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Writing Across the Curriculum

GRW Course Descriptions

Spring 2016

The Spring 2016 Global Perspectives Seminar (GRW-101) offerings are almost finalized. Below is the list of known sections that will take place this fall. Updated 10/12/2015

GRW 101-10 Mod Europe in Global Perspectives

Staff - MWF 08:30 a.m. - 09:20 a.m.

The historic creation of the European Union in the 20th century would have surprised citizens of many of its current members in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Citizens of France, Germany, England, the Netherlands, Greece, Italy, and Spain, to mention only a few states, had experienced centuries of conflict, often driven by economic competition over global colonial interests. Those conflicts led to long-standing mutual bitterness and suspicion. This course will examine special cases of centrifugal forces of conflict and dissent in Modern Europe and the global centripetal forces leaning toward union.


GRW 101-11 Neuroethics

Professor Michael Kerchner - MWF 09:30 a.m. - 10:20 a.m.

The past several decades have been a period of extraordinary findings in the fields of neuroscience and psychology that have provided a much deeper understanding of the functions of the human brain and of their relation to human behaviors. But there also has been growing concern regarding the moral and ethical implications that are likely to be encountered when and how this knowledge may eventually be applied. These concerns emerge whether or not there may be a potential application that is universally regarded to be reprehensible, seemingly benign, or even apparently beneficial. For example, in what circumstances might we allow the use of a drug that could erase traumatic memories or others that might dramatically enhance cognitive abilities? What might be the unintended consequences of doing so? Should modern neural imaging methods be employed to determine guilt or innocence in the courts? If we could transfer our consciousness to a digital database, what is the moral status of that database? Required readings will include peer reviewed neuroscience research articles, and contributions by contemporary philosophers and ethicists. Some sources will focus on what evidence there is for cultural differences in moral and ethical reasoning

GRW 101-12 Global Sounds: Music & Identity

Professor Jon McCollum – MWF 10:30 a.m. - 11:20 a.m.

This course explores music as an aspect of human culture by focusing on selected styles from throughout the globe. We will examine broad historical, cultural, and social contexts of music. Students will study a variety of global aesthetics of music and become familiar with traditional, religious, folk, art, and popular musical styles from select areas of the world. In addition, students will examine the roles of the media, politics, religion, gender, and popular trends on expressive culture, and explore the interdisciplinary nature of music and the connections between the arts and cultural values. Students will hone their writing skills through a series of short ethnographic paper assignments and will give oral presentations based on original ethnographic research.


GRW 101-13 The Science Behind Our Food

Professor Betsy Moyer-Taylor – MWF 10:30 a.m. - 11:20 a.m.

Just what is gluten anyway?  Will the Rawfoods and Caveman diets keep you healthier?  Why would you ever need to carbo-load?  And what, really, are those unpronounceable ingredients listed on the labels of processed food?  Global societies are becoming increasingly obsessed with discussing healthy food options.  But as the health food revolution continues to grow, so does the number of questions we have about what to eat, not to mention our waistlines.  As this debate becomes more complex, perhaps it’s time to get to know our food better.  In this course, we will investigate the science behind our global menus.  We will examine the basic chemical components that comprise a typical meal.  We will collect data to understand what happens when our food is cooked, cooled, blended, preserved, genetically altered and combined with other ingredients.  This data will be used to draw conclusions about the nature of food and unlock the mysteries of the food label.  We will use our scientific knowledge to examine how cultural diets and manufacturing processes impact the health of different societies around the world.  Research, writing, and presentation skills will be honed by doing innovative projects about what draws us to the dinner table every day.


GRW 101-14 Witches, Ghosts, Vampires

Professor Cristina Casado Presa – MWF 11:30 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.

