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Haverford College

Course Catalog

Writing Program: 2007-2008

DescriptionFacultyWriting SeminarsDepartment Homepage

Description

As a vital part of academic study, personal expression, and civic life, writing merits concerted attention in a liberal education. The Writing Program encourages students to become rigorous thinkers and writers who can construct arguments that matter, craft prose that resonates with their intended audience, and understand how writing and learning cannot be extricated. We offer advanced courses in writing and rhetoric, run the Writing Center, and administer the first-year writing seminars.

All first-year students take one of these writing seminars. Taught by faculty from across the College, the seminars explore a particular theme or field of study while emphasizing writing as a means of inquiry, analysis, and persuasion. The courses come in three varieties: WS-D sections adopt the perspective of a particular academic discipline; WS-T sections focus on a given topic; and WS-I sections prepare students who need extra exposure to academic writing. To help students negotiate the demands of academic writing, courses include practice in critical reading, argumentation, style, and editing; they also stress writing as a process, where the first draft is not the last and where feedback from peers becomes crucial in revising.

Students interested in Creative Writing will find these courses listed under the English Department.

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Faculty

Acting Director of the Writing Program and Assistant Professor of English Debora Sherman
Acting Director of the WritingCenter and Visiting Assistant Professor of Writing Alisa Hartz
Visiting Lecturer in Writing and Consultant to the Writing Program Kristin Lindgren
Associate Professor of English Maud McInerney
Associate Professor of English Rajeswari Mohan
Associate Professor of English Gustavus Stadler
Associate Professor of English Christina Zwarg
Lecturer in Education Barbara Hall
Visiting Associate Professor of Writing William di Canzio
Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy Emanuela Bianchi
Visiting Assistanat Professor of Classics Andrew Fenton
Visiting Assistant Professor of English Peter Gaffney
Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science Robert Rodgers
Visiting Assistant Professor of Writing Carol Schilling
Visiting Lecturer in Writing Josh Brooks

