WRIT - Writing

WRIT 105 ENG 120 Critical Interpretation

This course introduces students to a level of interpretative sophistication and techniques of analysis essential not just in literary study but in all courses that demand advanced engagement with language. Sections explore the principal literary genres, including a selection of poems, a play, and prose narrative. Required of English majors and minors, "Critical Interpretation" fosters intellectual community among its students by teaching some texts common to all sections and keying them to campus events such as performances of the year’s play by London actors, film screenings, lunchtime lectures by English faculty, and other occasions for discussion and collaboration. The play for 2013-14 is Shakespeare’s Othello; the fiction component is Jane Austen's Persuasion.

Instructor

Hickey, Noggle, Lee, Rodensky (English)

Prerequisites

None. Open only to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Fall, Spring

Degree Requirements

LL, W

WRIT 107 ARTH 100 Global Perspectives on Art and Architecture: Ancient to Medieval

Sweeping in its chronological and geographical scope, this two-part survey engages students in the analytical study of art, architecture, and urban form. It is a foundational course in critical and visual analysis; being able to look and analyze what you see is fundamental to a liberal arts education. Two lectures and one conference per week; conferences emphasize the interpretation of original works of art and hands-on historical materials and techniques. This is a required class for all art history, architecture, and studio art majors, who should plan to elect both ARTH 100 and ARTH 101 in their first or second year at Wellesley. Students in this section of ARTH 100 will attend the same twice-weekly lectures as the other ARTH 100 students, but their assignments will be different, and they will attend two special WRIT 107 conferences each week. Through writing about art, students in WRIT 107/ARTH 100 will develop skills in visual and critical analysis.

Instructor

Bedell (Art)

Prerequisites

None. Open only to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Fall

Degree Requirements

ARS, W

WRIT 108 ARTH 101 Global Perspectives to Art and Architecture: Renaissance to Contemporary

Sweeping in its chronological and geographical scope, this two-part survey engages students in the analytical study of art, architecture, and urban form. It is a foundational course in critical and visual analysis; being able to look and analyze what you see is fundamental to a liberal arts education. Two lectures and one conference per week; conferences emphasize the interpretation of original works of art and hands-on historical materials and techniques. This is a required class for all art history, architecture, and studio art majors, who should plan to elect both ARTH 100 and ARTH 101 in their first or second year at Wellesley. Students in this section of ARTH 101 will attend the same twice-weekly lectures as the other ARTH 101 students, but their assignments will be different, and they will attend two special WRIT 108 conferences each week. Through writing about art, students in WRIT 108/ARTH 101 will develop skills in visual and critical analysis.

Instructor

Lynn-Davis (Art)

Prerequisites

None. Open only to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Spring

Degree Requirements

ARS, W

WRIT 110 WGST 108 The Social Construction of Gender

This course discusses the ways in which gender is socially constructed through social interactions and within social institutions. The relationships among gender, race, ethnicity, and social class will be stressed. The processes and mechanisms that construct and institutionalize gender will be considered in a variety of contexts: political, economic, religious, educational, and familial.

Instructor

Marshall (Women's and Gender Studies)

Prerequisites

None. Open only to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Fall

Degree Requirements

SBA, W

WRIT 111 CAMS 115 Hitchcock, Auteur

What is it that draws filmmakers, critics, writers, and scholars back to the films of Alfred Hitchcock, time and time again? What shots and frame compositions tempt filmmakers to imitation and homage? What narrative themes seduce critics? What paradoxes puzzle scholars and writers? To what extent is Hitchcock the master of his own films—in the words of film theorists, an auteur as much as a director? To what extent did he collaborate with others—screenwriters, composers, actors, cinematographers, and yes, his own wife and daughter—to produce enduring works of art? In reading, viewing, analyzing, and writing about films from all periods of Hitchcock's working life, this course will use these questions to shape our understanding of film and film theory.

Instructor

Wood (The Writing Program and CAMS)

Prerequisites

None. Open only to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Fall

Degree Requirements

ARS, W

WRIT 112 ECON 104 Contemporary Economic Issues

We are living through the most turbulent economic times in recent history, and we find ourselves facing a dizzying array of pressing economic policy choices: on housing policy, on taxation, on health care, and on the environment, just to name a few. This course aims to use the basic tools of introductory economics to understand and to practice writing cogently about several of these contemporary economic issues. We will draw on the popular press, the blogosphere, and the academic literature for reading material. Writing assignments will focus on the art of writing clearly, concisely, and precisely about quantitative phenomena. This will include learning how to gather, organize, and write about data for nontechnical audiences.

