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Writing Across the Curriculum

GRW Course Descriptions

Fall 2014

The Fall 2014 Global Perspectives Seminar (GRW-101) offerings are almost finalized. Below is the list of known sections that will take place this fall. Updated 04/22/2014

GRW 101-10 History of Freedom

Professor Thomas Finnegan – TTH 11:30 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.

Throughout Western history the concept of freedom has been both greatly debated and analyzed by historical figures.  Each of these individuals has advanced the concept of freedom in their respective historical perspectives. This course will engage in discussing the significant contributions that these great figures and the events that occurred during their lifetimes havemade in the evolution of Western freedom; students will explore the similarities between the concepts, issue and obligations of individual and societal freedom from ancient models up to our present decade.

GRW 101-11 Vikings: Original Globetrotters

Professor Julie Markin – MW 2:30 - 3:45 p.m.

Between A.D. 800 and A.D. 1100, the Norsemen of Scandinavia, or Vikings, developed into a powerful global force, expanding eastward into present day Russia and westward across the Atlantic, reaching present day Newfoundland. What drove the Vikings into a colonization frenzy? How did they coordinate such lengthy and costly expeditions? What happened to all of these colonies? How are these early Viking colonies connected to the world today? What lessons might we learn from these early global travelers? To answer these questions, we will use archaeology, history, literature, and paleoecology. We will read selections from the sagas and historical accounts written during and after the Norse expansion. We will also look at current research that places migration, settlement, and decline in an environmental, political, social, and economic context. In addition to group exercises and discussions, students will perform several focused writing exercises, complete a final research paper, and present the results of their research to the class.

GRW 101-13 Global Theater

Professor Dale Daigle and Professor Laura Eckelman – MWF 11:30 a.m - 12:30 p.m.

Balinese dancers. Bunraku puppets. British farce. While these three styles of play making may seem to be completely unrelated, they were all created to express, share and celebrate what it means to be human. Using live performance as a springboard, this class investigates three questions: What are the fundamental elements that go into making theater, regardless of where they occur or the form they take? What are the key theatrical traditions from Asia, Africa, the Americas, Australia and Europe? How have these traditions been transformed, combined and altered as the globe has become smaller? Students explore their own notions of what theater is, present research about traditions other than their own, develop their own aesthetic based on watching and discussing plays in performance and participate in the creation of a theatrical event.

GRW 101-23 Christianity & Islam

Professor Joseph Prud’homme – TTH 10:00 - 11:15 a.m.

This course will explore the religion of Islam and the interactions between the Muslim and Christian worlds. Attention will be given first to the essential teachings of the Prophet Mohammed. The course will then explore the history of the interaction between Muslims and Christians, with focus both on the problem of religion and violence and the grounds for Abrahamic solidarity and mutual respect. We shall explore this interaction from the time of the Crusades until the contemporary period. The course will offer students special enrichment activities, including field trips to the National Islamic Center in Washington, D.C. and guest lectures.


GRW 101-30 Dystopia on the Page, Stage and Screen

Professor Brendon Fox – TTH 1:00 - 2:15 p.m.

Merriam-Webster defines a dystopia as “an imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives.”  If it’s such a horrible place, why does it have such a tight grip on our imaginations?  Before the books and movies of The Hunger Games and Divergent, there was Terry Gilliam’s film Brazil. Before that, there was George Orwell’s novel 1984, and before 1984 there was the 1920 Czech play R.U.R., which contains the first known use of the word “robot.”  In this class we will be exploring the many ways the idea of a future-gone-horribly-wrong takes shape in short stories, onstage, and in film. How do different writers, playwrights, and screenwriters over the last one hundred years each find ways to powerfully capture the fear and fascination of a dystopian society?  How do their different social, political, feminist, and geopolitical agendas come to light in different works for the public? Is the purpose of dystopian stories to frighten enlighten, or provoke us into action?  Or even at times make us laugh?

GRW 101-32 Business of Organized Crime

Professor Michael Harvey – MWF 1:30 - 2:20 p.m.

Did you know that al-Qaeda fighters submit expense reports and earn vacation days? This course introduces the suprisingly businesslike world of organized criminal enterprises. Examples include the Mafia (in Italy as well as the United States), al Qaeda, Latin American drug cartels, pirates, and gangs. The study of organized crime, drawing on diverse materials (first-person accounts, interviews, sociological research, criminal investigation, journalism, fiction, as well as documentaries, movies, and TV shows), can help us recognize and understand the core challenges that all organizations face: the division of labor, external competition, internal power struggles, culture, structure, innovation, and sustainability. Student work will consist primarily of research papers, but will also include blogs and other kinds of informal online posting, game-playing, movie and TV-show viewing, and perhaps a field trip to a penitentiary.

GRW 101-34 Genocide in the 20th Century

Professor Susanne Cole – TTH 1:00 - 2:15 p.m.