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Writing Seminars

  • 102 Justice: A Cross-Cultural and Cross-National Perspective HU
    J.Brooks
    An exploration of how concepts of justice and criminality are related to cultural and national identity. We will read fiction, philosophy, cultural criticism, and journalism on a wide range of issues - from the O.J. Simpson trial to principles of Islamic Law to motorcycles gangs in Japan - and then examine questions such as: Are concepts of justice universal? What constitutes a just punishment? Is the American judicial system fair? We will have discussions and debates to hone critical thinking and persuasive argumentation skills and examine aspects of the writing process critical for creating effective essays: from generating ideas and interesting theses, to making sure an essay is focused, to editing for clear and precise prose. This is a first-semester course with individual tutorials that prepares students for a second-semester topic-based or discipline-based writing. Prerequisite: Open only to members of the first-year class as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the social justice requirement.)
  • 105 Selfishness, Charity, and Responsibility HU
    A.Hartz
    An exploration of what we owe to ourselves and to each other, as individuals and as members of a community. Reading literature, philosophy, journalism, and autobiography, we will discuss conflicts between feelings that seem equallly natural: our self-interest and our sense of responsibility to others. Are we obliged to give our hard-earned money to charity? Are we responsible for trying to remedy the wrongs of our ancestors? Can "success" be good if it estranges us from our community? We will also discuss crucial aspects of the writing process, from generating ideas and interesting theses, to making surre an essay is focused, to editing for clear and precise prose. This is a first-semester course with individual tutorials that prepares students for a second-semester topic-based or discipline-based writing seminar. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the social justice requirement.)
  • 108 Comic Theater - Seriously HU
    W.DiCanzio
    A study of funny plays--classic and contemporary--with serious intentions. They show truth to power by making us laugh. Targets include religious hypocrisy, political folly, silly notions of love, and persistent forms of bigotry--racism, sexism, homophobia. In comedy, the underdog tends to come out on top. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the freshman writing requirement.)
  • 115 Encounters With the Unconscious: Dreams, Memory & Madness HU
    P.Gaffney
    What is the unconscious and how does it work? How does it differ from conscious thought and language--what is it trying to say? This course will consider the role of the unconscious in memory, madness, and contemporary visual culture, as well as its influence on our own writing. Beginning with William James's work on the unconscious and stream of consciousness writing, we will lproceed by reading works by André Breton, Virginia Woolf, Kurt Vonnegut, and Philip K. Dick, and viewing films like "Fight Club", "Brazil", "The Matrix" and "Blade Runner". Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the freshman writing requirement.)
  • 116 Illness, Medicine, and Storytelling HU
    K.Lindgren
    An exploration of the narrative dimension of disease. We will examine the forms that stories of illness take and the purposes they serve, and also how doctors such as Freud and Oliver Sacks have shaped the genre of the case history. Prerequisite: Open only to first year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the freshman writing requirement.)
  • 117 Disability and Difference HU
    K.Lindgren
    An exploration of disability in a variety of genres and contexts. The texts for the course include memoirs that chronicle the experience of living with disability or parenting a disabled child; essays that examine contested definitions of impairment, disability, and normalcy; and representations of disability in case histories, works of fiction, and film. We will ask: How is the "normal" body constituted by discourses of disability and difference? What is the relationship between the disabled body and the rhetorics of medicine, democracy, gender, race, class, and social justice? Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the social justice requirement.) (Satisfies the freshman writing requirement.)
  • 119 Life-Altering Conditions HU
    C.Schilling
    Always in emergencies we invent narrative, observed the writer Anatole Broyard when he became a cancer patient. We will read his and other narratives about the experience of responding to and living with medical and disabling conditions that alter lives. These stories will bring us to complicated questions about human resilience; the making of identity; the constructions of normality, difference, and human community; and medical, ethical, and social responses to alterations of the body. We will also speculate about the contributions of writing and other arts to the process of living with and interpreting the fluid states of human bodies. We will concentrate on essays and print memoirs, but also include some poems, a graphic memoir, and film. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the social justice requirement.) (Satisfies the freshman writing requirement.)
  • 120 Evolutionary Fictions HU
    C.Schilling
    The capacious explanatory power of Darwin's concept of evolution depended upon the metaphors and stories that circulated in the scientist's cultural world to make a startling idea accessible and persuasive. Ever since their publication, The Origin of Species and The Descent of Man have, in turn, generated literary fictions representing disparate interpretations of evolution's meaning to human culture. We will trace these cultural exchanges between science and literature by reading selections from Darwin's writing along with literary works that have responded either explicitly or indirectly to his ideas. We will discuss the literary and cultural fate of some of Darwin's key words, such as "survival," "extinction," "adaptation," "fittest," and "progress." And we will speculate about how they enter certain constructions of abundant productivity or irretrievable loss, incremental alteration and catastrophic change, stunning beauty or grotesque horror, competition or cooperation, elegant design or universal chaos. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the freshman writing requirement.)
