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FWIS 116   American Journeys

The narratives of travelers in the US are a window into history. Drawing on authors like Crevecoeur, Tocqueville, Trollope, and Kerouac, the class will discuss and write about themes such as Indian life and territorial expansion, democracy, slavery, civil war, western settlement, and 20th-cent. social movements. This course is eligible for credit toward the major in History.

Tuesday 2:00 - 4:59
Instructor: Hall, Randal

Writing Archaeology: Interpreting the Past for the Academy and the Public

FWIS 140  |  TR 1:00 - 2:15  |  Fleisher, Jeff

Archaeologists seek to understand the past through the material remains that people left behind.  While most people imagine archaeologists toiling away with a trowel in the field, they spend most of their time writing up their results for a variety of audiences.  This course introduces the various modes of archaeological writing, including academic reports, monographs, and articles as well as popular magazines, newspapers, blogs and fiction.  These modes of archaeological writing demand a variety of evidentiary forms and styles of argumentation and interpretation.  By focusing on how scientific practices like archaeology are ‘translated’ between different types of publications, this course will provide crucial skills to both analyze the quality of popular presentations of social science research (like archaeology) but also explore the challenges that archaeologists face in making their research understandable to a broader audience.  Through a series of essays, students will experiment with different approaches to ‘writing archaeology’ and learn how these are structured by such factors as disciplinary conventions, audience, and intent.


Family in Fiction and Film

FWIS 198  |  MWF 11:00 - 11:50  |  Nixon, Burke

In this writing-intensive course, we’ll examine a number of short stories, novels, and films that all examine, in their own ways, the idea of family. The works will span multiple continents and time periods and will include fiction written by Franz Kafka, J.D. Salinger, Jamaica Kincaid, Junot Diaz, and Alice Munro, among others, as well as films directed by Yasujirō Ozu, Francois Truffaut, Wes Anderson, Sarah Polley, and Richard Linklater. In reading, watching, discussing, and writing about these works, we’ll confront a number of questions: What does it mean to grow up and leave one’s family? What does it mean to be a “good” parent, sibling, daughter or son? Was Tolstoy right that “all happy families are alike,” while “each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”? Our course topic will also allow us to explore issues of class, gender, race, illness, and culture; we’ll read a number of critical arguments and cultural debates that relate to these issues. Over the course of the semester we’ll write in a number of genres, from personal essays and editorials to literary analysis and a major research paper that explores a question related to our topic and incorporates scholarship to develop and support an argument.