Courses

The first-year writing seminars explore a particular theme or field of study while emphasizing writing as a means of inquiry, analysis, and persuasion. Different seminars extend intellectual inquiry into visual studies; the interrogation of the literary canon; Quaker history and ethics; categories of difference (racial, sexual, religious, and national identity); medical humanities; and engaged social practice. The intensive writing seminars (WSI) prepare students who need extra exposure to academic writing. To help students negotiate the demands of academic writing, all seminars 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.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Your first-year writing seminar need not be linked to your anticipated major or demonstrated strengths (although it can be). While all seminars are rigorous, they are also introductory; none assumes prior experience in a particular subject matter. Consider the seminar an opportunity to expand your intellectual life and don’t be afraid to venture into new areas of intellectual inquiry.
  • For writing seminars, differences in course numbers do not signal differences in course difficulty. All seminars include approximately the same amount of reading and writing.
  • An "a" after the course number indicates that the seminar will be taught in the fall; a "b" indicates spring. The Writing Seminar can be taken in either semester.
  • Please refer to the welcome letter online for an overview of the placement process and for an explanation of the differences between the two kinds of Writing Seminars (WSI, WS). You can submit both your seminar preferences and placement essay using an online form. Please refer to the placement page for more details.
  • These courses are open only to members of the first-year class as assigned by the Director of College Writing.
  • Writing Seminars: Individualized (WSI)

    WRPR 101a 01,02 Finding A Voice: Identity, Environment, and Intellectual Inquiry
    N. Lavda
    MW 11:30-1:00, 1:00-2:30
    This course considers students fluid relationship to identities that they examine, explore, and take on through course materials. We begin by examining how difference is perceived/obscured/challenged and/or bridged in constructions of identity. We then consider how identities exist in the physical environment and how environment affects these identities. In particular, we will look closely at the debate concerning hydraulic gas fracturing, or fracking. Haverford Colleges location in Pennsylvania, home of the Marcellus Shale and location of many fracking sites, makes this topic especially relevant. The different positions that experts have taken in the debate about fracking serve as a model, finally, for students to enter another scholarly debate within an area of interest in a possible prospective major. In this later stage of the course, students try on the identity of a major and examine how to think and write like someone in that prospective major. This course involves significant reading, writing, and research. You will learn how to move between several different kinds of writing: from writing to express yourself to writing to communicate with an audience, to take a position on a written text, to create arguments and counter-arguments, to learn scholarly research skills, to learn interview and presentation skills, and to develop your own voice through your writing and speaking in order to participate more fully in the work of intellectual inquiry. This is a first-semester course with individual tutorials that prepares students for a second semester writing seminar. Prerequisite: Open only to members of the first-year class as assigned by the Director of College Writing.

    WRPR 109a Perspectives on Immigration and Education in the United States
    B. Hall
    TTH 1:00-2:30
    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. This is a first-semester course with individual tutorials that prepares students for a second-semester writing seminar. Prerequisite: Open only to members of the first-year class as assigned by the Director of College Writing.

    WRPR 167a Globalization in the 21st Century
    B. Hall
    MW 2:30-4:00
    The primary goal of this course is to challenge students as academic readers, writers and thinkers while providing support for continuous growth. We will define and explore global interconnectedness from multiple disciplinary perspectives - political, economic, etc. - but will focus primarily on various complex social and cultural dimensions of globalization including local/global tensions, Westernization, cultural borrowing, cultural imperialism, cultural exploitation, tourism, and pop culture (music, movies, etc.), as analyzed in ethnographies set in various locations around the world. Most of these locations will be outside the US, and we will include a particular case study of Japan. We will consider questions like: Is there a global village? How does the nation-state matter both more and less in a globalized world? How does globalization impact existing socioeconomic inequalities? Who benefits from increasing global interdependence and who does not, and why? This is a first-semester course with individual tutorials that prepares students for a second-semester writing seminar. Prerequisite: Open only to members of the first-year class as assigned by the Director of College Writing.

