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 rhetorical approaches to the 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.
Rebuilding a City
WRI 102-01/02, MR 8:00-9:20AM & MR 3:30-4:50AM
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, and lack of 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 school are involved? What, if anything, can the community do to tackle these issues?
Science Fiction & Creative Possibility
WRI 102-03, TF 8:00-9:20AM
“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.
“Will You Accept This Rose?”
WRI 102-04, TF 8:00-9:20AM
From the 1960’s Dating Game to today’s massively popular Bachelor franchise, reality television has shaped the way we view the dating experience. Through an often highly produced environment, we form connections with “characters,” rooting for or against individuals who are competing for love. Why have these programs developed cult-like followings, how do we relate to them, and how do they influence dating norms and expectations? What stereotypes and roles are reinforced? How have viewers gone from spectators to participants via social media? Through readings, podcasts, video clips and episodes, this course will dive into the controversial world of television dating and other non-traditional forms of courtship. In a competition with winners and losers, we will look to answer the question of whether being the last man (or woman) standing equals a successful love story.
Food, Glorious Food
WRI 102-05/06, MR 9:30-10:50AM & MR 11-12:20PM
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.
Artificial Intelligence: “Do Androids Dream of a Longer Battery Life?”
WRI 102-07/08, MR 11:00-12:20PM & MR 12:30-1:50PM
Artificial Intelligence seems to be more prevalent now than ever before, and with Google, smartphones, and, soon enough, self-driving cars, the quick pace of technological development leaves little time for us to reflect on its impact. In this course, we will focus on the possibility, functionality, and ethics of AI, crafting our writing in response to a variety of media. Can human consciousness ever be fully replicated? Is there an ethical responsibility to extend basic human rights to non-human AIs? Will AI simply be an integration of humans with technology, and has that process already begun? Using film, television, literature, podcasts, scientific news articles, and more, we will explore the complex arguments surrounding the existence of AI. This course will challenge students to address all forms of media through a critical and analytical lens, crafting arguments amidst shifting contexts and premises. We will explore Ex Machina, Black Mirror, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and various short stories and philosophical essays on ethics and philosophy of mind.
Dilemmas of the Digital Domain
WRI 102-09/10, MR 11:00-12:20PM & MR 12:30-1:50PM
We spend hours each day, scrolling, tapping and swiping on screens. We carry our phones with us everywhere and even sleep with them. We use technology to navigate, complete our homework, search for jobs, meet a mate, and connect with far away loved ones. In this course, we will explore the impact of 21st century technology on our lives — the positives, negatives and everything in-between.
How to Disappear: Escape & Reinvention
WRI 102-11/12, TF 9:30-10:50AM & TF 11:00-12:20PM
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 Argument of Film
WRI 102-13, TF 9:30-10:50AM
In analyzing particular narrative 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 five-minute group film, and each student will create a longer researched essay on a film of the student’s choosing.
Our Environment, Ourselves: The Changing American Landscape
WRI 102-14/15, TF 11:00-12:20PM & TF 2:00-3:20PM
In this course students will decode and produce written and visual arguments concerning natural and built environments and their impacts —locally, nationally, and globally. We will examine representations and definitions of those environments, our place in them, and conflicting approaches to a variety of proposed solutions to challenges we face today. Together we will investigate environmental movements and practice persuasive argument in and for diverse genres and audiences. Students will interview sources and write as journalists for the TCNJ student-run publication for people experiencing homelessness, The Streetlight; draft analytical and evaluative essays on their environmental concerns; explore the TCNJ campus and its green initiatives; and collaboratively craft eco-activist art, PSAs, and/or Environmental Education school curriculum using interview strategies and critical thinking skills practiced over the course of the semester.
Creativity & Rhetoric
WRI 102-16/17, MR 12:30-1:50PM & MR 2:00-3:20PM
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 youths. We will examine materialism, conformity, causes of violence, 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.
Reading & Writing Pop Culture
WRI 102-18/19, MR 12:30-1:50PM & MR 2:00-3:20PM
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.
Street Art & Social Justice
WRI 102-20, TF 2:00-3:20PM
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.
Young Adult Romantic Fiction
WRI 102-21/22, TF 9:30-10:50AM & TF 5:30-6:50PM
In this course we will be watching films and reading novels in the young adult romantic genre such as Twilight, The Hunger Games, The Fault in Our Stars, and Why We Broke Up. We will be examining the representation of female sexuality and male sexuality within these texts, and what constitutes a romantic relationship. We will discuss whether gender roles are consistent throughout the genre, who watches and reads these films and books, and what expectations audiences have about romance and young adult fiction.
The Postmodern Superhero: Avengers Assemble!
WRI 102-23, TF 2:00-3:20PM
This course will focus on the super-heroic representations of the hopes, fears, and aspirations of the American culture, as told through the mythos of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Together, we will deconstruct the role of the Avengers, particularly Captain America, Black Widow, Iron Man, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel. Assignments and readings will focus on cultural identity, as well as issues of gender, race, class, and personal responsibility. Throughout the semester, we will focus on each Avenger’s struggle with personal identity, trauma, terrorism in a post 9/11 world, and their personal definitions of good versus evil. 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.
All the Single Ladies
WRI 102-24, TF 3:30-4:50PM
This course will explore social and political perceptions of single women. Students will use different styles of argument to analyze short works, including both essays and videos, that address what it means to be a single woman. Class discussions will examine how women are valued or perceived according to their relationship status, but also how modern women may struggle more than prior generations to find fulfilling relationships. Content will include words by Beyonce, Rebecca Traister, Lizzo, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Kate Bolick.
Celebrities and Society
WRI 102-25, MW 5:30-6:50PM
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 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 (i.e. Caitlyn Jenner and transgender acceptance).
