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WRI 101 & WRI 102 Course Descriptions

WRI 101: Writing Studio

Offered Every Semester

Prerequisite : Placement

Writing Studio offers writing support for FSP First Seminar and WRI 102 Academic Writing. A two-credit studio course, Writing Studio must be taken concurrently with FSP or with WRI 102. May be repeated.

WRI 102: Academic Writing

Spring 2015

1 Course Unit

Offered Annually

Academic Writing is a four-credit course that offers students the opportunity to develop, advance, and practice skills in the production of academic prose. Within a framework of sophisticated readings, highly coordinated writing workshops, and instructor feedback, students practice the modes of writing necessary to succeed in college. Students read critically, cultivate habits of effective and ethical research, practice conventions of documentation, and use information technologies. Topical readings vary among sections. May be repeated.

The Argument of Film
WRI 102-01, TF 9:30 – 10:50am
Nina Ringer

In analyzing particular films, we will explore how screenplay, camera angles and shots, editing, acting, and direction help form story and particularly our response to it. How we engage with a film shows us the impact of the argument the filmmaker is making. What ingredients make a film compelling? How can an audience’s response to a film make a difference in the world? Focusing on the implicit visual arguments that films make will allow us to create our own explicit written and visual arguments about these films. We will view three films together, make a ten-minute group film and create a longer researched essay on a film of the students’ choosing.

The Argument of Fairy Tale
WRI 102-02, MR 12:30 – 1:50pm
WRI 102-03, MR 2:00 – 3:20pm
Karen Deaver

In this class we will analyze from various critical perspectives traditional and modern fairy tales in prose, poetry, and film, including Disney productions such as Cinderella and Shrek. Delving into the shifting meaning of tales, from the literal to the metaphoric, we’ll also examine imbedded socio-cultural values and the impacts they have on audiences. Through close reading, discussion, and structured papers, we’ll argue the validity of classic tales, and whether or not retellings should reflect cultural traditions, provide readers with more relevant messages, and/or offer an alternative vision of a more socially equitable world.

Food, Glorious Food
WRI 102-04, MR 11:00am – 12:20pm
WRI 102-05, MR 12:30 – 1:50pm
Janet Hubbard

Affordable, plentiful food is now more readily produced and available than it ever has been; formerly, tending and procuring enough food for one’s family took up huge portions of a person’s life and resources. Students will write argumentative papers that examine the current cheap abundance of food and its costs to society and individualism in terms of health, pollution, and social abuses.

Dilemmas of the Digital Domain
WRI 102-06, MR 11:00am – 12:20pm
WRI 102-07, MR 12:30 – 1:50pm
Janet Mazur

Exactly how IS digital technology shaping us and are we better, more enlightened humans because of it? Few aspects of our lives remain untouched by the Internet and/or digital technology. From how we connect through social media to how we listen to music, acquire the news, study and shop, our online and digital interactions are profoundly impacting our daily existence. Through a series of readings and documentaries, we examine the possibilities and the problems that technology poses.

Young Adult Romantic Fiction
WRI 102-08, MR 2:00 – 3:20pm
WRI 102-09, MR 3:30 – 4:50pm
Laura Kranzler

In this course we will be discussing young adult fiction and exploring its popularity and what it suggests about what readers look for in a romance. We will read books by John Green and Sarah Dessen, and we will watch the movie Twilight in order to determine what these texts have in common. We will be asking what defines young adult romance, and what makes these narratives so appealing to a wide range of readers. You will also have the opportunity to write a short work of romantic fiction to demonstrate your appreciation of the genre.

The Argument of Sport
WRI 102-10, MR 8:00 – 9:20am
Lisa Roe
What is it about sport that triggers intense passion and emotion? Are we enthralled by the “thrill of victory” or the “agony of defeat?” Do we feel compelled to root for the underdog? How does society’s emphasis on sport reflect on our culture? In this section, we will tackle the broad issues of sport including the ethics of sport, sport as an institution of culture, sports and violence, and the role of sport in higher education. Students are encouraged to bring their own experiences and involvement in sport to reflect on broader cultural, psychological and social contexts. Through critical reading of academic and popular literature, classroom discussion, and structured papers, we will construct arguments on issues of modern day sport. Whether athlete or fan, what does sport tell us about ourselves and our society?