  • Writing Seminars

    WRPR 118a Portraits of Disability and Difference
    K. Lindgren
    TTH 2:30-4:00
    Rosemarie Garland-Thomson writes: "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, aesthetic, and bioethical views of embodiment, disability, and difference? How do portraits of disability engage differences of gender, race, and class? Our seminar will host a visiting artist who will guide us through a digital self-portraiture project. 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. [Carries credit towards the minor in Heath Sciences.]

    WRPR 133b The American West in Fact and Fiction: Cultural Landscapes and Civic Ideas
    E. Lapsansky-Werner
    TTH 2:30-4:00
    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.

    WRPR 140a WRPR 140a The Rhetoric of Argument
    J. Muse
    TTH 10:00-11:30
    Polonius: My liege, and madam, to expostulate
    What majesty should be, what duty is,
    Why day is day, night night, and time is time,
    Were nothing but to waste night, day and time.
    Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
    And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
    I will be brief: your noble son is mad:
    Mad call I it; for, to define true madness,
    What is’t but to be nothing else but mad?
    Queen: More matter with less art.
    —Shakespeare, Hamlet, II.ii.86-93; Polonius to the King and Queen
    In this course you will learn how to write clear, concise, and elegant prose, analyze arguments, and compose arguments of your own. A good reader can analyze the logic of an argument, the way it solicits its audience, and the style of its presentation. 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, above, Polonius wastes time saying he won’t: “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 lards his own aphorism with redundant flourishes. If, like Polonius, you present your reader with tedious prose, you present yourself as tedious. And though few occasions warrant such a presentation—Shakespeare here expertly portrays Polonius’ lack of expertise—this course will supply you with the means to suit your words to different occasions and the power to read how others in turn both craft themselves and thus either succeed or fail to convince. Prerequisite: Open only to first year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing.

    WRPR 150a-01 Introduction to Literary Analysis: All’s Fair in Love and War
    M. McInerney
    TTH 10:00-11:30
    Throughout most of recorded history, war has been the business of men, while women have served variously as excuses for of conflict, prizes for successful warriors, distractions from battle, and embodiments of peace. We will consider various ways in which the tension between love and war has been figured across a range of historical periods, from classical to medieval to modern. Are there constants in the representation of this opposition across time? How do successive authors revise the tropes established by their predecessors? What happens to the theme of love and war as it moves between genres as varied as epic, romance, drama, lyric and novel? By engaging such questions in the context of a course focused on close reading, students will develop their skills as critical thinkers, readers and writers. Prerequisite: Open only to members of the first-year class as assigned by the Director of College Writing. [Carries credit toward the English major.]

    WRPR 150a-02 Introduction to Literary Analysis: Transformations
    J. Pryor
    WF 2:30-4:00
    From the humbling of Odysseus in Homers The Odyssey to the erosion of gay subculture in Samuel Delanys Times Square Red, Times Square Blue, this course examines the literature of transformation. Working with classical and modern texts in a variety of literary genres, this course will ask: How do characters transform in the face of desire, longing, violence, trauma, and loss? How do social structures transform through individual and collective action? We will also track our own transformations over the course of the semester, asking how the practice of reading and writing literature and criticism transforms our senses of self and other. Particular attention will be paid to the politics of identity in the work of transformation, including sexuality, gender, race, and class. Beginning with Homers The Odyssey, well explore the work of transformation in William Shakespeares Winters Tale, Mary Shelleys Frankenstein, Walt Whitmans Leaves of Grass, Zora Neale Hurstons Their Eyes Were Watching God, and Samuel Delanys Times Square Red, Times Square Blue. We will also look at and experiment with contemporary adaptations of classical works, including film, video, and theater, asking how the meanings of classical works are transformed over time and across various media. Selected short critical readings from Carolyn Steedman, Elizabeth Freeman, and David Eng will offer some interpretive frameworks for us to approach a variety of historical and contemporary themes related to transformation, including the work of mourning, assimilation, biopolitics, and queer and transgender life. Prerequisite: Open only to members of the first-year class as assigned by the Director of College Writing. [Carries credit towards the English major and the concentration in Gender and Sexuality Studies.]

