Fall 2018

(click here for Spring 2019 descriptions)

Section A01: Writing about My Generation
In this course, students will explore the concept of the generational divide in order to come to terms with their generation’s position in time. By reading, discussing, and writing about things like Hipster culture and other counter-cultural movements, the effects of Twitter and social media on our cognitive and social development, and the role that hybrid language forms—like slang or dialectal speech—play in identity formation and representation, we will question the concept of generational identities and attempt to understand their relevance to our conversations about contemporary American life. In addition to exploring generational divides, this course will also provide an overview of foundational concepts in writing. Students should expect to participate in everything from informal discussions about the corporatization of punk rock and hip-hop, to metacognitive projects that require intense analysis of their own thought and writing processes. Through an exploration of different approaches to writing and thinking about writing, students will learn how to use genre as a situational tool for communicating effectively with diverse audiences.

Section A02: Writing about Prison and Prison Culture
There are more prisons in America than there are colleges and universities. This section of 101 will focus on how prisons work in our culture and in our lives. Evidence suggests that prison has become an industry and like any other industry, it requires capital to survive. In this case, people are the capital—specific groups of people. In this capacity, prisons, to a significant degree, dictate how our society looks and how it works. Prisons impact our schools and the private spaces of our lives. This course will use the essay as a primary method to examine how prisons work in both macrocosmic and microcosmic ways. Several different sub genres of the essay and styles of research will be expected throughout the semester.

Section A03: Writing about Technology and Identity
Is technology a means of exhibiting our identity? Or does technology shape our identity? This course will explore via writing exercises and multimodal projects the influence of technology on the 21st Century American life.

Section A04: Writing about Friends and Allies
Our course will practice various rhetorical skills and use a broad reading sample to examine how people’s—and characters’—lives are influenced by friends and allies. Short stories, autobiographical essays, non-fiction selections, and visual texts will enable us to strengthen our vocabulary, organize our papers and paragraphs and practice different sentence styles. We will focus on defining and re-defining concepts in various contexts. We’ll try to refine our ability to form nuanced evaluations of an assignment’s expectations; we’ll help each other through peer reading our classmates’ papers. We’ll learn to create questions that help ourselves and our peers become better able to expand and enrich what we have written.

Section A05: Writing about the Connected Life
Do you belong to Generation C? Marketers use the term to describe consumers who are especially connected via social media. These individuals shoot videos, share images and post written opinions. If you’re reading this, you’re probably part of this creative generation. But what does it mean to be so connected? Is everyone in the world equally connected? And is there a way to be someone other than a consumer? What happens when we dare to disconnect? We’ll pursue these questions, along with others that you pose, as we explore arguments related to networked life. Writing provides us with ways to discover, learn, invent, reflect and express ourselves; it also allows us to communicate with audiences for a range of purposes. Included in our understanding of “writing” will be texts that combine words and image, as we draft, revise, edit, and workshop ideas. This course will also feature weekly, one-hour experiments disconnecting from digital devices.

Section A06: Writing about Chocolate, Dragons and Other Problems
The course will be conducted as a workshop, with students completing assignments tailored to their individual writing needs and conferring frequently with the instructor. Most assignments will be analytic essays of the sort expected in other college courses (e.g., comparison and contrast, deductive essay, book review, and literary or quantitative analysis), yet some of the topics will allow for some creativity (e.g., dragon fighting, eating chocolates, and personal experiences).

Section A07: Writing about My Generation
In this course, students will explore the concept of the generational divide in order to come to terms with their generation’s position in time. By reading, discussing, and writing about things like Hipster culture and other counter-cultural movements, the effects of Twitter and social media on our cognitive and social development, and the role that hybrid language forms—like slang or dialectal speech—play in identity formation and representation, we will question the concept of generational identities and attempt to understand their relevance to our conversations about contemporary American life. In addition to exploring generational divides, this course will also provide an overview of foundational concepts in writing. Students should expect to participate in everything from informal discussions about the corporatization of punk rock and hip-hop, to metacognitive projects that require intense analysis of their own thought and writing processes. Through an exploration of different approaches to writing and thinking about writing, students will learn how to use genre as a situational tool for communicating effectively with diverse audiences.

