Special Topics Courses

 

Term 1, 6-Week Courses (May 17-June 29)

EDUC (Education) 290S Listening to History: Educational Discourses Through Oral History (crosslisted as DOCST 290S).  This course proposes understanding the complex, practical, theoretical, and ethical issues in education using the method of oral history. Students will complete an oral history project supported by archival documentation and by interviews conducted with an educator or a person involved in education. Significant in-class time will be devoted to discussions of interviews and archival research. Assignments will include readings on the method of oral history, educational oral histories, and current educational topics. Graded work will include written responses to readings and a final presentation. Students will work in writing groups throughout the course. This course includes a service-learning component involving work in the community. Stone

ENGLISH (English) 110S Introduction to Creative Writing: Writing Place. “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” (Anaïs Nin) Recall returning to a place you once knew well. Was it the same as you remembered? Did new details emerge upon your return? A place—from the big city to the backyard garden—is a mobile idea. By the time one sits down to write about a place, more often than not, it has shifted. In this course, we will learn how to respond and communicate with place through various genres of creative writing (poetry, short story, creative non-fiction). In reflecting upon writers who have captured place, we will read a number of texts that reflect, shape, and speak back to the idea, development, and narrative of a certain locale. From poets re-creating New York and San Francisco, to short story writers penning specifically about the American South, we will think about the ways in which writers construct a lyrical architecture of place through their words. We will also write our own creative pieces in response to a handful of planned excursions outside of the classroom in nearby surrounding areas. Throughout the course, we will discuss a number of techniques and skills involved in the process of creative writing—from generating inspiration to fine-tuning the craft of self-editing. Throughout our journey we will also acknowledge the tenuous dialogue between standard “rules” for artistry and how or when to break them. Most importantly, we will develop insight into how we come to know and conceive of place in writing, which might proffer an invaluable means for distilling the ephemera of any given moment. There will be a number of short, creative writing assignments that will lead up to and compose the majority of a final poetry portfolio and an end-of-term class reading. Texts may include works by: Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Hart Crane, Frank O’Hara, Willa Cather, Allen Ginsberg, Flannery O’Conner, Jack Kerouac, Zora Neale Hurston, J.M. Coetzee, Daniel Clowes, David Sedaris, Tobias Wolff, Claudia Rankine, Joel Felix, Safiya Sinclair, and Ocean Vuong. Possible sites for writing: on campus: Duke Gardens, the Bryan Center, Duke Chapel, the Nasher; off-site: Downtown Durham, Eno River, Eno Quarry, Durham History Museum, and the American Tobacco Museum. Stark

ENGLISH (English) 290S Graphic Women, Visual Writing. The announcement in September 2016 that the year’s MacArthur Foundation ‘genius’ fellows include two visual storytellers highlights the explosive popularity of graphic literature. Mindful of the dramatic proliferation of visual texts, this course focuses on how women authors, illustrators, and fans have acted as key contributors to this popular medium while shaping the form itself into a unique field of creative practice. From graphic memoirs Persepolis and Citizen 13660, to feminist anthologies such as Wimmen’s Comix or the most recent portrayal of superhero Ms. Marvel as Kamala Khan, visual forms of storytelling have provided a dynamic site to document and reimagine women’s lives—a site that we will investigate in detail. In this interdisciplinary study we will examine a range of visual texts from the early twentieth century to present while considering the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality implicit to these works. Surveying such forms as graphic memoir and novels, serialized comics, manga, zines, and experimental writing we will chart attendant movements in feminist and queer activism and theory as well as the global production and circulation of graphic texts. Students will develop methods of reading, viewing, and analyzing graphic works. Readings will include texts from Barbara Brandon-Croft, Miné Okubo, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Trina Robbins, Roberta Gregory, Lynda Barry, Alison Bechdel, Jessica Abel, Marjane Satrapi, Jillian and Mariko Tamaki, Cecilia Pego, G. Willow Wilson, and more. The rich resources available at Duke Library will aid our study of graphic women. Students will have the opportunity to examine and write on texts in Duke’s significant archive of graphic novels, comics, zines, and manga located in the Sally Bingham, Edwin and Terry Murray, and Rubenstein collections at Duke. Douglas