Instructor

Rothschild (Economics)

Prerequisites

International Baccalaureate credit in Economics (a score of 5, 6, or 7 on the IB exam) or Advanced Placement credit (a score of 5) in Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, and by permission of the instructor. Open only to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Fall

Degree Requirements

SBA, W

WRIT 113 ANTH 113 Reading and Writing Culture: Thinking and Writing like an Anthropologist

Cultural anthropology has been described as the process of making the familiar strange and the strange familiar, and it is through this translation of culture that the experiences of anthropologists "in the field" are made available to a wider audience. In this course, we will read classic and current ethnographies (written documents of anthropological fieldwork) as a foundation for producing our own ethnographies. For one class meeting per week, we will foray to strangely familiar locales in and around Wellesley (and Boston!). Our other two weekly meetings will provide an opportunity to carefully examine the practice of reading and writing culture. All semester, we will read great works of cultural anthropology and think like anthropologists by conducting interviews, making field notes, taking photographs, and exploring experimental methodologies. If you've ever wondered why people do what they do, this course will give you the tools to unpack the layers of culture that surround you.

Instructor

Armstrong (The Writing Program)

Prerequisites

None. Open only to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Spring

Degree Requirements

SBA, W

WRIT 114 EDUC 102 Education in Philosophical Perspective

This course is guided by questions such as: What is education? How do an individual's own efforts to make sense of the world and to guide her life relate to schools and academic work? To the diversity of experiences and cultures? What should the aims of education be? The focus will be on perspectives and processes of learning and teaching. We will use the works of earlier writers (for example, Confucius, Plato, and Dewey) and contemporary writers as starting points in our investigations.

Instructor

Hawes (Education)

Prerequisites

None. Open only to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Spring

Degree Requirements

EC, W

WRIT 115 ARTS 115 Word and Image Studio

This studio art course centers on the interplay of word and image, both in terms of artistic process and mode of presentation. While pursuing a range of studio projects in graphic media (drawing, book arts, and print), we will examine the role of text and visible language in the work of various contemporary artists. Our studio activities and discussions will explore fundamental visual concepts while cultivating an increased awareness of visual rhetoric and typographic design. Throughout the semester, considerable attention will be placed on developing more effective written commentary, critical thinking, and oral presentation skills relevant to visual investigation.

Instructor

McGibbon (Art)

Prerequisites

None. Open only to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Spring

Degree Requirements

ARS, W

WRIT 120 Argument in Action

The language of academic writing—at least in the Western university—is the language of argument. A master of argument will be able to think, write, and even read more effectively in any course. This class will apprentice students into the language of (Western) argument by introducing them to its many appearances in both everyday life (film, television, advertisements, blogs) and in scholarly work. Through critique of others' arguments we will learn the deeper nuances of creating our own. We will learn the common components of all arguments, the mastery of which will make us stronger writers, thinkers, and problem solvers, both in school and in our professional and personal lives.

Instructor

Lederman (The Writing Program)

Prerequisites

None. Open only to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Fall

Degree Requirements

W

WRIT 122 Wellesley and the World

Wellesley's mission is to educate "women who will make a difference in the world." In this course, we will explore Wellesley's place in the world, learning how it has helped shape American higher education, promoted health and fitness, advanced women’s rights, and influenced politics and diplomacy. We will also investigate the world that is Wellesley, taking specially designed tours of the campus as we examine the College’s historic buildings and unique landscape architecture. Students will practice writing different types of college-level academic papers, including a position paper that thoughtfully considers counter-argument; a study of a work of architecture that integrates art, history, and analysis; and a critical research essay focused on a Wellesley alumna or on a topic related to the work that Wellesley alumnae have contributed to the world. 

Instructor

Johnson (The Writing Program)

Prerequisites

None. Open only to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1

Semesters Offered

Fall

Degree Requirements

W

WRIT 123 The Wire and the American City

The acclaimed HBO television series The Wire has opened up a new avenue for scholars, urban community members, and everyday viewers to consider the complex problems of the contemporary American city. In this course, we will look at the rich array of new writing by sociologists, legal analysts, and political scientists in relation to selected episodes of The Wire. Required readings from authors including Randall Kennedy, Geoffrey Canada, William Julius Wilson, Kurt Schmoke, David Simon, and William Bennett as well as screenings of The Wire will serve as a springboard for argument and writing.

