Writing

Note: Course details for Summer 2018 will be available on December 15. The courses below were offered in Summer 2017 and can serve as a guide to what is typically offered.

College of Arts & Sciences

Writing Seminar (100)

Writing Seminar

CAS WR 100

Topic: The Graphic Self. This seminar explores the construction of the self in graphic memoirs. While exploring this visual-textual form of autobiographical writing, students engage in important conversations about the blurry boundary between truth and fiction, past and present, public and private. The seminar also explores how images contribute to the construction of the author’s identity. Exposure to graphic self-writing both in print and online allows students to consider how form and style impact the author’s voice and the reader’s experience. Readings include Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis; Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened; along with supplementary scholarly articles and theoretical texts. This section is reserved for non-native English speakers. 4 cr.

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Writing Seminar

CAS WR 100

Topic: Short Fiction. Muriel Ruykeyser once said, “The world is made of stories, not of atoms.” This seminar takes Rukeyser’s quote as a guide and examines the world through the lens of short fiction. Does literature reflect or direct society? What insights can be gleaned about a culture or period from reading? To answer these questions, the class studies major figures of American fiction, such as Ernest Hemingway, John Updike, and Jhumpa Lahiri and combines a deepening appreciation of varied short stories with energetic, critical readings of their works. The seminar also introduces a critical vocabulary for discussing fiction. This section is reserved for non-native English speakers. 4 cr.

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Writing Seminar

CAS WR 100

Topic: Boston in Film and Literature. This seminar looks at Boston as subject and setting of a number of 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 Henry James, Sylvia Plath, and Dennis Lehane; the nonfiction of Thomas O'Connor, Susanna Kaysen, Nick Flynn, and Michael Patrick MacDonald; and the films of Tom McCarthy, Ben Affleck, Clint Eastwood, and Martin Scorsese. 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. This seminar investigates the degree to which this attitude is rooted and reflected in our literary tradition. Readings 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: City of Ideas: A Short History of Innovation in Boston. This seminar focuses on Boston's innovations that have made important contributions to American economic, political, and cultural life in areas as diverse as commerce and industry, education, civic life, the environment, the arts, and medicine. The course looks at innovations that have emerged in Boston from the colonial period, through the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, to more recent times. In each era, the course focuses on particular innovations, while gaining a broader understanding of the characteristics of Boston's creative culture. Readings come from a wide range of sources, both historical and contemporary. 4 cr.

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Writing Seminar

CAS WR 100

Topic: Ethical Missteps in Public Health. This course addresses the contemporary relevance of selected ethics issues that have arisen in the public health arena over the last 100 years. Topics include theories about the biology of race and “fitness” in the Progressive Era; the U.S. Public Health Service’s 40-year Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis; and the American eugenics movement, which culminated in the Supreme Court decision in Buck v. Bell. Students read firsthand accounts by public health practitioners and policymakers at the time, as well as more recent scholarship that seeks to make reasoned “trans-historical moral judgments” about past wrongs. 4 cr.

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Writing Seminar

CAS WR 100

Topic: Revisiting Fairy Tales. Students in this course read multiple versions of several fairy tales, examining themes of violence, adolescence, and maturation, side by side with critical essays by scholars working from anthropological, literary-critical, and psychological viewpoints. The course engages students with issues including oral vs print transmission and the significance of the continual revisioning of tales, as well as the meanings of recurring motifs such as the monstrous bride/groom. Authors examined include the Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault, Nalo Hopkinson, Anne Sexton, and Angela Carter, among others. This section is reserved for non-native English speakers. 4 cr.

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