This course explores the idea of the strange, the uncanny and the Other in a global context. We will consider how conceptions of “otherness” are creations of specific cultures and historical periods, and how they have been influenced throughout the centuries by changing beliefs about the natural and the supernatural. In particular, we will study different representations of the witch, the ghost and the vampire from different countries in both classic and contemporary texts. Throughout the semester we will examine how each reflects human apprehension about different realities that might lurk behind the confidence of science and the comfort of religion. Required texts will reflect a variety of cultural backgrounds and points of view. We will analyze Russian popular folklore, Brothers Grimms fairy tales, Victorian narratives on ghosts, European vampire stories, American witchcraft and modern Japanese horror among others. Students will hone critical thinking skills by examining how these artistic works have shaped or reflect our own cultures attitudes towards the Other.


GRW 101-15 A New China Through Literature

Professor David Hull – MWF 11:30 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.

Manchu (Qing) dynasty could not long survive under the dual threats of internal rot and external aggression, many Chinese people saw not the imminent collapse of one single dynasty, but a danger of the utter elimination of the Chinese state or perhaps even the Chinese race.  And yet there might be a way to save China: if western science and technology could be imported and domesticated could they be used to defend China? What then becomes of the old China? Must the Chinese people and society be reformed in a “western” mold in order to take advantage of the new tools? Does China need to become less Chinese in order to avoid destruction?

This course will explore these problems through Chinese literature of the period as well as works of western social theory that the Chinese intellectuals hoped could be used to save China. Students will develop reading, communication, research, writing, and editing/revision skills through multiple written assignments, presentations and student-led discussions. All class material will be presented in English. No foreign language ability is required.


GRW 101-16 The War Over Wolves

Professor Andrew Case - MWF 12:30 p.m. - 01:20 p.m.

The goal of this course is not to figure out which side is right or wrong, but rather to use the war over wolves as a way to better understand the conflicted role of wildlife––and wild nature in general––in our modern lives. After exploring the history that shaped attitudes and actions towards wolves and ultimately their near eradication in the lower 48 states, we will explore wolf reintroduction and the changing fates of large predators on an increasingly crowded globe. Along the way, we will explore the “lenses” through which ranchers, ecologists, ethicists, and political leaders have viewed wolves and debate our own values in the process. Students will tackle critical questions while also developing their research, writing, and rhetorical skills.
Our exploration of wolves will be placed in a global perspective by comparing the animal’s North American story with places like Scandinavia, Russia, Iran, and Japan. We will study inadvertent as well as intentional efforts at “rewilding” in Western Europe and ask whether the wolf can have a place in the countryside in our times. In addition, we will explore developments in “carnivore coexistence” in places across the global South as a means of understanding the strategies that societies and cultures have developed for living with predator species.
The course will feature a number of guests who will discuss varying perspectives on wolves and wildlife and students will conduct a number of in-class debates to develop the skill of developing an argument and presenting evidence. A field trip may be part of the course if circumstances permit.

GRW 101-17 A Global History of Water

Professor Andrew Case – MWF 01:30 p.m. - 02:20 p.m.

Despite the fact that water is foundational for biological life on the planet, we often only pay attention to it at times when we have too much of it or not enough. Yet the control of water for irrigation, transportation, flood control, industrialization, and sanitation has been central to the social and economic development of the modern world. Scholars have long asked questions about how water management has shaped human societies, questions which have renewed urgency today in the face of a rapidly changing, and rapidly warming, global environment. This course will explore the role of water in global history and ask how societies have sought to address their water needs in different times and different places. In addition, students will explore how conflicts over the use and availability of water are playing out across the globe today. After surveying the role of water in human history, student-led research projects and discussions will explore the broader contexts of contemporary (and future) water crises. By using water as a “lens” for critical inquiry, students will develop their research, writing, and rhetorical skills.

GRW 101-18 Indigenous Resistance: Literature & Film

Professor Rebeca Moreno-Orama  – MWF 02:30 p.m. - 03:20 p.m.

