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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 2017

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 Contagion
WRI 102-01, MW 5:30-6:50
Madeline Anthes
This course will look at various depictions of contagious diseases and examine how they are portrayed in history, fiction, and film. We will discuss how certain ideas are just as infectious and dangerous as a virus. Among the questions this class will consider: what provokes the spread of ideas? How does the spread of disease mirror societal fears? Why do so many fictional stories depict the spread of diseases? How have humans tried to control contagions, and what have we learned from past attempts? We will read short stories, watch a film, and read several historical texts to get a well-rounded view of the topic.

The Postmodern Superhero
WRI 102-02/03, MR 2-3:20PM & MR 3:30-4:50PM
Samantha Atzeni
“The Postmodern Superhero” will take a look at the super-heroic representations of the hopes, fears, and aspirations of the American culture, as told through the mythos of various superheroes. We will explore the early concept of a superhero and bring this concept to the 21st century. Assignments and readings will focus on cultural identity, as well as issues of gender, race, class, and personal responsibility. Aside from the superheroes with household names (i.e. Batman, Spider-Man, The Avengers, Flash, Supergirl), we will take a look at America’s new breed of superheroes (i.e. Luke Cage, Ms. Marvel, X-Men, Arrow, Martian Manhunter) who struggle with personal identity, trauma, and terrorism in a post 9/11 world. Using academic journals and articles, graphic novels, pages from various comic books, visual texts (films, advertisements, commercials, sitcoms, and documentaries), we will investigate the current comics culture and how superheroes offer us a representation of ourselves.

Creativity & Rhetoric
WRI 102-04/05, MR 8-9:20AM & MR 9:30-10:50AM
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.

Our Environment, Ourselves: The Changing American Landscape
WRI 102-06/07, MR 12:30-1:50PM & MR 2-3:20PM
Karen Deaver
In this course students will analyze media for messages conveyed about natural and built environments —locally, nationally, globally—and our place in them. We will evaluate how historically art, text, film, music, and advertising has impacted people and policy. Together we will investigate environmental movements and practice persuasive argument in a variety of genres for diverse audiences. Students will write as journalists for the on-campus publication The Wall; draft academic essays on their environmental concerns; explore the TCNJ campus and its green initiatives; and collaboratively craft activist art, PSAs, or school curriculum for Environmental Education using interview strategies and critical thinking skills practiced over the course of the semester.

100 Years of Women Misbehaving in Short Fiction
WRI 102-08/9, MW 5:30-6:50 & MW 7-8:20
Kate Gessner
Students will incorporate various styles of argument in the analysis of selected short works from the past century which all have a rebellious female character. Class discussions will explore how standards of femininity produce rebelliousness, the relationship between boredom and anxiety in domestic life, society’s response to deviant female behavior, and other core questions raised in the readings. Assignments will ask students to interpret key themes, respond to book reviews, and incorporate literary criticism in a research paper. Selected authors: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Susan Glaspell, Tennessee Williams, and Daphne du Maurier.

Celebrities and Society
WRI 102-10, M 5:30-6:50
Rachel Hendrickson
Students will examine the effects of celebrity on our society — particularly the ways in which celebrities influence societal norms and values — through the examination of articles, television, and advertisements. We will discuss the roles celebrities have on youth and individuals’ self-perceptions, as well as the ways in which the media dictate trends in behavior and aesthetics. In addition, we will closely examine celebrities’ roles (both active and passive) in shaping and changing society’s views of various social issues (e.g., Caitlyn Jenner and transgender acceptance).

Food, Glorious Food
WRI 102-11/12, MR 11-12:20PM & MR 12:30-1:50PM
Janet Hubbard
Everyone needs to eat to live. Many of us have complicated relationships with food, yet many of us are also unaware of what goes into our food and the land and animals it comes from. This section uses common and individual resources, including readings, movies, and websites, to learn about the history of agriculture, and explore and argue about various aspects of the food industry as it exists today. You will cook one of your favorite foods and report to the class, as well as make a specific recommendation to improve some aspect of this important industry.