Instructor

Viti (The Writing Program)

Prerequisites

Enrollment restricted to students in the Wellesley Plus Program.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Spring

Degree Requirements

W

WRIT 124 The Spectacle of Gender

To a large extent, film is about watching, and much film is about watching people perform their gender roles. This course examines how film shapes our perceptions of gender by creating a spectacle of that gender. Throughout the course, we ask: Why is image so powerful? How does the camera work, not only to display characters, but also to direct the gaze upon them? What are the relationships between the visual spectacle and the progress of a film's story? Reading and writing assignments ask students to observe, analyze, interpret, and explain.

Instructor

Wood (The Writing Program and Cinema and Media Studies)

Prerequisites

Enrollment restricted to students in the Wellesley Plus Program.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Spring

Degree Requirements

W

WRIT 130 New Voices in American Fiction: The Immigrant Experience

In this course we will read three of the most exciting and important American writers of the last twenty-five years: Jhumpa Lahiri, Junot Díaz and Ha Jin. We’ll consider how these writers from very different linguistic and cultural backgrounds—India, the Dominican Republic, and China respectively—have created themselves as American writers through their stories and novels about the immigrant experience. We’ll pay especially close attention to the way these writers negotiate the tensions between old and new world norms of love and sexuality.

Instructor

Staff

Prerequisites

None. Open only to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Fall

Degree Requirements

W

WRIT 131 The Art of Fiction

This course examines the basic elements of short fiction, but it might also be titled “How Writers Write.” In conjunction with reading and writing about short stories, we’ll study commentaries about the art of fiction by fiction writers. We will approach these texts as a source of inspiration and instruction for our own efforts to master the writing process. Our understanding of stories will continually inform our strategies for writing academic essays. The course will conclude with a unit on Jennifer Egan’s brilliant novel, A Visit from the Goon Squad.

Instructor

Staff

Prerequisites

None. Open only to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Spring

Degree Requirements

W

WRIT 132 Literature and Life after 9/11

In the days and weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, many American novelists and poets sat at their desks and wondered how they could write about a country and world that had so radically changed overnight. Everyone asked themselves, “What’s next?” In this course, we’ll examine how a select number of novelists addressed this question and reacted to the profound change of consciousness in American life after 9/11. We’ll supplement these readings with some oral histories and essays by people directly affected by 9/11 and representations of 9/11 in television and film. We’ll also consider how New York City and the Twin Towers have figured in the public imagination since 9/11.

Instructor

Staff

Prerequisites

None. Open only to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Fall

Degree Requirements

W

WRIT 133 Poetry and Other Arts

In this course, we will study how poets use other art as inspiration or source material, beginning by delving into the blues- and jazz-influenced poetry of Langston Hughes. We'll also explore the art of Bruegel, van Gogh, Monet, Modleski, and Lin as we examine the ekphrastic poems of Williams, Auden, Hayden, Sexton, Rich, Komunyakaa, and others. In addition, we'll study poetry in its popular forms, including slam and spoken word, and we'll view films that feature poetry, including Il Postino. Throughout the course, we will practice formal analysis of poetry as we try to understand elements of poetic composition, what makes for "good" and "bad" poems, and what the uses of poetry are in our world today.

Instructor

Johnson

Prerequisites

None. Open only to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Spring

Degree Requirements

W

WRIT 134 Alternative Worlds, American Dreams

We will read a diverse range of modern science fiction stories with an aim toward understanding how these texts represent, critique, and imagine alternatives to existing social, political, economic, and environmental conditions. Through stories by writers such as Ursula K. Le Guin, Philip K. Dick, Octavia Butler, Ted Chiang, Nancy Kress, and Gene Wolfe and films such as Blade Runner, Another Earth, and District 9, we will explore how science fiction reimagines and challenges traditional ideas about ourselves, complicating easy distinctions between mind and body, human and machine, alien and native, self and other. Writing assignments include a personal blog, two analytic essays, a researched paper, a film review, and a fictional story.

