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
1 Course Unit
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.
Our Environment, Ourselves: The Changing American Landscape
WRI 102-01/02, MR 12:30 & MR 2-3:20
In this section, students will examine representations of the environment from the 20th to the 21st century through film, TV ads, fiction, and nonfiction to address how Americans perceive our connection to the natural world and the systems on which all living things depend. They will evaluate the problems we collectively face and the outcomes of increased awareness in the ways we have addressed the natural world, from preservation and conservation to rewilding and wilderness engineering. Finally, students will construct their own representation of the landscape in the form of a PSA, short film, or school curriculum for Environmental Education.
The Green Movement
WRI 102-03/04, MW 5:30-6:50 & MW 7-8:20
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.”
Creativity & Rhetoric
WRI 102-05/06, MR 9:30-1050 & MR 11-12:20
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 FightClub 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.
How to Disappear: Escape and Reinvention
WRI 102-07/08, TF 9:30-10:50 & TF 11:00-12:20
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 Postmodern Superhero
WRI 102-09/10, MW 5:30-6:50 & MW 7-8:20
“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, such as Batman and the X-Men, we will take a look at America’s new breed of superheroes, such as Ms. Marvel and the Avengers, 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.
War and Peace
WRI 102-11, MW 5:30-6:50
In this section, we will explore big questions relating to war and peace, including whether those with high testosterone are more naturally inclined to go to war; if there is a place for females in combat; rape as a weapon, and as an issue in the military; and whether soldiers should also do humanitarian work as a way to avoid war. We will read war literature and poetry, and see selected films, both documentary and narrative.
Dilemmas in the Modern World
WRI 102-12, TF 3:30-4:50
In this section, we 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, and 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.
Sports Issues and Arguments
WRI 102-13, MR 9:30-10:50
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.
Dilemmas of the Digital Domain
WRI 102-14/15, MR 11-12:20 & MR 2:00-3:20
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 Facebook, Twitter, Vine and text messaging to how we study and shop, our digital interactions are profoundly impacting our lives. Through a series of academic and popular readings as well as documentaries and video clips, we examine the possibilities and the problems that technology poses. Our class time involves group work and is highly interactive.
The Cult of Anne Boleyn: Portrayals and Perceptions
WRI 102-16/17, TR 5:30-6:50 & TR 7-8:20
Since her execution in 1536, Anne Boleyn has become the subject of numerous paintings, works of fiction, and films. As she gained popularity, her characterization in these depictions changed: in some narratives she is a victim of Henry VIII’s tumultuous regime, while in others she is manipulative and power-hungry. What is it about Anne Boleyn that has garnered her such popular interest? In this course, we will be looking at the various representations of Anne Boleyn in history and pop culture. Students will read novels, view television shows and movies, examine paintings, and listen to music all inspired by and based on Anne Boleyn’s life. We will be discussing and writing about what arguments the authors, directors, painters, and composers are making about Anne Boleyn’s life and how their choices alter the perception of her role in history. Further, using Anne Boleyn’s characterization as a model, we will be looking at other celebrities and how their characterizations change throughout various forms of media coverage.
Argument of Film
WRI 102-18, TF 9:30-10:50
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.
Young Adult Romantic Fiction
WRI 102-19/20, MR 2-3:20 & MR 3:30-4:50
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.
Food, Glorious Food
WRI 102-21/22, MR 11-12:20 & MR 12:30-1:50
Everyone needs to eat to live. Many of us have complicated relationships with food, yet many of us also are 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 changing industry.
Schooling Now or Prison Later?
WRI 102-23, MW 5:30-6:50
“It’s schools at the front end or prisons at the back end,” a prominent U.S. educator has said. Through reading relevant literature, studying related documentaries, and interviewing local educators and activists, participants in this class will consider the relationship between education and incarceration while honing their research and writing skills. Among the questions this class will consider: What is the school-to-prison pipeline? How does education reduce recidivism? How do schools and prisons compete for state funds? Why does the U.S., with 5% of the world’s population, have 25% of the world’s prisoners? And what is being done locally and nationally to ameliorate this situation?
Reading and Writing Pop Culture
WRI 102-24/25, MR 12:30-1:50 & MR 3:30-4:50
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 examples of their own choosing. Each unit will culminate with a student essay that synthesizes academic analysis with the everyday examples that surround us in the 21st century.
We’re Off to See (and Read) the Wizard!
WRI 102-26, W 4:00-6:50
[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, 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?
Masculinity and American Culture
WRI 102-27/28, TR 5:30-6:50 & TR 7-8:20
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 short stories by Ernest Hemingway, films such as Superbad and Brokeback Mountain, selected readings from sociologist Dr. Michael Kimmel, and the music of hip hop artists from the end of the 20th century into the 21st.
Science Fiction & Creative Possibility
WRI 102-29, MR 8:00-9:20
“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. In addition, we will learn about the submission process for science fiction short stories. The culminating goal of our mission will be for each student to write a short story to possibly submit for publication.
Street Art & Social Justice
WRI 102-30/31, TF 11-12:20 & 2-3:20
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 can advertise disillusionment, marginalization or poverty. From spray paint to stencils to massive murals, street art can be a visual cry for help in public spaces—and a means of healing fractured communities through restorative justice arts programs. We will explore the political, socioeconomic, and cultural problems that give rise to street art by reading articles, watching videos, listening to podcasts, analyzing artwork, writing essays, and even watching an episode of The Simpsons that satirizes street artists.
The course will explore both local and global street art, with a special focus on studying Philadelphia’s urban murals, including work by Benjamin Volta and Jesse Krimes. We will also read about the emotional effects of graffiti on viewers with essays by feminist bell hooks and others. Students will also write about Banksy, an anonymous British street artist, who creates awareness around social problems, such as poverty, war, and the inhumane treatment of animals. We will study the writing strategies of Banksy’s text, including satire, irony, and humor and analyze the visual elements of his artwork, including color, line, and placement. Students will also interrogate Banksy’s claim that stencil-style street art can “start revolutions and stop wars” by uncovering the history of graffiti and stencils, including the work of Blek le Rat and Shepard Fairey.
Fundamentals of Interpersonal Communication
WRI 102-32/33, TR 5:30-6:50 & 7-8:20
In this section, students will investigate communication principles and practices. We will learn to identify the communication profiles of ourselves and others as well as develop skills for active listening, assertiveness training, conflict resolution, anger management, and interpreting nonverbal communication. Writing assignments will apply these concepts and theories to critical analysis of topics from film, literature, politics, and personal experience. Assigned texts will include Elizabeth Strout’s short story collection Olive Kitteridge.