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Writing Across the Curriculum

GRW Course Descriptions

Spring 2014

The Spring 2014 Global Perspectives Seminar (GRW-101) offerings are almost finalized. Below is the list of known sections that will take place this spring. Several more sections will be added to this list in the coming month. Updated 12/5/2013

GRW 101-14 Enemies, Terror, and Paranoia

Professor Clayton Black – MWF 9:30 - 10:20 a.m.

The modern world is a dangerous place, filled with threats both real and imagined. As if to compound that reality, modern societies seem to thrive on horror movies, murder tales, and representations of ghastly violence. What roles do enemies and terror play in the cultures of the modern world from the nineteenth century to the present? What are the connections between fictional representations of enemies, terror, and paranoia and the ways we perceive our actual world? This course
will explore such themes through examinations of fictional works, films, and scholarly analysis. Students will hone their writing skills through a series of short papers and will give oral presentations based on original research.

GRW 101-16 Food, People, and the Planet

Professor William Schindler – TTH 1:00 - 2:15 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 semester.

GRW 101-19 Ethnobotany: People, Plants, and Culture

Professor Patricia Gladu – TTH 8:30 - 9:45 a.m.

Throughout history, most people and cultures have gotten medicine from plants rather than scientifically engineered drugs. This course will look at some of the ways different cultures have used plants medicinally, including the medieval European “Doctrine of Signatures,” Indian Ayurvedic medicine, Native American medicine wheels, and the Chinese herbalists. We will compare indigenous and European medicinal systems, and explore the roles plants play in modern medicine. Throughout the course we will consider videos and music of the cultures, lectures and presentations, and each become intimately acquainted with a particular plant as we study it and determine its medicinal and nutritional value through lab experiments and compare its uses across cultures.

GRW 101-41 Witches, Ghosts, Vampires

Professor Cristina Casado Presa – MWF 10:30 - 11:20 a.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 101-53 Fairytales and Feminism

Professor Nicole Grewling – MWF 1:30 - 2:20 p.m.

In this course, we will explore fairytales in different Western cultures, with a particular focus on the role of women in these tales. Fairytales are affected by their respective cultural contexts - we will consider the meaning behind these stories and examine their transformations across time and space. Our inquiry will be supplemented by an overview of the complex development of fairytale traditions. Readings will include fairytales and adaptations from Straparola to the Brothers Grimm, Perrault, and Disney. Over the course of the semester, students will write short analytical papers and develop a research project that addresses gender roles in fairy tales.

GRW 101-60 Biodiversity and Global Warming

Professor Jennie Carr – MWF 8:30 - 9:20 a.m.

The world supports a wealth of organisms that thrive in an astounding variety of habitats and conditions. However, such biodiversity is threatened by global warming. This course will examine where and why some regions of the globe support more species than others, as well as the importance of biodiversity from a social, financial, and scientific perspective. We will also address why global climate change is occurring, how it may impact biodiversity in different regions, and what can or should be done to prevent or reduce species loss.

GRW 101-62 Indigenous Resistance in Literature and Film

Professor Rebeca Moreno – MWF 11:30 a.m. - 12:20 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 101-63 Man Versus Wild

Professor Rachel Paparone – TTH 10:00 - 11:15 a.m.

The 1719 publication of Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe spawned hundreds of variations on what has come to be seen as a well-known theme in Western literature: stranded on a desert island, the solitary survivor attempts to tame the wilderness, recreate Western society, and civilize his native companion. At its core, however, Robinson Crusoe is a Western myth of revolt: a way to say “no” to society and break with the accepted social order. This course will explore the ways in which contemporary authors and film makers across the globe have used the myth of Robinson Crusoe in reaction to certain problems that plague modern society, including environmental degradation, women’s rights, racism, religious persecution, and cultural exceptionalism. In addition to periodic response papers, students will be expected to maintain an online reading journal in the form of a blog, participate in in-class peer-review sessions, present to the class a critical reading of a literary passage, and complete a final research paper.

GRW 101-64 Globalization of Western Art Music

Professor John Leupold – TTH 2:30 - 3:45 p.m.

This course explores the intersection in and influence of world folk and popular music traditions on composed Western Art Music, a style of music that primarily refers to both contemporary and historical “classical” traditions that are preserved in written musical notation. In this course, we focus our attention on both musical and cultural analysis. In addition, we will reflect on the hegemony of the Western Art Music tradition by analyzing musical works from a variety of cultural contexts. To this end, composers inside and outside of the Western tradition will be discussed as well as the musical traditions from which they borrow. Our study of musical influences will begin roughly with the Paris Exposition of 1889 and continue through modern times. Students will hone their research and writing skills by drafting and rewriting an extensive research paper and will present their findings in oral reports. No musical experience is required.

GRW 101-65 Music and Identity

Professor Jon McCollum – MWF 12:30 - 1:20 p.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 101-66 How Kirk and Katniss Save the World

Professor Paula Booke – TTH 11:30 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.

In this seminar we will explore the characters and contexts of science fiction (from Captain Kirk of the starship Enterprise to Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games) in order to understand some of today’s most important global issues. Students will read, analyze and critique various works of fiction. We will delve more deeply into questions of war and reconciliation, sex and sexuality, religion, and the nature of human existence by reading stories, watching movies and TV shows which explore these issues through the lens of science fiction. In this seminar students will think critically about science fiction as a form of social commentary, explore the issues science fiction writers address, and articulate their own vision of humanity’s future. Students will refine their research and writing skills by drafting and rewriting an original research report and will present their findings in oral reports.

GRW 101-67 Life in 140 Characters

Professor Paula Booke – MW 2:30 - 3:45 p.m.

“The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.” Bill Gates

We will read articles which illuminate the psychosocial impact of the internet on our lives in order to become better educated consumers of social media. Students will explore issues such as the global digital divide, the impact of the internet and social media on politics around the world and whether or not the internet improves human life. In so doing we will think critically about the ways in which internet access and social media have reshaped how human beings relate to each other. Students will engage in a personal social media inventory, complete an original research project and make an oral presentation.

GRW 101 Sections Offered by Time Slot – Spring 2014

Time Slot Section No. Title Instructor
MWF 8:30 a.m. 60 Biodiversity and Global Warming Carr
MWF 9:30 a.m. 14 Enemies, Terror, and Paranoia Black
MWF 10:30 a.m. 41 Witches, Ghosts, Vampires Casado Presa
MWF 11:30 a.m. 62 Indigenous Resistance in Literature and Film Moreno
MWF 12:30 p.m. 65 Music and Identity McCollum
MWF 1:30 p.m. 53 Fairytales and Feminism Grewling
MW 2:30 p.m. 67 Life in 140 Characters Booke
TTH 8:30 a.m. 19 Ethnobotany: People, Plants, and Culture Gladu
TTH 10:00 a.m. 63 Man Versus Wild Paparone
TTH 11:30 a.m. 66 How Kirk and Katniss Save the World Booke
TTH 1:00 p.m. 16 Food, People, and the Planet Schindler
TTH 2:30 p.m. 64 Globalization of Western Art Music Leupold