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Third Year Writing Course Descriptions, Spring 2017

Third Year Writing – Spring 2017

Ms. Kimberly Balding (Sections 2, 13, 26, & 27). In English 3010 we will read and write on an advanced level with the following unifying theme: An Interdisciplinary Look at Ireland.  We will read stories and factual accounts related to Ireland.  We will also read what many of Ireland’s writers have to say about Ireland. Other mediums of discussion will revolve around film, art, and music.  Readings, topics, and discussion will include the Celtic people, the myth and legend of Ireland and her people, An Gorta Mor/The Great Famine, The Easter Rebellion of 1916, The Troubles, and the Irish Diaspora. That said we will spend a great deal of time writing about such both reflectively and purposely. Assignments will be varied but will include a look at Ireland through your particular discipline and/or interest.  

Dr. Wyeth Burgess (Sections 24, 35, & 82). Inspiration, Perspiration, Vocation. In this English 3010 course, students examine the role of the individual in growth, work, change and choice in history and in our own stories. We will read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers and watch sections of such films as The Spirit of St. Louis, The Miracle Worker, Gandhi, The Buddy Holly Story, Steve Jobs and The Race to the Double Helix, among others. Our texts prompt inquiry about the role of one, the impact of individual decisions and initiatives which have wide ripple effects. Each student designs a written research project relevant to his or her college program, field, and future; the project may include primary documents, interviews or videos about personal heroes and influences. Our writing guide, Everyone’s an Author, provides structure for our drafting, organizing and editing of reports, analyses, arguments and reflections.

Dr. David Curtis (Sections 39, 40, & 42, all online). The theme of these sections is 'Education and Value,' and we'll spend the semester writing in number of styles and modalities to investigate what it means to be liberally educated--and to what extent being liberally educated is important to you. Readings for the course will include Michael Roth's Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters and Muriel Barbery's The Elegance of the Hedgehog, among other texts. This online course meets exclusively on Blackboard for the entire Spring Semester.

Dr. Charmion Gustke (Sections 7 & 8).  "Voices of the Harlem Renaissance" focuses on the emergence, growth and institutionalization of Harlem's Golden Age.  Exploring the art, culture and politics of Harlem in the early 20th century, this course seeks to understand the immense impact of artists such as Langston Hughes, Duke Ellington, Jean Toomer, and Zora Neal Hurston on the narrative of race and identity in the United States. Students will read novels, biographies, poetry, and social commentary as the means through which to develop a writing style that is ordered, creative, analytical and purposeful, with detailed attention to argument and rhetoric.

Dr. Amy Hodges Hamilton (Section 23). Writing and Psychology. In this third-year writing course, we will look at how writing about the psychology of our lives and our disciplines can lead to growth.  We will study writing and psychology through a range of lenses: memoirs, biographies, case studies, psychological analysis, as well as through our own writing processes.  In addition, you will learn how to analyze and enhance your own, your peers’, and professional writing to learn more about writing conventions in each of your respective disciplines, research options in those disciplines, as well as stylistic alternatives and audience expectations.

Dr. Jason Lovvorn (Section 21S *Service-Learning).  This section of Third Year Writing will explore three broadly connected themes: service, poverty, and literacy. As part of our process, we will examine academic research and narrative accounts that expand our understanding of these key concepts. In addition, throughout the semester, we will engage in a service relationship with a Nashville community partner. This work will enable us to approach course themes from an embodied, experiential perspective and will inform the course's reflective writing components. In addition to reflective writing, the course involves writing in an academic mode, including the completion of an annotated bibliography and a research project. Here, students will be encouraged to pursue research connected to a major or minor field of study or to another personal interest. For all writing efforts, the course will consistently stress ways to make prose clear and graceful through drafting, reviewing, and revising.  If you have questions about the class or the service involved, feel free to contact Dr. Lovvorn at jason.lovvorn@belmont.edu

Dr. Marcia McDonald (Section 6). The New Yorker in Nashville. In this course, your essential text will be this fall’s upcoming issues of The New Yorker magazine, the most prominent literary magazine published in the United States. Since it began in 1925, The New Yorker has been celebrated as a lively multi-genre journal known for its fact-checking, research, and style. We’ll be reading The New Yorker as writers who draft and revise our pieces with an aim to imitate The New Yorker's purpose, process, and format. Working in small groups, we will analyze, compose, and revise in genres such as profiles, reporter-at-large (or multi-method research) pieces, cartoons, reviews, satires, and more. Each small group, acting as an editorial board, will compile, design, edit, and produce its own magazine, and we will celebrate our collective work as a class near the end of the semester. Throughout the semester, our main focus will always be on the concepts and processes of composition and critical thinking as the course is designed both to demonstrate how writing functions as a means of critical inquiry and to stress the centrality of writing to intellectual life.  If you choose to enroll in this course, please go ahead and subscribe to the print version of The New Yorker at least through the end of May; many alumni of this course report that they enjoy reading The New Yorker long after the course ends, so you might decide to go ahead and subscribe for a year. (You may also subscribe to the online version, but you must have the magazine in print for our class).

Dr. Carla McDonough (Sections 5, 10, 25, & 31) - Writing with Purpose.  What role does writing play in our personal and in our professional lives? What makes writing matter? What pieces of writing matter to you? How can/does writing make a difference? How can you use writing to accomplish specific ends? To become informed? To inform and persuade others? To bring about change? How do you acquire reliable information? What difference does it make if an argument is based on faulty logic or questionable data? And how can a writer or a reader tell? First from a personal and then from a professional perspective, we will be investigating these questions in order to arrive at an understanding of how to identify and to create effective writing that can make a difference in your personal and your professional life.

