Fall '14 Course Schedule

Designed to prepare students who need more time and practice in reading and writing to meet the more advanced communication demands of an FWIS, this course will provide an introduction to the expectations of academic readers as well as practice with the rhetorical and linguistic structures common to academic writing. Students will also review grammatical points relevant to the course material and assignments and learn to self-edit their own work. This course does not fulfill the Composition Requirement. Permission is required to register.

100.001  MWF 10:00 - 10:50  Jayathurai, Nimmi
100.002  MWF 11:00 - 11:50  Jayathurai, Nimmi
100.003  TR 9:25 - 10:40  Bae, Kyung-Hee
100.004  TR 10:50 - 12:05  Heyes, Michael
100.005  TR 1:00 - 2:15  Heyes, Michael
100.006  TR 2:30 - 3:45  Nixon, Burke
100.007  TR 
7:00 - 8:15  Macellaro, Kimberly
100.008  MWF 10:00 - 10:50  Boettcher, Kevin


This course (taught in English) will examine comedies, dramas, adventures, crime stories, and films that defy categorization directed by French and Francophone women (including Yamina Benguigui, Marguerite Duras, Diane Kurys, Coline Serreau, and Agnès Varda). These films present strategies for portraying female experience through innovative shooting and editing strategies, and short readings provide basic concepts and vocabulary of cinema as well as theoretical film criticism. We will examine a variety of representations of the body, family, time, race, class, sexuality, and otherness and different concepts of spectatorship while developing skills to write and speak compellingly about film. We will read one novel, Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog, to discuss the challenges of adaptation. Students will watch films via Owlspace, as class will be devoted to discussion of key questions and concepts and detailed analysis of short film clips.

101.001  TR 2:30 - 3:45  Bailar, Melissa

This course introduces you to texts that are integral to the mythology, literature, and culture of ancient Greece.  Hesiod’s Theogony, a creation narrative, includes the epic battle between the Olympian gods and the Titans.  The Homeric Hymns celebrate individual Olympian gods and goddesses.  The Works and Days is an early Greek example of wisdom literature.  Hesiod, as poet, challenges the authority of the local kings and educates his community about justice and the value of hard work. The course introduces you to these important texts through the regular practice of close reading, writing, and spoken discussion.  You will learn to develop and articulate your own interpretations of them in response to the views of others, including your classmates.  The assignments and in-class activities will help you to hone your communication skills, and to employ reading, writing, and speaking in the service of critical thinking.  (All works read in English translation.)

105.001  TR 2:30 - 3:45  Mackie, Hilary

"Muse lyre Louvre CA482" by Hesiod Painter - Jastrow (2005). Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons (ow.ly/AnrJt)

While the image of spandex clad superheroes still dominates perceptions of graphic novels, the medium has evolved into a varied and complex form of expression in the decades since Superman’s first appearance in Action Comics (1938).  From their inception, though, graphic novels have always showed a deep connection to the historical events, anxieties, and struggles that surrounded their creation.  In this course, we will examine graphic novels from a variety of perspectives, including the historical, the political, the social, and the literary.  Students will develop research skills through an engagement with the growing critical literature on graphic novels, and will strengthen communication skills by writing and presenting analyses of the cultural relevance of graphic novels, all while maintaining an awareness of the formal properties that make them such a unique and diverse medium.

108.001  MWF 10:00 - 10:50  Messmer, David
108.002  MWF 11:00 - 11:50  Messmer, David

If we devote much of our free time to reading short bursts of social media communication, does this diminish our capacity to devote thought and attention to much longer or more difficult texts? If so, what might we lose—and gain—in the process, as scholars and as human beings? This course will explore such questions and the assumptions behind them. We’ll scrutinize popular arguments and academic research on the effects of digital media, while also examining short stories, poems, and essays on the topics of reading, digital technology, and the act of attention. In the process, students will extend their own capacities for analysis, critical reading, and reflection, while developing their writing abilities in a variety of genres, ultimately working towards a research paper and a final presentation in which students will use social media itself to refute or support claims against social media.

