This writing seminar satisfies the first half (Part A) of the Reading & Composition Requirement. It offers students structured, sustained, and highly articulated practice in the recursive processes entailed in reading and composing, as well as critical analysis. Students read five thematically related book-length texts, or the equivalent, drawn from a range of genres, in addition to non-print sources. Themes and texts chosen for each section are comparable in complexity to those encountered in the lower-division curriculum. In response to these materials, students craft several short pieces leading up to three longer essays—works of exposition and/or argumentation. Each essay is crafted as a multi-draft project, and students are guided through the process of revising and refining their writing. Students will write a minimum of 32 pages of expository prose during this semester.
In this course, we will analyze apocalyptic and dystopian fiction and film. A subset of these works envision what the future might be if our illusory mastery over the natural world, and its consequence, indifference to environmental or biological disaster, were to lead to social collapse. In representing how the social and natural worlds as we know them are destroyed, shredded, or reconstituted into some more elemental or primitive configuration, such works offer a rebuke against contemporary social life and politics. Specific reference points for this summer course are the current social and political crises precipitated by viral contagion in the hopes that we can understand what is happening to us now.
This course offers a basic review of writing skills and the writing process with an emphasis on revision.