Writing

Course details for Summer 2017 will be available on December 15. The courses below were offered in Summer 2016 and can serve as a guide to what is typically offered.

Courses in: Writing Seminar (098) | Writing Seminar (100)

College of Arts & Sciences

Writing Seminar (098)

Academic Writing for ESL Students 2

CAS WR 098

Prereq: (CAS WR 097) or placement test results. Emphasis on critical reading and analytical writing in response to various theme-based texts. Review of grammar and mechanics in context. Intensive practice in the patterns of academic argumentation through multiple writing assignments of increasing complexity. Refinement of speaking skills through discussions and oral presentations. 4 cr.


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Writing Seminar (100)

Writing Seminar

CAS WR 100

Topic: Madness in Film. As the art of film and science of psychiatry both grew in cultural prominence over the past hundred years, movies often attempted to represent madness—sometimes in ways that reflected the current medical understanding of mental illness and sometimes in ways that challenged that understanding. In this class, we explore films that evoke the experience of madness and read thinkers who critique psychiatry in order to explore the complicated relationship between art, culture, and mental illness. Films may include Wiene's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Hitchcock’s Psycho, Polanski’s Repulsion, and Von Trier’s Melancholia. 4 cr.


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Writing Seminar

CAS WR 100

Topic: Boston Jazz Now! This course examines Boston as a leading center for jazz in the U.S. Topics include: the evolution of jazz, its spread to different regions of the country, and its development in Boston, with special attention to Boston’s musicians, musical styles, schools, and clubs, both past and present. Course readings are drawn from a variety of genres, including biography/autobiography, reviews, historical accounts, and scholarly articles. Major sources include: The History of Jazz (Ted Gioia), Jazz (Gary Giddins and Scott DeVeaux); The Norton Jazz Recordings (ed. DeVeaux and Giddins); and The Oxford Companion to Jazz (ed. Bill Kirchner). This section is reserved for non-native English speakers. 4 cr.


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Writing Seminar

CAS WR 100

Topic: Short Fiction.The poet Muriel Rukeyser insists that “The world is made of stories, not of atoms.” In this seminar, we examine the world through the lens of short fiction, considering such questions as what view of the world these pieces offer us and what we can discover about ourselves or the broader world from them. We also consider how successfully short fiction speaks across generations or cultures. We examine the conventions and challenges of the genre, and readings may include seminal works by authors such as Shirley Jackson, Willa Cather, Kate Chopin and William Faulkner as well as from more contemporary authors such as Louise Erdrich, Tim O’Brien, Jamaica Kincaid, and Gish Jen. This section is reserved for non-native English speakers. 4 cr.


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Writing Seminar

CAS WR 100

Topic: Inventing the American Individualist. “Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.” So wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson, expressing a sentiment that seems native to the American character. From mountain men to entrepreneurs, from pioneers to beatniks, from suffragettes to senators, Americans have identified with roles that are individualistic, independent, and self-reliant. In this seminar, we investigate the degree to which this attitude is rooted and reflected in our literary tradition. Readings will include Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience,” Ginsburg’s “Howl,” and Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. 4 cr.


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Writing Seminar

CAS WR 100

Topic: Boston in Film and Literature. Beantown. The Hub. The Athens of America. Whatever its moniker, Boston has captivated writers and artists for centuries. In this seminar, we look at Boston as subject and setting of a number of very different works in order to understand the social, political, historical, and artistic forces that have shaped this great American city. Texts include the fiction of Nick Flynn and Dennis Lehane, the poetry of Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop, and the films of Clint Eastwood and Martin Scorsese. This section is reserved for non-native English speakers. 4 cr.


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Writing Seminar

CAS WR 100

Topic: Heroes and Villains in American Business. Authors, journalists and filmmakers never seem quite sure what to do with business people. At times, American writers have held up business professionals as cultural heroes. At other points in U.S. history, though, business and business people have been cast as forces that threaten some of the nation’s most cherished values. Why does business seem to occupy a central, but uncertain, place in American culture? In this class, we take an interdisciplinary approach to this question by examining a range of business heroes and villains in American culture. We will read works by authors including Ida Tarbell, Ayn Rand, and Upton Sinclair, as well as examine more recent cultural artifacts about business, such as movies and television shows. Throughout, we consider these texts alongside recent scholarship about the history of American capitalism to consider the ways in which wider cultural, political, and social changes have shaped how Americans view the world of business. 4 cr.


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