109.001  MWF 3:00 - 3:50  Nixon, Burke

Explore the precursors, poetics, and practice of fantastic fiction in two cosmopolitan Argentine masters. Appreciate how each combined local and transnational perspectives to create startlingly unique works and worlds, bridging Europe and the Americas, modern and postmodern cultures, and bring Latin American fiction to the forefront of world literature. This course is eligible for credit toward the major in Hispanic Studies. 

112.001  TR 1:00 - 2:15  Kauffmann, Robert

This course is designed to introduce first-year students from a wide variety of academic backgrounds to the major literary genres of fiction, poetry, and drama. Our reading will consist of a variety of highly provocative texts that demand engagement of their readers. Students will learn and practice the skills of close reading, interpretation, and literary analysis through discussion and critical writing. The course aims to enhance students' awareness of literature as an art form with intellectual, cultural, and historical significance. It also aims to help students develop critical sophistication and maturity and to express that sophistication and maturity in writing. In our reading and writing, we will emphasize nuance, complexity, ambiguity, and multiple meanings. Texts include The Wife of Bath’s Prologue; selections from Paradise Lost; Othello; To the Lighthouse; Lolita; and Foe.

114.002  MWF 11:00 - 11:50  Ellenzweig, Sarah

A look at photography through the writing of critics, historians, philosophers, theorists, and photographers. Students will engage picture-making through reading, writing, discussions, presentations, and making digital photographs. Activities will include field trips for viewing exhibitions and taking photographs. Assignments will include written papers, oral presentations, and digital photographs. Phone cameras are acceptable. This course is eligible for credit toward the major in Visual and Dramatic Arts.

115.001  TR 10:50 - 12:05  Hester, Paul

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) was one of the most brilliant and baffling figures in the epoch of Enlightenment.  In this seminar we will explore the writer in his setting and his expression in writing as illustrative of the variety of generic modes of written articulation, the guiding force of authorial mood and intention, as well as the limits all of these face or impose. We will read widely across Rousseau’s oeuvre, noting the differences in generic form and the nonetheless unmistakable uniqueness of Rousseau’s authorial voice.  Writing in a wide variety of genres –  from formal essays in political theory and social anthropology, to sentimental novels, to path-breaking prose-poetic reveries, to autobiography – Rousseau managed always to endow these with his own extraordinary genius and sensibility. By making Rousseau as writing the focus of the seminar, the ambition will be to make the act of writing a historical problem and a present motivation.  The goal will be to foster more self-conscious but also more self-expressive writing in the students.

117.001  MWF 2:00 - 2:50  Zammito, John

For over a hundred years social scientists have studied leaders and leadership. The popular press and media pundits continue to expound on the topic with conflicting views. Students will explore what they believe and what science informs us about leaders and leadership and share their analyses through discussions, writing, and oral presentations. This course does not study individual leaders but instead is devoted to learning about scholarship in the field of leadership and applying it to better understanding oneself as a leader. Besides writing about their leadership experiences and applying leadership scholarship in analyzing those experiences students will also create visual images about leadership using digital technologies and share them with each other.

122.001  TR 2:30 - 3:45  Cornwell, John

This course explores the process of scientific discovery and how scientific knowledge is generated and communicated. Students will direct the topics of the course by popular vote, selecting from within the areas of rare medical conditions, current newsworthy science, and groundbreaking local bioscience research. The course will focus on formulating questions for scientific investigation, finding and evaluating sources, reading selected lay and technical articles, and communicating scientific findings to distinct audiences through written, oral, and visual media. The course is targeted to students interested in science, medicine, or journalism, but is appropriate for all majors.