Instructor

Brubaker (The Writing Program)

Prerequisites

None. Open only to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Spring

Degree Requirements

W

WRIT 136 Staging Science

We will read a range of twentieth-century plays that depict various scientific disciplines, discoveries, controversies, and characters. We will explore how scientific themes and ideas shape the structure and performances of these plays and also what these plays tell us about the connections—and misperceptions—between the humanities and sciences. Through plays such as Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen, Tom Stoppard’s Arcardia, David Auburn’s Proof, and David Feldshuh’s Miss Evers’ Boys, we will consider, for example, the intersections of science and politics, ethical responsibility, scientific racism, the gendering of scientific fields and practices, the myth of the lone scientist, and the overlaps between scientific and artistic creation. This course will likely offer the opportunity to attend a local performance of a play. Writing assignments include a personal blog, a theatrical “scene,” two analytic essays, a researched paper, and a performance review.

Instructor

Brubaker (The Writing Program)

Prerequisites

None. Open only to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Spring

Degree Requirements

W

WRIT 137 The Novels of Jane Austen

Students will read a selection of the great novels of Jane Austen and use her work to learn skills for the close reading of fiction in general. We will study the details of Austen's fictional technique. From what perspective are the novels told? How does the author reveal her attitudes toward her characters? At the same time we will consider the broader questions raised by the novels. What values motivate Austen's fiction? How does she comment on the larger social and historical scene? What are her views on such issues as slavery or the proper role of women?

Instructor

Meyer (English)

Prerequisites

None. Open only to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Spring

Degree Requirements

W

WRIT 139 The Story and the Writer

Edith Wharton felt that the short story, at its best, was like “a shaft driven straight into the heart of human experience.” John Cheever, another brilliant practitioner of the short story, claimed that "so long as we are possessed by experience that is distinguished by its intensity and episodic nature, we will have the short story.” Students will read and discuss stories by a wide range of writers, including Chekhov, Joyce, Hemingway, Wharton, Kafka, Joyce Carol Oates, Junot Díaz, and Marquez. We will look closely at the writer’s craft and at those factors that influenced the writing. Students will refine their analytical, research, and writing skills by working on essays based on the stories.

Instructor

Cezair-Thompson (English)

Prerequisites

None. Open only to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Fall

Degree Requirements

W

WRIT 141 Love Manuals: Medieval and Modern

Beginning with the Islamic eleventh century Dove's Neck-Ring by Ibn Hazm of Cordoba, and the Christian twelfth century Art of Courtly Love by Andreas Capellanus—considered among the earliest of texts in the genre of the Western romantic love manual—we will critically examine medieval concepts of gender, sexuality, and "love sickness," and how these elements have evolved in contemporary popular culture (self-help manuals such as Barbara D'Angelis' Are You the One for Me? as well as examples from video/film and the Internet). Complementary readings include selections from Ovid, Art of Love; Diego de San Pedro, Prison-House of Love; Irving Singer, The Nature of Love; and John Boswell, Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe.

Instructor

Vega (Spanish)

Prerequisites

None. Open only to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1

Semesters Offered

Spring

Degree Requirements

W

WRIT 145 The Politics of English Grammar and Usage

This course examines critically the notion of "proper grammar" (whether in English or any standardized language) for its underlying components of social privilege and marginalization. We will use both linguistic and sociological lenses to examine the differences between "incorrect" language usage and the "proper" use of different forms of language in different settings. That inquiry will allow us to look deeply at the relationship between the dialect people speak and the social goods (education, employment) to which they have access, exploring both the causes and the consequences of language-based bias.

Instructor

Lederman (The Writing Program)

Prerequisites

None. Open only to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Spring

Degree Requirements

W

WRIT 147 Literature, Gender, and Sexuality

How has literature shaped our understanding of gender and sexual identity? To help answer this, we will analyze and write about stories that focus on experiences and expressions of gender and sexuality. We will explore how writers have represented and interpreted men and women’s lives, including professional and domestic roles, hierarchies and inequalities, and acts of resistance and subversion. The reading list will include a diverse range of American writers such as Kate Chopin, Nella Larsen, James Baldwin, Armistead Maupin, Jamaica Kincaid, Audre Lorde, David Henry Hwang, and Annie Proulx. Our writing assignments in this course include an autobiographical nonfiction essay, a personal blog, two argumentative essays, a researched paper, and a literary review.