Understanding Current Issues
WRI 102-11, MR 9:30 – 10:50am
Robert Anderson

We live in a fast moving world “covered” by every conceivable medium on a 24/7 basis. We also find ourselves in a highly polarized environment in which many of us self-segregate around predictable political, socio-economic, racial, ethnic, and regional lines. This section of WRI 102 challenges students to examine arguments in an objective, detached manner and to write responses to a range of public issues and news items in logical and rational ways. Issues we consider will spontaneously arise out of the flow of current events. Within the framework of the broader WRI 102 goals and outcomes, the instructor selects items of interest, and students analyze, research, and write about them. Class time is interactive and highly participative.

The Meaning of Work
WRI 102-12, MR 8:00 – 9:20am
WRI 102-13, MR 9:30am – 10:50am
Susan Riveland

As we aim for a college degree and prepare ourselves for the professional world, most of us focus on a particular career by asking ourselves, “What will I do?” This course will explore questions about our work that go deeper, and ask us “How will I work?” How does the physical environment—the architecture and design of the workplaces in which we spend so much of our time—affect our performance and sustainability? Does the trend towards collaboration in the workplace stimulate our individual professional growth? Is a distinct personality type required to be successful in certain professions? Or are there viable ways for a variety of personality types—the creative, the artist, the extrovert, or the introvert—to find expression and productivity in any profession? We will read and discuss the current research and debates about these work-related issues and formulate our own arguments in response to them, with the hope of considering “work” as more than just a career type or a job name.

Creativity & Rhetoric
WRI 102-14, MR 9:30 – 10:50am
WRI 102-15, MR 11:00am – 12:20pm
Jordan Blum

In this section, we will explore a variety of different artistic outlets, such as fiction, poetry, film, visual art, television, and music, to see how creative minds use their medium for rhetorical purposes. Rather than simply entertain us, these artists ask us to consider complex, sometimes controversial ideas while reflecting on the world around us. For example, the novel Fight Club explores issues of masculinity, consumerism, materialism, sexuality, psychology, and cultism, while The Who’s Quadrophenia acts as a musical sibling to Green Day’s American Idiot, as both concept albums house statements about disenfranchised, rebellious male youth. We will examine many complex issues, including isolation, materialism, conformity, sexuality, and racism, through the works of many iconic figures, some of whom may include Langston Hughes, Chuck Palahniuk, Kurt Vonnegut, Flannery O¿Connor, The Who, Pink Floyd, Ben Folds, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Darren Aronofsky, Spike Lee, Norman Lear, and Alan Ball, to see how these creative minds express social commentary through stimulating (and sometimes entertaining) forms.

Perspectives of The “Green” Movement
WRI 102-16, MW 5:30 – 6:50pm
WRI 102-17, MW 7 – 8:20pm
Lindsay Steuber

What happens when the concept of sustainability becomes “big business”? As Americans we understand that what we buy gives us power and a sense of identity; yet, this social pressure to consume is increasingly in competition with environmental concerns and the need for sustainability. In this section, we will look at these competing forces and their effects in both the public and personal spheres. We will examine the arguments from environmental groups, political groups, and various businesses to navigate through this confusing issue of “being green.”

We’re Off to See (and Read) the Wizard!
WRI 102-18, MW 5:30 – 6:50pm
WRI 102-19, MW 7:00 – 8:20pm
Stefanie Marchetti

In this course we will examine and read L. Frank Baum’s classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as well as view the infamous 1939 MGM creation, The Wizard of Oz. Since the original printing in 1900, this novel has been remade in various films, cartoons, movies, novels, short stories, televisions series, and the list goes on and on. For this reason, we will also read and view supplemental pieces based on the classic novel. We also answer questions such as: Why did an intended children’s novel become so popular? What was the actual color of Dorothy’s shoes? What mistake did Baum make when writing his novel? Is the story really a historical commentary? What makes this wizard so wonderful?

War, Gender & Sex
WRI 102-20, TR 5:30 – 6:50pm
WRI 102-21, TR 7 – 8:20pm
Donna Raskin

Why do men fight wars? Should women be part of the combat theater? What happens when rape is used as a weapon and why is the incidence of sexual assault so high in the American military? We will explore stereotypes, sex and gender issues, asking many questions about both the past and current world situations. We will read academic research, view Restrepo, Zero Dark Thirty, and The Invisible War, and read Soldier Girls.

