." Why have some people--of certain genders and classes, at certain times and in certain places--considered form instrumental to thinking? Why have others considered form to be limiting of thought or even torturous of thought? In this seminar, we will explore this tension between form and thinking across three different domains of knowledge: the literary, the visual and the historical. Focusing on the sonnet, still life and lives (commonly, biography) we will ask, what is the relationship between form and the production of knowledge?. 23. In the Beginning: The Bible and Beyond (Ms. Runions). In Genesis 1, God's words produce the world--and more. In this seminar, we will explore the multiple ways in which cultural truth and authority are created and negotiated--in scripture and beyond--by studying the first 11 chapters of the biblical book of Genesis and their interpretations in culture. The Bible's primeval accounts, themselves produced through exchange with other ancient Near Eastern cultures, have been generative of religious, philosophical, political, literary and artistic expression through history and across cultures. In what contexts and to what ends have these texts been interpreted? In addition to examining ancient Babylonian myths (Genesis' precursor texts), medieval morality plays, Renaissance art, early American literature and contemporary popular culture, we will ask how the history of interpretation of Genesis 1-11 has had a lasting effect on U.S. culture, including views of cosmogony, God, human nature, morality, gender, sexuality, family, governance and apocalypse.. 24. Performing Sex and the Body (Mr. Shay). The controversy over California's Proposition 8, which bans marriage between people of the same gender, has drawn our attention, once again, to the ways that gender roles and sexuality are simultaneously the most private and the most public elements of any individual's character. In this seminar, we will consider how "masculine," "feminine," "effeminate" and "butch" behaviors and characteristics are imagined in cultural contexts ranging from popular culture to high art, and how the performing arts (music, dance, theater and cinema) create societal role models that many individuals conceive of as cultural givens. We'll therefore also consider how the performing arts provide spaces and modes through which we explore, challenge, critique, invent and subvert different ways to "be" gendered. We will look at original texts such as choreographies and screenplays, as well as scholarly articles and books to see the ways in which gendered modes have changed historically and across cultures.. 25. Medical Ethics (Tannenbaum). Does a fetus have the same moral status as you and I do, and if so, does it follow that abortion is morally impermissible? Under what circumstances, if any, can a doctor withhold information (diagnosis of an untreatable disease or negative side effects of a recommended course of treatment) from a patient? In this seminar, we will examine a variety of controversies in medicine, some of which occur at the beginning of life (abortion), some at the end of life (euthanasia) and some even in the prime of one's life. Rather than examine past and current legal history or religious doctrine, we will instead examine, develop and critique ethical arguments addressing these medical questions. We will focus in particular on the distinction between the obligation not to kill versus the obligation to prolong life, and the difference between benefiting others and respecting others' ability to make their own decisions.. 26. Queer Fictions (Tompkins). What do we mean when we use the word "queer"? What kinds of people are "queer" and why? The word now most often conjures up models of sexuality that refuse to conform to the norm, but in the nineteenth century that adjective referred to behaviors and people that were strange, unusual and even dissident. In this seminar, we will read stories and novels from 19th-century U.S. authors such as Melville, Poe, Hawthorne and Louisa May Alcott, as well as selections from contemporary cultural and feminist theory, in order to investigate how norms are produced, enforced and undermined.. 27. Christianity and the Idea of Poverty (Wolf). "Blessed are you poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God," reads the gospel of Luke. Yet from early on Christian commentators began reinterpreting such promises to the poor with an eye to the spiritual vindication of the rich. Whether by placing increased weight on the act of almsgiving or by valorizing voluntary over involuntary poverty, these authors cleared a path to heaven for the Christian of means and effectively closed off such avenues to impoverished Christians. In this seminar, our task will be to explore the uneasy relationship between the ideas of poverty as a socioeconomic reality and poverty as a Christian discipline as they unfolded from the first through the 13th centuries. We will consider not only key primary materials--treatises, saints' lives and sermons--but modern scholarly efforts to make sense of it all.. 28. 