    WRPR 150a-03 Introduction to Literary Analysis: In the Wake of War: Literary Representations of Violence and Its Aftermath
    T. Tensuan
    TTH 11:30-1:00
    The narrator of Tim O'Brien's "How to Tell a True War Story" declares that "[y]ou can tell a true war story by the way it never seems to end." This course focuses on literary texts' representions, reconsiderations, and recontextualizations of cultural conflict. Examining texts ranging from Homer's Odyssey, Mary Chesnut's Civil War diaries, and Art Spiegleman's Maus, we will focus on the following questions: how does war transform individual and national identities? How do genres like the epic poem or the comic book make manifest cultural values? What role does literature play in processes of memorialization and of protest? Writing assignments will range from informal group journals, to analytic and creative essays, to graphic novellas. [Carries credit toward the English major.]

    WRPR 150b-01 Deception, Recognition and Return
    L. McGrane
    TTH 10:00-11:30
    How does one distinguish truth from lies, pretense from authenticity? In this course, we will read texts that depict literal and symbolic journeys to strange, unrecognizable, lands. From Homers epic, The Odyssey, to Martin Amis novel, Times Arrow, characters struggle with experiences of loss and death, misidentification, temporal distortion, and tentative rediscovery. As we read a variety of works, including tales of deception from Shakespeare, Jonathan Swift, Christina Rossetti, and Melville, we will explore narrative complexities across genres: what literary devices do authors employ to deceive, persuade, and frustrate the reader? And how can students, as writers, co-opt these techniques for their own uses? In intensive small-group tutorials and class discussions, students will hone analytical and writing skills, while navigating the shadowy spaces between fiction and history. Prerequisite: Open only to first year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. [Carries credit toward the English major.]

    WRPR 150b-02 Introduction to Literary Analysis: Reading Madness
    A. Bennett
    TTH 11:30-1:00
    Crazy, hysterical, paranoid, sick: this course focuses on literature in which characters acquire such labels by interpreting their surroundings, experiences or symptoms in ways that cause others to question not only their perceptions, but even their sanity. Why are we compelled repeatedly to tell this story? We will pursue this question by considering how such stories function at different historical moments and across various genres, including the Greek tragedy, the gothic novel, and the horror film. Our range of texts will include Sophocles' Oedipus the King; Shakespeare’s Hamlet; Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw; poems by John Keats and Emily Dickinson; stories by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Vladimir Nabokov; and Todd Haynes’s film Safe. Across these texts, we will map how labels such as madwoman or madman have been used to mark boundaries of behavior, expression and thought, often related especially to changing conceptions of gender and sexuality. At the same time, we will explore the spaces of reinvention richly rendered in literary presentations of madness—spaces that authors variously discourage or invite us, as readers, to enter. As we reflect on the different ways of acting, interpreting and reading that are portrayed, along with the labels invoked in response, we will also consider our own interpretive practices and standards of evidence, including those of our daily lives and those within the discipline of literary studies. Prerequisite: Open only to first year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing. [Carries credit toward the English major.]

    WRPR 150b-03 Introduction to Literary Analysis: On Melancholy
    B. Parris
    TTH 11:30-1:00
    This course investigates Melancholy’s ambivalent status as creative sign and bodily symptom in literature, philosophy and film. We’ll begin by considering ancient Aristotelian and Galenic perspectives on melancholy as both a mark of inspired genius and a harmful bodily surplus of black bile. Our course will then track images of melancholia in drama, poetry and prose that respond to perennial questions raised by this strange condition: by what means does the body affect the soul or the mind? Does aesthetic insight arise from suffering? How do historical understandings of medicine and psychology shape genres of literature, and what is melancholy’s contemporary inheritance? Works of literature include Seneca’s Hercules Furens, William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, John Milton’s Samson Agonistes, John Keats’ “Ode on Melancholy”, Percy Shelley’s “Ozymandias” and “Adonais”, and Toni Morrison’s Beloved. We’ll also read Sigmund Freud’s study, “Mourning and Melancholia” and Eric Wilson’s In Praise of Melancholy for theoretical orientations. The course concludes with a viewing of Lars Von Trier’s recent film, Melancholia. [Carries credit towards the English major.]

