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Haverford College

2012-13 Course Catalog

Areas of Concentration / Programs: Writing Program, 2012-13

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

Director of the Writing Program and Assistant Professor of English Debora Sherman
Director of the Writing Center and Visiting Assistant Professor of Writing Kristin Lindgren
Elizabeth Ufford Green Professor of Natural Sciences and Professor of Biology Judy Owen
Professor of Religion Kenneth Koltun-Fromm
Dean of Multicultural Affairs and Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs Theresa Tensuan
Research Librarian of Modern Languages and Literature Jeremiah Mercurio
Visiting Assistant Professor Classics Danielle La Londe
Visiting Assistant Professor of English Ashly Bennett
Visiting Lecturer of English Alice Boone
Visiting Assistant Professor of English Thomas Devaney
Visiting Associate Professor of English Barbara Riebling
Visiting Assistant Professor of Peace, Justice and Human Rights and the Writing Program Joshua Ramey
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 Matt Ruben
Visiting Assistant Professor of Writing Carol Schilling

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Courses

104 American Dreams: Ethnographic Perspectives on the U.S. SO

B.Hall
A first-semester course with individual tutorials that prepares students for a second-semester topical or discipline-based writing seminar. While most people would agree that the United States is a diverse country in many ways, this course asks the question: what does American diversity really mean? In particular, what does it mean to be an American when the United States includes people of so many different ethnic, racial, religious and socioeconomic groups, such varying lifestyles and such divergent political opinions? What, we will ask, are some of the different ways to be American, and what, if anything, do they have in common? What separates and unifies a nation with so many different kinds of American dreams? This course will offer students opportunities to explore various ways of being American through an ethnographic exploration of various American sub-cultural groups. While this course will focus primarily on helping students to master various aspects of academic writing at the college level, we will also contextualize our ethnographic reading by learning about ethnographic research methods and will have the opportunity use these methods as well. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing.

105 Perspectives on Kinship and the Family in the Contemporary United States HU

B.Hall
Using the anthropological study of kinship as a foundation, this course will analyze kinship and the family in the United States from multiple academic perspectives. We will consider the ways in which these biogenetic ties both increasingly rely on and are challenged by reproductive technologies like in-vitro fertilization and explore the challenges to Schneider's assertion formed by contemporary transracial adoption practices. We will also examine the ways in which variation in socioeconomic class, culture, race and religion may affect the experience of American kinship, including analyses of shifting means of cultural reproduction within immigrant families and the role kinship and parenting practices have in reproducing educational and academic advantage across generations. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College writing. (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.

110 Medical Narratives HU

S. Benston
This course will focus on how the experience of illness can disrupt our sense of what a person is. We'll explore numerous compelling works of fiction, autobiography, philosophy and medical reportage, asking how each text evokes an existence consumed by, and at the same time distinct from, a wrenching affliction. What do our struggles—whether as patient or as care-giver—teach us about the mind-body interface? How effectively can a narrative transmit the complex experience of suffering? In class discussions and writing assignments we'll practice the technique of close reading, studying the manipulations of language practiced by our array of dexterous authors (such as Martin Amis and Gail Godwin. Prerequisite: Open only to members of the first-year class as assigned by the Director of College Writing Program. (Satisfies the first year writing requirement.)

113 Madness in Greek Myths HU

D.La Londe
In this course we consider the role of madness in Greek mythology and Greek tragedy in particular. Why do the men and women of Greek mythology like Heracles and Cassandra suffer madness and why was this topic so frequently depicted in Greek tragedy? The origins of Greek tragedy lie in the worship of Dionysus, the ancient Greek god of ecstasy and intoxication. Dionysus embodies the ancient Greeks attempts to understand the relationship between divine inspiration and madness. Some questions we shall explore are: Is madness ever a good thing? Why does madness feature so prominently in Greek mythology and especially Greek tragedy? What are the symptoms of madness? We focus on Greek tragedy from 5th-century BCE Athens (e.g., Aeschylus' Agamemnon, Sophocles' Ajax, Euripides' Bacchae) with selections from other classical texts, such as Homer's Iliad and Ovid's Metamorphoses. 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
A first-semester course with individual tutorials that prepares students for a second-semester topical or discipline-based writing seminar. 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.

