Russell, catherine

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SPRING 2012 BARUCH ENGLISH DEPARTMENT THEMES


2100/2100T/2150/2150T
As of October 17, 2011
ENG 2100 GMWA

RUSSELL, CATHERINE
How to Think Better: Critical Thought Skills in the Modern World

One of the most valuable tools you need is college is the ability to think critically. This course will develop your critical thought skills and help you to become a more articulate, thoughtful and opinionated thinker and writer. Each student will be required to:


• write a weekly summary and response to a current newspaper or magazine article and then present it to the class;
• read any novel he/she chooses and then discuss it with me in an individual conference;
• write a series of essays at home and in class, including a biographical narrative, an analytical description, a well formulated argument on a controversial topic, a gender-based comparison/contrast essay exploring some of the social, physical and intellectual differences between the sexes, and an interview with a professional in the field of business the student hopes to pursue;
• as a research assignment, choose a prominent business figure and write a biography analyzing the factors contributing to his/her success;
• work on proofreading, editing and improving all written work
Expect heated discussion and lots of class participation; thinking critically should be engaging and fun! Readings may include passages from the following:
Justice by Michael J. Sandel

Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely

Americans Talk About Love by John Bowe

Working by Studs Terkel



ENG 2100 GTRA

REILLY, PATRICK

Disease and Destiny

Plague has been plaguing us for millennia. Virtually every book in the Old Testament offers a plague story. Plagues play a pivotal narrative role in Homer’s Iliad, and the great classical Greek dramatist Sophocles places plague at the heart of his tragedy Oedipus Rex, itself a response to the Plague of Athens during the Peloponnesian War, which was famously chronicled by Thucydides. More recently, the AIDS plague, which has claimed thirty million people worldwide in the thirty years since its discovery in New York City, has generated a vital literary response in the arts and sciences.


In plague texts ancient and modern, the fact of disease is repeatedly being at once confronted and aesthetically reconstructed, commonly in terms of destiny. Daniel Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year (1722) stands today as a classic study of plague both as fact and as construct. Our study of this early modern plague text will focus on its presumption as a journalist’s eyewitness account to record scientifically the earthly progress of the pestilence in London without discounting its heavenly origin. For in Defoe as in Thucydides, human destiny is still linked to the stars. In the course of the enlightened eighteenth century, though, begins a shift in the relationship between man and destiny, as destiny becomes less a product of divine will than it is a process evolving out of human resolve. To what degree, then, is man himself responsible for a destiny circumscribed by the pestilential horrors of plague? How does one rationalize the fact of a phenomenon that defies human comprehension, if not human imagination? To what effect do constructs of destiny control or contain plague?

Placing such questions in scientific and philosophical, social and cultural contexts, we will cross several centuries from Defoe’s Journal to Albert Camus’s The Plague to Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart, plague agitprop at its most powerful. We will watch the video of Angels in America, probably the mostly widely viewed representation of the AIDS epidemic in New York City’s mid 1980s. We will consider the scientific and political implications of disease as destiny in extracts from nonfiction texts like Susan Sontag’s AIDS and Its Metaphors and Phil Alcabes’s Dread as well as in print journalism (op-ed pieces, articles from the New York Times science pages, essays in the New Yorker). Our aim will be to develop the students’ critical reading skills and thereby lend substance to their own exercises in prose composition.

This is a writing-intensive course, and writing is a process, which we will explore from the formulation of a thesis through outlining and drafting and revising to a completed essay and, finally, a research paper. Our exercises in rhetorical methods will start small and expand as we progress: from sentence to paragraph, from one paragraph to two, from two to a page, from one page to two, and so on. There will also be some low-stakes writing exercises in class. In addition to short papers and the research paper (theme and topics to be discussed beforehand) there will be a mid-term and final examination.
Get a notebook (pocket-size, cheap)—observe things—take notes!
ENG 2100 HMWA

TOWNS, SAUNDRA
Engagement

The course aims to introduce student writers to the conventions of academic writing and to develop those critical reading and thinking skills that will be called for in academic, civic, and professional life. Primary attention is given to writing as a process, from formulating a thesis, to outlining, drafting, and revision, to writing the research paper. Essays by both contemporary and "classic" writers will be read and analyzed as they speak to both rhetorical and cultural issues of concern.




