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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 2021

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 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.

The Ethics & Arguments of True Crime
WRI 102-01, Mo/Th 8:00-9:20AM
Madeline Anthes
True crime, a nonfiction genre in which the author discusses a real crime, is having a moment. In the past few years there has been an influx of podcasts, documentaries, and books devoted to true crime. This course will examine the ethics of true crime, explore the boundaries of nonfiction, and discuss why the genre is currently so popular. We will look at a few specific cases, read nonfictional accounts, and listen to podcasts that cover true crime. This course will cover triggering topics and graphic material; while we will make every attempt to have discussions in a meaningful and ethical way, students should be prepared to cover difficult and intense material.

The Superheroic Construct: From Gotham to Wakanda
WRI 102-02/03, Tu/Fri 11:00-12:20PM & Tu/Fri 3:30-4:50PM
Samantha Atzeni
This course will focus on the super-heroic social constructs that define the mythos of the superhero universe, including Marvel and DC’s humble origins within the pages of sequential art. Together, we will deconstruct the role of superheroes and determine how their purposes, environments, and moral codes define these epic narratives. Together we will attempt to answer the question: What cultural components create a legendary superhero story? Assignments and readings will focus on film theory and sequential art theory, as well as issues of identity through gender, race, and class. Throughout the semester, we will focus on each hero’s struggle with personal responsibility, trauma, terrorism in a post 9/11 world, and how the roles of good and evil are modified throughout each medium. We will also explore how authority and chaos are important ingredients for a successful superhero story – and why this recipe works so well for creating a superhero blockbuster. 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, Mo/Th 9:30-10:50AM & Mo/Th 11:00-12:20PM
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 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.

Social Media in Personal and Political Spheres
WRI 102-06/07, Tu/Fr 2:00-3:30PM & Tu/Fri 3:30-4:50PM
Michael Boldizar
In this course we will seek to identify, acknowledge, and thoroughly examine the impact that social media has had in both our personal lives and in our greater identity as globalized individuals. This includes the effects of social media on our political climate and inter-social identities. Additionally, we will spend some time analyzing the large tech conglomerates, such as Google and Facebook, and how they shape and alter these identities.

Reading and Writing Pop Culture
WRI 102-08/09, Mo/Th 12:30-1:50PM & Mo/Th 2:00-3:20PM
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.

Scarcity and Indulgence: How Food Availability, Income Disparities, and Corporations Shape Culture
WRI 102-10/11, Tu/Th 5:30-6:50PM & Tu/Th 7:00-8:20PM
Melanie Frances
The course will engage students in modern political issues such as income disparities, food availability, and corporate responsibilities. Students will explore journalistic and academic writings as a means into evaluating how these issues shape modern culture.

Queer Tales
WRI 102-12/13, Tu/Th 5:30-6:50PM & Tu/Th 7:00-8:20
Zach Gall
Narratives are a huge part of how we understand our world and ourselves. This is perhaps even more true for worlds and peoples other than ourselves or when our own identities are different than our cultural norm. This course will explore LGBTQIA+ identities through narrative including written and performed work, social and mass media, and research and data. Students will explore their own identities and interactions with the Queer community through writing assignments that are reflective, research focused, and experiential.

Income Inequality
WRI 102-14, Tu/Th 5:30-6:50PM
Penelope Gardner
Money is power. In this course, we will learn who has it and how it is used to shape our world. We’ll explore the inequities experienced by the majority of the population, how they came to exist, and how they disproportionately affect certain groups such as women and minorities. Students will gain a worldly perspective and practical insight into economic issues and how they impact each of us on a daily basis.

Race to Justice
WRI 102-15, W 5:30-8:20PM
Stefanie Marchetti
This course will examine the country’s current climate around race. Students will engage in timely readings, films, documentaries, and visual media highlighting current events related to issues of social injustice, systemic racism, and the Black Lives Matter movement. We will utilize rhetorical claim approaches such as definition, causal, and evaluative, as a way of fostering understanding and writing about these issues. This course will be team-taught, with two sessions of the class run concurrently. At the same time, students will also benefit from the small group WRI 102 environment. When we delve into the writing process, students will meet with their respective class to engage in developing written work, peer editing, and conferencing sessions.

Activism: Past and Present
WRI 102-16, Mo/We 5:30-6:50PM 
Dionne Hallback
This course will explore the role of activism in our society Students will use different styles of argument to analyze attitudes, beliefs and outcomes of activism. Some topics may include gender, employment, mass incarceration, sports, race/identity, politics, gun control, among others. Students will investigate activism as a way to illustrate the diversity of methods and outcomes.