118 Portraits of Disability and Difference HU

K.Lindgren
Rosemarie Garland-Thomson writes that “staring is an interrogative gesture that asks what's going on and demands the story. The eyes hang on, working to recognize what seems illegible, order what seems unruly, know what seems strange.” In this seminar we will explore visual and literary portraits and self-portraits of bodies marked by difference, bodies that often elicit stares. We will ask: What kinds of stories are told about these bodies? How do memoirs and self-portraits by people with disabilities draw on and challenge traditions of life writing and portraiture? How does this work enlarge cultural and aesthetic views of embodiment, disability and difference? What strategies do writers and artists employ to represent invisible disability and interior bodily space? How do portraits of disability engage differences of gender, race and class? Through close readings of essays, memoirs, paintings and photographs, students will hone their descriptive and interpretive skills and develop their ability to craft clear and persuasive arguments. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the first year writing requirement.)

119 Becoming: Life Writing in Science and Medicine HU

C.Schilling
This seminar brings together two seemingly dissimilar activities: writing about a life and making a life in medicine or science. Yet life writing a term that includes autobiography, memoir, the personal essay, biography, blog and more and practicing medicine and science 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. The examples of life writing that we read will include first-person essays by physicians, such as Atul Gawande, who interrogate the complicated ethics of treating patients while learning to become a physician. Audrey Young's memoir The House of Hope and Fear will engage us in her moral and professional growth as a new physician practicing in a hospital that serves the poor and homeless. James Watson's memoir The Double Helix offers us a personal some say ethically challenged perspective on a landmark event in science: how he and others elucidated the structure of the DNA molecule. As we read, we'll instigate questions about life writing itself, especially the responsibilities and complexities of representing one�s self and others to the world. The final course project will ask you to practice a form of life-writing by interviewing a practicing physician or scientist, researching the kind of work he or she pursues, and composing a biographical profile of that person. 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.)

121 Magic and Metaphysics HU

J. Delpech-Ramey
Can we believe in magic? Is it a betrayal of reason, science and progress to take the supernatural seriously? If ours is a thoroughly disenchanted world, in which technology works whether we want it to or not, how can we explain our cultural obsession with entities that are there only if we believe in them—that is to say, with vampires and werewolves, zombies and wizards, fairies, elves and a certain boy named Harry? In this course, we will embark on an investigation into the rich history and contemporary proliferation of debates surrounding the possibility and promise of the supernatural. Drawing on works of anthropology, esotericism, philosophy, literature, film and other media, we will explore some of the more prominent strains of magical belief and practice, as well as some of the metaphysical perspectives that tend either to support or to defy the world of magic. 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," Cézanne 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 ongoing 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 Cézanne 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. The class will also have the opportunity to take a field trip to The Barnes Foundation. (Satisfies the first year writing requirement.)

125 The Nature of Money HU

J.Delpech-Ramey
Money is one of the most enigmatic of things. On the one hand it seems to be an utterly banal and concrete aspect of everyday life, and yet on reflection money turns out to be one of the most ephemeral, spiritual and even magical things in the world. The recent financial crisis has, among other things, led to a flowering of debate over and experimentation with the nature of money itself. In keeping with the urgent sense felt by many within and without the academy that fundamental concepts of economy must be reconsidered, in this class we will take a distinctly philosophical approach to the concept of money, working through some of the historical, structural, religious and erotic dimensions of exchange in an attempt to gain greater understanding of the role money has played and continues to play in everyday life. Readings for the course include (but may not be limited to) selections from Georges Bataille's The Accursed Share, Norman O. Brown's “Filthy Lucre,” Georg Simmel's Philosophy of Money, and Hannah Arendt's The Human Condition. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College writing. (Satisfies the first year writing requirement.)

Reading Sacred Texts HU (Cross-listed in Religion)

129 The Lotus Sutra: Text, Image, and Practice HU (Cross-listed in East Asian Studies and Religion)

Staff
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.)

