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Writing Across the Curriculum

GRW Course Descriptions

Spring 2017

The Spring 2017 Global Perspectives Seminar (GRW-101) offerings are almost finalized. Below is the list of known sections that will take place this fall. Updated 12/6/2016

GRW 101-10 Exploring East Asia

Prof. Andrew Oros - MW 2:30 p.m. - 3:45 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 101-11 Godlike Heroes & Fatal Flaws

Prof. Victoria Finney – MWF 12:30 p.m. - 1:20 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 of Roland, and explore why in The Song of the Nibelungsthe dragon-slayer Siegfried is ultimately defeated. Then we will venture further east considering the unsuccessful raid of Igor Svyatoslavovich from The Lay of Igor ‘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 of years 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.

 

GRW 101-12 Indigenous Resistance: Literature & Film

Prof. Rebecca Moreno-Orama – MWF 1:30 p.m. - 2:20 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 101-13 The War Over Wolves

Prof. Andrew Case – TTH 2:30 p.m. - 3:45 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 101-14 Food, People and the Planet

Prof. Bill Schindler – M 1:30 p.m. - 4:00 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 101-16 Enemies, Terror and Paranoia

Prof. Clayton Black - MWF 9:30 a.m. - 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.