  • 121 The Marginal and Mainstream in Theater HU
    W.diCanzio
    A study of contemporary and classical plays. We will explore how theater makes insiders of those despised as outsiders, often because of race, religion, or gender: their marginal stories become the mainstream stuff of drama. When these characters take center stage, they expose structures of inequality and prejudice in the society that would exclude them. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the social justice requirement.) (Satisfies the freshman writing requirement.)
  • 126 Passion, Proof and Persuasion: The Nature of Scientific Inquiry NA (Cross-listed in Biology)
    J.Punt
    An exploration of the narratives underlying scientific discovery. Using select scientific memoirs and biographies as a guide, we will explore motivations that drive scientists and scientific breakthroughs. We will then analyze the work of a single biologist from multiple perspectives and examine how scientific controversy is portrayed in the media and in fiction. Finally, by evaluating the writings of scientists and journalists, we will work together to determine the most effective models of communication of scientific advances. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the freshmanwriting requirement.)
  • 128 Reading Sacred Texts HU
    N.Koltun-Fromm
    An introduction to reading sacred texts in an academic setting. In this course we will apply a variety of methodological approaches - literary, historical, sociological, anthropological, or philosophical - to the reading of religious texts, documents, and materials. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the freshman writing requirement.)
  • 129 The Lotus Sutra: Text, Image, and Practice HU
    Staff
    (Cross-listed in East Asian Studies and Religion)
    An exploration of the Lotus Sutra, arguably the most important text in the history of East Asian Buddhism. We will examine its narrative and doctrinal dimensions, study artistic representations of its stories, and explore the practice and cult of the text. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the freshman writing requirement.)
  • 132 Writing Beethoven HU (Cross-listed in Music)
    R.Freedman
    (Satisfies the freshman writing requirement.)
  • 133 The American West in Fact and Fiction SO
    E.Lapsansky
    An examination of the imagery of the American West. Using visual and verbal images, this course explores such diverse aspects of the West as cowboys, cartography, water rights, race and social class, technology, religion, prostitution, and landscape painting. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the freshman writing requirement.)
  • 134 Money and Morality HU
    A.Hartz
    An exploration of the meanings of money through readings in literature, philosophy, sociology, and journalism. Buying, selling, earning, owing, lending, and borrowing are not only basic economic transactions, but also ways that we express what we value. In this course, we will engage with entangled issues of ethics and economics: If we give more money to Nike than to charity, do we value shoes over people? Do we "owe" our parents for raising us? Does our "class" determine our values? We will also consider recent representaions of the working class in the popular media (e.g. Roseanne, Erin Brockovitch, Nickel and Dimed). You will develop your skills of argumentation, analysis, and close reading through careful attention to all stages of the writing process. Prerequisite: Open only to first year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the social justice requirement.) (Satisfies the freshman writing requirement.)
  • 136 Myth & Society HU
    B.Mulligan
    Why did Vergil turn to the myth of Troy to comment on the rise of Rome s empire and the fall of its republican government? How did Freud use the myth of Oedipus in formulating the principles of psychoanalysis? Focusing on the mythologies of the ancient Mediterranean in particular those of Greece and Rome we will explore the roles that myth can play in society. In the process of investigating variety of approaches individuals and societies can take to myth, students will hone their abilities at critical reading and writing. Whenever possible, we will draw connections and comparisons to the mythologies of other cultures (including our own). Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the freshman writing requirement.)
  • 137 The Rhetoric of Force in Classical Greece HU
    A.Fenton
    The interplay between violence and persuasion fascinated the ancient Greeks, and will make up the topic for this class. Beginning with the Iliad's conflict between Agamemnon and Achilles for supremacy among the Achaeans, Greeks regularly paired the effective use of rhetoric with the use of physical force. By reading and analyzing such authors as Sophocles, Plato and Aristophanes, we will examine the role of rhetoric in controlling and shaping violence within a democratic society. We will investigate the importance of persuasive speech in converting individual vengeance into collective justice, as well as its function of legitimizing the use of force by the state. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the freshman writing requirement.)
  • 138 Critical Issues in Education: Politics and Practices SO (Cross-listed in Education)
    B.Hall
    Prerequisite: None. (Satisfies the freshman writing requirement.)
  • 143 Suburban Politics SO
    R.Rodgers