ENG 2100 HTRA

TOWNS, SAUNDRA

Engagement

The course aims to introduce student writers to the conventions of academic writing and to develop those critical reading and thinking skills that will be called for in academic, civic, and professional life. Primary attention is given to writing as a process, from formulating a thesis, to outlining, drafting, and revision, to writing the research paper. Essays by both contemporary and "classic" writers will be read and analyzed as they speak to both rhetorical and cultural issues of concern.



ENG 2100 HWFA

GEMPP, BRIAN
Readings in Rule and Rebellion
Throughout history the rebel has been a figure both vilified and celebrated. From its beginnings, American culture can be conceived as structured around the complex interplay of rule and rebellion. This dynamic is evident in America’s early colonial and religious conflicts, in the rhetoric of the Declaration of Independence, in Anglo-European attempts to legislatively contain indigenous, African and now, Latino peoples, and even in the recent and highly-charged language of the Tea Party. This year the Arab Spring and the Occupy Wall Street protests both provided new examples of political rebellion. Through the study of essays, the mass media, film, music, and literature, especially that which is associated with various popular and political subcultures, we will explore the relationship between rule and rebellion. Finally, the course will consider texts from both “high” and “low” culture, the mainstream and the underground, tracing certain social, generational, psychological, racial and gendered struggles for power and freedom from a variety of historical perspectives.
ENG 2100 JMWA

GETZEN, SHEILA

The Comic Spirit: Literary, Social, Psychological

What is your favorite style of comedy ?: Pure fun and farce?—Or do you prefer farce is laced with a refined and developed comic vision? Or when these modes meet the tragicomic, the absurd, or the surreal? As we articulate our own literary tastes, we will also find individual ways to interact with bright new social and psychological theories as to how humor positively affects us and our society.

The playwrights we will read have in common an urge to find innovative forms, tones, and styles in which to express their vibrant comic spirits:


--In Tartuffe, l Moliere looks at religious hypocrisy and blind faith in 1660’s France, and laces hilarious farce into a refined and developed comic vision. And then, Anton Chekhov, in the late 1880’s Russia , started with farce, in his Comic One-Acts
about love and marriage; includes tragicomic content and tones, along with the absurd.
--In True West (1980), on brothers, Hollywood, and creativity; Sam Shepard transforms a civilized realism into a primitive surrealism. And then, in The Dead Man’s Cell Phone (2008), Sarah Ruhl forgoes realism and celebrates, in a dark yet charming comic way, the surreal and the absurd in electronic communications networks.
As we read these plays, we will also investigate new views on comedy’s positive social and psychological impacts:

---In Performing Marginality (2004), Joanne Gilbert relates how -- in the “topsy-turvy” carnival-like atmosphere of a comedy club, –individuals in can begin to define their own identities and gain power and freedom within restrictive social hierarchies,. And then, in Comedy (2005), Andrew Stott offers examples from the past and present as to how comedy offers liberating treatment of often-taboo themes of identity, the body and bodily functions, and gender roles and relations. He also describes the use of “fools”—in the plays of Shakespeare to the films of Woody Allen---as a way of ridiculing rigid thinking and behavior; or of pointing out who in fact has wisdom.

--In Comic Relief (2009)John Morreall asserts how the humor mode is similar to the child-like approach in play. He also elaborates upon the gains from a comedic mode - such as increased cognitive complexity and flexibility, an expanded array of perspectives; and increased problem-solving creativity.

As a class, we will formulate original questions and then find imaginative ways of addressing them. On your own, you will write several short studies; two argumentative, analytical papers and one researched paper, which you will also present to the class .This individual research project will be on your choice of topic—a specific comedy writer or theorist, or on a particular work of comedy—from either the past or the present.