    WRPR 153a The History of Haverford College: Conflict, Consensus and the Liberal Arts
    J. Krippner
    MW 12:30-2:00
    This course introduces students to the history of Haverford College, with a particular emphasis on controversial moments that have defined the meaning of a Haverford education. What, if anything, makes Haverford College unique? How has its status as a school of Quaker origin been significant and does that legacy remain relevant today? Finally, what is the purpose of a values-based undergraduate liberal arts college education in the hyper-competitive, debt-fueled and increasingly consumerist educational marketplace found in the United States today? These questions will be central to your intellectual development over the next four years and, hopefully, for the remainder of your lives. By the end of this semester, you will have begun to formulate your own answers. You will also know more about Haverford College than any other members of the class of 2019!
    Haverford College is fortunate to have extraordinary resources in Magill Library’s Special Collections, including thousands of written documents as well as visual images (paintings, photographs and films) and examples of material culture. Over the course of this semester, we will emphasize the analysis and interpretation of this type of primary source evidence while also reading research and writing guides, secondary sources concerning the history of Haverford College and a recent critique of elite higher education in the United States. In all these ways we shall explore, debate and perhaps even help to create the history of Haverford College.
    Given the vast nature of our collection, the writing intensive nature of this course and our time limit of one semester we will have to be selective. Thus, the course will be organized thematically. We will focus on moments of significant debate, conflict and even crisis on campus, when the people who collectively have been the college defined (and redefined) its identity, goals and overall purpose. An underlying premise of the course is that this is an ongoing process you will all contribute to over the next four years and beyond, after you graduate and return to the world beyond the Lancaster Avenue entrance. In addition to enhancing your understanding of the institution you have chosen to join, you will also develop the research, writing and oral communication skills necessary to excel throughout your four years at Haverford College. [Carries credit towards the History major.]

    WRPR 156a Good Guys and Gals? Quaker Imagery in Fiction
    E. Lapsansky-Werner
    TTH 10:00-11:30
    What have been the literary uses of Quaker ideas and images in fiction? How have these changed over time? Fiction-writers often use codified images such as Biblical characters, landscapes, serpents or other animals, in order to promote a certain mood or sub-text in their readers' minds. And religion is often the overt or hidden agenda for fiction-writers with the journey through life, its concomitant challenges, and the conquest of those challenges bringing the reader to a dramatic conclusion. But Quakers, so few in number (only a few hundred thousand of us in the entire world!) don’t show up in fiction very often. This is partly because early Quakers banned the writing and reading of fiction. Yet, as early as 1810, Quakers DO appear in fiction both as authors and characters. Here on the Haverford campus, with its Quaker heritage and traditions, is housed perhaps the largest collection of Quaker novels anywhere in the world fiction by or about Quakers, often populated with characters whose Quakerliness is designed to evoke a certain mood, message, or subtext. For some authors, Quakers became stand-ins for virtue. For others, the Quaker image is of the troublemaker, the nay-sayer, the haughty, unbending zealot. In this course we will read excerpts from an array of Quaker fiction. Then, through class discussions, written essays, and through considering each others writing, students will explore how commentators have interpreted the meaning of "Quakerness" in literature." Though this is not a history course per se, students will emerge from the course with sharpened skills in historical inquiry and research.