ENGLISH (English) 290S The Great American Short Story. Too often short stories are dismissed as a writer’s training wheels. Henry James casts the short story writer as a captain hugging the shore, “bumping about, to acquire skill, in the shallow waters and sandy coves of the ‘short story’ and master as yet of no other vessel constructed to carry a sail” (The Art of the Novel, p. 4). To navigate the expressive and cultural expansiveness of America, some argue that you need a novel. What if, countering James, we positioned the short story as the end-goal of narrative art? Critics often call this narrative form the quintessentially American genre. Indeed, in the nineteenth century, America is foremost, followed by France and Russia, in crafting imaginative, formally inventive, and intensely provocative short fiction. As a nation, America arose during what historian Robert Darnton calls the third great information revolution in human history: the invention of mass printing. This explosion in pamphlets, newspapers, and magazines favored short fiction so much that, arguably, even novels masqueraded as short stories insofar as they were often serialized into easily digestible segments. A return to the American short story is a return to a simultaneously more holistic and fragmentary America. United by a genre and mass medium, short story writers comprise the young and the old, the elevated and the marginalized, the “popular” and the “serious” author. Where the novel silences anyone lacking the leisure time to write long fiction, the short story—in its intensity of imagistic concision—gives voice to these experiences. Thus the short story, because it opens up a multiplicity of viewpoints, is where you can see America stretching its seams, striving to be a truly democratic genre. In keeping with that democratic drive, we will study, savor, and discuss a wide swath of American short story writers, from Charles Brockden Brown in the eighteenth century to Willa Cather in the early twentieth century, including such diverse voices as Washington Irving, Lydia Maria Child, Nathanial Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Herman Melville, Rebecca Harding Davis, Mark Twain, Bret Harte, Ambrose Bierce, Henry James, George Washington Cable, Sarah Orne Jewett, Kate Chopin, Charles Chestnutt, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Owen Wister, Hamlin Garland, O. Henry, Edith Wharton, Stephen Crane, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Jack London. Encountering theories of the short story, we will consider how the formal features of this genre struggle to capture lived experience—a struggle Henry James once called, when describing the challenge of squeezing his subject into such strict confines, “the anxious effort of some warden of the insane engaged at a critical moment in making fast a victim’s straight jacket” (The Novels and Tales of Henry James, v). Assignments include active participation in class; serving as a discussion leader; and one short essay and revision (1500 words) analyzing a story of your choice. Morgan

LIT (Literature) 390S Cyberspace on Page and Screen.  Have you ever wondered where the idea for connecting one’s mind directly to a computer network came from? How has this fantasy taken shape in popular entertainment and culture and even become a reality? This course examines the historical roots and contemporary relevance of the notion of cyberspace: the informational “space” through which computers and their users communicate. From its coinage in William Gibson’s novel Neuromancer (1984), “cyberspace” has focalized tensions between information and the body, virtual and real, privacy and surveillance, toys and industry, low brow and high culture, even magic and science. Is cyberspace, with its fantastical roots, still a relevant and useful concept for thinking about a life coextensive with computers and the internet? Do the recent and upcoming releases of VR headsets by video game companies sap the imaginative power of cyberspace or only make it more relevant? Does the graphical visuality of cyberspace—originally inspired by the arcade cabinet of the early 1980s—still have a place in a civilization dominated by unseen networks, imperceptible data, and the global reach of corporations and government agencies? Rambo

LIT (Literature) 390S Graphic Memoir: Comic Books and Autobiography. Since the underground comix of the 1960s (and even before), comic book authors have experimented with using comics to convey personal, autobiographical, or confessional stories. Beyond tales of caped crusaders, autobiography remains one of the most popular topics within graphic literature. This course examines the world of graphic memoir – that is, autobiographical comic books – in order to figure out just what it is about the memoir genre and the comics medium that so frequently brings the two together. Throughout the course, we will look at how each of these memoirs deal with and complicate identity, memory, and narrative, to ask: is this long-time affiliation between comics and memoir just a coincidence? and if not, why?  Gregory

LIT (Literature) 390S Re-making Nature.  What can digital media teach us about compost, climate change, and environmental justice? What happens when we flip that question and ask what climate change, compost, and environmental justice can teach us about digital media? In this class we will explore how our conceptions of “Nature,” “Environment,” and now, “the Anthropocene” are cultivated through media(ted) images and environmental rhetoric. We will use the methodological toolbox being developed by the emerging Environmental Humanities practitioners who merge ecocriticism – the critique of literary and multimedia representations of ‘Nature’ – with hands-on field work to produce a material intervention into the traditional split between humans and the environment. Our media texts will include films, graphic novels, data visualizations, video games, environmental sensors, and digital social media. To integrate practice into our theory, we will visit the Duke Farm, to learn more about that compost question, and will actively participate in digital environmental eco-media to explore how social action and activism can remake our notions of Nature in an Age when humans have become a detrimental geological force. Along the way we’ll ask questions about how ecomedia constructs notions of race, class, citizenship, sustainability, and ethical responsibility. Gould