123.001  MWF 10:00 - 10:50  Purugganan, Mary & Eich, Elizabeth

“Film Noir” is a French description of a distinctly American phenomenon.  From its emergence in 1930s crime novels like Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep, to the solidification of its tropes in post-WWII films like The Maltese Falcon, to its genre-crossing influence on works like Blade Runner and Fargo, the Noir has always offered a cynical critique of American exceptionalism and the notions of prosperity that inform it.  This course will encourage students to look past the hard-boiled detectives and dashing femme-fatales to see the complicated cultural ambiguities that always lurk within the overt mysteries that the genre offers its audience.  The course will require students to write about a wide variety of media, including novels, films, graphic novels, video games, and television, and to engage with the substantial body of critical work that already surrounds the genre.

128.001  M 7:00 - 10:00  Messmer, David

This course is dedicated to the poetics of everyday life. It introduces its participants to cultural and historical writing that draws from the real world and from the forms and colors of the ordinary. First, we will experiment with some non-fiction writing styles, from journalistic, to poetic, to documentary and ethnographic. Then, shifting the focus from writing styles to writing topics, the course will delve into how we experience landscapes, bodies, and objects in prosaic ways. We will develop reading, research, writing, and presentation skills through creative assignments and workshops. Engaging in fieldwork around Houston, we will practice observational and literary tactics, such as experimenting with rhythm and repetition, shifting scales from the micro to the macro, and making the strange familiar or the familiar strange. In short, we will explore, evaluate, and communicate the everyday. This course is eligible for credit toward the major in anthropology.

130.001  TR 1:00 - 2:15  Dib, Lina

Engineers in the field of rehabilitation engineering identify patient needs and find creative, effective, and low-cost solutions to meet those needs. In this course, you will evaluate existing methods and devices designed to solve many of the day-to-day problems faced by patients with physical disabilities and complete a small design project that culminates in a physical prototype. You will learn and apply principles of technical writing, engineering design and problem solving, while exploring the ever changing climate and regulations for patients with disabilities in American society. 

132.001  TR 9:25 - 10:40  Ghosn, Bilal

This course is designed to explore the interconnected roles of those who make art, the individuals who buy it, and the institutions charged with preserving and displaying these important creative contributions to society. Do these three entities have a synergistic relationship or do their various ideas/agendas prevent a harmonious partnership? What role do collectors have in the career trajectory of artists?  The history of art collecting and patronage will be discussed as students explore the role of the museum, the art market, public and private collections, artists who are influenced by or incorporate collections in their work, and the psychology of collecting.  Practical concerns about museum management, conservation, provenance, and art law will also be addressed.  Houston has a large and active art community, and through this course, students will be encouraged to engage in the world of museums and galleries that lie just beyond the hedges of Rice University.

134.001  TR 2:30 - 3:45  Fuqua, Kariann

This course will explore the world of popular American music by looking at a number of recent albums and songs as well as many critical and journalistic writings about music.  Ranging from Celine Dion’s Let’s Talk About Love to Chance the Rapper’s Acid Rap, and from a novelistic portrayal of Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality to a memoir of the Riot Grrrl movement, these texts will also allow us to think critically not only about music itself, but about what other issues (race, gender, sexuality, class, taste, etc.) we talk about when we talk about music.  Assignments will include album reviews, song analyses, genre/region presentations, and personal essays.

137.001  MWF 4:00 - 4:50  Klein, Andrew

By Tengilorg (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (ow.ly/AsrRJ)], via Wikimedia Commons

Revolution has made us who we are. Your access to education, your career opportunities, your rights as a citizen—your very ability to read and write—have all been shaped by the revolutionaries of the past, who fought to change the entire social order they lived in. In this seminar we will look back at a fifty-year period (1775-1825) when the Atlantic world was shaken by revolutions that created new nations, upset traditional arrangements of class, began to undo slavery, and shook the world’s great powers to their core. How did these revolutions change the meaning of a community? How did people argue for new rights, freedoms, and recognitions? You will read historical revolutionaries who employed the rhetoric of individual rights to argue for and establish new communities. And you will write essays that help you understand how revolutionary rhetoric works and think through revolutions of your own.