Instructor

Brubaker

Prerequisites

None. Open only to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Fall

Degree Requirements

W

WRIT 149 Trauma and Representation

In this course we will study the concept of trauma through a literary lens, examining fictional works featuring a traumatized character in order to better understand the complex relationship between trauma and representation. Authors include war veterans (Siegfried Sassoon, Tim O’Brien) as well as “noncombatant” authors such as Art Spiegelman, Toni Morrison, and Edwidge Danticat. What precisely is a trauma and how are traumatic events experienced and remembered differently from everyday occurrences? How does the re-presentation of a trauma in writing alter the reality or truth of the original event? While the issues raised by these texts may resonate with students’ personal lives, the discussions and assignments for this course will focus on the development of literary analytical skills through close reading and interpretation of language and form.

Instructor

Sokoloff (English)

Prerequisites

None. Open to first-year students only.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Fall, Spring

Degree Requirements

W

WRIT 159 Religion and New Media

This course will examine the communication of religious themes through new media such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and blogs. What does the practice of posting one's Facebook status in the form of a prayer to God tell us about how a user conceives of God? When does a religiously inflected statement qualify as protected speech, and when is it hate speech that ought to be banned from social media—and who gets to decide? These and other questions will provide a contemporary lens for exploring the ownership and dissemination of religious knowledge. Drawing on case studies and texts from religious studies and media studies, students will evaluate critically the ways uses of new media for religious expression are helpful and harmful to individual users, religious communities, and broader cultures.

Instructor

Staley (The Writing Program)

Prerequisites

None. Open to first-year students only.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Fall, Spring

Degree Requirements

W

WRIT 160 The Magic of Everyday Life: Stories About Our Culture

Fascinating cultural practices are found not only in far-off places but are also embedded in the stories of our everyday lives. From our families and friends to taxi drivers and grocery clerks, everyone's personal history has something to teach us. Written accounts of culture (called ethnographies) are created from these narratives of how people live their lives. What extraordinary stories of culture are hidden in local, everyday places? What does it mean to write someone else's story? Or our own? What can we learn about culture by translating oral histories into words? With the understanding that some of the most interesting stories about human culture are told in our own backyards, we will approach writing through ethnographic storytelling, using our life experiences as our subject.

Instructor

Armstrong (The Writing Program)

Prerequisites

None. Open only to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Fall

Degree Requirements

W

WRIT 161 Hidden Worlds: Desert Islands, Ghost Towns, Invisible Cities, and Writing about Place

Have you ever wondered why some places evoke strong emotions, or why particular locations are charged with powerful meaning? Through the lenses of cultural geography and anthropology, this course explores the complex relationship between human beings, their emotions, and their environment. Key questions include: How can feelings for the places from our past and present be written into words? What are the qualities of a place that evoke certain emotions and memories? How do our memories of places change over time? What effect do collective memories have on individual remembrances? By reading memoirs, cultural histories, and critical essays, students learn how space and place can be translated into texts. Students will create their own written geographies of memory and analyze popular conceptions of space and place.

Instructor

Armstrong (The Writing Program)

Prerequisites

None. Open only to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Spring

Degree Requirements

W

WRIT 163 Wealth and Poverty in America: An Economist's Perspective

America has become increasingly unequal over the past 30 years. Corporate executives' earnings are hundreds of times those of their blue-collar employees. The middle class is on the precipice, according to Harvard Magazine. More Americans are millionaires than ever before, but more of us are poor as well. What is happening? Why? What does this change mean for our economy and society? This course will use primary data, government publications, and articles in both the popular and scholarly press as a basis for writing about the causes and consequences of these trends. We will pay particular attention to learning to write about quantitative phenomena using numbers, charts, and graphs.

Instructor

Velenchik (The Writing Program and Economics)

Prerequisites

Fulfillment of the basics skills component of the Quantitative Reasoning requirement. Open only to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Spring

Degree Requirements

W

WRIT 165 China Past and Present: The Eighteenth-Century "Flourishing Period" and its Legacy

Eighteenth-century China was at the center of global transformations. From Bangkok to Boston, consumers demanded its teas and textiles. Chinese armies drove deep into Central Asia, conquering new territories. Population growth propelled a form of economic development that would leave modern legacies of extraordinary political and environmental challenges. Our course investigates these breathtaking changes and critically assesses their legacies for the present. Topics include family life and gender, rulership and territorial expansion in Tibet, environmental transformation, and long-term trends in Western perceptions of China. Assignments emphasize strong analytical writing through interpretation of primary sources, critical thinking about links between past and present, and independent research. Course materials (in English or subtitled): translated novels, emperors’ personal writings, television dramas, European/American accounts, and innovative historical studies.