Section A08: Writing about Prison and Prison Culture
There are more prisons in America than there are colleges and universities. This section of 101 will focus on how prisons work in our culture and in our lives. Evidence suggests that prison has become an industry and like any other industry, it requires capital to survive. In this case, people are the capital—specific groups of people. In this capacity, prisons, to a significant degree, dictate how our society looks and how it works. Prisons impact our schools and the private spaces of our lives. This course will use the essay as a primary method to examine how prisons work in both macrocosmic and microcosmic ways. Several different sub genres of the essay and styles of research will be expected throughout the semester.

Section A09: Writing about War
How do we come to terms with armed conflict as a part of our world and our history? What kinds of people or experiences come to mind when we think about war? And who can write about it? Do we grant to civilians, refugees, children, women, or journalists the same kind of authority that we give to soldiers who have seen combat. In this class we will read, view, discuss, and write about examples of news writing, comics journalism, documentary film, fiction, memoir and poetry about conflict and its impact. In this class we will write a lot, read each other’s work, and learn to understand and meet the demands of different assignment genres. By the time you leave the class, you will have built a profile of yourself as a writer, reflected on what strategies work best for you, and determined the next steps in your writing life.

Section A10: Writing about Into the Wild: Escape and/or Transcendence
Most Americans pursue “unfiltered experience.” “A yearning for elsewhere, for a life beyond the one we’re leading,” suggests Jonathan Raban, “is universal [but] in the national mythology, it’s the quintessential American experience to arrive in a wild and inhospitable place, bend raw nature to one’s own advantage, and make it home.” The “bending” might not be as important as the getting there, the getting out there as in Outward Bound, out into the woods, on the river, up into the mountains. We are accustomed to seeing such an experience as “sublime,” a romantic vision discovered or re-discovered by romantic philosophers, novelists, filmmakers, and poets, so much so that perhaps going out into nature has become a commodity, a vacation package, complete with tour guides and slick pamphlets. This quest for a kind of transcendence associated with nature has existed since the very beginnings of the American experience and has recently been examined by Florence Williams in The Nature Fix, her exploration of neuroscientists’ grapplings about how we are affected by the natural world. We will read and see films based upon Into the Wild and “Brokeback Mountain” as well as the film, “Grizzly Man,” and such novels as In the Lake of the Woods, Bay of Souls, Point Omega, Jazz, and others. Classes involve discussion, student-led panels for each book and film, and five five-page papers. It will be a sublime experience.

Section A11: Writing about Film
Movies have been an integral part of American culture throughout the twentieth century, and look set to continue to reflect and, in some ways, direct American culture well into the twenty-first century. By looking at specific American movies, this course will investigate the ways in which film has reflected, critiqued and even produced American cultural identity in the twentieth century. More importantly, we will investigate how learning the language of film can help us think about the role language plays in the production of creative and critical arguments: how studying the discourse of film might act as a model for relearning the art of argumentation. By reading film in this writerly fashion, we will learn to self-reflect upon the questions, challenges, and choices that make up the process of writing.

Section A12: Writing about Math, Science and Technology
In this course students examine the many ways that writers can communicate mathematical, scientific and technical information to varied audiences. In the process of improving their own writing, students will learn to adapt the best techniques from sources that range from technical papers to explanatory texts for popular audiences, from essays by scientists to science fiction extrapolation and dramatization.