28. Imagining Japan, Imagining the West (Flueckiger). Since the earliest encounters of Europeans with Japan in the 16th century, many in the West have shown a deep interest in Japan, seeing it as both a model for and threat to the West. At the same time, Japan's relationship with the West has been central to its formation of national identity in the modern period. In this seminar, we will examine these mutual imaginings of Japan and the West through fiction, journalism, travel writing and other sources. Moving beyond the simple question of the factual accuracy of such depictions, we will look at what Japan and the West have tried to find in each other, and the uses they have made of visions of each other's cultures. All readings in English.. Burrow. Burrrow. Garrett. Gunter/Chen. Martin. Rosenkranz. Snyder. Snyder. Rosenkranz. Garrett. Chappell. Garrett. Snyder. Martin/Snyder. Gunter. Price. Burrow. Franklin. Martin. Franklin. Burrow. Chappell. Chappell. Burrow. Rosenkranz. Chappell. Rosenkranz. Burrow.
Faculty Contact. Courses. Kimberly Drake, Director of Writing Program, English Dept.. Writing 50: Critical Analysis (Fall 1st). Core I: Histories of the Present (Fall 1st). With "Histories of the Present," Core I faculty and students will explore the relationship between historically informed critical thinking and our engagement with contemporary issues and debates. Our investigations seek to highlight the categories and values that we may take to be given or obvious and the ways in which the conventional or received understanding and application of these categories and values can prevent us from seeing ourselves and the world -- social and natural -- in other ways. Core I takes up this task through an examination of a number of ways in which Human Nature and Human Difference are used as the bases of various modes of thought and action. The problems and issues we explore (for example, the alleged relationship between political organization and specific claims regarding a shared human nature, the oppression of and violence towards certain groups, the nature/nurture debates) involve values and categories such as justice, toleration, human rights, development, gender and sexual difference, 'race', universalism, cultural affiliation, and individualism and sociability. Few would deny that these ideas play a central role in our contemporary self-understandings and figure prominently in apparently intractable debates about the world -- whether we define that world in indigenous, local, national, or global terms. What Core I seeks to provide, in relation to such debates, is the vantage point of critical distance: the opportunity to think about and to be self-consciously mindful of the consequences of the very things it is very easy to take for granted.. Core II: Histories of the Present continued (Spring 1st). Core II continues -- with sharper focus and through an array of course offerings -- the interdisciplinary investigations begun in Core I. That is, we develop our examination of the ways in which our contemporary self-understandings (political, moral, economic, aesthetic, etc.) emerge from and express commitments and categories that are often regarded as given -- so "natural" and "obvious" as to prevent us from thinking clearly about their complexities and ambiguities. Core II courses are taught by a faculty member with interdisciplinary research interests and may be team-taught by faculty whose complementary research interests make for productive interdisciplinary dialogue. The Core faculty is currently engaged in developing new and revised Core II courses for the new "Histories of the Present" theme. Core II courses currently offered under the framework of "Culture, Knowledge, and Representation are: Beyond Good and Evil? Moral Ambiguity and the Question of Good and Evil. This course will question the relevance of traditional categories and assumptions concerning moral judgments. To what degree are moral judgments universal?; to what degree culturally determined? And is moral relativism the only alternative to traditional moral belief? Issues examined include the nature of criminality, the effectiveness of transgression, and the importance of the individual moral choice. Material will be drawn from film, drama, prose, fiction, and philosophy. R. Burwick, D. Krauss. Comedy: Ancient and Modern. This course will examine texts both ancient and recent as well as films, TV shows and other modes of comedy in light of theoretical work by thinkers such as Aristotle, Freud, Bakhtin, and Bergson. E. Finkelpearl, J. Peavoy. Communities of Hate. The Holocaust, ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia, the genocide in Rwanda as well as the politics of hate in the United State will be used as case studies in this exploration of the causes of mass hate. Questions raised in the course will include: How are collective identities formed? How can aberrations of collective identity formulation lead to mass hate? How are communities of hate constructed (role of ideology, religion, propaganda, the media, etc.)