The primary goal of this course is to examine the indigenous visions of violence and resistance around the world. Through the study of primary texts from the 16th to the 21st century, and through the discussion of documentary and feature films, students will gain a greater understanding of the past and present issues faced by the indigenous people. As we approach our main topic, we will concentrate on exploring the contrast between the indigenous and Western views of “discovery,” “conquest,” “rights,” “land,” “development,” and “organization.” Students will re-evaluate categories, such as ethnicity, religion, and cultural identity from colonial and postcolonial perspectives. The course will include a field trip to the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC.


GRW 101-19 Exploring East Asia

Professor Andrew Oros – MW 02:30 p.m. - 03:45 p.m.

Will China be the world?s next superpower?  Why is so much of the world fascinated by a Japanese-invented English-born cat named Kitty White (aka Hello Kitty)?  How has traditional East Asian theater influenced Western rock and roll performance? This course is designed to help students explore the tremendous cultural, economic, political, and social diversity of contemporary East Asia, a region of the world that comprises forty percent of the world’s population, global extremes of rich and poor, and among the very oldest and very newest forms of cultural expression. Shared exploration will include reading of fictional and political work of East Asian writers, viewing of East Asian film and art, and discussion of how Westerners have viewed East Asia in the past and how they have come to view East Asia today.  Students also will be asked to explore East Asia on their own, via the internet, field trips to museums, interviews, and in writings of East Asian authors, and to make engaging, multi-media presentations to the class about what they discover.


GRW 101-20 Economics of Health Inequality

Professor Mook Lim – MW 02:30 p.m. - 03:45 p.m.

The objective of the course is to examine the economic issues of health inequality across time and countries. The content of the course covers the basic concepts of health economics, the origins of health inequality since the Industrial Revolution, the effect of economic growth on health inequality within the United States and across countries, and the contemporary debates on reforming health care systems in selected countries.

There are three components to the course from which students earn grade. They are: 1) writing assignments, 2) a 10-minute presentation, and 3) class participation. There are six writing assignments which are based on the weekly readings. The presentation relates to introducing a country’s health care system within the scope of economics.

GRW 101-21 Foreign Cuisines: Food in World

Professor Susanne Cole  – TTH 08:30 a.m. - 09:45 a.m.

Sit! Eat! Almost anytime two people meet food is on the table. Read almost any first encounter between two cultures and you see them sitting down to eat. Food has been at the center of cultural exchanges throughout history. Cuisine eases introductions, introduces new concepts, but also can be a force of acculturation and social judgment. In this course we will investigate exchanges between cultures and the role of cuisine in those encounters from the Silk Road trade of tea and spices, through the imperialism of the 19th century and exoticism of ‘foreign cuisines’, to the globalization of food and diets today. In this course students will research, write, and present analysis of cultural exchanges via the study of cuisine. 


GRW 101-23 Emotion & Survival in WWI: Emotional History of Great War

Professor Susanne Cole – TTH 10:00 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

This Global Research and Writing course will investigate the psychological, cultural, and emotional side of The Great War (WWI): from the highs of enthusiastic entry, through the hellish lows of the trench war experience, to the emotional disorientated aftermath of the 1920s. The Great War was the greatest war thus far due to the scale of the military action, but also because for the first time there was no longer a clear line between combatants and the home front. People felt this war in a way they had never before, or perhaps would ever after. In
this course students will research, write, and present analysis of the psychological, cultural and/or emotional impact of WWI on society.
WWI: from the highs of enthusiastic entry, through the hellish lows of the trench war experience, to the emotional disorientated aftermath of the 1920s. The Great War was the greatest war thus far due to of the scale of the military action, but also because for the first time there was no longer a clear line between combatants and the home front. People from Europe and America to Africa and Asia, felt this war in a way they had never before, or perhaps would ever after. In this course students will research, write, and present analysis of the psychological, cultural, and/or emotional impact of WWI on


GRW 101-25 Education, Liberation, and Democracy

Professor Holly Brewster – TTH 01:00 p.m. - 02:15 p.m.