LIT (Literature) 390S Media and the Five Senses. Is a cell phone camera ever just a cell phone camera? This course argues that technological mediums present users with specific ways of moving their bodies, of framing the world around them, and finally of understanding the world around them. This course will examine how different mediums (film, television, photography, social media, video games) have shaped our habits of perception and attention, and have thus shaped culture itself. We will visit key canonical texts exploring the inter-relation between media, sense perception, and power, as well as more contemporary debates around embodiment and technology. Example of the kinds of questions we will be asking in the course are: how has print and advertising media conditioned us to rely on the faculty of vision to the relative exclusion of senses like touch and hearing? How do technological mediums themselves shape our understandings of what a body is and what a body does? This course provides students with a cultural lens for examining the kinds of issues that arise in diverse fields like neuroscience, economics, marketing, and anthropology, though students in humanities fields will feel right at home as well. Jaramillo

LIT (Literature) 390S Social Networks: From Virus to Internet.  Cultural lore tells us that we're all connected to one another by no more than "six degrees of separation."  This means that you can trace a line between yourself and anyone (or anything) in the world using six links or less. “Social Networks: From Virus to Internet” will ask how such interconnectedness is possible in a globalized world as complex and vast as ours today and will explore what it means - for society, for technology, for self-understanding - that it is. The course critically examines the concept of the network and focuses on contemporary network metaphors that are used to describe everything from our social circles to global flows of goods, diseases, and people. What do these metaphors tell us about the interconnectedness of social processes and our own implication in a vast totality that seems to defy representation and intuitive understanding? Materials studied include sociological and historical accounts of networks, recent popular accounts of network theory, as well as contemporary fiction, films, and digital culture addressing diverse aspects of network phenomena. The aim is to understand the contemporary allure of the figure of the social network, to evaluate its promise to describe sociality, identity, and life in our increasingly global world, and to examine its capacity to forge links across disciplines and methods of inquiry. “Social Networks” is open to students of all levels and does not presuppose any prior knowledge or training. Hansen

LIT (Literature) 390S-6 Sex, Gender, Cinema. What is gender? How is it different from sex/uality? And how does film participate in the representation—and construction—of these different concepts? This course aims to address these questions and many others by introducing students to the field of gender and sexuality studies through the medium of film. In this course, we will watch an array of different films—drama, noir, documentary, comedy—and analyze their depiction of sex, gender, and sexuality. In combination with these films, we will also read critical analyses of film that will prompt us to consider the relationship between the visual and race, between patriarchy and (cinematic) spectatorship, and between mystery and femininity. Laubender

PSY (Psychology) 390S Developing Your Life. This course will combine developmental psychology, human development, and human-centered design with a focus on the developing human – the student. The student will examine his/her own development to date, including influences and contextual factors, understand him- or herself in the present and consider a plan for the future which combines the past and the present. The course will use a framework of developmental psychology, human development, and human-centered design thinking to address the designing of the student’s life and career. The course idea is loosely based on the extremely successful Design your Life course offered at Stanford University, but will be focused on developmental psychology and human development, complemented by human centered design. The course will include seminar-style discussions, short writing assignments, guest speakers, and individual development through reflection, in-class exercises, and assigned readings. The final course project will be a life assessment and future plan/vision, incorporating substantive and reflective material. Maxson

PUBPOL (Public Policy Studies) 290S Writing for Public Policy. This is an online course. Every student of public policy needs to write clearly, succinctly, and with conviction. This course is a writing class designed to teach the basics of the forms of writing that are likely to be used by public policy students when they enter the work world. These include letters to the editor, op-eds, policy briefs, memos, executive summaries, speeches, committee reports, grant proposals, and other relevant documents. Assignments, incorporating editing and rewriting opportunities, include four short (2-5 pages) papers and one long (15 pages) paper. Class members will participate in an online chat room and in online meetings with one another. Everyone will have the opportunity to work on personal strengths and weaknesses and to design a project relevant to work or an internship. Weddington
 

Term 2, 4-Week Courses (July 11-August 3)