ENG 2100 JWFA

NEDELJKOV, NIKOLINA
Politics of Cruelty and Poetics of Love: Spaces of Freedom and Peace in Narratives of Decay

Life frequently creates situations in which choices to be made cause intricate sentiments and thoughts. More often than not, the emotional-spiritual-intellectual and, indeed, physical caveats result from the discrepancy between the imposed models of living, on the one hand, and an individual’s mindset/believes on the other. Circumstances not entirely of one’s choosing confront one with a possibility of complicity in proliferating coercion and hypocrisy. Deploying a remixing approach to writing-ridden reading, we will explore and enhance the potentials for creatively-critical expressive modes. Deprivation of rights and freedom could be used as the umbrella expression that characterizes burdensome corners in which the agony in question happens. In literature we find testimonies of living in dark times. And yet, along with the accounts of cruelty and suffering these narratives reveal a layer of vital light of resistance underneath the ocean of toxicity: lyricism suggestive of the reality of a counteract, crack of the gentlest of poetics amidst destruction-imbued narratives, the anthems of life emerging from darklands--sad, yet glorious stories of the stamina and greatness of the human spirit.


ENG 2100 KMWA

GETZEN, SHEILA

The Comic Spirit: Literary, Social, Psychological

What is your favorite style of comedy ?: Pure fun and farce?—Or do you prefer farce is laced with a refined and developed comic vision? Or when these modes meet the tragicomic, the absurd, or the surreal? As we articulate our own literary tastes, we will also find individual ways to interact with bright new social and psychological theories as to how humor positively affects us and our society.


The playwrights we will read have in common an urge to find innovative forms, tones, and styles in which to express their vibrant comic spirits:


--In Tartuffe, l Moliere looks at religious hypocrisy and blind faith in 1660’s France, and laces hilarious farce into a refined and developed comic vision. And then, Anton Chekhov, in the late 1880’s Russia , started with farce, in his Comic One-Acts about love and marriage; includes tragicomic content and tones, along with the absurd.
--In True West (1980), on brothers, Hollywood, and creativity; Sam Shepard transforms a civilized realism into a primitive surrealism. And then, in The Dead Man’s Cell Phone (2008), Sarah Ruhl forgoes realism and celebrates, in a dark yet charming comic way, the surreal and the absurd in electronic communications networks.
As we read these plays, we will also investigate new views on comedy’s positive social and psychological impacts:

---In Performing Marginality (2004), Joanne Gilbert relates how -- in the “topsy-turvy” carnival-like atmosphere of a comedy club, –individuals in can begin to define their own identities and gain power and freedom within restrictive social hierarchies,. And then, in Comedy (2005), Andrew Stott offers examples from the past and present as to how comedy offers liberating treatment of often-taboo themes of identity, the body and bodily functions, and gender roles and relations. He also describes the use of “fools”—in the plays of Shakespeare to the films of Woody Allen---as a way of ridiculing rigid thinking and behavior; or of pointing out who in fact has wisdom.

--In Comic Relief (2009)John Morreall asserts how the humor mode is similar to the child-like approach in play. He also elaborates upon the gains from a comedic mode - such as increased cognitive complexity and flexibility, an expanded array of perspectives; and increased problem-solving creativity.

As a class, we will formulate original questions and then find imaginative ways of addressing them. On your own, you will write several short studies; two argumentative, analytical papers and one researched paper, which you will also present to the class .This individual research project will be on your choice of topic—a specific comedy writer or theorist, or on a particular work of comedy—from either the past or the present.



ENG 2100 KTRA

OKE, PAULETTE
Faith and Protest
This course emphasizes strategies of argument and multiple uses of writing as a skill, talent, and means of critical engagement. Throughout the course students will read a variety of articles and short narratives by experienced writers in order to consider thematic implications of faith as personal and political, even at times contradictory. In other words, what are the underlying constructs of faith that make it both personal and “public?” Are the boundaries between each clearly drawn? Students are expected to read assigned material, conduct visits to the library, participate in-class discussions and in-class writing, model select essay forms, and identify and apply standard grammar, observe sentence boundaries, and MLA citation.

ENG 2100 CNOW

MILLER, MICHAEL




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