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CW R4B - Reading, Composition, and Research

Fall 2021
Description 

This writing seminar satisfies the second half (Part B) 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. The seminar affords students guided practice through the stages involved in creating a research paper. Students read five thematically related book-length texts, or the equivalent, drawn from a range of genres, in addition to various non-print sources. In response to these materials, students craft several short pieces leading up to two longer essays—works of exposition and/or argumentation. Students also draft a research paper, developing a research question, gathering, evaluating, and synthesizing information from texts and other sources. Elements of the research process, such as proposals, annotated bibliographies, an abstracts, "works cited" lists, and the like, are submitted, along with the final report, in a research portfolio. Students write a minimum of 32 pages of expository prose during the semester.

Note: Specialized sections are available for multilingual student writers.  These sections are marked (MSW) below.

Available in 
Fall and Spring
Prerequisites 
Satisfaction of the UC Entry Level Writing Requirement and the first half (Part A) of the Reading & Composition Requirement
Units and Format 
4 units – Three hours of seminar/discussion per week
Grading Option 
Must be taken for a letter grade for R&C credit
Fulfills 
Reading & Composition: 2nd half (Part B)

Section

Theme

Time

Instructor

Class Number: 21294
Meeting time @ place:
MWF 9:00am - 10:00am @ Social Science 118 (ALC)
Section Theme: Modern Love, Ancient Brains
Instructor: David Wiese
Section Description:

This polysynchronous online course (two in-person meetings per week, with supporting asynchronous work) focuses on the burgeoning field of evolutionary psychology, which argues that humans vary little across time and space, and that our behavior is rooted in the choices of our ancestors. These arguments are compelling but also ripe with controversy. We will analyze these arguments from various perspectives – sociology, economics, politics, computer science, and more – and hopefully become better readers, writers, and researchers as we do.

Here are some questions you will explore in this class:

Is beauty truly in the eye of the beholder?
Why are we drawn to certain types of food, people, landscapes, and art?
Are people really that different from one culture or era to the next?
How much free will do we really have?
How are recent technological and economic developments impacting impulses that developed over millions of years?
Is society to blame for gender differences, or are these differences a natural part of life?

Book List:

a. Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters: From Dating, Shopping, and Praying to Going to War and Becoming a Billionaire (Alan Miller, Satoshi Kanazawa)

b. Modern Romance (Aziz Ansari, Eric Klinenberg)

c. Course Reader texts (available on bCourses)

Class Number: 23986
Meeting time @ place:
MWF 10:00am - 11:00am @ Evans 45
Section Theme: The Machine Starts: Technology and its (Dis)contents
Instructor: Michael Larkin
Section Description:

Many of us spend hours upon hours every day at our computers and smart phones connecting to the world and to each other through the rapidly proliferating "apps" of technology, from the "old school" Web 1.0 of email to the ever-evolving world of social networking, e-commerce, and data collection. In these fractious times, what does the increased use of these tools mean for the ways we communicate with one another, the ways we read and write and learn, the ways we define what it means to be an individual, what it means to be human? And who has power in these spaces? Where does all of our data go, and how does it get used? In this course, you will engage with texts that consider these and other related questions; you will work on reading and writing skills by writing a series of essays about those texts (and those questions); and you'll learn the rudiments of academic research as you craft a research project centered on a subject of your own choosing that fits within our course theme. And who knows—maybe we'll answer some of those questions too.

Book List:

"The Machine Stops" (E.M. Forster); Weapons of Math Destruction:  How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy (Cathy O'Neil); The Craft of Research, 4th edition (Booth, et al.); Algorithms of Oppression:  How Search Engines Reinforce Racism (Safiya Noble); Digital course reader (via bCourses)

Class Number: 21295
Meeting time @ place:
MWF 11:00am - 12:00pm @ Dwinelle 263
Section Theme: Modern Love, Ancient Brains
Instructor: David Wiese
Section Description:

This polysynchronous online course (two in-person meetings per week, with supporting asynchronous work) focuses on the burgeoning field of evolutionary psychology, which argues that humans vary little across time and space, and that our behavior is rooted in the choices of our ancestors. These arguments are compelling but also ripe with controversy. We will analyze these arguments from various perspectives – sociology, economics, politics, computer science, and more – and hopefully become better readers, writers, and researchers as we do.