The Postmodern Superhero
WRI 102-22, TF 2:00 – 3:20pm
WRI 102-23, TF 3:30 – 4:50pm
Samantha Atzeni

This section will explore the American culture’s fascination with superheroes and their representations of our hopes, fears, and aspirations. This class will focus on the new “breed” of superheroes who struggle with identity, fear, trauma, and terrorism in a post 9/11 world. As a class, we will visit Gotham City and the Bat family, spend some time in District 12 with Katniss, and travel to the land of Ooo with Finn and Jake. Our discussion of superheroes will range from the traditional (Marvel and DC) to the nontraditional (Dexter, Walter White, and Kick-Ass). Assignments and readings will focus on cultural identity and the reading of a hero through a semiotic lens, exploring gender, race, and class. How have our superheroes adjusted to our “what’s-next” culture? How can we fit them, and ourselves, into a postmodern, post 9/11 narrative? Who is responsible for constructing our superhero mythos? The course will use academic journals, newspaper articles, graphic novels, comic books, and visual texts (films, advertisements, commercials, sitcoms, and documentaries) to investigate America’s resurgence of comics culture and why superheroes have decided to go mainstream. Our mission: to determine not only what the culture is trying to say with its heroes, but also how and why this message illustrates our lives in the 21st century.

How to Disappear: Escape & Reinvention
WRI 102-24, TF 9:30 – 10:50am
WRI 102-25, TF 11:00am – 12:20pm
Randy Schmidt

We all like to think it’s easy to start over, but what challenges do we face when we decide to escape? Some choose to lose themselves in the forest. Some decide to shed their identities and create new ones. And for some, a simple weekend outing is enough to “escape” their lives. In this section, we will examine this topic in literature, film, and television: Is it possible to ever fully escape our past and change who we are?

The Right to Read Freely
WRI 102-26, TR 5:30 – 6:50pm
Emily Dodd

The American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom reported 464 challenges — attempts to ban books or other materials — in libraries and schools in 2012. While gone are the days of seizing books and burning them en masse, and most of the challenged books aren’t banned, these challenges are still an attempt to remove material from a school curriculum or library, preventing access to others. Classics such as Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird and J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye have been joined by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson’s And Tango Makes Three (a true story about a male penguin couple who hatched a “fostered” egg together) and John Green’s Looking for Alaska. In this section, we will focus on frequently challenged children’s and young adult books, successful and unsuccessful challenges in libraries and schools and how they are handled, and what limits (if any) there ought to be and who should set them, on the freedom to read.

Race: Not Just a Physical Condition
WRI 102-27, TF 8:00 – 9:20am
WRI 102-28, MR 8:00 – 9:20am
Barbara Compagnucci

In this section, we will approach race by means of various lenses. Through the utilization of narrative and the historical divide, race was and is categorized based on different criteria. In an effort to analyze race critically, yet not rigidly, one must look toward this multiplicity of defining factors and not just skin color as a means of classifying such a complex and broad topic. We will explore race not just as a physical condition, but as a term that conveys the exactitude of a historically changing political construction according to time period, area of origin, and political and religious beliefs. Students will engage in readings on current events related to race/racism and short scholarly essays and will respond by redirecting their a priori conception of race and crafting critical essays of their own.

The Modern Family
WRI 102-29, MW 5:30 – 6:50pm
Deanna Harkel

We are all part of families, for better or for worse. Families are significant social institutions, both past and present. But what defines a family? Can family be formed by choice? How have families changed and progressed throughout time? In this section, we will evaluate these questions and examine normative stereotypes that include family being defined as healthy, heterosexual, violence-free, financially independent, and grounded in historical tradition. Through readings, discussions, and argumentative papers, we will explore the progression of families from historical and cultural perspectives, taking into account systemic variations in race and ethnicity, class, gender, ability, and sexual orientation.

Addressing Mass Incarceration: Nationally and Locally
WRI 102-30, MR 12:30 – 2:00pm
Constance Goddard

That the United States has five percent of the world’s population but 25 percent of the world’s prisoners is a tragedy that the nation is beginning to reckon with. This course will investigate the roots of mass incarceration, its effect on communities most affected by the social policies that brought the practice into being, and efforts to aid the formerly incarcerated to rebuild their lives. Students will become familiar with relevant literature and do investigative writing in order to understand the issue; we will focus on efforts in New Jersey and on projects at TCNJ that are addressing it. The instructor, a historian and broadly experienced journalist, has taught at a state prison in New Jersey.