Section A13: Writing about Pop Culture
“Pop culture has become such a part of our world that we may not fully realize the ways in which it influences us. In this class, students will study and respond to a variety of readings which analyze and question the effects pop culture has on society at large and in their own lives. By the end of the semester students will be able to create comprehensive works through practicing writing as a process—from the early draft stages and research, to revision and rewriting. Working closely with peers and the instructor is an essential part of this course. Class will rely heavily on workshops, peer reviews, conferences, class discussions and presentations.

Section A14: Writing about Humor and Persuasion
In this section of English 101, students will think and write critically about the ways in which writers use humor to persuade others and bring about change. We will read several theories of comedy as well as comic texts, and we will think and write critically about the ways in which these comic texts persuade us while making us laugh. Readings from Marvin Diogenes’s Laughing Matters (ISBN 978-0-321-43490-6) will guide our discussions. Students will draft, write, and revise formal and informal essays throughout the semester. Attention will also be given to matters of grammar and spelling, sentence structure, style, and arrangement.

Section A15: Writing about Rewriting Education
In Rebecca Solnit’s “Abolish High School,” Solnit poses a question about contemporary education: “What was it that I was supposed to learn in high school?” For many students, the answer to this question is no more clear at the end of senior year than it is at the beginning of freshman year. In the sixteen years since George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act, the rift between education policy-makers, educators, and young learners seems only to have grown, making Solnit’s question all the more pertinent.

In this class, we will seek answers. Through a research-based exploration of contemporary public, private, and alternative schooling approaches, we will question the efficacy of standardized testing (and thus standardized education), examine the ongoing debates regarding issues of access, like Affirmative Action and the “leaky pipeline” and its effect on women in STEM, and explore how technology, and a growing trend toward autodidacticism, is already reshaping our approach to education, both inside the classroom and out.

Section A16: Writing about Ways of Knowing: What We Know, How We Know
This course addresses the slippery realms of knowledge, particularly as they pertain to reading and writing. What do we know? How do we know what we know? Are facts knowledge? What is a body of knowledge? Who decides what is important to know? Together, we will explore what knowing means in different contexts, and what values are placed on knowledge depending on perspective.

Spring Semester 2019

(click here for Fall 2018 descriptions)

Section B17: Writing about My Generation
In this course, students will explore the concept of the generational divide in order to come to terms with their generation’s position in time. By reading, discussing, and writing about things like Hipster culture and other counter-cultural movements, the effects of Twitter and social media on our cognitive and social development, and the role that hybrid language forms—like slang or dialectal speech—play in identity formation and representation, we will question the concept of generational identities and attempt to understand their relevance to our conversations about contemporary American life. In addition to exploring generational divides, this course will also provide an overview of foundational concepts in writing. Students should expect to participate in everything from informal discussions about the corporatization of punk rock and hip-hop, to metacognitive projects that require intense analysis of their own thought and writing processes. Through an exploration of different approaches to writing and thinking about writing, students will learn how to use genre as a situational tool for communicating effectively with diverse audiences.

Section B18: Writing about Prison and Prison Culture
There are more prisons in America than there are colleges and universities. This section of 101 will focus on how prisons work in our culture and in our lives. Evidence suggests that prison has become an industry and like any other industry, it requires capital to survive. In this case, people are the capital—specific groups of people. In this capacity, prisons, to a significant degree, dictate how our society looks and how it works. Prisons impact our schools and the private spaces of our lives. This course will use the essay as a primary method to examine how prisons work in both macrocosmic and microcosmic ways. Several different sub genres of the essay and styles of research will be expected throughout the semester.

Section B19: Writing about War
How do we come to terms with armed conflict as a part of our world and our history? What kinds of people or experiences come to mind when we think about war? And who can write about it? Do we grant to civilians, refugees, children, women, or journalists the same kind of authority that we give to soldiers who have seen combat. In this class we will read, view, discuss, and write about examples of news writing, comics journalism, documentary film, fiction, memoir and poetry about conflict and its impact. In this class we will write a lot, read each other’s work, and learn to understand and meet the demands of different assignment genres. By the time you leave the class, you will have built a profile of yourself as a writer, reflected on what strategies work best for you, and determined the next steps in your writing life.