    Over half of all Americans live in the suburbs, according to the 2000 Census. This phenomenon can be explained, in part, by the broadly democratic promise of the suburbs: good schools, safe neighborhoods, and backyard barbecues for all. But what happens when what Dolores Hayden has called the triple dream of home, nature, and community gives way to the reality of long commutes, cultural blandness, and isolation? In this writing seminar, we explore the political implications of the rise of suburbia for American democracy. Reviewing the criticisms of urban planners, legal scholars, and social scientists, we explore the nature of community in suburbia. Do suburbs encourage or inhibit political participation? What types of problems do suburban communities confront and what gets left off the agenda? We focus special attention on the politics of exclusion, noting how the political and legal framework of suburbanization has separated Americans along economic and social lines. In the second half of the course, each student selects a suburb to investigate, seeking to understand the ways in which that suburb both fulfills and denies the democratic promise of America. We conclude by considering policy options to recapture or reinvigorate the suburban dream. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the freshman writing requirement.)
  • 144 Tropes of Freedom HU
    E.Bianchi
    This course will involve an investigation and critical analysis of the concept of freedom in various intellectual and historical contexts, both philosophical and political. We will look at how "free will" becomes a philosophical problem in relation to God, and in relation to a mechanistic universe, as well as the relationship of freedom to responsibility after Nietzsche's proclamation of the "death of God." We'll also examine various political movements motivated by the ideal of freedom (including the nation we live in), and rhetorics of freedom in our contemporary global context. Through key readings, research assignments, and a variety of writing projects students will hone skills of critical interpretation, argumentation, and analysis. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the freshman writing requirement.)
  • 146 Freedom and Power in the Information Age NA
    D.Wonnacott
    An exploration of the impact of information technology on our ability to create a balance between conflicting rights, e.g. does the government have a right to wiretap our phones? How can we balance copyright protection with our right to free speech? We will examine arguments that have been made for various balances at various times and enter into the fray with our own essays, sharing drafts with each other and using feedbackto produce work that is clearly written, logically consistent, and relevant. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the freshman writing requirement.)
  • 147 The History of Mechanical Thought NA
    S.Lindell
    An exploration of the history of computer and information systems, from early number systems to binary logic, and from the abacus to the modern computer. We will also explore what makes a machine automatic, or a general purpose calculating machine. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the freshman writing requirement.)
  • 148 Innovation, Rebellion and Dissent HU
    J.Benatov
    What motivates people to rebel? This course examines the notions of originality and dissent from both a social and an aesthetic perspective. Our readings and analyses during the semester will demonstrate that there is no clear-cut separation between these two spheres and that artistic and social idiosyncrasy are mutually constitutive elements. Readings include: Herman Melville, “Bartleby, the Scrivener”; Jorge Luis Borges, “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius”; Philip Roth, “The Conversion of the Jews,” “Eli the Fanatic”; J.D. Salinger, “A Perfect Day for Bananafish,” “Teddy”; Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; "Pulp Fiction", Dir. Quentin Tarantino; "Adaptation", Dir. Spike Jonze; Italo Calvino, "If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler". Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the freshman writing requirement.)
  • 149 Entering Eastern Europe HU
    J.Benatov
    Over the past decade or so, Prague and Budapest have rapidly become two of the most appealing travel destinations in Europe. Until not too long ago, however, they were still part of socialist Eastern Europe. Situated for almost half a century behind an ideological Iron Curtain, this region remained America’s political enemy during the long decades of the Cold War. In this course, we will explore a variety of cultural representations of this most enigmatic, secluded, and ‘un-Western’ part of Europe. How do ideas, images, and stereotypes of people and places change after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989? More importantly, how is our understanding of American culture and identity enriched by analyzing U.S. fiction, films, and journalism engaged with Eastern Europe? Fiction: John Updike, “Rich in Russia,” “Bech in Rumania,” “The Bulgarian Poetess,” “Bech in Czech,” 1970; Philip Roth, “The Prague Orgy,” 1985; Saul Bellow, "The Dean’s December", 1981; Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections, 2000; Annie Ward, "The Making of June", 2002 Non-fiction: Robert Kaplan, Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History (excerpts) Eva Hoffman, Exit into History: A Journey Through the New Eastern Europe(excerpts) Films: Good Bye Lenin! Dir. Wolfgang Becker, 2003; The Terminal. Dir. Steven Spielberg, 2004; Welcome to Sarajevo. Dir. Michael Winterbottom, 1997; Stranger Than Paradise. Dir. Jim Jarmusch, 1984 Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the freshman writing requirement.)
  • 150 Introduction to Literary Analysis HU (Cross-listed in English)
    Staff
    Intended like other sections of the Writing Program to advance students critical reading and analytical writing skills, this course is geared specifically towards introducing students to the discipline that studies the literary traditions of the English language. One of its aims is to explore the broad range of thematic interests inherent in these traditions, sharing as they do common roots in the history of our language and its influences. The powers and limits of language; ideas of character and community, and the relation between person and place; heroic endeavor and the mystery of evil; loss and renovation these are among the themes to be tracked through various strategies of literary representation and interpretation in a variety of genres (epic, narrative, and poetry) and modes (realism, allegory, and romance), and across a range of historical periods. Our goal is to develop the vocabulary, skills, and knowledge necessary to understand not only how we decide what literary texts mean, but also how literary texts generate and contemplate meaning. Courses 2007-08: Living to Tell the Tale: Travel Narratives in Western Literature (Gaffney); All's Fair in Love and War (McInerney); Accidental Tourists and Passionate Exiles (Mohan); Memory: the Use(s) of the Past (Sherman); "Reality is an Activity of the Most August Imagination" (Zwarg). Prerequisite: Open only to members of the first-year class as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the freshman writing requirement.)
