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Haverford College
Haverford College Course Catalog

Areas of Concentration / Programs: Writing Program, 2010-11

DescriptionFacultyCoursesCourses at Bryn Mawr

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. The Writing Program is affiliated with the Writing Center, and administers 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
Visiting Assistant Professor of Writing and Consultant to the Writing Program Kristin Lindgren
Elizabeth Ufford Green Professor of Natural Sciences Judith Owen
Professor of History Emma Lapsansky-Werner
Associate Professor of French Duane Kight
Associate Professor of English Maud McInerney
Assistant Professor of English Laura McGrane
Visiting Assistant Professor of English Tom Devaney
Visiting Assistant Professor of English Peter Gaffney
Visiting Assistant Professor of Visual Culture, Fine Arts and Philosophy John Muse
Visiting Assistant Professor of Writing Joseph Benatov
Visiting Assistant Professor of Writing Sue Benston
Visiting Assistant Professor of Writing Barbara Hall
Visiting Assistant Professor of Writing and Philosophy Daniel Koltonski
Visiting Assistant Professor of Writing April Logan
Visiting Assistant Professor of Writing Matt Ruben
Visiting Assistant Professor of Writing Carol Schilling
Visiting Instructor of Writing Christian DuComb

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Courses

106 Children of the Night and Their Music HU

D.Kight
An examination of monstrosity in literature, film, culture and theory. By focusing on three monster figures that have drawn the attention of a number of authors and film makers--the Vampire, the Creature, and the Double--this course seeks to discover what monsters are, what kinds of fears they embody, how they can be read against each other, and why these figures and their relatives continue to fascinate us. Readings include three novels and a number of other texts (short stories, poems, films, theoretical essays). Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the first year writing requirement.)

107 Political Obligation and Civil Disobedience HU

D.Koltonski
One fundamental issue in political morality concerns what you owe, as a citizen, to your country or your fellow citizens. Since virtually everyone is a citizen of some country, the question of what duties, if any, citizenship brings with it is a pressing one. In this course, we will take up this issue by asking the following sorts of questions: What is the purpose of law? When do you have a moral duty to obey the law? Can you have a moral duty to fight and even to die for your country? When is civil disobedience morally justified? Can it ever be morally required? Do your answers change when the country is a democracy? We will look at several historical and contemporary authors' answers to these questions, including John Locke, David Hume, Henry David Thoreau, Martin Luther King, Hanna Pitkin, George Orwell and John Rawls. Prerequisite: Open only to students as assigned by the Director of the Writing Program. (Satisfies the first year writing requirement.)

109 Perspectives on Immigration and Education in the United States HU

B.Hall
The primary goal of this course is to challenge students as academic readers, writers and thinkers while providing support for continuous growth. We will immerse ourselves in the historical, social, cultural, political, linguistic, and various other contexts of immigration to the United States, with a focus on salient issues relating to k-12 public education. What kinds of experiences, we will ask, have immigrant students had in American schools in the past century? Have schools served this population well? How are schooling and citizenship related? Does public education facilitate or hinder immigrant students in attaining the "American dream" of success and fortune? How do various kinds of educational practice (like bilingual education, English as a Second Language instruction, and contemporary multicultural education) marginalize or empower immigrant students? Readings for the course will include a wide variety of perspectives on these issues, and to that end will include academic articles, ethnographic texts, autobiographical writing, and fiction. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the first year 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 proceed 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 first year 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 first year writing requirement.)

117 Reading Culture: Poverty in the United States HU

M.Ruben
Poverty is one of the most persistent problems and controversial issues in the United States. Along with its obvious economic dimensions, poverty has a wide variety of cultural meanings. In fact, the subject of poverty forces us to think critically about how we define and understand the concept of culture. Through a selective critical examination of fiction and nonfiction works addressing the theme of poverty in America, this course will explore key methods for studying and writing about culture. It will look at how poverty and poor people have been discussed and represented in the United Sates at various points during the last 125 years, and it will provide an opportunity to explore the many ways "poverty" and "culture" intersect and interact, each term affecting the meaning of the other. Readings from Horatio Alger, Sandra Cisneros, Michael Eric Dyson, Barbara Ehrenreich, Michael Harrington, Jacob Riis, and Richard Wright. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the first year writing requirement.)