In 1944 Raphael Lemkin, a Polish-Jewish lawyer, created the word “genocide” from Greek and Latin roots in an attempt to describe Nazi German actions against non-combatants in World War II, provide a platform for punishment, and to prevent it from happening again. Awareness of and interest in the Holocaust is widespread, though it was neither the first nor the last genocide in the 20th century. In this course students will research, write, and present analysis of the cultural underpinnings, legal supports, practical mechanisms of and/or reactions to modern genocides including WWI Turkey, WWII Germany, The Killing Fields of 1970s Cambodia, and 1994 Rwanda.

GRW 101-37 Latino Art Across American Cities

Professor Mariola Alvarez – TTH 8:30 - 9:45 a.m.

This course examines the history of Latina/o art in the United States since 1945, with special emphasis on the artistic cultures of Mexican-Americans, Cuban-Americans and Puerto Ricans.  The key question we will explore is “how have the different cultures of Los Angeles, Miami and New York influenced the development of “Latina/o art” in those cities?”  Readings will introduce students to the field of Latina/o art including the key terms, individual artists, cultural museums, and the histories of U.S. cities in order to prepare students to write a seminar paper.  The goal is for the student to learn how to make an argument about Latina/o artistic production focused on categories such as painting, sculpture, cinema, music or graffiti.  We will be visiting the DC area museums to learn about these artistic categories in person.


GRW 101-39 Madmen and History Making

Professor James Windelborn – MWF 10:30 - 11:20 a.m.

Diagnosis of mental illness has increased dramatically over the past four decades. Why is this the case? Are we doing all we can do manage it? What can we learn from history, and from other cultures, about how to better channel the unique, challenging and sometimes brilliant symptoms of neurological disorders such as schizophrenia, ADHD, autism and depression? In this course, we will research the changing definitions of mental illnesses over time in our own society, and examine the impact of such disorders on world history.  We will also compare and contrast diagnosis and treatment of mental illness in cultures around the globe.  Through assigned readings, classroom discussion, and independent research, we will work together to develop both written essays and presentations about mental illness today.  In the end, students will become more adept at college level critique and argumentation as well as the writing styles that are used to address fascinating and critical issues that impact the world.

GRW 101-47 Race & Gender in Global Education

Professor Darnell Parker – MWF 2:30 - 3:20 p.m.

Are there connections between a student’s race or gender and that student’s educational experiences? Are students’ needs and interests related to their race or gender? Do students of different races and genders have different perceptions of education? Is a teacher’s race or gender related to how he or she teaches and interacts with students? This course will explore the roles that race and gender play in education from a global perspective. Students will have the opportunity to explore and engage in dialogue on how race and gender affect achievement, access to education, race and gender relations, and to reflect on their own personal educational experience. Students will be introduced to readings from Dr. Beverly Tatum, Audre Lorde, Susan Bailey and other scholars whose work focuses on race and gender in education.  Students will be expected to articulate their positions on the readings and discussions during the course of the semester, and will conduct their own research comparing primary, secondary, or postsecondary educational systems in the United States and abroad in respect to race and/or gender.

GRW 101-59 Exploration in the Age of Sail

Professor David Wharton – MWF 12:30 - 1:20 p.m.

Ever since the first humans gazed across an ocean and wondered what was over the horizon,  explorers have built ships, left the security of land, and set out on voyages in search of adventure and treasure.   From Columbus’s journey across the Atlantic to Matt Rutherford’s 2011-2012 single-handed, non-stop circumnavigation of the Americas, we will study their ships, their navigation techniques, their life on board ship, and the impact they had on indigenous cultures.   Along the way we will take a look at commercial sailing ships of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries and the pirates and privateers that plagued them.  Readings will include ship’s logbooks, first- and second-hand accounts, sea shanties, and scholarly articles. In addition to class discussions and activities, quizzes, and short response papers, students will write a research paper and make a class presentation on a specific explorer or voyage.

GRW 101-68 Place Making in a Global Age

Professor Emily Chamlee-Wright and Professor Adam Goodheart – TTH 2:30 - 3:45 p.m.

In this course, we will explore the concept of “place.” What makes a geographical location a particular place to which people are attached? How might a certain place define who we are? How might it expand our humanity? How might it limit our opportunities? How might it become a character in the story of our lives? Is a meaningful sense of place still possible in a global era when people shop at the same stores, eat at the same restaurants, and watch the same TV shows in Bangkok as in Baltimore? Can too much attachment to place become problematic – even dangerous? And how can a writer, scholar, or artist capture a place’s essential qualities and communicate them to others?

We will examine these and other questions though an interdisciplinary lens informed by history, economics, sociology, literature, and politics. On group and solo expeditions beyond the classroom, students will act as explorers, delving deeply into natural and human landscape of the complicated place that surrounds us: Chestertown. Along the way, they will develop ethnographic and archival research skills to capture contemporary and historical narratives of place, as well as polishing their craft as writers to convey their findings vividly and authoritatively.