The Green Movement
WRI 102-13/14, TR 5:30-6:50PM & TR 7-8:20PM
Lindsay Knapp
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.”

Young Adult Romantic Fiction
WRI 102-15/16, TF 2-3:20PM & TF 3:30-4:50PM
Laura Kranzler
In this section, we will be studying romance novels and TV shows aimed at a teenage audience. We will be paying close attention in particular to issues of race, class and gender as they are represented in the novels, asking questions about what constitutes the ideal romance as well as potential challenges to the construction of romantic relationships in fiction. We will watch several episodes of Gossip Girl, and read novels by writers such as Sarah Dessen and John Green. Students will also be able to choose a novel to discuss in their final paper.

Masculinity & American Culture
WRI 102-17/18, TR 5:30-6:50 & TR 7-8:20
Shawn Layton
What does it mean to be a “man” of the 21st century? How do we define manliness in our world? How have the definitions of masculinity changed from previous centuries? What roles do class, race, sexuality, and religion play in the creation of masculine identity? In this course, we will address these questions and the complex issue of masculine identity through our study of writings by Ernest Hemingway and Ta-Nehisi Coates, bromance films such as Superbad and The Wedding Crashers, and selected readings on college hookups and hazing and what each has to say about masculinity.

We’re Off to See (and Read) the Wizard!
WRI 102-19, T 5-7:50PM
Stefanie Marchetti
[Location: University Medical Center at Princeton. Open only to RN to BSN students]
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, novels, short stories, and television series. For this reason, we will also read and view supplemental pieces based on the classic novel, and 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?

Dilemmas of the Digital Domain
WRI 102-20/21, MR 12:30-1:50AM & MR 2-3:20PM
Janet Mazur
Can you imagine a world without technology? The Internet, smart phones, laptops, tablets and desktops have been a part of our cultural landscape for decades, for better or worse. In this class, we examine the profound ways in which digital technology — everything from how we connect via texting, social media and the latest apps to how we shop, vacation, date and study — is shaping us.

Dilemmas in the Modern World
WRI 102-22, TR 5:30-6:50PM
Amy Moyer
This section will explore political and social dilemmas in today’s world through a critical examination of mass media and other news coverage. Special focus will be paid to current events affecting national and international politics, such as mass human migration, climate change, violence, wealth inequality and global poverty. Students will critically analyze and research the historical, economic, and social conditions that have given rise to current events. This section of Academic Writing will challenge students to examine arguments in an objective manner and to write responses on a range of issues in logical and rational ways.

Science Fiction & Creative Possibility
WRI 102-23, TF 8-9:20AM
Susan O’Connor
To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before — Captain Kirk, Star Trek

The best Science Fiction supposes an imaginary invention or discovery, probably something quite extraordinary, and speculates about what might happen. It, then, anticipates the impact of that scientific discovery upon humankind. — James O. Bailey, Pilgrims Through Space and Time (New York, 1947)

Come stretch your imagination and explore some of these creative possibilities. How have the creation of constructs such as robots and warp drive given rise to such powerful philosophic statements as the Three Laws of Robotics and The Prime Directive? How have these constructs fostered scientific invention? Through the lens of various novels, short stories, flash fiction pieces, podcasts, television series, films, and artistic images, we will examine how the science and the art of this genre come together to create stories that not only interpret life, but can drive culture and creativity. Ultimately, we will grapple with what it truly means to be human.

Street Art & Social Justice
WRI 102-24, TF 12:30-1:50PM
Courtney Polidori
How does graffiti writing give voice to the silenced? This section invites students to write about the ongoing debate about street art: while authorities criminalize graffiti, street artists believe their work speaks back to oppression, reclaims public spaces, and advertises disillusionment. Students will explore the political, socioeconomic, and cultural problems that give rise to street art by writing essays, reading articles, watching videos, listening to podcasts, analyzing artwork, and collaborating on group projects. The course will explore the rhetoric of the anonymous British street artist Banksy, who creates awareness around social problems, such as the refugee crisis, violence, and poverty, but will also reveal other revolutionary artists beyond Banksy. In their essays, students will explore the definitions of street art and social justice, evaluate the visual elements of street art, including color, line, and images, and explore the powerful effects of multicultural and feminist street art.