Box Office Bomb: Why Movies Fail
WRI 102-17, Mo/Th 3:30-4:50PM 
Laura Hargreaves
In this course, we will study the history and aftermath of notable failures in the movie business. What can we learn about good writing, arguments, and revision from failures such as The Room and Super Mario Brothers? What makes a movie a cult classic as opposed to what makes a movie a failure?

Celebrities and Society
WRI 102-18, Mo/We 5:30-6:50PM 
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, visual media, and advertisements. We will discuss the roles celebrities have on youth and individuals’ self-perceptions, as well as the ways in which media dictates trends in behavior and aesthetics. In addition, we will closely examine celebrities’ roles (both active and passive) in shaping and changing society’s views on various social issues.

Food, Glorious Food
WRI 102-19/20, Mo/Th 9:30-10:50AM & Mo/Th 11:00-12:20PM
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.

Fairy Tales and Adaptations
WRI 102-21, Mo/Th 3:30-4:50PM
Jordan Virgil
In this course, we will examining classic fairy tales and their contemporary adaptations, represented in literary, film, art, theatre, and media retellings. Using Julie Sanders’ Adaptation and Appropriation as a guiding theoretical text, Sanders writes: “Texts feed off each other and create other texts, and other critical studies; literature creates other literature. Part of the sheer pleasure of the reading experience must be the tension between the familiar and the new” (14). Contemporary writers of fairy tale adaptations play an essential part in navigating “the tension[s] between the familiar and the new” as they revisit and retell some of the most beloved fairy tales. What are the “tension[s]” between fairy tale adaptations and their classic counterparts? What new meanings are created or offered from these “tension[s]”, and how do these meanings reframe our understandings of specific archetypes and narratives? How are gender, sexuality, social class, race, and the environment reexamined and reshaped in fairy tale adaptations? Why do we read fairy tales now? Do we read them in the same way and for the same reasons as we read them in the past? What cultural expectations do we have now of fairy tales that may differ, oppose, or align with previous historical and cultural readings? How do we handle lessons that life teaches us every day?  How do some people manage to turn hardship into a triumph? 

Issues in Health Care
WRI 102-22, Mo 5:30-8:20PM
Asmaa Kabel
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.

Race to Justice 
WRI 102-23, We 5:30-8:20PM 
Asmaa Kabel 
This course will examine the country’s current climate around race. Students will engage in timely readings, films, documentaries, and visual media highlighting current events related to issues of social injustice, systemic racism, and the Black Lives Matter movement. We will utilize rhetorical claim approaches such as definition, causal, and evaluative, as a way of fostering understanding and writing about these issues. This course will be team-taught, with two sessions of the class run concurrently. At the same time, students will also benefit from the small group WRI 102 environment. When we delve into the writing process, students will meet with their respective class to engage in developing written work, peer editing, and conferencing sessions.

People and Plants: Food, Medicine, Nature, & Wilderness
WRI 102-24/25, Tu/Th 5:30-6:50PM & Tu/Th 7:00-8:20PM
Lindsay Knapp
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?

Young Adult Romantic Fiction
WRI 102-26/27, Tu/Fr 2:00-3:20PM & Tu/Fr 3:30-4:50PM
Laura Kranzler
In this course we will be reading traditional young adult romantic fiction by writers such as John Green and Sarah Dessen, as well as by more diverse writers of color and from the LGTBQ community. In addition, we will be watching TV shows such as Riverdale and The Vampire Diaries, as well as movies such as The Fault in Our Stars. We will be exploring what these various texts suggest about conventional masculinity, femininity, and sexuality, as well as how these themes are subverted, challenged, and undermined. We will look at how romance is defined and represented in these texts, and what they indicate about real-world romance in all of its complexity.

Masculinity and American Culture
WRI 102-28, Tu/Th 5:30-6:50PM
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 films such as Superbad and Moonlight, and selected readings on college hookups and hazing and what each has to say about masculinity.  

Dilemmas of the Digital Domain
WRI 102-30/31, Mo/Th 11:00-12:20PM & Mo/Th 12:30-1:50PM
Janet Mazur
Is there any area of our lives NOT affected by digital technology?! From how we shop, access our class assignments, stream music, learn what’s happening in the world, chat with friends near and far – digital technology, especially social media and artificial intelligence, is profoundly shaping us. How is this affecting our social skills, the quality of our relationships and our very sense of identity? Through a selection of timely readings, documentaries and lively class discussions, we will examine the impact of the digital domain in our lives – the good, the bad and everything in-between.