Section B20: Writing about Travel and Exploration
At some point in our lives, we have all traveled somewhere new and unfamiliar—a new country, a new school, or a new neighborhood. This course examines what it means to travel and explore. What motivates people to seek out the new? How do people navigate unfamiliar places or cultures? What resources are relied upon or given authority by travelers in unknown terrain? To think through these questions, we will read works by a diversity of authors, including Henry James, Rudyard Kipling, James Baldwin, David Foster Wallace, and Pico Ayer. In doing so, we will pay particular attention to the form as well as the content of each text. We will ask: what opinions or viewpoints are implicitly conveyed or endorsed in a text? How does writing style affect our perception of the authority, impartiality, and reasonableness of a given text? How does writing style affect our perception of the authority, impartiality, and reasonableness of a given text? How does a writer achieve his or her intended effect? What kinds of ideas or experiences are most effectively expressed by which writing styles?

Section B21: Writing about My Generation
In this course, students will explore the concept of the generational divide in order to come to terms with their generation’s position in time. By reading, discussing, and writing about things like Hipster culture and other counter-cultural movements, the effects of Twitter and social media on our cognitive and social development, and the role that hybrid language forms—like slang or dialectal speech—play in identity formation and representation, we will question the concept of generational identities and attempt to understand their relevance to our conversations about contemporary American life. In addition to exploring generational divides, this course will also provide an overview of foundational concepts in writing. Students should expect to participate in everything from informal discussions about the corporatization of punk rock and hip-hop, to metacognitive projects that require intense analysis of their own thought and writing processes. Through an exploration of different approaches to writing and thinking about writing, students will learn how to use genre as a situational tool for communicating effectively with diverse audiences.

Section B22: Writing about Prison and Prison Culture
There are more prisons in America than there are colleges and universities. This section of 101 will focus on how prisons work in our culture and in our lives. Evidence suggests that prison has become an industry and like any other industry, it requires capital to survive. In this case, people are the capital—specific groups of people. In this capacity, prisons, to a significant degree, dictate how our society looks and how it works. Prisons impact our schools and the private spaces of our lives. This course will use the essay as a primary method to examine how prisons work in both macrocosmic and microcosmic ways. Several different sub genres of the essay and styles of research will be expected throughout the semester.

Section B23: Writing about Film
Movies have been an integral part of American culture throughout the twentieth century, and look set to continue to reflect and, in some ways, direct American culture well into the twenty-first century. By looking at specific American movies, this course will investigate the ways in which film has reflected, critiqued and even produced American cultural identity in the twentieth century. More importantly, we will investigate how learning the language of film can help us think about the role language plays in the production of creative and critical arguments: how studying the discourse of film might act as a model for relearning the art of argumentation. By reading film in this writerly fashion, we will learn to self-reflect upon the questions, challenges, and choices that make up the process of writing.

Section B24: Writing about Pop Culture
“Pop culture has become such a part of our world that we may not fully realize the ways in which it influences us. In this class, students will study and respond to a variety of readings which analyze and question the effects pop culture has on society at large and in their own lives. By the end of the semester students will be able to create comprehensive works through practicing writing as a process—from the early draft stages and research, to revision and rewriting. Working closely with peers and the instructor is an essential part of this course. Class will rely heavily on workshops, peer reviews, conferences, class discussions and presentations.

Section B25: Writing about My Generation
In this course, students will explore the concept of the generational divide in order to come to terms with their generation’s position in time. By reading, discussing, and writing about things like Hipster culture and other counter-cultural movements, the effects of Twitter and social media on our cognitive and social development, and the role that hybrid language forms—like slang or dialectal speech—play in identity formation and representation, we will question the concept of generational identities and attempt to understand their relevance to our conversations about contemporary American life. In addition to exploring generational divides, this course will also provide an overview of foundational concepts in writing. Students should expect to participate in everything from informal discussions about the corporatization of punk rock and hip-hop, to metacognitive projects that require intense analysis of their own thought and writing processes. Through an exploration of different approaches to writing and thinking about writing, students will learn how to use genre as a situational tool for communicating effectively with diverse audiences.