BIOLOGY (Biology) 190 The 3-D Genome and Human Disease. Genomes are highly organized inside the nuclei. Linear DNAs are folded into chromosome territories. Within the territories, individual genes occupy their special localization for proper expression. Misorganization of genomes will result in misregulation of genes and genome instability, which are linked to human diseases, such as cancer, several degenerative diseases including Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and aging. This course will introduce concepts and models of genome organization, current technologies to study 3-D genomes, and case studies of misorganization of genomes and their related diseases – all with the goal of introducing students to the exciting inner life of genome. Feng

BIOLOGY (Biology) 190 Love and Hate Between Humans and Micro-Organisms. How much do you know about microbiology? This course will provide a broad introduction to what micro-organisms are, where they usually live, and how to work with them in science. You will learn to identify general features of micro-organisms from the three branches of life (bacteria, archaea, and eukarya) and explore how micro-organisms can sometimes have negative consequences and other times be beneficial. In the course’s first part you will explore how micro-organisms affect human health by means of mutualism, commensalism, parasitism, and pathogenesis. In the second part, we will examine how micro-organisms function within industry – for example, with the commercial production of bread, wine, and beer fermentations. Our third section will focus upon micro-organisms in biotechnology by examining model organisms such as E. coli and CRISPER from Archaea. We will conclude our survey of micro-organisms by examining bioremediation for insights regarding the ethics of applying science to address the needs of the world. Martinez Pastor

BIOLOGY (Biology) 190 Sensory Biology: Sight, Smell, Taste, Touch, Sound and Beyond. Every aspect of our lives is influenced by our senses. Senses provide the basis for everything we perceive in the world and influence how we interact with our environment. Most animals live in an entirely different sensory world than we do, so how do they perceive their world? How do their sensory worlds influence their behavior, ecology, and evolution? This course offers an introduction to the foundations of sensory ecology. It covers sight, smell, taste, touch, and sound, as well as senses that humans don’t even possess, like the ability to sense magnetic fields, feel electricity, see polarized light, or smell pheromones. Topics include the mechanisms underlying sensation and sensory processing; functions of sensory systems including animal communication and signaling; the interaction between sensory biology and ecology; evolution, diversification, and divergence of sensory systems; and current methods in sensory ecology. We will read and discuss primary literature, make observations in nature to develop hypotheses about sensory perception, and use case studies to illustrate and explore the scientific process. Caves

BIOLOGY (Biology) 190 The Ecology of Urban Environments. Over the past century, there has been a rapid expansion of urban areas and currently more than half of the world’s human population lives in cities across the globe. As urban landscapes continue to grow, they alter the structure and function of the ecosystems they overtake presenting sustainability and conservation challenges to the people who reside within them. This course will address urban ecology - the study of ecology and socio-ecological systems within urban areas. The course will be a mixture of lecture and discussion with written assignments. We will cover such topics as the unique physical and chemical conditions in urban areas (urban soils, hydrology, climates, and biogeochemistry), biological communities within cities (wildlife, plants, and food webs), cities as drivers of global change (patterns of urban growth, pollution, disturbance), and we will frame each of those within the context of socio-ecological systems (conservation, sustainability, ecosystem services, resilience, and urban planning and design). At the end of this course, students will have the skills and knowledge to evaluate critically scientific research in the field of urban ecology. Blasczak

BIOLOGY (Biology) 190 The Hard Truth of Evolution. Through selected readings, short lectures, and class discussions, we will investigate some of the fundamental truths of biological evolution, the consequences of evolutionary biology for society, and the potential conflicts that emerge when evolutionary biology and (American) religion seek to co-exist. Building on Theodosius Dobzhansky’s famous statement that “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”, we will explore why some areas of evolution are easy to accept as factually true and why some areas are much harder to grasp. The course also seeks to broaden the discussion of evolutionary biology to include how societies have historically used and abused evolutionary theory (ancient crop breeding, eugenics, GMOs, etc.). Finally, we will discuss the modes of interaction between modern Western science and traditional Western (Abrahamic) religions, focusing on the rise of Creationism and Intelligent Design in contemporary American culture. This course will present various aspects of evolutionary biology, including phylogenetics, adaptations, natural selection, and genetics, while drawing on diverse elements of cultural anthropology and theology to address the complexity of societal issues relating to evolution. Students from a variety of backgrounds, scientific and not, religious and not, are invited to engage in a collaborative discourse of one the thorniest scientific topics in modern society. Shreve