Here are some questions you will explore in this class:

Is beauty truly in the eye of the beholder?
Why are we drawn to certain types of food, people, landscapes, and art?
Are people really that different from one culture or era to the next?
How much free will do we really have?
How are recent technological and economic developments impacting impulses that developed over millions of years?
Is society to blame for gender differences, or are these differences a natural part of life?

 

Book List:

a. Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters: From Dating, Shopping, and Praying to Going to War and Becoming a Billionaire (Alan Miller, Satoshi Kanazawa)

b. Modern Romance (Aziz Ansari, Eric Klinenberg)

c. Course Reader texts (available on bCourses)

 

Class Number: 21296
Meeting time @ place:
MWF 10:00am - 11:00am @ Social Science 118 (ALC)
Section Theme: Monsters and Modernity
Instructor: Jonathan Lang
Section Description:

Monsters used to represent fear of the unknown: unmapped regions in the medieval period were marked by dragons; imperialists in the 19th century bringing the "light" of civilization into the dark continent of Africa feared cannibals. Given the scientific basis of the modern period, would it not be accurate to say that we no longer believe in monsters, that they survive in the modern period if only so that they can serve as the very sign of an unenlightened, and superstitious past? No. Monsters have not been banished to the regions of superstition; they have not been relegated entirely to the past. Once we get over the fear that they might pop out from under our beds, we run to the cinema to delight in observing their contemporary manifestations: as mad scientists, bestial men and women, re-animated corpses, and cyborgs. In the modern period, monsters remain as figures not simply of fear and fascination but of real use. Monsters persist as an emblem of anxiety about a past that is too rapidly disintegrating so as to compromise the very structures of society; or alternatively as a mode of protest against the modernity of the modern period with its new forms of regulation and social control; or then again as the sign of a compromised future wherein the representation of the monster serves to question the "progress of progress," and direct suspicion onto the modern projects of science, industry, and technology. Two analytical papers; one research paper. Literature and film focus.

Book List:

Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood), Dracula (Bram Stoker), Craft of Research (Wayne Booth). Film: Alien (Ridley Scott). Video: Dexter season 1

Class Number: 21297
Meeting time @ place:
MWF 2:00pm - 3:00pm @ Social Science 78
Section Theme: The High Stakes in Sports Culture
Instructor: Chisako A. Cole
Section Description:

Don’t worry, you don’t necessarily have to be athletic to take this class- you don’t even have to like sports (although you can)! Sports is based on ability and talent, but it can deviate, influenced by various social structures. Key questions guiding the course include: what is the role of sports in politics and activism? How is the culture of sports disneyfied and commercialized? Is sports journalism evolving? How do fans impact the culture? In this course, we’ll explore this divergence in the culture of sports and its relationship with journalism, media, gentrification, body and fandom.

 

Book List:
Class Number: 21298
Meeting time @ place:
MWF 2:00pm - 3:00pm @ Mulford 230 (ALC)
Section Theme: Monsters and Modernity
Instructor: Jonathan Lang
Section Description:

Monsters used to represent fear of the unknown: unmapped regions in the medieval period were marked by dragons; imperialists in the 19th century bringing the "light" of civilization into the dark continent of Africa feared cannibals. Given the scientific basis of the modern period, would it not be accurate to say that we no longer believe in monsters, that they survive in the modern period if only so that they can serve as the very sign of an unenlightened, and superstitious past? No. Monsters have not been banished to the regions of superstition; they have not been relegated entirely to the past. Once we get over the fear that they might pop out from under our beds, we run to the cinema to delight in observing their contemporary manifestations: as mad scientists, bestial men and women, re-animated corpses, and cyborgs. In the modern period, monsters remain as figures not simply of fear and fascination but of real use. Monsters persist as an emblem of anxiety about a past that is too rapidly disintegrating so as to compromise the very structures of society; or alternatively as a mode of protest against the modernity of the modern period with its new forms of regulation and social control; or then again as the sign of a compromised future wherein the representation of the monster serves to question the "progress of progress," and direct suspicion onto the modern projects of science, industry, and technology. Two analytical papers; one research paper. Literature and film focus.

