This class is about writing and academic inquiry, with a special
emphasis on literature. Good arguments stem from good questions, and
academic essays allow writers to write their way toward answers,
toward figuring out what they think. In this writing-intensive course,
students focus on the creation of complex, analytic, well-supported
arguments addressing questions that matter in academic contexts. The
course also hones students’ critical thinking and reading skills.
Working closely with their peers and the instructor, students develop
their essays through workshops and extensive revision and editing.
Readings cover a variety of genres and often serve as models or
prompts for assigned essays; the specific questions students pursue in
essays are guided by their own interests.
The central inquiry this section of 124 will pursue is none other than
what happens when the world ends. We will delve (without fear) into a
diverse selection of contemporary narratives of apocalypse and
dystopia. In turn, we'll use these texts to draft and revise
analytical writing assignments that address questions like:
* How do narratives of apocalypse and post-apocalypse help us better
understand our present cultural moment?
* Are we in some ways culturally obsessed with end-of-the-world
anxieties? And if so, why?
MBR>* How do these stories engage or criticize traditional concepts of
good and evil? Are apocalyptic texts inherently “moral”?
* To what extent (if any) do stories of fear and destruction perhaps
paradoxically offer readers hope?
Authors TBA, but will perhaps include stories or novels by Cormac
McCarthy, Margaret Atwood, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ray Bradbury, Joyce
Carol Oates, Frank Miller, and Colson Whitehead.