138.001  TR 9:25 - 10:40  Reeder, Jessie

Although The Great Gatsby has become the seminal text of the interwar period, the 1920s and 30s also saw the flourishing of detective fiction, a wildly popular genre that still has a major presence in the publishing and television industries. In addition to studying the history and major practitioners of the genre, such as Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, and Ngaio Marsh, the class will wrestle with a variety of critical questions: Why did the detective novel flourish between the world wars? Why did the many famous women mystery writers create few female detectives? What kind of transatlantic influences were at work? Why has Golden Age style fallen out of favor with critics even as it remains popular with readers? Students will learn to read and write about popular fiction as a reflector, perpetuator, and occasional challenger of the wider culture.

139.001  MWF 3:00 - 3:50  Neill, Heather

This course introduces students to philosophy by studying three of its major topics, with special emphasis on the first: happiness, justice, and knowledge.  We learn about and critically engage with competing theories of each.  Regarding happiness, we study hedonism (the view that happiness is pleasure), desire satisfactionism (happiness is getting what you want), and eudaimonism (happiness is exercising the uniquely human capacities).  Regarding justice, we study the underpinnings of various political worldviews, surveying philosophical arguments for libertarianism, welfare capitalism, socialism and communism.  As to knowledge, we focus on skepticism, the view that that we know nothing with certainty, that the world is an illusion.  We read major works on these topics that vary in time period (ancient to contemporary) and style (dialogues to deductive analyses).  Besides developing your writing ability, the course aims to teach you how to cultivate a low-stress writing process for yourself.

Christopher Lucka, Turn Off the News (ow.ly/Asqhc)

The word “play” is a noun and a verb. Both have several meanings, and several of them are contradictory. To play house, to play the violin, to play sick or second base, and to play Hamlet are very different. Since play means to “pretend,” when you play Hamlet, in the play Hamlet, are you pretending? He is not a human being and does not exist as one, but the play is a real thing. And then there’s the play within the play! Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, and Bertolt Brecht’s  Caucasian Chalk Circle are some of the works we will read, discuss, and write about . . . while the band plays on!

148.001  MWF 9:00 - 9:50  Doody, Terrence

The U.S. is a nation haunted by history. Whether witches, ghosts, monsters, or jokers, that which we deem terrifying, horror-filled and frightening has taken many forms. Through a study of U.S. literature, this course will examine how these gothic forms have been shaped by major historical changes, such as shifting gender norms, economic instability, religious and racial conflict, and political unrest. Our readings will span a variety of historical periods and texts ranging from Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”  to Toni Morrison’s Beloved to Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. As a writing course, American Horror Stories will help students develop critical reading and writing skills as they explore the ghastly and ghostly both today and throughout the course of American literary history.

151.001  MWF 9:00 - 9:50  Seglie, AnaMaria

As indicated by the course title, this course will consider the lives of representative Latin Americans. Together we will study four fascinating individuals: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, a 17th-century Mexican poet whose struggles with church authority anticipated modern feminist movements; Rigoberta Menchú, a Guatemalan Indian activist and Nobel Prize winner whose “autobiography” continues to feed a bitter debate; Eva Duarte de Perón, a lowborn girl who rose to worldwide prominence and figures among the most adored and despised of all Argentines; and Enrique, a poor Honduran boy whose heroic struggle to join his mother in the United States reflects the plight of children currently thronged on the US border. Each student will also develop individual research projects on other Latin Americans that they will share with the class. While honing writing and communication skills is our overriding goal, in the process we will meet many fascinating people.