    WRPR 156a Good Guys and Gals? Quaker Imagery in Fiction
    E. Lapsansky-Werner
    TTH 10:00-11:30
    What have been the literary “uses” of Quaker ideas and images in fiction? How have these changed over time? Fiction-writers often use codified images such as Biblical characters, landscapes, serpents or other animals, in order to promote a certain mood or sub-text in their readers' minds. And religion is often the overt or hidden agenda for fiction-writers—with the “journey” through life, its concomitant challenges, and the conquest of those challenges bringing the reader to a dramatic conclusion. But Quakers, so few in number (only a few hundred thousand of us in the entire world!) don’t show up in fiction very often. This is partly because early Quakers banned the writing and reading of fiction. Yet, as early as 1810, Quakers DO appear in fiction—both as authors and characters. Here on the Haverford campus, with its Quaker heritage and traditions, is housed perhaps the largest collection of “Quaker” novels anywhere in the world—fiction by or about Quakers, often populated with characters whose “Quakerliness” is designed to evoke a certain mood, message, or subtext. For some authors, Quakers became stand-ins for virtue. For others, the Quaker image is of the troublemaker, the nay-sayer, the haughty, unbending zealot. In this course we will read excerpts from an array of Quaker fiction. Then, through class discussions, written essays, and through considering each others’ writing, students will explore how commentators have interpreted the meaning of "Quakerness" in literature." Though this is not a “history” course per se, students will emerge from the course with sharpened skills in historical inquiry and research. Prerequisite: Open only to first year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing.

    WRPR 162b 01, 02 Immigration and Representation
    N. Lavda
    MW 11:30-1:00, 1:00-2:30
    What does it mean to be an immigrant? What is lost and what is gained in the move from over there to over here? Who decides? In examining the questions raised by acts of migration across borders or countries, we will examine the assumptions that create community and conflict in the immigrant experience both in the US and abroad. We will read essays, short stories, and a novel or two that help showcase the rich diversity of the immigrant experience. To help ground our exploration, we will read theoretical texts that examine how identities are formed and policed across and within communities. The goals of developing critical thinking and writing skills are central to the course. Reading critically presents many perspectives, which may or may not be like our own. This course seeks to facilitate each class members discovery of their own awareness and relationship to the various perspectives presented explicitly and implicitly in the course materials and activities; the ability to interpret the worldsomething that reading and writing critically calls us to dois a crucial skill both inside and outside the classroom. Success in todays local and global living and working environments depends in large measure on ones ability to interpret, understand, and proactively integrate and negotiate the various aspects of diversity inherent in the human person. Possible readings: The Absolute True Diary of a Part-time Indian, Sherman Alexie; Borderlands/La Frontera, selections, Gloria Anzaldua; Twlight Los Angeles, Anna Deveare Smith; Mother Tongue, by Amy Tan; Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston; Notes of a Native Speaker, Eric Liu; Nelson Mandela, Black Man in a White Court; Nadine Gordimer, Where Do Whites Fit In?; Imaginary Homelands, Salman Rushdie (selection); Black Skin/White Masks, Franz Fanon (selection); Representation, Stuart Hall, et al., (selection); essays on writing, to be selected. . Prerequisite: Open only to first year students as assigned by the Director of College Writing.