? What are the social, economic, and political factors that contribute to the emergence of mass hate? What are the underlying psychological principles of mass hate? By which processes do groups and societies create the "Other"? Are race, ethnicity, and gender purely ideological notions? Finally, how do we combat the politics of hate when we know that appeals to our common humanity have not worked? A. Marcus-Newhall, N. Rachlin. The Cultural Politics of Punk & Hip-Hop. This course examines punk and hip-hop subcultures as they move from the social margins to the center. We analyze challenges by punk and hip-hop artists to traditional music, visual art, and literature, as well as their conflicted and sometimes ironic relationship to capitalism and materialistic success. Discussions will focus on issues related to identity and representation as well as the connections among art, culture, and politics. K. Drake, M. Figueroa. Culture Clash: Encounters of the Traveler with the Other. Beginning with the notion that no voyage is completely innocent and that no voyager is merely an impartial observer, this course will examine the variety of experience of travelers including exiles as enforced travelers and their contacts with peoples and cultures other than their own. We will include such texts as the Odyssey, Herodotus' Histories, Apuleus' Metamorphoses, Ovid's Exile poetry,The Travels of Marco Polo,Wolstonecraft'sLetters written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Calvino's Invisible Cities, and Naipaul's India. R. Burwick, E. Finkelpearl, M. Katz. Dada, Surrealism, and Their Legacies. Spanning the visual arts and literature, dada and surrealism challenged aesthetic, political, and social conventions. This course will examine how artists and writers rejected the rationality and determinism of the Enlightenment to explore the irrational side of human experience through art, film, and writing. The course will discuss the international character of these movements and their continuing influence on contemporary art. M. MacNaughton. Death. What is death? Why do we care about it? Is death bad? Why do we mourn the dead? What ought to be done with the dead? Has death changed? Can one be dead? Drawing upon philosophical, historical, psychological, religious, and pop-culture perspectives, we will investigate these deceptively simple questions. R. Weinberg. The Detective and the City. In the dark corners of our popular imagination, crime virtually defines the modern city. Every major metropolis has its representative sleuths and criminals, and its own distinctive crimes. This course will survey detective narratives from the late Enlightenment to the postmodern, including the classic closed-room scenarios of Poe and Doyle, the noir fiction (and film) of the early 20th century (Cain, Chandler), pulp fiction of the '50s, neo-noir of the European modernists (G. Perec) and, as the latest twist on the tradition, the so-called "sunshine noir" of contemporary suburban Los Angeles. M. Katz, M. Perez de Mendiola. Discord and Dialog. What should you do when you disagree with someone you take to be as smart and as rational as you are? Under what circumstances should you be intellectually tolerant? We will explore such questions through an examination of scientific, ethical, philosophical, religious, political, and aesthetic debates. Y. Avnur. The Embodied Self: Feminist Theories of the Body, Yoga, and Dance. This course will explore the question, "What is the Body?" in three different fields: feminist theory, yoga, and dance. Our interdisciplinary inquiry into embodiment will focus on how varying historical notions of the female body have influenced our intimate experience of embodiment and how two specific practices -- dance and yoga -- conceptualize the body and provide insights into the shifting cultural meanings of gender. Class sessions will incorporate critical analysis and movement. G. Abrams. A History of Knowledge from the Enlightenment to Wikipedia. The 18th century Enlightenment, especially in France, developed new instruments for the dissemination of knowledge, and also created a new type of person, one for whom universal knowledge is possible and for whom work and thought are no longer separate. This course will examine the French Encyclopedia and the thinkers who contributed to it, as well as trace the heritage of this monument of Enlightenment ideology on the changing nature of the dissemination of knowledge in our own time via the internet and Google. D. Krauss. Investigating Humor in Literature and Mass Media. Who are you when you laugh? How is what people find funny determined by their race, their class, their gender, their sexual orientation, their politics, their age? Is there a universal definition of humor that is not determined by these categories? Are there subjects that are inherently not funny? If we were social scientists, what sorts of questions would we ask about humor? We will look at plays, movies, TV shows, standup comics, comic strips, and other modes of humor in light of theoretical work by Aristotle, Freud, Bergson and others. D. Krauss, J. Peavoy. Literature and the Law: James Joyce's Ulysses. James Joyce's Ulysses, the central text of modern and modernist literature, was banned from the U.S. on the grounds of its obscenity. Based on a detailed reading of the text and case law, the course will explore the important issues