Rewriting the Past, Predicting the Future: Studies in Time Travel 
WRI 102-32/33, Mo/Th 11:00-12:20PM & Mo/Th 12:30-1:50PM
Deborah Morkun
This semester, we will go to the future, and we will revisit the past. We will discover the limitless possibilities of humanity by reading books, essays, and watching films that explore our potential futures. We will also recount some of history’s main events by turning the clock backwards, reading and watching films in which the characters journey back in time. Time travel has captured the popular imagination for centuries. In this class, we will imagine futures and reimagine the past — as sometimes a great imagination is as good as a time machine.

Science Fiction & Creative Possibility
WRI 102-34, Tu/Fr 8:00-9:20AM
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.

Life is One Big Lesson 
WRI 102-35, Tu/Fr 9:30-10:50AM
Paula Rainey  
How do we handle lessons that life teaches us every day? How do some people manage to turn hardship into a triumph? How do we define success and failure? These are just some of the questions that we will answer in this course through essays and other writing forms. We will study how people overcome difficulty situations. As a class, we will define and discuss adversity. We will examine how each of us handle adversity. Watching films, such as The Pursuit of Happyness and The Blind Side, and reading stories, we will analyze ways people have triumphed over unfortunate circumstances and persevered. We will define our personal meaning of success, as well as what society dictates is a successful individual. We will discuss powerful lessons each of us our given. We will examine our decision-making processes, particularly how we can avoid costly mistakes in life. 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?

War, Peace, and Social Justice 
WRI 102-36/37,Tu/Th 5:30-6:50PM & Tu/Th 7:00-8:20PM
Donna Raskin 
While killing is not biologically natural for humans, most people think wars are inevitable. They aren’t, and, in fact, the people who suffer most from wars are women and children, not adult male soldiers. In this class, we will look at some of the issues around war, and then study why peace is not a “utopia,” but merely another word for social justice.

The Argument of Film 
WRI 102-38, TF 9:30-10:50AM
Nina Ringer
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 small group film, and each student will create a longer researched essay on a film of the student’s choosing.

Leadership for Social Justice
WRI 102-39, TF 11:00-12:20PM
Antonino Scarpati
This interactive course examines the critical role of leadership in advancing social justice, with emphasis on successful and failed efforts to address enduring social problems such as oppression, inequality, inequity, and other violations of human rights in the US and globally. Together we will critically evaluate various theories and models of effective leadership for the public good. The course utilizes an evidence-based, case study analysis of leaders in the public and private sectors, including government officials, non-profit agents, citizen activists, as well as social and corporate entrepreneurs. As important. we will investigate the values, traits and competencies strongly associated with successful leaders for positive social change. Texts, films, videos and supplemental readings include non-fictional and fictional works, as well as contemporary mass and social media sources. Conditions permitting, the instructor plans to incorporate guest presenters and community engaged learning. 

Communicating Trauma: Time Travel, Doubling, and the Imaginary in Literature
WRI 102-40, Tu/Fr 9:30-10:50AM
Jennie Sekanics
How does one communicate an experience that is in itself inexplicable? Why do some stories about trauma employ scenes of time travel, doubling, and magic? What happens when we look at “unreal” elements of a novel as real methods of communication? In this course, students will consider how experiences of trauma are depicted in literature and discover if certain structural elements, such as nonlinear narratives, actually mimic the process of attempting to confront trauma. This course will survey how the form of a narrative can work to empower its protagonist by communicating trauma with the help of literary techniques such as doubling, time travel, and supernatural elements. As we read each text, we will consider how traumatic experiences are retold in creative ways that also reveal truths about how other social factors (race, gender, class, etc.) affect how trauma is expressed to literary audiences. Students will obtain a new way of looking at literature and discern how to use trauma theory to expose power disparities in literature. We will play close attention to the cyclicality of narratives and similarities in constructs of gender, race, class, and sexuality across narratives. Students will be challenged to reconsider definitions of genre and ultimately, question what makes a trauma narrative “authentic.” Through studying fiction and some film/TV scenes, students will sharpen their argumentative and analytical skills, recognize artistic strategies that potentially depict trauma, and complete independent research to produce their final essay.