Instructor

Giersch (History)

Prerequisites

None. Open only to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Fall

Degree Requirements

W

WRIT 166 Constitution 3.0: Freedom, Technology, and the Law

We will focus on the intersection between American constitutional law and the digital revolution that has spawned so many technologies that affect—and have already begun to jeopardize—our constitutional rights and freedoms. Students will read and write about seminal Supreme Court cases focusing on the right of privacy and the power of the government to regulate channels of communication, including radio, television, and the Internet. We will also study legislation and cases about new technologies that enable surveillance on suspected criminals and good citizens as well. Other course topics include neutrality, live feeds, security surveillance techniques, artificial intelligence, cloning, fMRI technology, and airport scanning procedures.

Instructor

Viti (The Writing Program)

Prerequisites

None. Open only to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Fall

Degree Requirements

W

WRIT 167 Gender in East Asia: Philosophy, Patriarchy, and People in Japan, China, and Korea

This course trains students to write academic essays concerning historical and cultural phenomena by exploring the origins, ideas, and legacies of gender in East Asian culture. We will investigate forms of ideology, modes of living, and cultural practices related to gender beginning with ancient times, moving forward chronologically (though selectively) into the present. Our principal concern with philosophy, patriarchy, and people will lead us to discuss ideologies (Confucianism and Buddhism, for example) and cultural practices (foot binding, prostitution) and their historical implications. The course seeks to provide students with a nuanced understanding of how to express themselves in writing while engaging with a central feature of societies in East Asia.

Instructor

Marshall (East Asian Languages and Cultures)

Prerequisites

None. Open only to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Fall

Degree Requirements

W

WRIT 168 Illness and Therapy: A Cross-Cultural Perspective

How have different cultures responded when faced with misfortune, sickness, and death? This course is a comparative study of illness and therapy, in both its historical and cultural contexts. As a phenomenon of nature, the outbreak and spread of disease allows us to examine people's intimate and changing relationship with their physical environment. Concurrently, illness is a social phenomenon: how we define, treat, and assess conditions of sickness is shaped by our scientific etiologies, social structures, and cultural traditions. Three major maladies will serve as case studies: the bubonic plague, mental illness, and HIV/AIDS. Our approach will be interdisciplinary, and will explore differing perspectives offered by bio-medicine, anthropology, history, literature, and film

Instructor

Nelson (The Writing Program)

Prerequisites

None. Open only to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Fall, Spring

Degree Requirements

W

WRIT 169 Environmental Ethics and Christian Traditions

This course will investigate ethical dimensions of environmental problems with special attention to uses of Christian traditions to respond to those problems. It will consider views of humanity's relationship to the natural world that have contributed to environmental degradation, and it will survey attempts to rethink that connection to encourage environmental responsibility. This exploration will invite us to appreciate the diversity of contemporary Christian perspectives on the environment, to determine what additional religious or ethical issues are at stake in various ways of regarding environmental responsibility, and to assess the potential impact of different ideas on people's behavior. Topics will include the distribution of natural resources, the status of nonhuman animals, and food production and consumption, and readings will come from ethics, theology, and environmental thought.

Instructor

Staley (The Writing Program)

Prerequisites

None. Open to first-year students only.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Spring

Degree Requirements

W

WRIT 170 Chemistry in the News

Whether it is a nuclear disaster, the next pandemic, a cure for acne, or the latest celebrity drug death, much of contemporary news has a molecular basis. We will seek a deeper understanding of each week's current events by looking at the chemistry behind the news. No prior knowledge of the subject is required, as an increasingly sophisticated working knowledge of molecules and their behavior will be developed as the semester proceeds. We will have to wait and see which of the big issues will emerge, but likely molecularly based topics may include: climate change, contraception, diet, disease, drugs, energy, environmental damage, nukes, race, and sex.