raised by the prosecution and later successful defense of this novel. T. Crowley. The Multiple Self. We tend to think of conflict as an interpersonal affair -- a matter of one person's will being thwarted by or in conflict with that of another. We tend, as well, to regard the self as unified and coherent, as a kind of "inner citadel." This conception may reflect the desire that my life and my decisions somehow depend only upon myself. It is clear, however, that too often our own wills are divided and that, if the metaphor is taken in earnest, we are in conflict with ourselves. Drawing on the work of psychologists, philosophers, novelists, and political theorists we aim during the semester to investigate various accounts of the structure, nature, and genesis of mental conflict and division, and the ways in which these competing accounts express competing conceptions of the self and its relation to the social. C. Walker, D. Scott-Kakures. Nationalism and Culture. The modern nation-state is sustained by cultural forms that affirm and create a sense of national identity. This course explores some of the ways in which art, music, film, and other forms of culture help represent and construct nations, prescribe the understanding of nations, and encourage participation in their perpetuation. Y. Kang, J. Koss. The Nature of Nature: Enlightenment Ideas About the Landscape. This course will explore changing attitudes toward nature developed during the 18th century in Europe by surveying representations of nature in the visual arts (paintings, gardens, architecture, and furniture), in the performing arts (music and theatre), and in the texts (essays, poetry, and novels), and by investigating how the study of natural sciences developed during the Enlightenment. B. Coats. Once Upon a Time: Literary and Psychological Approaches to the Fairy Tale. This course is an interdisciplinary approach to the fairy tale that utilizes both literature and psychology. We can look at fairy tales as representations of sociopolitical conditions, of the psyche, or as prescriptions for appropriate behavior. We will explore the relationship of the fairy tale to notions of folk and national culture and to 19th and 20th century psychology as outlined by Freud and Jung. We will also explore modern versions of fairy tales using contemporary psychological and feminist theories. R. Burwick, J. LeMaster. Politics and Culture. This course will consider the importance accorded to culture in modern political activity and identity. A general understanding of why this is so has remained elusive. What is the relationship of cultural practice to the establishment of such central modern political institutions and categories as the nation state, civil society, citizenship, markets, and political protest? This course will consider these and other questions through an analysis that combines the reading of philosophical and theoretical texts on aesthetics, art, and culture with the study of specific cultural forms in historical context. A. Aisenberg, M. Perez de Mendiola. Religion and Travel: Encountering and Representing the Other. In this course, we continue Core I's investigation of how culture and knowledge reproduce each other in diverse forms or representation. From modern anthropology to ancient pilgrimage, from Victorian imperialism to the "discovery" of the New World, we will ask how religion was created in the nexus of encounter with the other, and the continuing role of travel writing in the construction of "other" religions. Through close reading of travel texts and theoretical texts, from the present to the premodern past, we will ask how "religion" (as a concept) and "religions" (as particular objects of Western study) have been represented in various texts (including scholarly essays, memoirs, films, and children's literature).A. Jacobs The Science and Poetry of Sleep. This course looks at ways scientists, social scientists, and artists approach sleep, and at ways sleep is positioned in various cultures and societies. G. Greene Tragedy, Trauma, Terror. This course studies tragedy as a particular kind of artistic form and as a label applied to certain modern historical events. We will emphasize the connections between tragedy, personal and communal trauma, and political and religious terror. Readings will range across literature, history, psychology, politics, and philosophy. G. Simshaw. 20th Century Protest Movements in Words and Music. This course examines 20th century protest literature and music in the U.S. including the blues tradition, the songs of WWI and labor movements, Civil Rights and anti-war poetry and songs, and present-day punk, hip-hop, and rock. Discussions will focus on issues related to identity and representation, as well as the relationship between art, culture, and politics. K. Drake, Y. Kang. Woman/Body/Language. This course looks at the construction of female bodies in language and the reading of women's bodies as texts. Topics to be covered may include media representation, the significance and evolution of Barbie, young femininity, eating disorders, and the possibility of using language for liberatory purposes. C. Walker.. 