Section B26: Writing about Prison and Prison Culture
There are more prisons in America than there are colleges and universities. This section of 101 will focus on how prisons work in our culture and in our lives. Evidence suggests that prison has become an industry and like any other industry, it requires capital to survive. In this case, people are the capital—specific groups of people. In this capacity, prisons, to a significant degree, dictate how our society looks and how it works. Prisons impact our schools and the private spaces of our lives. This course will use the essay as a primary method to examine how prisons work in both macrocosmic and microcosmic ways. Several different sub genres of the essay and styles of research will be expected throughout the semester.

Section B27: Writing about Thinking
Writing About Thinking focuses on writing as a way to think. The assigned essays, to be read weekly, are by authors who wrote their way toward thought, who solidified their thinking through the use of vivid illustrations and who clarified their ideas in order to share them with their reading audience. For many authors, unlike many of us, writing is how they think; all other thinking methods (oration, discussion, etc.) simply stir the pot. Yet, stirring the pot is a necessary precursor to writing; we need to speak to each other about the works we are reading, not only in terms of content but to examine the structure and approach that the content determined. Why do we do this? Because what the writer is trying to say will be reflected in how he or she writes. The writing produced by students in Writing About Thinking may address private questions, critical evaluations of current controversies and close encounters with the risky thinking that comes from questioning the status quo. In other words, in Writing About Thinking, all ideas are on the table. We will read Jonathan Kozol, Vladimir Nabokov, Joan Didion, Alice Walker, Brent Staples, Mark Twain and Virginia Woolf as well as current editorials and blogs. Finally, we will examine and discuss cultural interpretations of the world through any medium available. Writing About Thinking is writing and reading intensive and includes the keeping of an academic journal, active participation in class discussions, and engagement of each other’s written work through the on-going process of peer review and workshops.

Section B28: Writing about Film
Movies have been an integral part of American culture throughout the twentieth century, and look set to continue to reflect and, in some ways, direct American culture well into the twenty-first century. By looking at specific American movies, this course will investigate the ways in which film has reflected, critiqued and even produced American cultural identity in the twentieth century. More importantly, we will investigate how learning the language of film can help us think about the role language plays in the production of creative and critical arguments: how studying the discourse of film might act as a model for relearning the art of argumentation. By reading film in this writerly fashion, we will learn to self-reflect upon the questions, challenges, and choices that make up the process of writing.

Section B29: Writing about Multicultural Lives
What do you think of when you hear the word “culture”? Race? Religion? Traditions? Language? Gender? What does it mean to be living among people who embody different aspects of culture? What does it mean to identify with more than one culture simultaneously? We’ll look at some possible answers, along with the work of Anjani Patel, David Sedaris, Danzy Senna, and Deborah Tannen, then use some of these possibilities to explore Wheaton’s permanent collection of art. This course will have elements of traditional lecture and discussion along with workshop and small group work. We’ll use the different aspects of culture as a framework to discuss the larger issues of writing in both formal and informal assignments. Each student will have frequent one-on-one consultations with the instructor. There will be an emphasis on process and revision while we develop the skills needed for college-level writing.

Section B30: Writing about Pop Culture
“Pop culture has become such a part of our world that we may not fully realize the ways in which it influences us. In this class, students will study and respond to a variety of readings which analyze and question the effects pop culture has on society at large and in their own lives. By the end of the semester students will be able to create comprehensive works through practicing writing as a process—from the early draft stages and research, to revision and rewriting. Working closely with peers and the instructor is an essential part of this course. Class will rely heavily on workshops, peer reviews, conferences, class discussions and presentations.