Instructor

Reisberg (Chemistry)

Prerequisites

None. Open only to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Fall

Degree Requirements

W

WRIT 171 The Influence of Place

How does where you are affect who you are? Throughout the semester we will draw from important writings on nature and the environment that depict and rely on a strong sense of place. By focusing on the formative nature of location we will cut across disciplinary boundaries in our examination of the interactions of humans and other organisms and the environment. We will explore aspects of geography as depicted in literary classics, as experienced on a personal level, and as understood through analysis of data. Our work will allow students to hone writing skills while gaining an appreciation for the powerful influence of place.

Instructor

Thomas (Biological Sciences)

Prerequisites

None. Open only to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Spring

Degree Requirements

W

WRIT 172 Vaccines: Past, Present, and Future

Vaccines have profoundly affected the quality of life for most people. By reducing the incidence of life-threatening diseases such as polio, diphtheria, measles, and whooping cough, vaccines have dramatically decreased child mortality rates. Nonetheless, concerns about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines have led to a growing anti-vaccine movement in the United States. Students in this course will gain a deeper understanding of the science behind both classic (e.g. polio) and modern (e.g. Gardasil) vaccines. Through critical analysis of both scientific and popular literature on vaccines and vaccination policy, students will learn to make more informed public and personal health decisions, and to write clearly and effectively about scientific questions. This course may be especially relevant to students interested in scientific writing, medicine, or public health.

Instructor

Matthews (Biological Sciences)

Prerequisites

None. Open only to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Spring

Degree Requirements

W

WRIT 199 Writing Tutorial

An individual tutorial in expository writing, taught by juniors and seniors from a variety of academic departments. An opportunity to tailor reading and writing assignments to the student’s particular needs and interests. Tutorial meetings are individually arranged by students with their tutors.

Instructor

Viti (The Writing Program)

Prerequisites

Open to students from all classes by permission of the instructor.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Fall, Spring, Summer II

Degree Requirements

None

WRIT 199H Writing Tutorial

This half-unit version of Writing 199 is also an individual tutorial taught by juniors and seniors. Students electing WRIT 199H can focus their work in the first half of the semester, finishing by the end of week seven, or can choose to work throughout the semester at a slower pace than would be required for a full unit. Students will work with their tutors to determine the appropriate meeting structure, readings, and assignments for the course.

Instructor

Viti (The Writing Program)

Prerequisites

Open to students from all classes by permission of the instructor.

Unit(s)

0.5

Semesters Offered

Fall, Spring

Degree Requirements

None

WRIT 225-01-F Nonfiction Writing

Topic for 2013-14: Memoir

The memoir has in the last generation or two assumed a leading position in American literary culture. It has achieved this position perhaps despite its origins in a once-disreputable genre: confessional autobiography. Augustine admits in his Confessions to having been a thief in his boyhood; Rousseau promises in his to tell the reader “even the most truly odious things about myself.” But perhaps the imperative to make the details of private life public particularly appeals to the sensibility of a democratic age. You no longer have to be famous or old to write a memoir. But you must transcend the merely personal. The business of the course is to become accomplished in a form as famous for its intrinsic perils as for its pleasures.

Instructor

Wallenstein (English)

Prerequisites

Fulfillment of the First-Year Writing requirement.

Cross Listed Courses

ENG 206-01-F

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Fall

Degree Requirements

LL

WRIT 225-01-S Nonfiction Writing

Topic for 2013-14: Creative Nonfiction

Creative nonfiction is a protean genre of writing, a genre that encompasses many different types of writing. In this class, we'll focus mainly on personal essays-essays which deal with your personal experiences and are driven and shaped by "I." The more complex question raised by this genre is what makes creative nonfiction "creative"? This question will inform every essay we read and discuss, whether it’s a published essay or one you write for class.

Instructor

Staff

Prerequisites

Fulfillment of the First-Year Writing requirement.

Cross Listed Courses

ENG-206-01-S

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Not Offered

Degree Requirements

LL

WRIT 225-02-S Nonfiction Writing

Topic for 2013-14: Writing the Travel Essay

Taken a trip lately—junior year abroad, summer vacation, spring break? Looked back fondly or in horror at a family road trip? Turn your experience into a travel essay. We will be studying both the genre of the literary travel essay as well as the more journalistic travel writing found in newspaper travel sections and travel magazines. And, of course, we will be writing our own travel narratives. The course focuses on the essentials of travel writing: evocation of place, a sophisticated appreciation of cultural differences, a considered use of the first person (travel narratives are closely related to the genre of memoir), and basic strong writing/research skills.