155.001  TR 4:00 - 5:15  Shumway, Nicolas

This course will provide an introduction to the field of medical humanities, focusing specifically on narrative medicine and the role narrative can play in illness and the clinical encounter. We’ll also examine the use of literary fiction as a way to increase empathy in doctor-patient interactions, which will lead to a series of questions: Can empathy be taught? If so, can the humanities, and literature in particular, teach it? To help us explore these and other questions, we’ll scrutinize academic research on empathy and fiction, as well as examining some of the most influential texts in the field of medical humanities. We’ll also read medical-themed short stories by Ernest Hemingway, Lorrie Moore, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and the physician-writer Anton Chekhov, among others. Writing assignments will range from a work of personal reflection to a research paper and presentation arguing for or against the use of literary fiction in medical schools.

163.001  MWF 1:00 - 1:50  Nixon, Burke

FWIS 170 provides an overview of topics in global health, including major diseases and health challenges of the global poor; major organizations and stakeholders; and examples of successful policy, technological, and public health interventions.  These topics are presented through the voices of global health thought and research leaders - including policymakers, researchers, public health professionals, physicians, and journalists – with the goal of integrating the multiple perspectives that shape global health challenges and govern successful interventions.  The class also includes two works of literary journalism: Behind the Beautiful Forevers, by Katherine Boo, and Mountains Beyond Mountains, by Tracy Kidder. These texts enrich students' understanding of global health topics with the perspective of those living in extreme poverty and delivering care in poor communities around the globe. 

170.001  TR 9:25 - 10:40  Gray, Lauren

People create inner models of the world to represent their experience and guide their behavior. How we state and say things has direct impact on how we feel and affect others. Students will be introduced to art of persuasion, learn about the power of words, the importance of word choice, and might of a metaphor. They will learn to create effective messages through understanding patterns of communication and how they can be altered to bring about a change in human behavior. The course offers an opportunity to analyze and discuss various readings related to neuro-linguistics. It suggests recording observations, writing reports and a short research paper.

171.001  TR 10:50 - 12:05  Belik, Katerina

"Floor 7a bookstacks in Sterling Memorial Library" by Ragesoss - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 via Wikimedia Commons - ow.ly/Au9xb

This seminar provides a survey of leadership issues in an entrepreneurial business context, along with an understanding of fundamental business elements and economic concepts of importance to entrepreneurs and their organizations. Through discussions with leaders in the Houston community, group projects, and frequent writing and oral presentation assignments, students will experience and develop an understanding of the interplay between structure, operations, and leadership.

175.001  W 7:00 - 9:50  McLendon, George

This course treats mainstream pop culture, typically considered low culture or “trash,” as an area of study worthy of serious inquiry. We will read mass-marketed literature, popular TV shows, blockbuster films, and advertisements as texts, meaning we will examine their form/formulas, rhetorical devices, and social and political content. Students will gain familiarity with historical and theoretical approaches to studying a variety of contemporary mediums and genres. We will ask questions like: How are conceptions of popular and high culture constructed? How does pop culture mold ideas and attitudes, and constitute subjectivities and identities? What social fantasies do these cultural texts articulate? Is contemporary popular culture simply a mindless diversion or, even worse, a manipulative, profit-making machine? 

178.001  TR 4:00 - 5:15  Macellaro, Kimberly

By Dean (leu) . from Penrhyncoch, Aberystwyth, Wales (Reality TV - Graffiti) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (ow.ly/Aua2F)], via Wikimedia Commons

The “Golden Age” of children’s literature, approximately dated from 1865-1914, produced many of our most famous children’s classics, including Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Peter Pan. This course will discuss and write about why this period produced so many influential books and how those stories still shape our ideas about writing for children. We will read a number of children’s novels as well as excerpts from scholarly publications about children’s literature. Students will focus on writing strong academic essays. Students will also learn about different kinds of oral communication, from dramatic reading aloud to formal presentations.

181.001  MWF 10:00 - 10:50  Neill, Heather
181.002  MWF 2:00 - 2:50  Neill, Heather

In a survey of both classic and arcane material, this course looks at how these different ways of engaging with the world have crossed paths - from World Fairs, to cinema, as well as current exhibits in Houston galleries, hackerspaces and museums. Participants delve into modes and trends from surrealism and experimental film, to bio-art, interactivity and networked collaboration. Discussing these cross-disciplinary relationships, their ethics, ideas and outcomes, participants produce a variety of responses in the form of journal entries and critical essays. Sessions involve lectures, writing workshops, film screenings, and gallery visits. This course is eligible for credit toward the major in anthropology. 