1. Cyborgs & Centaurs: Margins of the Human (Norvell). This course explores social science and literary writing on themes of hybridity, principally the human-machine mixtures exemplified by the figure of the cyborg, and the human-animal divide, which is blurred by such characters as the centaur. We will also explore mestizaje, miscegenation, androgyny, intersexuality, and other important notions of human mixture. Responding to readings from diverse fields such as anthropology, gender studies, history, fiction, and literary criticism, students will write and revise essays in multiple genres of academic writing in an intensive and supportive environment. Writing assignments will culminate in a research paper. The authors we will read include Martin Heidegger, Marcel Proust, Theresa Senft, Ray Kurzweil, Neil Stephenson, Edgar Allen Poe, Philip K. Dick, Mary Louise Pratt, Vicente Rafael, and Anne Fausto-Sterling. The course will also develop important skills of seminar participation (discussion, moderation, presentation).. 2. Follow the Money: Cash, Credit, and Power (Simeroth). The poet Carl Sandburg once wrote that money is "a cushion, the root of all evil, the sum of blessings." Sandburg's contradictory stance reflects the anxiety that accompanies one of the last great taboos: talking about money. And, judging by the bevy of new books about the latest economic crisis, there's much to talk about. Who has money and why? Will money become obsolete? What is a "free market"? Do race and gender define a person's economic status? How do we identify class structures in the U.S.? This writing course will investigate some of our cultural attitudes toward money, beginning with the dollar bill itself--our first "text." We'll analyze ideas about money, property, and race in early American documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the landmark Supreme Court case Dred Scott v. Sandford and Emerson's essays "Wealth" and "Self-Reliance." From there, we'll examine 19th and 20th-Century debates regarding class structures, reading short selections from Karl Marx, Thorstein Veblen, Edith Wharton, Dale Carnegie, and Jim Crow laws. The last part of the course will be dedicated to the economic crisis of 2008. We'll critically evaluate representations of capitalism in Jerry Sterner's play Other People's Money and Benjamin Barber's Consumed along with the depictions of big finance in James Scurlock's film Maxed Out and Michael Moore's controversial Capitalism: A Love Story. All of this work is geared toward the following goal: to help you master the lively art of responsive reading, thinking, and questioning in order to write clear, sophisticated and scholarly arguments.. 3. Time Travel (Culbert). Time travel is a popular theme in modern storytelling. What makes the idea of time travel so appealing? Why do readers and viewers give credence to plots that are so frankly implausible? As we will see in this class, time travel has a long history that predates both time machines and modern science fiction. Indeed, while they are often fantastical, narratives of time travel dramatize vital and enduring questions about history, memory, and desire. Octavia Butler's slave narrative Kindred imagines changing the course of American history; Wilhelm Jensen's Gradiva suggests that love is a force that can repair the past. In this way, time travel poses a challenge to fate, causality, and destiny, and expresses a powerful desire to remake the past and create new futures. And yet, time travel is often haunted by the idea of unchangeable destiny. To explore these issues of fate, free will, and the temporality of desire, we will read novels and short stories as well as essays in psychoanalysis and cultural theory. Several films will also be screened in class. The course will hone your reading and analytical skills, introduce you to new critical terminology, and help you apply techniques of rhetoric and argumentation in writing. One essay assignment will perform a close reading of a literary text of your choice, and your research paper will apply critical methodology from Freud, Jean Laplanche and Cathy Caruth in order to explore such concepts as "afterwardsness," the unconscious, traumatic experience and the return of the repressed.. 4. Writing for Social Change (Drake). This course examines the power of language to transform the individual, the community, and the world. We will discuss fiction, poetry, autobiography, photography, and essays by and about people who want to confront readers with circumstances of oppression and exploitation and present alternatives to current social practices. How do protest writers attempt to engage readers and compel their response? What makes writing and images persuasive, and how can we analyze those techniques so as to use them and also to resist them? What makes language powerful, and how can we tap into this kind of power? We'll consider these questions while reading and writing literary interpretation, creative nonfiction, rhetorical analyses, blogs, and research papers as well as critically responding to the work produced in our class. Some of the authors we'll encounter: Rachel Carson, June Jordan, Barbara Kingsolver, James Baldwin, Marge Piercy, Gloria Steinem, Judith Butler, Tecumseh, Richard Wright, Henry David Thoreau, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Janice Mirikitani, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Barbara Ehrenreich, Michel Foucault, Karl Marx, John F. Kennedy, and Ida B. Wells.. 