Masculinity & American Culture
WRI 102-26, TR 5:30-6:50PM &
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? Our course 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, selected readings on college hookups and hazing, and what each has to say about masculinity.
Activism: Past and Present
WRI 102-27, TR 5:30-6:50PM
This course examines the role of activism in our society. We will explore various approaches, attitudes, beliefs and outcomes of activism, including athletics/Kapernick, Rihanna’s decision not to perform during the half-time Superbowl, the Black Lives Matter movement, MeToo movement, and the Parkland Florida School shooting, among others. We will investigate activism as a way to illustrate the diversity of methods and outcomes.
Issues in Health Care
WRI 102-28/29, MW 5:30-6:50PM & MW 7:00-8:20PM
This course will examine topics of general interest within the health care system and the health profession, as well as concerns and trends relevant to consumer health decisions. We will explore issues in women’s health, environmental health, and emotional health. Students will engage in readings and scholarly essays highlighting current events related to issues in health care. We will utilize rhetorical claim approaches such as definition, ethical, and proposal, as a way in to writing about these issues.
People and Plants: Food, Medicine, Nature, & Wilderness
WRI 102-30/31, MW 5:30-6:50PM & MW 7:00-8:20PM
Although we live in a built environment of technology and concrete, humans rely on the natural world for the most basic of needs. As people, we interact with the natural world for food, medicine, beauty, and fulfillment. In this course, we will evaluate articles, visual media, and concepts that help us examine our relationship and dependence on plants and nature. We will discuss questions like: where does our food come from and is the system sustainable? How do big businesses capitalize on humans’ dependence on plants? What is the human fascination with wilderness? Why are we so drawn to and reliant on nature? How does our current environmental crisis jeopardize our ability to rely on nature?
War & Peace
WRI 102-32/35, TR 5:30-6:50PM & TR 7-8:20PM
In this class we explore many aspects of both “war” and “peace,” including issues around gender, money, diplomacy, veterans, and torture. We read one novel about war, and see a few films, while the majority of reading is non-fiction. We do not look at the history of warfare, but instead examine contemporary conflicts, including those in Syria and Nigeria.
Tell Me a Story
WRI 102-33, MW 5:30-6:50PM
Stories are ubiquitous. We all have them, we all tell them, we love listening to them. We grow up reading them, and we create and consume them constantly whether we realize it or not. In this section we’ll examine storytelling across mediums, disciplines, and cultures and discover the power of stories in shaping how we see and feel about our world. Course content includes podcasts, Pixar, TED Talks, newsprint, blogs, photo galleries, and more.
WE’RE OFF TO SEE (& READ) THE WIZARD!
WRI 102-34, Wednesday 5:30-8:20PM
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. 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?
Voices of the Marginalized
WRI 102-36, TR 7:00-8:20PM
In the era of #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo, and other social media movements, students will explore issues of marginalization in the 20th and 21st centuries, as depicted in literature, film, and the media. Looking at the world through various lenses, including those of poverty, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender, students will investigate what sparks movements and how social media can influence those movements. Through several writing pieces as well as a digital media project, students will investigate these topics in depth and learn how to conduct scholarly, peer-reviewed research, refining skills that will transfer to other classes at TCNJ and beyond.
Dilemmas in the Modern World
WRI 102-37, MW 5:30-6:50PM
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.
The Nature and Meaning of News, Facts, and Truth
WRI 102-38, MR 9:30-10:50AM
Much is said these days about news, fake news, facts, alternate facts, and the nature of “truth.” We will do our best to look at the news, understand the nature of and reliability of facts, and look at the pursuit of “truth.” Mostly we will write about it, learning how to do so in a coherent manner using sound, refutable arguments based on current events and our best interpretations of them.
Myths and Realities of Poverty in America
WRI 102-39, MR 2:00-3:20PM
This course examines myths and realities associated with poverty in America, including how poverty may be defined, its causes and effects, and various approaches by government and other agencies to ameliorate its symptoms. Texts, short readings, films and other media include non-fictional and fictional accounts capturing the lived experience of the poor, as well as theoretical works drawn from disciplines such as sociology, education, political economy, and social work, among others.
Feeding the Beast: Keeping People Informed 24/7
WRI 102-40, MR 11:00-12:20PM
The rise of the 24-hour news cycle and social media has created a constant demand for content and information. But as newspapers, broadcasters, social media platforms, and streaming services scramble to meet that demand, the level of depth and accuracy in reporting is sometimes sacrificed. In this section, we will explore the changing role of news and media in society. We examine the obligations of the press (and its audience), the criteria for what is newsworthy and what biases exist, and how the need to feed the beast around the clock has changed the way we generate, distribute, and consume media. Course content will include examples of print, broadcast, documentary films, reality television, and social media.
Technology and Its Bearing on Privacy
WRI 102-41, MW 5:30-6:50PM
This course explores the relationship between technology and privacy which prompts significant questions: Is anything I do online private? Who has access to my information and why? What are algorithms and why should I care? Issues relating to public surveillance, simulation, social media platforms, national security, and privacy as currency are just a few areas of focus within the broad topic of technology and privacy. Students will study the arguments surrounding this issue in several modalities ranging from academic journals to informal blogs in order to gain an in depth awareness of the divergent conversation.
Refugees and Displaced People
WRI 102-42, MW 5:30-6:50PM
Some of history’s most respected luminaries, including Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud, were refugees. Currently, there are a record 60.5 million displaced people worldwide. The reasons people are forced to flee their home countries are varied and complex. In this course, we will examine some of these reasons, as well as some of the ways refugees live and are treated once they make it to a new country. Readings will include a novel, short stories, memoirs, poetry, and non-fiction articles, and we will also include a film to learn more about what has been called “the age of the refugee.”