War and Peace
WRI 102-25/26, TR 5:30-6:50PM & amp; TR 7-8:20PM
Donna Raskin
In this class we explore many aspects of both “war” and “peace,” including issues around gender, money, diplomacy, veterans, and torture. We read Grunt by Mary Roach and see GI Jane and other films. We do not look at the history of warfare, but instead examine contemporary conflicts, including those in Syria and Nigeria.

Argument of Film
WRI 102-27, TF 9:30-10:50AM
Nina Ringer
In analyzing selected 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 student’s choosing.

Sports Issues and Arguments
WRI 102-28, MR 9:30-10:50AM
Lisa Roe
In this section, we will tackle broad issues surrounding sports. We will consider our socialization into youth sports culture and investigate what it means to be a sports fan or a sports fanatic. As we examine sports as a social institution, we will focus on current sports issues: collegiate athletic compensation; the use of performance-enhancing drugs; affordability and stadium public funding; violence and player off-the-field behavior; and issues of gender and race. We will explore matters of social justice and the use of sports in advancing social change. Through critical reading of academic and popular literature, thoughtful viewing of visual materials, classroom discussion and structured papers, students will develop arguments that reflect upon the broader cultural and social contexts of sports.

How to Disappear: Escape and Reinvention
WRI 102-29/30, TF 9:30-10:50AM & TF 11-12:20PM
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?

Challenges of the Inner City
WRI 102-31, TF 8-9:20AM
Tiffany Youngblood
In this course we will examine the issues inner-city youth have to deal with on a daily basis. The failing school system, the impact of drugs/gangs, and parental involvement are some of the issues we will analyze. We will study historical patterns and follow current news to explore the issues, with the expectation of finding solutions for those communities. Some of the questions this class will consider are: Is the school system failing the youth or are the youth just not taking advantage of valuable opportunities? What decisions are the youth faced with when drugs and gangs are involved? What, if anything, can the parents do to tackle these issues?

Telling Stories: Using narrative nonfiction to showcase the college experience
WRI 102-32, MR 3:30-4:50PM
Tina Tormey
Telling Stories will explore nonfiction works about the college experience to see how one can weave engaging, insightful stories to educate and enlighten the reader. For example, in My Freshman Year, a professor moves into a residence hall to eyewitness firsthand what her students experience in campus life. In Binge, the author navigates the alcohol landscape on a college campus to find out what fuels drinking culture today. Students will analyze the storytelling and data-collection aspects of these and other readings to identify how to effectively tell a story using the information and techniques commonly used to raise awareness of issues and populations that many may not think deeply about.

Voices of the Marginalized
WRI 102-33/34, TR 5:30-6:50PM & TR 7-8:20PM
Kristen Luettchau
In “Voices of the Marginalized,” students will explore narratives of silenced voices, especially through media manipulation. Students will explore groups marginalized for reasons including race, socioeconomic status, gender, sexuality, and other relevant areas in today’s world. Some questions that will be considered are: Why are these voices silenced, and what makes these groups marginalized? Who has the power to silence voices, and how do we give voice back to the marginalized? Focusing on the binary of voice/silence, we will explore these issues as played out in a film, graphic novel, and current event articles. Students will write three response papers, as well as construct a longer researched essay on an issue relevant to class discussions.

Reading and Writing Pop Culture
WRI 102-35/36, TF 12:30-1:50PM & TF 2-3:20PM
Paige Costantino
This course will focus on a semiotic approach to analyzing several different aspects of popular culture. Through the study of academic articles, television shows, and film, the course will allow students to examine how a collective, cultural consciousness is developed by the ways we read and interact with media and pop culture. The class will include a variety of semiotic analyses applied to individual units including Advertising, Television, Print Media/News, Film, and Social Media. Each unit will include readings that analyze and evaluate individual mediums of popular culture, and students will then apply these ideas to real-life examples. Each unit will culminate with a student essay that synthesizes academic analysis with the everyday examples that surround us in the 21st century.

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