  • 151 Postmodern Los Angeles HU
    J.Benatov
    Los Angeles has variously been described as sprawling, decentralized, and fragmented, as a city of quartz, a post-Fordist metropolis, a postindustrial wasteland, the ur-symbol of globalization. For some it represents the pinnacle of human progress; others see it as the epitome of contemporary cultural and moral degradation. In this course we will examine a selection of texts, films, paintings, and buildings which evince an organic connection to L.A. Through our collective analysis, we will try to answer some of the following questions: How can urban character be reflected in works of art? More importantly, can we see the city as an active agent in the creative process behind the works we will study? Can a city be an invisible, yet central character? Is there a correlation between the city’s horizontal spatial direction and its cultural production? Why has Los Angeles become the ideal site through which to trace major aesthetic and cultural developments of the twentieth century? By the end of our course, we will be able to formulate an informed position on whether L.A. is, indeed, the ultimate postmodern metropolis. Readings in fiction (West, Chandler); film (Altman, Tarantino, Coen); architecture (Westin Bonaventure Hotel, Walt Disney Concert Hall); art (Hockney); cultural theory (Jameson, Baudrillard, Jencks). Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the freshman writing requirement.)
  • 152 Readings in African American History, 1550-1896 SO
    K.Gallon
    This course will study the history of Afro-Americans from their first encounter with Europeans in the 16th Century to their emancipation during the Civil War in the U.S. The course will concentrate on the variety of black responses to capture, enslavement, and forced acculturation in the New World. The difference in the slave experience of various New World countries, and the methods of black resistance and rebellion of its slave system will be investigated. The nature and role of the free black communities in antebellum America will also be studied. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the social justice requirement.) (Satisfies the freshman writing requirement.)
  • 153 African American Women in United States History SO
    K.Gallon
    Beginning with black women's arrival in North America and moving through different periods in the twentieth century, the course explores the economic, social, and political status of African American women. In addition, the course will focus on black women's gender and sexuality. Throughout the semester, selected readings will unearth the voices of particular black women who reveal their own history in their own words. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the social justice requirement.) (Satisfies the freshman writing requirement.)
  • 154 Anglophone African Fiction HU
    A.Drury
    From the early twentieth century, novelists and short-story writers in English-speaking Africa have drawn on European works as models while also incorporating elements of indigenous African languages and narrative traditions. We will examine this dual influence and discuss how writers link representations of social and political change, especially change arising from European colonial dominance and its end, to stories of personal transformation. We will also explore how authors relate to their historical moment: ways in which they act as chroniclers and visionaries and the ways they reject those roles. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the social justice requirement.) (Satisfies the freshman writing requirement.)
  • 155 Themes in the Anthropology of Religion SO (Cross-listed in Anthropology and Religion and African and Africana Studies)
    Z.Noonan-Ngwane
    (Satisfies the freshman writing requirement.)
  • 209 Playwriting HU
    W.diCanzio
    A seminar and workshop in the the craft of writing for theater, for beginning and intermediate students. We will study exemplary scripts, write copiously, and read one another's work, with the objective of completing and revising a short play by the end of term. Prerequisite: Sophomore or higher standing, submission of one page writing sample to Professor diCanzio
  • 220 Writing About Science/Science Writing HU
    C. Schilling
    This course offers instruction and practice in writing about topics in the sciences, medicine, and nature for a range of audiences and purposes. We will read and analyze examples of science writing (the Tuesday New York Times Science Times Section, essays and books by currently admired science writers, articles from popular science magazines and professional journals, some notable examples of science writing from the past, and examples of science writing in literary texts) to develop a repertoire of models, to raise ethical questions about the practices of science writing, and to explore public controversies that science writing has set in motion. A portfolio of short weekly writing assignments, at least one longer one, and peer reviews will be collected three times during the semester. Prerequisite: First-year writing seminar. Does not count toward the major.
  • 480 Independent Study HU
    C.Tolliver, J.Brooks

COURSES AT BRYN MAWR
(These courses do not fulfill the writing requirement of Haverford College)

English 125 Writing Workshop
English 126 Writing Workshop for Non-Native Speakers of English
English 220 Writing in Theory/Writing in Practice: The Study of the Teaching of Writing (Also listed as Education 220)

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