131 In the Wake of War: Literary Representations of Violence and Its Aftermath HU

T. Tensuan
In this seminar, we will focus on works that depict the reverberations of war in relation to national histories, communal memories, familial legacies and individual traumas. As we see how texts ranging from epic poems to comic books represent and recontextualize conflict and transformation, we will consider a number of interrelated questions: What is the generative tension between creative imagination and official histories? How do aesthetic forms frame cultural ideologies and function as sites for cultural change? What happens when differing interpretations of an event or a text come into conflict with one another? What is at stake in acts of representation, reading, interpretation, analysis and critical confrontation? Book list: Dave Eggers, Zeitoun; Emmanuel Guibert, The Photographer: Into War-torn Afghanistan with Doctors Without Borders; Homer, The Odyssey (Lattimore translation); Joe Sacco, Safe Area Gorazde; Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony; Art Spiegelman, Maus I & II. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the first year writing requirement.)

135 American Autobiography: Inscribing Identity and Recasting History HU

T. Tensuan
How do acts of self-representation create or contest notions of collective identity? How do constructions of gender, race, and class inform inscriptions of individual memories, familial histories, and national mythologies? What are the generative tensions between competing visions in graphic narratives as well as in “straight” autobiographies? In this course, we will read a range of texts which foreground conceptual and political issues regarding the art of self-inscription. In our discussions of Gertrude St works cast authorial personas and make claims regarding the truth of one’s own (and other’s imagined) experience. In studying Malcolm X’s conversion narrative alongside Maxine Hong Kingston’s memoir of a “girlhood among ghosts” and Gary Soto’s stories of growing up Chicano in the contested territories of California, we will look closely at how these narratives negotiate constructions of gender, class, and race in relation to the rhetorics of individual and national identity. Our turn to the work of Eric Michaels will enable us to reflect on the interrelations between the configuration of one’s environment and the constitution of one’s body, as well as on our own acts of writing, reading, and interpretation. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the first year writing requirement.)

136 Myth and 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, and 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 first year writing requirement.)

141 The Future of the Book in the Digital Age HU

J. Mercurio
Jeff Jarvis bluntly declared in 2005: "Print is where words go to die," asserting that the dynamism and hypertextuality of digital media render books and other print formats obsolete. On the other hand, John Updike and Nicholson Baker argue that print crucially safeguards the individuality of the author's voice and the survival of the text. This seminar will engage the debate by exploring what the book represents today both as a means of communication and as a physical artifact while seeking to envision the future of books and e-books from the perspective of its readers, authors, publishers, printers, illustrators, and conservators. We'll start by placing the current digital revolution against the backdrop of revolutions and evolutions in the methods of textual transmission, from ancient papyri to the printing press to early experiments in print hypertextuality. With this new appreciation of prior upheavals, we'll ask whether the print-versus-digital debate represents a false dichotomy, or whether the shift to digital media signals a fundamental transformation in how society organizes and transmits information. To find our answers, we will explore several fascinating textual experiments that illustrate the limitations and possibilities of physical and digital books such texts as Frans Masereel’s novel in woodcuts Mon Livre d’Heures, Italo Calvino’s recursive novel If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler, Kate Pullinger and Chris Joseph’s interactive digital narrative Inanimate Alice, and Vladimir Nabokov’s re-arrangeable narrative The Original of Laura. Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the first year writing requirement.)

144 In Harmony with Nature: Quaker Perspectives on Sustainability SO

K. Edwards
How are Quakers, through their individual lives and group efforts, answering the moral challenges posed by growing economic inequalities and the continuing degradation of the earth’s environment? This seminar will speak to the Quaker testimonies of simplicity, integrity, equality and community, asking how they might inform and help realize more just relationships among peoples and more sustainable living on our planet. We will explore current initiatives by Friends to bear witness to these issues through the political process, appropriate uses of technology and alternative ways of living with the world. The course will draw on historical and current interpretations of Quaker faith and practice as well as on arguments advanced by Quaker economists, environmentalists, lawyers and lobbyists. Prerequisite: Open only to members of the first-year class 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)

A. Bennett, A. Boone, B. Riebling, D. Sherman
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. For 2012-2013: A. Bennett, "Reading Madness"; A. Boone, "Fatal System Error: When Literary Investigations Go Awry"; B. Riebling, "The Poetics of Power"; D. Sherman, "Memory: The Use(s) of the Past." 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

Other courses (not part of the major track).

122 Writing in Public Health NA (Cross-listed in Biology)

J. Owen
Prerequisite: Open only to first-year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. (Satisfies the first year writing requirement.) Does not count toward the major.

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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 EDUC 220)

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