BIOLOGY (Biology) 190 Microbes and Our World. The course will be a survey of microbiology, including bacteriology, virology, and immunology. The goal is to introduce a wide variety of topics to spark your interest in the microbial sciences. Topics will include human disease, ecology, and biotechnology. In addition, we will discuss current events, including antibiotic resistance, Ebola virus, and gene therapy. We will engage in hands-on “dry lab” demonstrations to explore laboratory practices and current research. Finally, you will research scientific journal articles to develop a final project/paper to be presented in class. Darnell

ECON (Economics) 190 Game Theory. The interactions of human beings with other individuals, within groups, and with the earth lead us to ponder many questions concerning the ways in which people coordinate and structure their actions. It is to these questions that we turn, in trying to understand the strategic decisions that people make on a daily basis. Will it make a difference if I throw my candy wrapper in the street instead of waiting to find a trash can? How much should I pay for a used car? How will our family decide who cooks dinner? Is it feasible for a firm to enter the market for a new product? Under what conditions would a union go on strike during labor contract negotiations? In this course students learn the basic tools of game theory in order to analyze these various economic and social situations. We start by providing a background and introduction to both game theory and economics. We then proceed to define the terminology used in both fields. Our section on games begins with an analysis of normal form (strategic form) games in which we have a static setting and players move simultaneously. Concepts such as a player’s best response, dominant strategies, and the Nash equilibrium are presented, along with various examples of applications. The three classic games of chicken (hawk-dove), coordination (battle of preferences), and the prisoners’ dilemma are introduced, with an extension to the mixed strategy Nash equilibrium. Next we turn to extensive form games in order to analyze dynamic games in which players move sequentially. The notion of a sub-game perfect Nash equilibrium is discussed, and the technique of backward induction is taught. Repeated interactions between players are then considered as we discuss both infinitely repeated games and finitely repeated games. Topics in public and environmental economics are introduced in order to apply these game theory concepts to situations pervaded by free-riding and collective action problems. Evolutionarily stable strategies are also discussed, allowing us to understand how repeated games can lead to the stability of social inequalities by class, gender, race, and ethnicity. The role of institutions (such as norms, customs, traditions, beliefs, and property rights) in maintaining these inequalities is discussed from a game theoretic standpoint. Lastly, we study situations of asymmetric information between players. We give specific references to issues of principal-agent problems, moral hazard, and adverse selection as applied to monitoring, signaling, and “lemons” markets. We will also discuss bargaining models. The course concludes with a critical analysis of the theories and assumptions used in game theory. In particular, students debate the usefulness of concepts of “rationality.” Miller

EDUC 290S Race, Power and Identity: From (Muhammed) Ali to (Colin) Kaepernick. This course explores historic and contemporary psycho-social and socio-cultural aspects of the African American sport experience. Over the course of the term, we will examine research that addresses the effect of physical differences, racial stereotyping, identity development, gender issues, and social influences on African American sport participation patterns. This course offers an analysis of sport as a microcosm of society through its examination of associated educational and societal issues. Smith

ENGLISH (English) 490 Language and Social Identity. Whenever we hear someone speak, we inevitably make guesses about his or her gender, age, occupation, place or origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and religion. We also often refer explicitly to the language and identity connection. For example, we talk of expressing our identity through our choice of vocabulary, or ‘losing’ our identity along with our regional accent when we enter a new environment such as college. In this course, we will draw on examples from the media, literature, the internet, pop culture, and politics to explore how speakers portray themselves to others through the use of language. We will also consider how language is talked about, and what assumptions people make about others based on how they speak. Students will be encouraged to bring their own examples to class for discussion. Baran

LINGUIST (Linguistics) 490S Language and the Media: The NY Times to Twitter. The focus of this course is upon the linguistic analysis of texts – from the past and the present, including social media – with a view to understanding how they create, sustain, or challenge "common-sense" understandings of society and politics. English first-language speakers will be equipped with the tools to understand how *their own* language works in the media; second-language (L2) speakers will learn invaluable skills in identifying and understanding idiom, nuance, and rhetoric in both academic and media texts, thus offering preparation for undergraduate classes in a range of disciplines. If possible, writers from the Duke Office of News and Communications will visit class to engage students in a few intensive writing and analysis workshops. The instructor of this course has written for news outlets such as The Huffington Post, The London Guardian, The Seattle Times, The Taipei Times, and The News and Observer (of Raleigh, North Carolina). Price