Instructor

Sides (English)

Prerequisites

Fulfillment of the First-Year Writing requirement.

Cross Listed Courses

ENG-206-02-S

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Spring

Degree Requirements

LL

WRIT 250 Research or Individual Study

Prerequisites

Open to qualified students who have fulfilled the First-Year Writing requirement. Permission of the instructor and the director of the Writing Program required.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Fall, Spring

Degree Requirements

None

WRIT 250H Research or Individual Study

Prerequisites

Open to qualified students who have fulfilled the First-Year Writing requirement. Permission of the instructor and the director of the Writing Program required.

Unit(s)

0.5

Semesters Offered

Fall, Spring

Degree Requirements

None

WRIT 290 Advanced Writing in the Social Sciences

Students will produce several kinds of social science writing: journal keeping; reviews of academic literature from the disciplines of law, political science, sociology, anthropology, and history; analysis of constitutional law issues; analytic techniques from the social sciences to write persuasively about court opinions, contemporary social issues, and legal controversies; report writing based on fieldwork; oral histories using established academic guidelines; informative and persuasive writing on blogs and wikis. Students will learn documentation systems widely used in the social sciences. Close print and electronic research will be emphasized, as will fieldwork. Students will adapt topics to different modes of writing. In addition to shorter writings, each student will complete an independent capstone writing project based on traditional scholarly print and electronic sources and fieldwork.

Instructor

Viti (The Writing Program)

Prerequisites

Fulfillment of the First-Year Writing requirement. Juniors and seniors only, sophomores by permission of the instructor. Not open to first-year students.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Not Offered

Degree Requirements

LL, SBA

WRIT 291 Secrets of the Library: Advanced Academic Research and Writing

We will explore library archives, special collections, and rare books, learning how and why to study and write about these rich primary materials. We will have access to the physical collections at Wellesley and Harvard’s Houghton Library, as well as both schools’ vast digital archives. Librarians will introduce us to the collections, and, as a group, we will make trips to Harvard and to Yale’s Beinecke Library. Students will learn how to work with library materials as scholars do, devising a viable topic and approach, doing hands-on research, producing a significant writing portfolio, and offering oral presentations of their work. The materials in these collections will appeal to students interested in the humanities and social sciences, and in the history of science, medicine, and the law.

Instructor

Johnson (The Writing Program)

Prerequisites

Completion of First-Year Writing requirement.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Spring

Degree Requirements

LL

WRIT 307 Learning by Giving: Nonprofit Organizations and American Cities in the Twenty-first Century

The goals of this experimental team-taught course are several: 1) to develop a community-based research experience that will strengthen students’ substantive understanding of American cities and the organizations that serve their populations; 2) to offer students the opportunity to hone their social science research skills; 3) to strengthen students’ communication skills by offering them an alternative venue and audience for their writing; and 4) to foster collaboration among students on a project of consequence. Students will work in teams to research, write, and submit a grant application for a nonprofit organization. Course participation will require travel to Boston. Preference will be given to students who have a demonstrated commitment to service.

Instructor

Cuba (Sociology) and Brubaker (The Writing Program)

Prerequisites

One 200-level course in the social sciences. Enrollment is limited. Students must fill out an application available in the Sociology Department.

Cross Listed Courses

SOC 307

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Fall

Degree Requirements

SBA

WRIT 390 Calderwood Seminar in Public Writing: Law, Medicine, and Ethics

Should young women serve as egg donors? What happens if Roe v. Wade is overturned? Should there be “markets” for organ donations? Does Obamacare call for “death panels”? Should parents be allowed to genetically engineer a perfect child? We will engage with these and other issues in law, medicine, and ethics from the perspective of public writers, trying to inform and influence public opinion. Students will write op-ed articles, a position paper, blog posts, and book and film reviews. This course is intended for juniors and seniors who want to develop their writing skills and gain expertise in headline debates in law and medicine.

Instructor

Viti (The Writing Program)

Prerequisites

At least two 200-level courses drawn from among any of the following disciplines: political science, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, religion, biology, chemistry, or with permission of the instructor.

Unit(s)

1.0

Semesters Offered

Fall

Degree Requirements

LL, SBA
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