    WRPR 164a 01, 02 Peace Testimonies in Literature and Art
    A. Foster
    TTH 10:00-11:30, 1:00-2:30
    In Virginia Woolf’s reading scrapbooks, compiled for her extensive pacifist project that includes the peace pamphlet Three Guineas, there is pasted a typed-out excerpt called War and Writers that addresses the interconnection between writing and political activism, between literature and the production of society. The writer, this passage argues, has a major responsibility to society because he or she can shape the consciousness of the people. Therefore, it is the writers job, War and Writers argues, to spread the spirit of peace. Thinking across the humanities, this course undertakes a study of the way in which writers, activists, and artists have utilized art and literature to spread the spirit of peace. It explores the peace testimonies embedded in literature and art. Peace Testimony is a Quaker term, signifying a lived action that manifests an inner belief. Investigating the relationship between belief and action, we will trace the way in which art and literature performs and promotes pacifist philosophies. Through the study of Muriel Rukeyser’s poetics, Virginia Woolf’s writings, Pablo Picassos paintings, and the Quaker relief effort during the Spanish Civil War, this course will begin uncovering the lost histories of pacifist thought and examine how artists, writers, and activists worked together to imagine and create a world without war. We will also consult thinkers such as Judith Butler and Jean-Paul Sartre to think through notions of responsibility, social engagement, and ethics. In addition to frequent smaller writing assignments and several formal essays, students are asked to participate regularly in class and give a 10-minute presentation. Prerequisite: Open only to members of the first-year class as assigned by the Director of College Writing. [Carries credit towards the concentration in Peace, Justice and Human Rights.]

    WRPR 167b Globalization in the 21st Century
    B. Hall
    MW 1:00-2:30
    We will define and explore global interconnectedness from multiple disciplinary perspectives - political, economic, etc. - but will focus primarily on various complex social and cultural dimensions of globalization including local/global tensions, Westernization, cultural borrowing, cultural imperialism, cultural exploitation, tourism, and pop culture (music, movies, etc.), as analyzed in ethnographies set in various locations around the world. Most of these locations will be outside the US, and we will include a particular case study of Japan. We will consider questions like: Is there a global village? How does the nation-state matter both more and less in a globalized world? How does globalization impact existing socioeconomic inequalities? Who benefits from increasing global interdependence and who does not, and why. Prerequisite: Open only to members of the first-year class as assigned by the Director of College Writing.

    WRPR 168b Madness and Wine in Classical Literature
    W. Tortorelli
    MW 12:30-2:00
    The ancient Greeks founded Western Civilization as an exercise of reason and rationality, but their writings show an equal fascination with the irrational: for every Apollo a Dionysus. Their poetry, their religion, their philosophies...all pay equal honor both to reason and to madness and intoxication. This course will sample some foundational Western writings on madness in order to examine this apparent paradox. A close reading of Plato's Phaedrus will inform our exploration of the fragmentary poets of the archaic period in order to understand the complexity of the ecstatic experience. Nietzsche's false Apollonian/Dionysian dichotomy will be deconstructed in our readings of Athenian tragedy. We will consult scientific theories of mental illness and the effects of psychoactive intoxicants. Topics to be discussed will include the importance of wine in Greek and Roman culture, the role of irrational thought in Greek mythology, the Eleusinian cult mysteries, the roots of drama in Dionysian religious observance, and the presence of madness at the heart of all personal poetry. Prerequisite: Open only to members of the first-year class as assigned by the Director of College Writing. [Counts towards the major in Classical Culture and Society.]

    WRPR/PEAC 169a 01, 02 Imagining Other Futures: Art, Poetry, and Social Change
    J. Hyland
    TTH 11:30-1:00, 1:00-2:30
    In Art as Experience, John Dewey observes that, “resistance and conflict have always been factors in generating art” and that, furthermore, they are “a necessary part of artistic form.” This seminar will take its cue from Dewey and consider how the expressive arts can be much more than mere decoration or delightful diversion. Investigating the ways that poets and artists have responded—and continue to respond—to acts of injustice, instances of violence, and regimes of social oppression, we will examine a range of topics, including socially engaged art and poetry in performance, and seek to make sense of the complex relationship between politics, poetics, and aesthetics. We will explore expressive forms in the social justice struggles of a range of global communities, remaining attentive to various lines of identity and difference and engaging a range of questions, such as: Do the expressive arts have the power to enact social change? Why are the arts often dismissed as insignificant to political discourse? How might the expressive arts become more integral to our public lives? How do they sustain dominant cultural formations and maintain social inequalities? In responding to these (and other) questions, we will learn how to speak, write, and think about the entanglements of art, poetry, and politics. Prerequisite: Open only to members of the first-year class as assigned by the Director of College Writing. [Carries credit towards the concentration in Peace, Justice and Human Rights.]

