University Writing Course Descriptions – Spring 2013
Students scheduled to take University Writing (English C1010) in the Spring 2013 semester must register themselves for the course. This year, for the first time, there are theme-based options from which to choose, as well as 50 sections of the standard University Writing course. The themed-based options are English C1011 (Readings in American Studies), English C1012 (Readings in Women’s and Gender Studies) and English C1013 (Readings in Sustainable Development). Finally, there is also one section of University Writing for international students – English C1020. To express your interest in registering for the international section, please email Advising Dean Justin Snider (firstname.lastname@example.org), as you won’t be able to register for it directly. Note: there are also University Writing courses listed in the Directory of Classes under F1010, F1011, F1012, F1013 and F1020, but these are open only to General Studies students and you should not sign up for them.
University Writing: Readings in American Studies (C1011)
This class is designed to help undergraduates cultivate their scholarly voices as they enter the university and begin to engage in the academic conversations that form our intellectual community. Frequent assignments will ask students to produce clear, powerful prose with strong, persuasive claims. We will give special attention to the practices of close reading, rhetorical analysis, effective research, and substantive revision. Students will learn that writing is a process of continual refinement of ideas and their expression. Rather than approaching writing as an innate talent, this course will teach writing as a unique, learned skill that can be practiced and developed.
Students will learn to craft fresh, lucid, and engaging prose by working with readings in American Studies—a field marked by its diverse approaches to exploring the culture, history, politics, and ideas that make up American identity and the idea of America itself. American Studies is an interdisciplinary pursuit, engaging with texts not only from literary, historical, and legal fields but also from the visual arts, music, film, and more. In this class, we will not attempt to discover a stable definition of America; rather, we will wrestle with core questions that have important implications for life in America and beyond.
University Writing: Readings in Women’s and Gender Studies (C1012)
University Writing teaches both foundational skills and habits of mind integral to the intellectual life of this university. In this section of University Writing, you will develop as a reader and writer by engaging with contemporary texts that investigate and challenge cultural ideas about gender. Gender seems at once familiar and invisible, omnipresent and inescapable. The intersection of gender and power informs how we approach topics in law, politics, history, education, athletics, arts and pop culture, economics, science, and health. Drawing from the expansive, interdisciplinary field of gender studies—including work written by faculty affiliated with the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at Columbia University—you will have the opportunity to consider the ways that gender structures human experience.
Emphasizing critical analysis, revision, collaboration, and research, this course delves into a field of study marked by an ever-evolving terminology, diverse methodologies, and philosophical and ethical investigations. What is the relationship between sex, gender, and sexuality? How does gender connect with race, class, disability, and other forms of identity? At what moments do our expressions of our body, gender, and sexuality become a mode of resistance? Engaging with questions like these, you will read and discuss scholarly and popular texts, complete regular informal reading and writing exercises, write several longer essays, and undertake a research-based project of your own design.
University Writing: Readings in Sustainable Development (C1013)
University Writing introduces students to the reading and writing practices that allow you to take part in the scholarly conversations taking place at Columbia University and beyond. This section, University Writing: Readings in Sustainable Development, features readings on the theme of sustainable development. The term is admittedly broad: the United Nations’ “Brundtland Report,” credited with concretizing the concept, defines it as “development which meets the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This definition, evolving and contested, invites inquiry from a broad range of academic disciplines. Indeed, at Columbia’s Earth Institute, faculty and students study everything from climate change to poverty to urban planning.
Above all, the course’s goal is to help students develop as writers and readers. In the process, the class will focus on some of the most exciting questions being posed at the Earth Institute and beyond. Together, students will study how scholars from different disciplines make and support their arguments. Readings will include academic essays and book chapters, as well as other scholarly and popular texts, some of which are authored by Columbia faculty. In the process of writing academic essays, the class will practice the same kind of critical analysis, revision, collaboration, and research skills that these scholars use in their work every day. The main goal for this course is for students to emerge as more confident readers and writers, capable of writing clear, persuasive prose.
University Writing for International Students (C1020)
University Writing seeks to facilitate students’ entry into the intellectual life of the university by helping you to become more capable and independent academic readers and writers. Emphasizing critical analysis, revision, collaboration, and research, this course teaches specific skills and fosters general habits of mind important to your academic success. This section of the course—held in Spring 2013 on Tuesdays/Thursdays from 1:10 pm to 2:25 pm—is open only to international students and will emphasize making the successful transition to American academic writing cultures. In the process, you will examine cultural conventions underpinning your own, and others’, arguments. Over the course of the semester, you will read and discuss texts from a number of fields, complete regular informal reading and writing exercises, write several longer essays, and undertake a research-based project of your own design. To express your interest in registering for the international section, please email Advising Dean Justin Snider (email@example.com), as you won’t be able to register for this section directly.