This writing course focuses on the creation of complex, analytic, well-supported arguments that matter in academic contexts. Students work closely with their peers and the instructors to develop their written prose. Readings cover a variety of different genres, with a primary focus on literary texts.
It's been nearly two thousand years since Ovid first spoke of “forms changed into new bodies,” yet “metamorphosis” — in its many meanings and manifestations, its delights and dangers — has proven a remarkably fertile ground for literary and theoretical exploration. Metamorphoses occur all around us — not only in the natural world, the texts we read, and the movies we watch, but even within our own lives, bodies, identities, and emotions. But what does it mean to change, to adapt, to transform, to metamorphose? How does the concept of metamorphosis relate to issues of language, identity, class, gender, sexuality, trauma, violence, youth, love and freedom? How have specific authors, working within their own social and historical contexts, explored and adapted this concept to address concerns both immediate and existential? How has “metamorphosis” itself changed?
This class will explore these questions, and many others, through the close analysis of literary texts. We will begin the term with notable selections from Ovid, utilizing these narratives to develop our skills as critical readers, writers, and thinkers at the university level. In doing so, students will be forced to wrestle with the metamorphic qualities of language itself — that is, how we locate and articulate meanings in the work of another writer, how we transform our own thoughts and ideas into a formal expression of position (in thoughtful, coherent, and argumentative essays), and how we develop our own voice — and articulate our own perspectives — within a community of scholars. As an introduction to college writing, this course will focus specifically on the production of an academic argument — from the initial practice of critical reading to the productive pleasures of final revision. Grades will be determined through the evaluation of a student's written work, homework assignments, class preparation and participation.
Course Texts: Metamorphoses (Ovid), The Metamorphosis(Franz Kafka), A Midsummer Nights’ Dream (William Shakespeare)