In a time when anyone with an internet connection can access vastly more information than can be delivered in a lecture hall, are schools still necessaryin modern democracies?  This class is designed to explore the ideals of Western education and the function of schools in developing and maintaining democratic societies.  We will examine the possibilities for creating social change in the U.S. and around the world via schooling and education, with a particular focus on the role of the teacher as an agent of change.  By bringing together primary sources, contemporary mainstream nonfiction writing, and popular visual media, students will develop an understanding of the powerful and complex role that education plays in encouraging civic engagement and supporting individual, social, and political liberation.  Students will research and present their findings on new movements and technologies in education, and consider their potentials for empowering disempowered people around the world.

GRW 101-26 Food, People & the Planet

Professor Bill Schindler – TTH 11:30 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.

Food…we all eat it, and without it we would die. But, have you ever stopped to consider how important food is to us beyond merely keeping us alive? Food is embedded within our culture; our food choices say a lot about who we are. The manner in which we select, prepare, and consume food is based upon culturally transmitted notions of taste, nutrition, social regulations, and religious meaning. This course will use food - and the many ways in which people utilize food for nutritional and cultural purposes - to better understand different societies
throughout time and place. To accomplish this goal, students will make use of primary and secondary source materials from fields such as cultural anthropology, evolution, archaeology, and nutrition. In addition to group exercises, discussions, research, and writing assignments, the course will culminate in
the preparation and presentation of a multi-course meal representing the research students completed throughout the


GRW 101-27 Cultivating a Maker Mindset

Professors Amanda Kramer & Brian Palmer – TTH 02:30 p.m. - 03:45 p.m.

Born out of DIY culture, Makers today are leading the world into a new industrial revolution. Through collaborations at Makerspaces, these innovators, entrepreneurs, hackers, and artisans are coming together in shared social workspaces filled with digital fabrication, woodworking, metalworking, textile, and electronics tools.  Combining global knowledge sharing and democratizing access to tools, Makers are more agile than ever before at tackling global problems.

As a society, how can we leverage the Maker “mindset” to generate true accessibility to innovation, and even help others in need across the globe? In this course you’ll learn about - and participate in – the Maker Revolution.

In this class your niche area for “making” will focus on helping victims of natural disaster. We’ll work together to research, write about, and discuss Maker Culture. Then, you’ll work in small groups to apply what you’ve learned; creating handcrafted prototypes for problems recognized at natural disaster sites (i.e. locating stranded victims, providing potable water, or quickly building temporary shelter). At the end of the course you’ll present both a peer-reviewed paper and an innovative product prototype.

Additionally, you’ll identify problems and collaborate to solve these challenges through the use of IDEAWORKS, our new Makerspace at Miller Library. You’ll use readings and online media to research Maker Culture, and take a daylong field trip to TechShop in DC-Arlington to watch true Maker Culture in action.

Are you ready to be a Maker? Then join us and let your transformation begin.


GRW 101-28 Godlike Heroes and Their Fatal Flaws

Professors Victoria Finney – MWF 12:30 p.m. - 01:20 p.m

This course explores the concepts of a hero and honor in a global context focusing primarily on the images found in the poetical history of mankind, i.e. in the epic poems. We will encounter the wise Väinämöinen from Kalevala, the national epic of Karelia and Finland, learn about heroic deeds of Charlemagne’s nephew from the oldest extant epic poem in French The Song ofRoland, and explore why in The Song ofthe Nibelungs the dragon-slayer Siegfried is ultimately defeated. Then we will venture further east considering the unsuccessful raid of Igor Svyatoslavovich from The Lay ofIgor ‘s Campaign and the massacre at night as is depicted in the Sanskrit epic of ancient India, the Mahäbhärata. Analyzing excerpts from these texts will allow us to understand perceptions and values of several cultures which led to the creation of their ultimate heroes. It will also help us ponder the question of human responsibility, ability and limitations and whether perceptions of them are universal. As we discuss texts written hundreds ofyears ago, we will consider our own understanding of honor and heroes.  Students will develop better research, writing, and presentation skills by completing several short written assignments, working on a research project, and sharing their findings with class.