How to Disappear: Escape & Reinvention
WRI 102-41/42, Tu/Fr 9:30-10:50AM & 11:00-12:20PM
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 LGBT Narrative in Cinema
WRI 102-43/44, Tu/Fr 11:00-12:20PM & Mo/Th 11:-00-12:20PM
Ryan Segura
This semester we are going to be viewing a number of films that address the topic of the LGBT narrative in film. Specifically, we will address the cultural, political, familial, and religious motivations that shape how we understand what it means to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and so on. Please note that because we are watching a number of films in this course, you will need to find time to watch the films prior to class which will be made available to view via the library’s website. Over the course of the semester we will be addressing some of the following questions: How are LGBTQ+ characters and storylines represented in film? Are these representations fair? Why or why not? Do these films tend to have happy or sad endings? Why or why not? Do these films tend to appeal to a certain audience? How? Why? Are there any members of the LGBTQ+ community who are not being represented? Who? Why? What do these films have in common? What do they do that’s different? Are there any trends to these films? If so, what are they?

College Behind the Wall
WRI 102-45/46, Tu/Fr 2:00-3:20PM & Tu/Fr 3:30-4:50PM
Amanda Simpson
Disadvantaged groups remain the focus of conversation in higher education. Often these groups are identified within certain social constructs including race and ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. However, incarceration status has been another topic of conversation. In this course we will use selected articles and various media forms to discuss opportunities for college study for students who are incarcerated with a focus on access. We will review arguments around providing access to college study for students incarcerated or behind the wall. 

All the Single Ladies
WRI 102-47, Mo/Th 3:30-4:50PM
Tina Tormey
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

Head to Pen- Writing from the inside and investigating your career goals 
WRI 102-48/49, Tu/Th 5:30-6:50PM & Tu/Th 3:30-4:50PM
Yolanda Whidbee
When the head, heart, mind and soul intertwine, what will you allow your pen to capture? During this course, students will learn how to write from their “inner- core,” the place where truth dwells. These sessions will be designed for students to view writing through the lens of their own personal development and self-discovery process. We will focus on choice of major, intention in choosing that major, and the undeclared major. These interactive class discussions and mapping exercises will encourage students to take a closer look at career possibilities and goals.

The Argument of Ethics: Power Book II: Ghost Engaging in Current Issues
WRI 102-50/51, Mo/Th 12:30-1:50PM & Tu/Fr 12:30-1:50PM
Tiffany Youngblood
In this course we will analyze what drives a person’s decisions. What are the consequences of our actions? How do we examine who is ultimately affected by our actions? How do we determine how things could be done differently? We will center the course on the actions and decisions made by the characters in the hit drama series Power Book II: Ghost. We will view some of the episodes together and engage in discussion about the content. We will ultimately rewrite the ending of the series to reflect our thinking about ethics, decisions, and power.

Misfits and Monsters: How We Demonize People With Mental Illness  
WRI 102-52, MR 12:30-1:50PM
Mary Bonard
The course will examine how the stigmatization of people with mental illness is created through literary and media forms. Students will explore how mental illness is portrayed through various representations of it in literature, poetry, film and in our modern political discourse (op-eds). By discussing how authors, filmmakers and politicians portray people with mental illness, the course seeks to dispel many of the belief systems that create and maintain their demonization. Among the questions to be considered: What is the quality of life for people who are directly or indirectly affected by the portrayals that are created to instill fear and shunning of people with mental illnesses? Why do we find these characters so compelling? Why and how are the authors and filmmakers so successful in creating terror and fright out of characters who appear to be mentally ill? Do we perpetuate the created fear and apathy with regard to people with mental illness? Some of the works to be examined may include Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Edgar Allen Poe’s The Black Cat, Tony Earley’s Backpack, Hard Rock Returns to Prison From the Hospital for the Criminal Insane by Etheridge Knight, Alfred Hitchcock’s film, Psycho.

The Literature of Environmental Justice Engaging in Current Issues
WRI 102-53, Mo/Th 8:00-9:20AM 
Brianna Shields
Environmental justice presumes from the outset that nature is not only found in “wilderness,” but also in the places where we live, work, and play—and thus revises our understanding of environmentalism and works to understand the relationships between humans and the environments of which we are a part. Throughout this course, we will read about how environmental issues intersect systems of social injustice, joining together environments, personal lives, politics, and economics both here and around the world. In this course we’ll examine what contemporary American literature has to say about environmental racism, economic inequity, sexism, regionalism, social justice, and toxic colonialism. We will interrogate the following questions: Who is most hurt by environmental degradation and who benefits? What is the role of literature (and other forms of art) in the struggle for social change? How can each of us participate as a change-agent in the struggle for environmental justice, locally and globally? How can our understanding of literature contribute? Environmental justice literature provides narratives of individuals and communities organizing and responding to economic and environmental problems on local, national, and international levels. Your definition of “the environment” may never be the same.