FWIS 100
Course Topics

FWIS 100 introduces students to academic writing through topic-based courses designed to develop skills in reading, writing and composition. Unlike general FWIS courses, all FWIS 100 courses carry the same “100” number. However, each FWIS 100 section is a different class, taught by a variety of instructors with distinct areas of scholarly expertise. To choose your preferred section, review the descriptions below, then find the appropriate section in the Course Scheduler.

Image of iPhone with social media apps

“Do you wanna make a TikTok?”: Social Media, Pop Culture, and Community

FWIS 100, Trevor Boffone, Section 004: MWF 9:00-9:50, Section 001: MWF 10:00-10:50, Section 003: MWF 11-11:50

How do social media platforms influence popular culture and our day-to-day lives? How does social media forge community? Is there a recipe for going viral? In this course, students will explore these questions and others as we examine social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, and BeReal. By analyzing the intersections of media, culture, and society, students will deepen their understanding of how social media affects our lives including our social relationships, identity, privacy, and work. In this course, students will engage in the following: content analysis, critical readings, presentations, and writing and revision workshops. Students will also engage in creative workshops that explore how to use social media as a site of public-facing research.

Learning to View and Interpret Art: Re-Evaluating Classical Art for a Modern Era

FWIS 100, Allison Springer, Section 002: MWF 10:05-10:50

Revivals of classical art and architecture inspired by Greco-Roman antiquity has often accompanied cultural transformations prompted by intellectual or political movements such as the European Renaissance during the 15th and 16th centuries, or the Neoclassical movement associated with the American and French Revolutions in the late 18thcentury. Neoclassicism was used also as a visual form of propaganda for many political regimes such as the German Nazis, Italian Fascists and Soviet Union Communists in the 1930s and 1940s. Throughout the centuries, classical art and architecture have been used to represent both radical or progressive movements as well as conservative movements returning to traditional ideals. Therefore, it can be difficult to understand the meaning behind such imagery when it is used in today’s modern era. In this course students will learn not only different ways to view and interpret neoclassical art and architecture but also how to critically read and analyze primary and secondary academic sources across many disciplines to determine the context and purpose for using classical imagery. By examining modern uses of classical imagery such as current Neo-Nazi posters or Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s 2018 music video, students will learn how traditional meanings associated with such images can be distorted or subverted while also developing the skills to write academic essays and cultivate and present persuasive arguments.

American Dream artwork by Katherine Lam

The American Dream

FWIS 100, Elizabeth Cummins Munoz, Section 006: MWF 3:00-3:50

The “American Dream” has been a powerful cultural ideal in the US throughout its history, but the many meanings attached to the notion are difficult to pin down. At the same time, it has proved remarkably enduring as a source of hope, despite criticism that has exposed the distance between the American Dream and the American reality. In this class, we will reflect on the cultural life of the American Dream as we explore literature, films, speeches and studies that negotiate its various meanings. Along the way, students will be introduced to the skills needed to read and write at the college level. Through structured activities and workshops, you will learn to read actively and efficiently, to develop your own writing and revision process, and to organize and present your ideas with your audience and purpose in mind. All along, we’ll apply these new skills to the guiding question of the course: How has the cultural ideal of the American Dream persisted and changed over time, and what accounts for its enduring power?

Image of the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland

Ordinarily Extraordinary: Modern Children’s Literature

FWIS 100, Heather Neill, Section 005: MWF 1:00-1:50

Children’s literature is often characterized as simplistic and unsophisticated, lacking true literary depth. Appearances, however, can be deceptive. In this class, we will examine several samples from modern (1865-present) British and American children’s literature as we investigate questions such as How does children’s literature appeal to dual audiences of children and adults? How do these texts define children (yet simultaneously encourage children to break free from those definitions)? How does children’s literature balance its simultaneous goals to educate and entertain? Over the course of the semester, we will talk, write, and present extensively about these questions, as we learn to read children’s literature both for pleasure and for a new understanding of our own assumptions about children and their books.