5. Poertry on the Ground (Binggeli). Can poems tell us anything about our lives in the twenty-first century? Are poetry writers and readers a dwindling group of elitists out of touch with the real world? Does poetry even matter anymore? Together we will debate these issues and others as we explore poems as works of art, politics, culture and identity. Rather than approaching poems as codes that must be "cracked," we will consider the distinct ways that poetry is able to create meaning. We will read critical essays on poetry, search the poetry archives of the Ella Strong Denison Library, and discover material and digital publications which currently feature the work of contemporary poets. Throughout this course we will focus on the skills necessary to produce effective academic writing, including the ability to read texts closely, to formulate reasoned arguments, and to express those arguments with freshness and sophistication.. 6. Puppies and Pork: Animals among Us (Tucker). Animals in human society serve as companions and colleagues, provide food and resources, are the subjects of research and function as research tools, entertain us and trigger some of our deepest fears. Pet parents and trophy hunters co-exist in the same communities, animal rights organizations threaten violence against medical researchers, environmentalists debate whether intervening to clean wildlife damaged by oil helps or harms animals. In this course, we will improve writing skills by analyzing works that address the place of animals in human society, written in a variety of disciplines, from literature and the arts to the sciences (from critiques of Charlotte's Web to biological analyses of spider silk), from philosophy to jurisprudence (from discussions of the moral status of animals to California's 2008 passage of Proposition 2). We will also examine non-academic writing on this topic, including fiction (such as Call of the Wild), creative non-fiction (such as Marley and Me or The Omnivore's Dilemma), and blogs (so many to choose from). And we'll watch "Surprised Kitty" at least once.. 7. Traditions and Limits of Comedy (Simshaw). We'll investigate the comic tradition, with a focus on works that live on the borders of the genre: the ribald, the scatological, the satirical, and the generally inappropriate. Our big questions will include: What features normally characterize comedy? Why is comedy routinely placed at the bottom of hierarchies of literary genres? What, if any, moral value does comedy have? Where do we draw the line between funny and offensive? Are any political, religious, or sexual subjects inherently humorless? How does comedy question or subvert authority, official ideology, and forces of stasis? Are comic resolutions inherently conservative? Our readings will include works on themes often considered too dangerous or sensitive to broach through conventional inquiry or criticism, as well as seminal theories of comedy.. 8. Real Lives: Writing on Documentary Experience (Casey). Real Lives is a writing course situated in documentary film. Since the 1940s documentary has been defined as the creative treatment of actuality. Our focus will be to understand how the film process both clarifies and obscures our relationship to events. If we say that all documentary is biased, does that render non-fiction films meaningless? Why do we give special status to this category of filmmaking? Our written analyses will look at directorial process and cinematic product, as we seek to uncover how a particular film negotiates actuality. For example, one of our topics, "Documenting Queer Identities," will ask for a comparative analysis of The Times of Harvey Milk and Paris is Burning. These two influential films offer a window into directorial process, where the personal is political. A significant problem students will address is the claim of documentary authority: who can speak on behalf of the other? I anticipate a lively classroom environment, where we can discuss and write about our interpretations.. 9. Shakespeare and Hitchcock (Novy). This course explores the common ground in works by William Shakespeare and Alfred Hitchcock, their mutual obsession with obsession, voyeurism, love that seems like madness and delusion, the social construction of desire, the importance of dreams, and a deep preoccupation with women, who both fascinate and terrify them. Shakespeare and Hitchcock transcend boundaries, and interrogate received ideas and philosophical systems we use to build them. This is an essay writing course that focuses on writing and research techniques. Texts include A Midsummer Night's Dream and the movies Vertigo and Rear Window, as well works by Freud, Judith Butler, Laura Mulvey, and Tania Modleski.. Burrow. Burrow. Chappell. Chappell. Burrow. Burrow. Burrow. Burrow. Burrow. Burrow. Burrow. Burrow. Burrow. Burrow. Garrett. Garrett. Burrow. Burrow.