LIT 390S (Literature) Drugs, Theory and Culture. What is the relationship between the chemical composition of drugs, the intricate neurochemistry of the brain, and the thinking mind? This course will explore some deep-seated and even controversial questions around both recreational and medicinal uses of drugs and the ways these shape individual identities and even cultures. We will examine texts that push the boundaries of our common conceptions of drugs as simply “good” or “bad” and instead think through the complicated relationship drugs create between the body, the brain, and the mind. The role of experience will be central to this course because it will draw our attention to how drugs enhance or suppress our sensations, perceptions, and cognition. In particular, we will look to specific textual examples of writers that discuss psychotropic drugs, including major twentieth century thinkers William James, Karl Jaspers, R.D. Laing, and Timothy Leary. Alternatively, we will analyze the role of “Big Pharma” in advertising medicinal drugs to patients and their doctors and look to how pharmaceutical companies match available medications to specific diagnostic categories. Murtagh

LIT 390S (Literature) Finance Fictions. On the surface, 'finance' and 'fiction' might seem worlds apart—the one pertaining to the realm of cold calculation and material interest, the other to the ethereal spheres of the imagination. Look more closely, however, and this distinction begins to crumble. On the one hand, financial documents reveal themselves to be full of literary flourishes and figurations; on the other, fictional works reveal a deep concern with questions of economics, interest and value. This course will explore the fictions of finance and the finance of fictions. Beginning with Mandeville's Fable of the Bees, we will examine a number of works which trouble the distinction between literary and economic genres. We will consider the literal and figurative economies at work in various fictions as well as the fictions, figures, and tropes at work within economic texts. Questions we may ask include: is literary value distinct from economic value? Do notions like "investor confidence" depend on forms of rhetoric and modes of persuasion typically considered literary? Can money itself be considered a sort of fiction? Carpenter
 

Term 2, 6-week Courses (July 3-August 13)

EDUC (Education) 290S Listening to History: Educational Discourses Through Oral History (cross-listed as DOCST 290S). This course proposes understanding the complex, practical, theoretical, and ethical issues in education using the method of oral history. Students will complete an oral history project supported by archival documentation and by interviews conducted with an educator or a person involved in education. Significant in-class time will be devoted to discussions of interviews and archival research. Assignments will include readings on the method of oral history, educational oral histories, and current educational topics. Graded work will include written responses to readings and a final presentation.  Students will work in writing groups throughout the course. This course includes a service-learning component involving work in the community. Stone

ENGLISH (English) 110S Introduction to Creative Writing. Once over coffee, a poet friend of mine gestured to the line of yammering customers at the front of the café and scoffed, “The ballerina does not have to order her pumpkin latte with a pirouette.” His point was that writers like us were stuck with the unfortunate medium of language. “We have to forge our art,” he said “out of the common detritus of the everyday word, the hapless overused word.” To some degree he’s right. Just think: the writer must articulate the subtleties of the human condition with the same words that advertisers use to hawk razor blades and yoga pants. In this course we will consider the many strategies that writers, both poets and fiction writers, deploy in order to revitalize language and turn the ordinary resource of speech into the stuff of exceptional utterance. In keeping with Amiri Baraka’s claim that the writer’s only responsibility is to truth and beauty, this class will be a place where, in the words of the Talking Heads, we stop making sense and start the process of remembering the sensual reality of candor and grace. Since this is an introductory course, we will address the basic literary elements that make possible the inspiring line, the convincing narrative. We will anatomize the poem and vivisect the short story. But we will also keep in mind that creative writing is not merely a matter of mechanically mastering first principles. Rather we will pursue creative writing as a volatile dialogue between discipline and digression, rules and rebellion. Through open-format discussions, in/out-of-class writing assignments and peer presentations, we will seek out those circumstances of the word that best support our inexplicable compulsions, our visionary nature. To return to my friend at the café and his imaginary ballerina, muse of this description, the aim of our course will be to regard writing as a dance. Moore