Image of glowing human head dna 1s and 0s

Medicine and Society

FWIS 100, Lindsay Graham, Section 009: TTh 9:25-10:40, Section 014: TTh 10:50-12:05

How is language integral to medicine? To healing? How are words and images used to construct notions of care? Our class will read texts by artists, patients, and health practitioners from around the globe and will explore how these texts shape and even challenge our understanding of healthcare in society. Working with a variety of material, we will grapple with the concept of the illness narrative and how this may shape the patient’s experience and expectation of care. Throughout the semester, you will develop the skill of close reading and will strengthen your writing and editing across academic genres. In so doing, you will learn the vocabulary of academic discussion, will practice the skills and strategies to become a critical reader and writer at the collegiate level, and will be able to convert a personal response to any text — article, novel, film, etc. — into a well-articulated essay.

English classes advertisement

Global English: The History and Politics of English as a Global Language

FWIS 100, Vasudha Bharadwaj, Section 007 TTh 9:25-10:40, Section 008 TTh 10:50-12:05, Section 010 TTh 1:00-2:14

English is the most widely spoken language in the world, and twice as many people use it as a second language as there are native speakers. It has been called a “world language,” a “global language,” and an “international language” and its widespread use is the result of a varied set of historical circumstances. Why is English used so extensively? What are the different forms of English? How does the use of English in a non-native setting affect how other languages are perceived? How do non-native / bilingual speakers of the language negotiate between multiple cultural and linguistic histories and traditions? In this course, students will discuss these questions as we examine the political and economic forces behind the spread of English. We will also discuss the meaning and implications of the “standardization” of English, and how it affects one’s perceptions of “non-standard” or localized forms of the language. Students will learn to consider how sociocultural, political, and economic factors have historically influenced decisions about education and language use. In doing so, we will collectively practice different forms of academic communication, including reading, discussion, and writing, and students will continually hone the skills fundamental to their success as critical thinkers, readers, and writers.

Business in the American Imagination

FWIS 100, Scott Pett, Section 011: MWF 11:00 - 11:50

Because the world of business is so full of glass ceilings, corporate ladders, backroom deals, black markets, and human resources, it has always been a culturally rich site for national and self-reflection. In our analyses of literature and film, we will continually ask: what can these texts teach us about the ethics of pursuing happiness and success? How have such types and tropes as the working class, the self-made man, the con artist, and “the art of the deal” shaped our notions of the so-called American Dream? How do work-life and work-place narratives address and shape issues of opportunity, especially in terms of class, education, gender, immigration, and race? On the road to discussing such questions and improving our written and verbal communication skills, we will consider an array of allegories, motifs, and plots about the profits and pitfalls of American commerce culture.

Image of a post apocalyptic street scene

Post-Apocalyptic Literature and Film

FWIS 100, Laura Richardson, Section 012: TTh 2:30 - 3:45, Section 013: TTh 4:00 - 5:15

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 our annihilation? The reading selection changes each year, but in the past we have considered novels and films such as Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, the Wachowski sisters’ The Matrix, and Yeon Sang-Ho’s Train to Busan. 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.

From Individual to Public Memory

FWIS 100, Stephanie Parker, Section 015: TTh 8:00 - 9:15

This course invites students to consider whose stories we remember, and how? How might individual memories of an event reinforce or disrupt official narratives? This course will define individual, social, and collective memory before students consider how artifacts of public memory both reflect and shape our cultural and national identities. We will explore how events are remembered in a variety of forms, such as monuments, museums, songs, television, and video games. Students can expect to develop a general understanding of narrative, semiotics, and rhetorical theory. They will work one-on-one with peers and the professor to refine assignments, which include personal, creative, and academic genres. At the end of the semester, students will pursue their own research topic and choose the genre for their final project.


Get In Touch

Contact Rice's Program in Writing and
Communication (PWC) or the Center for
Academic & Professional Communication (CAPC).