Course Descriptions for Fall 2013 Sections of wri 120: College Composition I



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Course Descriptions for Fall 2013 Sections of

WRI 120: College Composition I



General Description of All Sections:


Writing forms the means of liberal inquiry in any discipline. Students in this course develop their thinking through a variety of expository prose. They work toward improved clarity and organization by writing multiple drafts of their essays and by participating in peer reviews. Students practice locating, integrating, and citing primary or secondary source material into their writing, and they learn to edit their own writing, checking for correct usage, mechanics, spelling, and punctuation. Although sections of College Composition I are organized thematically, improved writing remains the goal of every course as students become familiar with the process needed to produce clear and organized expository prose.

Specific Descriptions of Each Theme-Based Section

[Human] Nature

TTHF2 9:30-10:50

Margee Husemann


As humans, our relationship to nature is vexed. Although inherently a part of nature, we also stand apart from it and impose our will upon it. In this course, we will examine some of the more troubling questions about our relationship with the environment. These questions include the following: How has modernity shaped humanity’s relationship to nature? What purpose does the nature-culture division serve in society? How does the media mediate our experiences with nature and help to shape our responses to it? What are our responsibilities to the environment, and are those responsibilities at odds to our responsibilities to other humans?

Readings will include works from William Wordsworth, John Muir, Richard Louv, John Krakauer, and others. These works will provide the foundation for discussion and the context for exploring classroom ideas within the writing assignments.


Instructor Bio: Margee rocks the writing old school but likes new school readings. She has published on Victorian literature but is currently researching more contemporary topics: a 20th century detective novel and the connection between YA literature and nature tourism. Her classroom often reflects her personal interests: the outdoors, fantasy and sci-fi, pop culture, gender relations, and her son and daughter. Her favorite parts of teaching are classroom discussion and conferences with students. Margee believes that writing is powerful, communal, and transformative.


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The Art of the Essay

TTHF2 11:00 am-12:20 pm

Michael Matin


In this course—through reading, group discussion, and frequent writing—we will explore the art of the essay. Readings will include numerous brief examples of this form drawn from various eras and cultures. Writing assignments will mostly take the form of essays (including one research essay), although we will also write creative narratives and brief response papers to the readings. Additionally, we will read and discuss students’ work in class, and an important aspect of the course will be the giving and receiving of constructive criticism.

Instructor Bio: Michael Matin chairs the English department at Warren Wilson. His teaching specialties include British Modernism, colonial and postcolonial literature, and literature and war. He is a scholar of Joseph Conrad and wrote the introductory essays and notes for the Barnes and Noble Classics editions of Heart of Darkness and Selected Short Fiction and Lord Jim. His current book project, Securing Britain: Invasion-Scare Literature before the Great War, examines pre-1914 British invasion-scare literature, a genre that envisions England subjected to conditions of the sort it imposed throughout the British Empire.

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Writing Harry Potter

Vievee Francis

TTHF2 1:00-2:20 pm

Through the writing of personal narratives, profiles, persuasive essays and literary analysis we will explore the magical world of Harry Potter J.K. Rowling created as well as the historical, mythological and literary sources she drew upon as we hone our critical reading, grammar and composition skills. Work will be done collaboratively in small peer groups as well as independently.

Instructor Bio: Vievee Francis is the author of two books of poetry, Blue-Tail Fly and Horse in the Dark. Her work has appeared or is forth­coming in several periodicals and anthologies including Best Ameri­can Poetry 2010 and Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry. She is currently an associate editor for Callaloo: A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters. Vievee has called Texas, Detroit, and now the Blue Ridge Mountains home.

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“Me and My Shadow”: Doublings, Doppelgӓngers, and Uncanny Self-Reflections

Two options: MWF1 1:00-2:20 pm or MWF1 2:30-3:50 pm

J. Alexandra McGhee

The doppelgӓnger, or ghostly double, has long had multiple functions in literature and art: it can be a harbinger of ill tidings, a darker reflection of one’s true self, or even, with the development of photographic techniques and increasingly sophisticated media, a seductive means of breaking away from traditional space/time boundaries. Our critical conversation will interrogate the doppelgӓnger in all of these guises, beginning with Freud’s concept of the uncanny and the story that influenced him so greatly, E.T.A. Hoffmann’s hallucinatory “The Sandman,” and then moving into the explosion of the double as a figure in literature and art. We will read works by authors like Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jorge Luis Borges, and China Mieville. We will also explore how themes of doubling have evolved and manifested in contemporary films such as David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers and Mamoru Oshii’s groundbreaking anime, Ghost in the Shell, and how electronic environments like Facebook are changing our perceptions of identity and our potential for self-transformation.

Some of the questions we will explore through our writing include: How do we understand and delimit our individual identities? What makes us unique? Is the double a threatening figure that destabilizes the borders of our selves, or is it a sign of our technological future? Why is this figure so prevalent across genres and cultures? Working with the course material, we will write three short papers and a longer (8-10 page) research paper. The paper-writing process will be revision-intensive, and you will be expected to utilize both self-assessments and peer reviews to further develop your writing and critical thinking skills.
Instructor Bio: J. Alexandra (Ali) McGhee is a PhD candidate at the University of Rochester. She will be defending her dissertation, on British perceptions of Caribbean witchcraft in the nineteenth century, this fall. Her research interests include transatlanticism, British Romanticism, the Gothic, horror and science fiction studies, and the digital humanities. Her publications have appeared in Symbiosis
Romantic Circles and The Edgar Allan Poe Review, and she is currently editing a book of collected essays on monstrous urban spaces that is forthcoming through Cambridge Scholars Press. She also enjoys creative writing, and her story, “Chinchilla,” was recently named to the Top-25 List for Glimmer Train’s “Short Story Award for New Writers” and was a Finalist for New South Journal’s 2013 Fiction Contest.  She is a yoga instructor at Go Yoga, Asheville’s Baptiste Yoga studio. 

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F06 and F07: Into the Wild: Wilderness, Place, Self

Two options: MWF1 9:30-10:50 am or MWF1 11:00 am-12:20 pm

Beth Keefauver

Calling all Wild Women and Grizzly Men: get in touch with your wildside! Ever since Thoreau retreated to his cabin in the woods to “live deliberately,” modern Americans have journeyed into the wild to gain a deeper understanding of the self and our place in the world. We will first investigate how wilderness has shaped American ideals of individuality and self-reliance in landmark nature writing texts like Walden, and in contemporary nonfiction such as Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Last American Man and John Krakauer’s Into the Wild. We will then explore the historical development of the American understanding of wilderness from the frontier era through the twentieth century. Finally, we will explore contemporary wilderness narratives, ecofiction and ecopoetry, that shape ongoing conversations of the
“green” movement.


This course emphasizes field experiences as much as academic research; we will integrate outdoor activities with writing and textual study. Students will write three papers, keep a wilderness journal, team-teach assigned readings, participate in a service adventure, and complete a final wilderness project.

Instructor Bio: Beth Keefauver earned her PhD in English and Creative Writing from the University of

Tennessee. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in several literary journals, and her research interests include environmental literature and women’s studies. Before entering the academic life, Beth worked at as a sea turtle biologist, fork lift operator, and writer/performer for a local female comedy troupe. An aspiring mini-homesteader, she bikes, hikes, and enjoys the mountains with her husband and young son.



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