ENGLISH (English) 290S The Social (Media) Novel. With summer fast approaching, it’s time to put down your books and pick up your devices. As you reactivate your Facebook account, log back onto Twitter, start a Tumblr page, or join whatever new site is just emerging ask yourself this: did you ever stop reading or has the novel assumed a new (plat)form? From Dave Egger’s The Circle to Chimamanda Adichie’s Americanah to Lauren Beukes Zoo City, twenty-first century novelists are telling fictive accounts by way of technology. In fact, some authors including Teju Cole and Jennifer Egan are publishing entire stories on Twitter (see “Hafiz” and “Black Box”). Is a Twitter handle any different from a fictional character? Can a timeline take the place of a table of contents? Does “going viral” constitute a new mode of human connection? These are but a few of the questions we will address together as we consider how writers have restructured the novel in order to contend with a growing culture deeply invested in digital forms of engagement. Apart from discussing how stories are told differently when writers are tasked with capturing life online or how we understand a novel’s setting when plots unfold over the interweb, we will also investigate contemporary conversations around technological innovation to better gauge how the digital enables us to reimagine what constitutes identity, community, and belonging. As part of this class, students will try their hands at a digital project that invites them to assess and make stories as we consume them. In addition to the texts aforementioned possible novels might include: Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story, Claudia Rankine’s Citizen, and Joshua Cohen’s The Book of Numbers, among others. Panaram

LIT (Literature) 390S Man-Machine Self-Discovery. This course introduces debates about the nature of human agency in a technology-saturated world, explores ethical implications of technological development, and asks: what has been changing and what remains the same in the co-evolvement of human and technology? How are our bodies and behaviors configured by technology? How will humans (re-)act in the future? As an accessible introductory course to media studies and the philosophy of technology, this class scrutinizes fundamental problems in the Humanities, i.e. human self-discovery, as the class reads Martin Heidegger, Marshall McLuhan, and Gilles Deleuze, along with visual texts such as comic, film, anime, and documentary. Cao

LIT (Literature) 390S Globalization and Contemporary Culture. In the latter part of the twentieth century cultural theorists argued that we were living under two dominant ‘posts’: postmodernism and postcolonialism. The first, ‘postmodernism,’ was a response to the perceived exhaustion of modernism’s aesthetic project and indeed the processes of modernization itself. In other words, there was no longer thought to be any ‘outside’ to which the literary text may refer, and against which it might act. Capitalism was dominant and history was over. Postcolonialism, on the other hand, was a response in both theory and literature to decolonization and national liberation movements around the world, including those in Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. It traced the forging of new national literatures in these regions as they emerged out of the residual effects of colonialism. At the same time, postcolonial theory and literature attempted to negotiate the proliferating ‘hybrid’ identities being formed in the ‘postmodern’ West. In the present moment, these models for organizing cultural and literary studies seem to have begun to wane. New concepts have emerged: ‘the contemporary’ has displaced postmodernism as a descriptor of the culture of the present, and transnationalism and globalization have replaced postcolonial studies’ focus on national identity. The purpose of this course is to ask how cultural forms, including literary fiction, graphic novels, and video art might help us explain this shift. What can the changing conventions of storytelling and narrative tell us about social, cultural, and economic relations as they operate on a global scale? What do we mean when we speak of the ‘contemporary’ as opposed to some other period of cultural production? What has the response been at the level of form to the forces of globalization and neoliberalism? The course is intended to provide students with a general introduction to the central problems animating literary and cultural studies today, whilst giving them some sense of the complex processes through which we got here. Soule

PUBPOL (Public Policy Studies) 290S Writing for Public Policy. This is an online course. Every student of public policy needs to write clearly, succinctly, and with conviction. This course is a writing class designed to teach the basics of the forms of writing that are likely to be used by public policy students when they enter the work world. These include letters to the editor, op-eds, policy briefs, memos, executive summaries, speeches, committee reports, grant proposals, and other relevant documents. Assignments, incorporating editing and rewriting opportunities, include four short (2-5 pages) papers and one long (15 pages) paper. Class members will participate in an online chat room and in online meetings with one another. Everyone will have the opportunity to work on personal strengths and weaknesses and to design a project relevant to work or an internship. Weddington

PUBPOL (Public Policy Studies) 290S Sports, Media and Public Policy. This course will trace the evolution of sports from recreation for the leisure class, to commercialization through rise of mass media, to global phenomena. Particular attention will be paid to two time periods: 1920-1950 when newspapers developed sports reporting and shaped national images of the value of sports, and 1950-present, when laws and regulations about sports have been shaped in response to American culture and international relationships. We will utilize two major texts: Gerald Gems’ Sports in American History and Dave Zirin’s A People’s History of Sports in the United States. Course assignments include two two-page op-eds and a fifteen-page final paper or final project with a two page summary. Weddington