Book List:

Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood), Dracula (Bram Stoker),  Craft of Research (Wayne Booth). Film: Alien (Ridley Scott). Video: Dexter season 1

Class Number: 21299
Meeting time @ place:
MWF 10:00am - 11:00am @ Evans 55
Section Theme: Success Across the Curriculum: How Practitioners "Do" Their Discipline
Instructor: Caroline M. Cole
Section Description:

Meeting the expectations of faculty members trained in different disciplines can be daunting for students who are unaware of or unfamiliar with the range of values, assumptions, and protocols represented at the university. Nevertheless, knowing how to approach, engage with, and emulate context-specific discourse conventions can mean the difference between success and failure at the university, and beyond.

This section of College Writing R4B explores what it means to read, write, and think in disciplines across campus so we can better understand how participants in a field (i.e., the practitioners) “do” the discipline. To learn more about the course, and to see sample student research, click here.

Book List:

REQUIRED
Most articles for class will be available online and, for those wanting a hardcopy, at a local copyshop, but we'll also use:

• Locke, L.F.. Proposals That Work: A Guide for Planning Dissertations and Grant Proposals, 5th or 6th ed (if 5th ed, ISBN-10: 1412924235; if 6th ed, ISBN-10: 1452216851)

• Lipson, C.. Doing Honest Work in College: How to Prepare Citations, Avoid Plagiarism and Achieve Real Academic Success, 3rd (ISBN 978-0226430744)

To Be Determined
In addition to required texts, students will work with books targeting lay audiences. We'll discuss when and how, so students should wait until we meet before purchasing:

• Baron, D. (2021). What's Your Pronoun?: Beyond He and She (ISBN 13: 978-1631498718)

• Cheng, E. (2021).  x+y: A Mathematician's Manifesto for Rethinking Gender (ISBN 13: 978-178816041)

• Lewis, S. (2016). Silent Sparks: The Wondrous World of Fireflies (ISBN-13: 978-0691162683)

• Miles, T. (2015). Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom (ISBN 13: 978-05202856370)

• Mlodinow, L. (2018). Elastic: Unlocking Your Brain's Ability to Embrace Change (ISBN 13: 978-1101970164)

• Riggle, N. (2017). On Being Awesome: A Unified Theory of How Not to Suck (ISBN 13: 978-0143130901)

• Savoy, L. (2016). Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape (ISBN 13: 978-1619028258)

• Sowell, T. (2019). Discrimination and Disparities (ISBN 13: 978-1541645639)

Class Number: 21289
Meeting time @ place:
- @ Asynchronous course on bCourses
Section Theme: Inequity and Change: Class, Culture, and Health Care
Instructor: Margi Wald
Section Description:

Through a combination of small-class discussion, in-class workshops, as well as online forums, students will

  • craft papers that analyze and apply information from course texts
  • gather primary and secondary outside sources on a topic related to our course theme
  • create a research portfolio including an annotated bibliography, short reports, research notes, a project proposal, and a final paper.

This class explores crucial questions about health care, medicine, and social inequality in the U.S. Students will research (a) cultural differences in the experiences of illness and practices of healthcare and (b) biases and disparities in access created by social, political, and economic forces.  Students will also conduct their own fieldwork, examining in-depth local agencies that work toward lessening disparities and thus toward social change. The final project will ask students to view a particular issue of their choice through the theoretical lenses provided by course texts -- and perhaps make recommendations for addressing it.