182.001  TR 2:30 - 3:45  Dib, Lina

The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife, the Gospel of Judas, the Secret Gospel of Mark ... 2 Thessalonians, the Pastoral Epistles. These are some of the famous fakes in early Christian literature. Or are they? Is it possible to tell, and if so, how? What makes one of them a fake and not another? Are ancient and modern forgeries really that different? What is a forgery, anyway? In this course we will read and write about these and other questions as we discuss these texts along with the canonical Gospel of Mark and the undisputed letters of Paul. We are interested in these questions because we want to discuss not only authorship and forgery but also: how academic information is produced, represented, and analyzed; what critical tools are available for analysis; and the ways in which the selection and use of such tools are part of broader cultural dynamics.

183.001  MWF 3:00 - 3:50  Adamson, Grant

Who created the world and humans? Did they do so accidentally, even malevolently? Was man created before woman or not? Did she tempt him or rather save him when they ate the fruit? Why were they cursed for eating it? Was Cain’s father actually an evil angel? At the time of the flood, did God’s angels seduce other women? In this course we will find out what some of the keenest interpreters of the book of Genesis had to say about such questions in the Apocryphon of John, an early Christian text in which the Bible is rewritten along with Plato’s Timaeus. We will be doing plenty of writing ourselves as we reflect critically on the relationship between text, culture, and interpretation.

184.001  MWF 1:00 - 1:50  Adamson, Grant

This course will explore the world of contemporary American poetry by looking at some of the most exciting collections to come out in the past few years.  Ranging from the intimate lyrics of Peter Campion’s El Dorado to the minimalist verse of Christina Davis’ An Ethic to the historical polyphony of Amaud Jamaul Johnson’s Darktown Follies, these collections have been chosen: 1) to introduce students to some varieties of American poetry in their literary and historical contexts; 2) to increase each student’s ability to understand and analyze how given poems “work”; 3) to develop each student’s ability to put the results of their engagements with poetry into clear, effective prose; and 4) to build a framework for reading and understanding other types of poetry.  Perhaps more significantly, though, these books will also allow us to ask a larger questions: what, if any role, can poetry play in contemporary life?

185.001  MWF 2:00 - 2:50  Klein, Andrew

This course will begin with a global overview of watershed processes, focusing on the nitrogen cycle.  We will discuss the roles of agriculture and urbanization in altering river chemistry, and we will examine the downstream results of these land uses on a global scale.  After this initial global overview, students will focus on two of Houston’s watersheds, Buffalo and Brays bayous.  Through field trips, discussions, and presentations, students will explore the current state of our bayous. In this course students will be introduced to basic concepts of environmental chemistry, river ecology, and the methods of field science.  They will practice mapping, quantitatively analyzing environmental data, and presenting their findings.

187.001  TR 1:00 - 2:15  Masiello, Caroline

Courtesy of Buffalo Bayou Partnership; photo by Tom Fox/SWA Group

Our culture is fascinated with its own destruction. From zombies to nuclear war, ecological disasters, aliens, disease, and killer machines, Armageddon takes many forms. Structured around ways in which we have imagined the world ending, this course charts the cultural consciousness of apocalypse. What’s at stake in envisioning annihilation? We will take a multimedia approach to the end of the world, exploring works as diverse as Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake, the Wachowski siblings' The Matrix, and Max Brooks’ World War Z. As a writing intensive course, Post-Apocalyptic Literature and Film will teach you college-level critical writing and reading skills, along with a healthy dose of doomsday phobia.

189.001  MWF 9:00 - 9:50  Richardson, Laura
189.002  MWF 10:00 - 10:50  Richardson, Laura