    WRPR/PEAC 170b 01, 02 On (Non)Violence
    J. A. Foster
    TTH 10:00-11:30, 1:00-2:30

    As the writer Gene Sharp has detailed… nonviolent resistance has a long history. It is not a history that is taught in schools, which, after all, are largely state institutions. It is, for the most part, not a history of political leaders engaged in glorious exploits. Instead it is the expression of people asserting their dignity against the violence that seeks to warp or derange them. —Todd May, “The Dignity of Non-Violence,” On Violence
    Unless we can think peace into existence we—not this one body in this one bed but millions of bodies yet to be born—will lie in the same darkness and hear the same death rattle overhead. —Virginia Woolf, “Thoughts on Peace in an Air Raid”
    This course considers theories of non-violence and begins the work of building vocabularies for peace. In an age of perpetual war, the ethical request compelled by the other’s very vulnerability to “think peace into existence” presents a political, philosophical, and moral challenge that our itinerary seeks to address. Encountering thinkers such as Hannah Arendt, Virginia Woolf, and Judith Butler, we will interrogate the nature, effects, and sources of violence. We will study past and present pacifist actions that develop nonviolent philosophies, particularly the Quaker Peace Testimony, Gandhi and the Indian National Congress, and Marin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement, and Art Works Projects For Human Rights. We will question the ethics of bearing witness to catastrophes wrought at the hands of humans and reproducing the images of war by consulting Susan Sontag’s Regarding the Pain of Others, and consider the ways in which contemporary thinkers, artists, and activists are working for peace today. In addition to frequent smaller writing assignments and several formal essays, students are asked to participate regularly in class and give a 10-minute presentation, to and participate in any digital humanities and collaborative scholarly work in which the class engages.. Prerequisite: Open only to members of the first-year class as assigned by the Director of College Writing. [Carries credit towards the concentration in Peace, Justice and Human Rights.]

    WRPR 171b Truth and Techno-Identity: Digital Auto/biographies
    J. Mercurio
    TTH 11:30-1:00
    In an essay titled “The Critic as Artist” (1891), Oscar Wilde asserts that: “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth.” Wilde’s observation remains relevant today—perhaps even more so in an era of digital communication and networked identities. In fact, differentiating our identities from the online masks we wear has become increasingly difficult. In this seminar, we will examine various platforms for textual and multimedia self-representation (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram) to uncover some of the ways through which we communicate the “truth” about ourselves in each of these environments. At the same time, we will interrogate what constitutes truth in these settings through a series of critical readings by Jaron Lanier, Sherry Turkle, Eli Pariser, Judith Butler, Sidonie Smith, Stuart Hall, and others—exploring theories of identity, performance, narrative, anonymity, and celebrity, and investigating which technological, legal, and cultural factors contribute to our self-understanding both online and off. Prerequisite: Open only to members of the first-year class as assigned by the Director of College Writing.

    WRPR 172b 01, 02 Ecological Imaginaries: Identity, Violence, and the Environment
    J. Hyland
    TTH 11:30-1:00, 1:00-2:30
    This course interrogates how representations and imaginings of the environment are inseparable from issues of social justice. It will therefore begin by turning to those people arguably most severely affected by global climate change: the poor whose jobs are often based on weather, who are usually hit the worst by “natural” disasters such as hurricanes, and who are almost always displaced by the forces of global capital flows. We will go on to examine ideas and issues such as “eco-collapse” (the notion of the planet’s total destruction), wilderness and wildness, the politics of water, “queer ecologies,” food justice, urban farming, and the possibilities of an “eco-criticism of color.” Considering how literature and art imagine and engage the environment in an effort to address questions of social equality and human rights, this course explores and investigates a range of topics and issues that arise from the intersection of racism, sexism, imperialism, globalization, and the environment. Prerequisite: Open only to members of the first-year class as assigned by the Director of College Writing. [Carries credit towards the concentration in Environmental Studies.]