Book List:

Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies (Seth Holmes)

The Craft of Research (Booth et al.) -- available as ebook through the UCB library

Online Reader on bCourses

Class Number: 21290
Meeting time @ place:
TUTH 11:00am - 12:30pm @ Dwinelle 262
Section Theme: The Meme and the Human: Digital Literacies
Section Description:

Inauguration Bernie, The ship that blocked Suez Canal, March 2020/March 2021, That Texas lawyer with the cat filter on Zoom, Jackie Weaver and the Handforth Parish Council, Bongo Cat, doge, (Dogecoin!), Success Kid, Grumpy Cat, Rickrolling, Honey Badger Don’t Care, LOLCats, Nyan Cat, and others, fresh, dank, dead, form the vernacular memetic language of the Internet. They merit study, for their powerful, fertile remixing quality that spreads like, well, Baby Yoda. Irreverent, playful, nonsensical, and political, Internet memes are global social (multimodal) phenomena. We discuss and analyze motivations for communicating in memes, creative techniques, meme creators and sharers, and memes’ appealing polysemous nature that invites diverse audiences to interpret them differently. To become more savvy digital citizens, we look at the techno-social features of memes, their function in phatic communities, their genres, the (unwritten) rules of meme-related conduct, and whether the connections memes create are more important than their content. We also explore best research practices and the myriad ways that Berkeley’s libraries and librarians empower these. Throughout the semester you focus on a key issue, topic, or question of your choice and engage in process-based research to build an articulate, sound portfolio of inquiry that includes an abstract, annotated bibliography, research paper, and research presentation, among other assignments. 

Book List:

Required Book List:

Phillips, Whitney, and Ryan M. Milner. You Are Here: A Field Guide for Navigating Polarized Speech, Conspiracy Theories, and Our Polluted Media Landscape. MIT Press, 2020.

 

Shifman, Limor. Memes in Digital Culture. MIT Press, 2014.

 

Booth, Wayne C., et al. Craft of Research, 4th ed. (University of Chicago Press, 2016) | Access Craft free here

Course Reader (available online, includes articles and other resources, examples are below):

BBC World Services interview with 4 College Writing Programs R4B students in the BBC World Service The Compass radio series “The Future of English,” episode 2: “Dialects and Evolution,” May 2018, at the 22-minute mark, with BBC journalist Robin Lustig.

Epps-Darling, Avriel. “How the Racism Baked into Technology Hurts Teens.” The Atlantic. October 24, 2020.

Heilweil, Rebecca. “Why algorithms can be racist and sexist.” Vox. Recode. February 18, 2020.

Newton, Kamilah. "'Yasss, queen!', 'Hell, no!': Here's how Black-caricature GIFs can reinforce racism, as 'digital blackface.'" Yahoo! Life, August 13, 2020.

Twenge, Jean M. “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?” The Atlantic. September 2017.

Wong, Erinn. “Digital Blackface: How 21st Century Internet Language Reinforces Racism,” Honorable Mention in the 2019 University of California, Berkeley, Charlene Conrad Liebau Library Prize for Undergraduate Research, May 8, 2019.

 

Class Number: 21291
Meeting time @ place:
TUTH 12:30pm - 2:00pm @ Dwinelle 262
Section Theme: What's So Funny
Instructor: John Levine
Section Description:

What makes something amusing? Is humor subjective? Is it culture-specific, generation-specific, time-and-day specific? What does Mark Twain’s humor have in common with Shakespeare’s comedies? And what about memes? How is today’s standup different from the standup comedy of the past? Why do we laugh? The course will consider these and other questions as we look at how humor functions in literature. We’ll read and discuss Freud’s theories about jokes, and you’ll develop your own research project to determine just what’s so funny.

Book List:

Lysistrata (Aristophanes), Lysistrata (adapted by Ellen McLaughlin), The Joke and Its Relation to the Unconscious (Sigmund Freud), The Craft of Research 4th Ed. (Wayne C. Booth, et al.), Films TBA

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