118 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 first year writing requirement.)

119 Memoirs About Creating a Life in Science or Medicine HU

C.Schilling
This seminar brings together two seemingly dissimilar activities: writing about a life and making a career in science or medicine. Yet life writing—a term that includes autobiography, memoir, personal essay, biography, blog, and more—and doing science or medicine have more in common than might at first seem likely. They share the intellectual pursuit of making discoveries, the ethical challenge of creating trust, and the act of making choices. This semester we'll read a selection of life writing that describes the process of becoming a scientist or physician. The readings will include first-person essays by physicians and Audrey Young's memoir of her moral and professional growth during her first years as a hospital physician, The House of Hope and Fear. We'll also turn to James Watson's The Double Helix, which describes the work in his early twenties that led to the co-discovery of the structure of DNA molecule, and Brenda Maddox's biography Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA, written to correct Watson's representation of Franklin. While these readings will expose some myths about doing science and medicine, they'll also create new ones. The readings will also instigate ethical questions about life writing itself, especially about the responsibilities and complexities of representing one's self and others to the world. This project will ultimately invite us to explore relationships between composing a story and composing a life. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the first year writing requirement.)

120 Evolutionary Arguments HU

C.Schilling
When Darwin somewhat humbly prophesized at the end of The Origin of Species, "In the distant future I see open fields for far more important researches,"he was thinking about research into the past. "Light will be thrown," he added, "on the origin of man and his history." While that prediction has come true, other research that follows his theory of selection has focused on the future, one shaped by efforts to directly control the human genome. In this seminar, we'll read and debate recent arguments by bioethicists about the ethics of genetic manipulations and follow those arguments into such works of the imagination as the film GATTACA and Kenny Fries's memoir, The History of My Shoes and the Evolution of Darwin's Theory. Along the way, we'll pause to learn about the eugenics movement of the past and cultural understandings of human perfection, normalcy, and disability. We'll question the formal structures of the arguments, their definitions of key terms like natural, and the assumptions they make about human relationships, aspirations, and worth. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the first year writing requirement.)

124 Writing and the Senses HU

T.Devaney
"What I am trying to translate," Cezanne said, "is more mysterious; it is entwined in the very roots of being." Reading our senses requires interpretation. What do the senses teach us about ourselves? How do they help us understand who we are in our sense-saturated world? How do the senses simultaneously inform each other? What on-going problems do they pose and which do they help us resolve? "Writing and the Senses" is a course that will help you to become a more effective and sophisticated writer using the five senses as a focus. The mode of the class is “close reading” and the analysis of text combined with the exploration of how our sense-data provides insight into the cognitive, biological, and spiritual aspects of our human nature. The seminar is designed to sharpen and broaden your senses and sensibilities via expository writing. Readings include selections from Flush: A Biography by Virginia Woolf, Letters on Cezanne by Rainer Maria Rilke, Proust Was a Neuroscientist by Jonah Lehrer, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks, and How to Cook a Wolf by M.F.K. Fisher. Prerequisite: Open only to students as assigned by the Director of the Writing Program. (Satisfies the first year writing requirement.)

126 Passion, Proof and Persuasion: The Nature of Scientific Inquiry NA (Cross-listed in Biology)

J.Owen
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 first year writing requirement.)

129 The Lotus Sutra: Text, Image, and Practice HU (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 first year writing requirement.)

130 Themes in the Anthropology of Religion SO (Cross-listed in Anthropology)

Z.Ngwane
Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the first year writing requirement.)