    WRPR 173a 01, 02 Transnational Crossings: Representations of the Berlin Wall in American Culture
    P. Farber
    MW 1:00-2:30, TTH 11:30-1:00
    During the Cold War, the Berlin Wall was the world’s most notorious line of demarcation. From 1961–1989, the fortified border not only separated East and West Berlin, but it also surrounded the allied zones, including the American sector. Divided Berlin became a global epicenter for Americans as a site of ideological conflict, military occupation, and artistic experimentation. Hundreds of American artists felt compelled to visit Berlin and produce work on both sides of the Wall. Despite its stark border, the city served as a focal point of cultural exchange between Germans and Americans. While many Americans traveled to post-World War II Paris for their own imposed exile in Europe, or formulated perspectives on the complexities of domestic culture while driving interstate on the American open road, the divided city of Berlin was another popular option for Americans seeking critical distance. American cultural producers – such as Leonard Freed, Langston Hughes, Angela Davis, Audre Lorde, Keith Haring, and many others – have returned to the Berlin Wall to ponder political borders worldwide and social boundaries back in the United States, especially those connected to matters of race, gender, sexuality, class, and national belonging. In addition to exploring the wall, they also pursued projects in Berlin with German colleagues that led them to engage with post-Holocaust Jewish trauma, radical political communities, diasporic identity, queer culture, and other historical manifestations of division. Since 1989, after the dismantling of the wall and reunification of Germany, intrigue and investment in narratives about the wall continue to circulate meaningfully in American culture.
    Transnational Crossings views the Berlin Wall as an evolving site and symbol of division and transformation. Each week, we will read texts – including historical accounts, cultural critiques, and artistic works – in order to produce weekly writing assignments. We will also pursue writing, collaborate with artists, and explore ideas through the campus gallery's exhibition, The Wall in Our Heads: American Artists and the Berlin Wall, opening in October. At the end of the term, e will produce a final project to reflect on social boundaries in the United States as well as the complex historical crossroads of Berlin. Prerequisite: Open only to members of the first-year class as assigned by the Director of College Writing.

    WRPR 174b 01, 02 Philadelphia Freedoms: Cultural Landscapes and Civic Ideals
    P. Farber
    MW 1:00-2:00, TTH 11:30-1:00
    Philadelphia, founded by William Penn in 1682, was originally envisioned as a concept city for freedom, toleration, and justice. Since then, the city has exemplified revolutionary thought, cultural ideals, and nation building. However, the dualities of freedom and repression, social ideals and harsh realities, have also shaped the city throughout its history to the present day. Currently, Philadelphia’s identity as a 21st century cultural destination has been marked by recent regrowth and economic revival, alongside long standing crises in education, urban violence, and economic injustice. How do Philadelphians balance the deep imprint of venerated core ideals with such ongoing challenges? What is the relationship between Philadelphia’s founding ethos and its layered built environment? How can the city embody the ethical dilemmas and conceptual possibilities for broader debates about contemporary civic ideals?
    Philadelphia Freedoms spans the history of the city, in order to trace how the city’s founding principles have manifested in the lived experiences of its residents over many generations. Each week, we will read texts – including historical accounts, cultural critiques, and artistic works – in order to produce weekly writing assignments, a group project with a local arts organization, and several documentary field trips that reveal and review the city's complex layers. We will also pursue writing and explore ideas in the Quaker archives at Haverford College's Special Collections, online maps through OpenDataPhilly, and in conjunction with the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts program. At the end of the term, each student will work individually toward a final writing project that will consist of a close study of one street or intersection of the city around course themes, which in turn will populate a class-produced critical atlas of Philadelphia. Prerequisite: Open only to members of the first-year class as assigned by the Director of College Writing.

  • Courses at Bryn Mawr College

    These courses do not fulfill the writing requirement at Haverford 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)