GRW 101-70 Trashed: Consuming and Disposing in the Past and Present

Professor Andrew Case – MWF 8:30 - 9:20 a.m.

The stuff we send out to the curb and down the drain is often “out of sight and out of mind.” This class will change that. We will explore the processes and places that define how we make, move, and manage waste in modern life and how they came to be that way. From the local landfill to the wastewater treatment plant to an unregulated scrapyard for e-waste in the global South, this course will highlight the human and environmental costs of waste in modern consumer economies. After exploring the history of waste-making and its impacts on the American landscape, we will turn to a global perspective that explores the consequences of increased consumption in emerging economies. We will also engage in first-hand exploration of “spaces of consumption” and “spaces of disposal” around the campus and nearby vicinity. Students will tackle critical questions about waste and the environment while also developing their research, writing, and presentation skills. 

GRW 101-71 Lighting Things on Fire: Energy, Society, and the Environment

Professor Andrew Case – MWF 9:30 - 10:20 a.m.

Flick the light switch. Tap the thermostat. Fire up the engine. Charge your batteries. Crank up the music. Nearly every part of daily life is shaped by the consumption of energy. Behind that clean and quiet flow of electrons rests a long history—and lots of natural resources—that we rarely think about. The central premise of this class is that figuring out how to get more heat, light, and work out of the things we “light on fire” has been central to the development of human societies. Likewise, one of the fundamental challenges of our own time will be figuring out how more people can have the benefits of cheap and abundant energy while minimizing the costs of “lighting things on fire” to both people and the planet. This class will explore energy production and consumption in the past and present. From personal energy use to the geopolitics of energy around the globe, to the unintended consequences of energy production, we will think about how energy shapes lives and landscapes both near and far. In addition to primary documents that reflect changing views of energy over time and place, students will learn how to “read the landscape” through explorations of energy in their own environment. The seminar will help students grasp critical questions about energy and the environment while also providing an opportunity to develop research, writing, and presentation skills.

GRW 101-72 From Geishas to Gaga

Professor  Susanne Cole – TTH 8:30 - 9:45 a.m.

A fifteen-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl targeted by Taliban gunmen; Japanese officials reexamine an apology for WWII comfort women; passage of anti-gay laws in Russia and throughout Africa, fill news reports of recent years. It seems a pivotal moment in world history for people marginalized due to their gender and sexuality. With today’s headlines as our guide, the goal of this course is improve our global citizenship by giving historical context to current events. Researching the history of women, men, and sexuality around the globe will help us more fully understand what is happening today, how we feel about it, and what we would like policy makers to do about it. Your research project will take you wherever in the world you would like to go, and result in a written historical investigation and presentation of a current global gender and sexuality issue.

GRW 101-73 Global Cinema: The Film Biz

Professor Derek Cavens – TBA

Film is the ultimate fusion of art, money, values and aesthetics. This course will explore issues of regional tradition and international influence in filmmaking cultures from Hollywood to Bollywood, Europe, Africa and Asia. Do film conventions reflect audience desires or do they form audience expectations? Should movies stress artistic meaning or mass-market entertainment? Does government patronage elevate cinematic achievement or should filmmakers respond solely to the free market? And how will changing technology and methods of distribution affect the financing and artistic direction of future cinema? Students will view movies outside of class, engage in group exercises and discussions, and conduct extensive research in order to produce several focused writing exercises culminating in a formal paper and class presentation.


GRW 101 Sections Offered by Time Slot – Fall 2014

Time Slot Section No. Title Instructor
MWF 8:30 a.m. 70 Trashed: Consuming & Disposing Case
MWF 9:30 a.m. 71 Energy, Society, & Environment Case
MWF 10:30 a.m. 39 Madmen and History Making Windelborn
MWF 11:30 a.m. 13 Global Theater Daigle & Eckelman
MWF 12:30 p.m. 59 Exploration in Age of Sail Wharton
MWF 1:30 p.m. 32 Business of Organized Crime Harvey
MWF 2:30 p.m. 47 Race & Gender in Global Ed Parker
MW 2:30 p.m. 11 Vikings: Original Globetrotters Markin
TTH 8:30 a.m. 72 From Geishas to Gaga Cole
TTH 8:30 a.m. 37 Latino Art Across American Cities Alvarez
TTH 10:00 a.m. 23 Christianity & Islam Prud’homme
TTH 11:30 a.m. 10 History of Freedom Finnegan
TTH 1:00 p.m. 30 Dystopia on Page, Stage & Screen Fox
TTH 1:00 p.m. 34 Genocide in the 20th Century Cole
TTH 2:30 p.m. 68 Place Making in a Global Age Chamlee-Wright & Goodheart