132 Carnival and Culture from the Acropolis to Mardi Gras HU

C.DuComb
This course will examine carnival and the carnivalesque in several cultural contexts, from the theatre festivals of ancient Greece to Mardi Gras in contemporary New Orleans. How, when, and why do societies create space for carnivalesque performances of masking and celebration? Can such performances incite social change, or do the temporary transgressions of carnival ultimately reinforce existing structures of power? "Carnival and Culture" will introduce students to an array of carnival practices in Europe, Africa, and the Americas, with a particular focus on the representation of carnival in theatre, film, and television. Course materials will include plays by Euripides, Ben Jonson, Wole Soyinka, and Suzan-Lori Parks; screenings from film and television productions by Marcel Camus, David Simon, and Eric Overmyer; and theoretical and historical studies of carnival by Mikhail Bakhtin, Victor Turner, and Joseph Roach. Frequent writing assignments in a variety of formats will encourage students to explore carnival both as a rich site of cultural formation and as a productive lens for cultural analysis. Prerequisite: Open only to students as assigned by the Director of the Writing Program. (Satisfies the first year 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 first year 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 a 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 first year writing requirement.)

138 Critical Issues in Education: Politics and Practices SO (Cross-listed in Education)

A.Lesnick
An examination of major issues concerning educational reform through readings, discussions, writing, and 3-4 visits to a school context. Among the issues to be explored are the complexity of U.S. education; the meaning of childhood, culture, freedom, and difference; and the possibilities for educational reinvention and empowerment. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the first year writing requirement.)

140 The Language of Argument HU

J.Muse
In this course students will learn how to analyze arguments, compose arguments of their own, and write clear, concise, and elegant prose. The first half of the course will relate principles of argument and composition to principles of textual analysis. A good reader can analyze the logic of an argument, the style of its presentation, and the way it solicits its audience. Similarly, the good writer understands her audience, adopts a style appropriate to the situation, and crafts an argument that establishes grounds for possible agreement. A good writer is a better reader. For example, in Act II, scene ii of Hamlet Polonius wastes time while saying since brevity is the soul of wit / And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes / I will be brief. He can't even speak briefly of brevity but follows his aphorism with a redundant flourish of his own. Like Polonius, when you present your reader with tedious prose you present yourself as tedious. And though few occasions warrant such a presentation, this course will supply students with the power to suit their words to different occasions and the power to read how others in turn both craft themselves and either succeed or fail to convince.The second half of the course will consider the relation between experience and language, between our world and our words. Using the analytic tools assembled during the first half, we will examine works of philosophy and literature that seek to define this relation. Texts will include, Plato's Gorgias, Friedrich Nietzsche's early essay, "On Truth and Lying in an Extra-moral Sense," and Toni Morrison's novel, Sula. We will evaluate these works on the basis of their claims about language and on the basis of the language of these claims. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the first year writing requirement.)

142 Excursions in the Void: Existentialism, Nihilism and Radical Doubt HU

P.Gaffney
An examination of monstrosity in literature, film, culture and theory. By focusing on three monster figures that have drawn the attention of a number of authors and film makers--the Vampire, the Creature, and the Double--this course seeks to discover what monsters are, what kinds of fears they embody, how they can be read against each other, and why these figures and their relatives continue to fascinate us. Readings include three novels and a number of other texts (short stories, poems, films, theoretical essays). Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the first year 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 feedback to 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 first year 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, "Tl'n, 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 first year writing requirement.)

150 Introduction to Literary Analysis HU (Cross-listed in English)

P.Gaffney
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 2010-11: Gaffney, "Living to Tell the Tale: Travel Narratives in Western Literature"; McGrane, "Deception, Recognition, and Returns"; McInerney, "All's Fair in Love and War"; Sherman, "The Use(s) of the Past" and "Gender, Sexuality and the Body". Introduces and carries credit toward the English major. Prerequisite: Open only to members of the first-year class as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the first year writing requirement.)

480 Independent Study HU

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Courses at Bryn Mawr

(These courses do not fulfill the writing requirement of Haverford College but are open to Haverford students as space is available.)

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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