Dr. Gary McDowell (Sections 15 & 16). Misdirection: The Magic of Writing. What is magic? Is it, “Pick a card, any card”? Yes. But there are nine other categories of effects we magicians use to baffle, confuse, contradict, and entertain.  They are: production, transformation, vanish, restoration, teleportation, escape, levitation, penetration, and prediction.  We float across the stage on a hover board, we walk through The Wall of China, we make elephants and jumbo jets disappear, sure, but we also predict a card chosen at random, we also transform a dollar bill into a blank piece of paper, we also know what you’re thinking before you’re thinking it.  But how? Oh come on, do you really think I’m going to tell you?  Nope. Not now.  But come spring, all bets are off. We will learn here, in ENG 3010: Misdirection: The Magic of Writing, that magic can teach us about how we communicate, how we manipulate our worlds and truths and opinions, how we can best approach our audiences so we can be heard. It turns out that performing a magic trick and writing about our topsy-turvy lives aren’t that different. There’s plenty of magic in our everyday lives; miracles happen every day. You will learn sleight-of-hand; you will write about your experiences with magic (both the everyday and illusionary kinds); and you will learn to see the world, through readings/viewings (TBD, though will certainly be several books, articles, a couple films, etc.) and experiments and experiences, one step ahead of your audience.

Dr. Douglas Murray (Section 38). The Geographies of Nashville. Each group--each individual--has a different mental map of Nashville.  Following the model of Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Shapiro's Nonstop Metropolis (an innovative atlas of New York City) we will compile our own accounts of Davidson County.  Each student will concentrate on how your major/your career sees Nashville.  Using the insights of Cultural Studies and Cultural Geography, we will analyze sites familiar (Trader Joe's) and unknown (each student will visit a site outside her comfort zone).  Other readings:  sections of Jane Jacobs, The Life and Death of Great American Cities and James Howard Kunstler, The Geography of Nowhere

Dr. Joel Overall (Sections 20 & 29). Composing Experience, Creating Experience. Noted rhetorical scholar Gregory Clark claims, “ideas and arguments bind people together or push them apart, but aesthetic experience does that as well and perhaps to greater effect.” For this course, we will investigate Clark’s description of aesthetic experience by reading about how writers represent their own experiences or use words, sounds, rhetorical forms, and images to create experiences for their audience. To do so, we’ll read works by A.J. Jacobs (My Life as an Experiment) and John Steinbeck (In Dubious Battle), listen to audio stories from This American Life, and interact with digital stories presented on Pitchfork and at the Sundance Film Festival. While the majority of assignments for this course will be written, one assignment will ask students to integrate written text with other modes of meaning such as sound, image, music, or video to emphasize audience experience of writing.

Dr. Andrea Stover (Section 19). The New Yorker in Nashville. In this course, our essential text will be the upcoming issues of The New Yorker magazine, the most prominent literary magazine published in the United States. Since it began in 1925, The New Yorker has been celebrated as a lively multi-genre journal known for its fact-checking, research, and style. We’ll be reading The New Yorker as writers who aim to imitate its purpose, process, and format. In this class, we will function more as editors and writers than students and teachers as we put together polished, playful, and compelling publications. Working in small groups, we will write and analyze genres such as profiles, reporter-at-large pieces, cartoons, poems, satires, and more. Each group, acting as an editorial board, will compile, design, edit, and produce its own magazine, and we will celebrate our collective work on the last day of the semester. Throughout the semester, our main focus will always be on the concepts and processes of composition and critical thinking as the course is designed both to demonstrate how writing functions as a means of critical inquiry and to stress the centrality of writing to intellectual life.

Dr. Bonnie Smith Whitehouse (Section 32). The New Yorker in Nashville. In this course, your essential text will be this fall’s upcoming issues of The New Yorker magazine, the most prominent literary magazine published in the United States. Since it began in 1925, The New Yorker has been celebrated as a lively multi-genre journal known for its fact-checking, research, and style. We’ll be reading The New Yorker as writers who draft and revise our pieces with an aim to imitate The New Yorker's purpose, process, and format. Working in small groups, we will analyze, compose, and revise in genres such as profiles, reporter-at-large (or multi-method research) pieces, cartoons, reviews, satires, and more. Each small group, acting as an editorial board, will compile, design, edit, and produce its own magazine, and we will celebrate our collective work as a class near the end of the semester. Throughout the semester, our main focus will always be on the concepts and processes of composition and critical thinking as the course is designed both to demonstrate how writing functions as a means of critical inquiry and to stress the centrality of writing to intellectual life.  If you choose to enroll in this course, please go ahead and subscribe to the print version of The New Yorker at least through the end of May; many alumni of this course report that they enjoy reading The New Yorker long after the course ends, so you might decide to go ahead and subscribe for a year. (You may also subscribe to the online version, but you must have the magazine in print for our class).

Dr. Jayme Yeo (Sections 36 & 37). What does school have to do with your soul? This class invites students to freely explore connections between spirituality, life, and learning in order to better understand the search for meaning and how we find it in our daily experiences. Our conversations on spirituality will not only touch on traditional religious belief, but also artistic creativity, ethical living, human flourishing, and non-traditional religious identities such as spiritual secularism. In order to understand the relationship between spirituality and learning, both historically and today, we will read a variety of materials, including nonfiction books, fictional novels, academic articles, and newspaper stories. Ultimately, this course aims to help students become more insightful thinkers by improving critical skills through writing both personally and academically on this subject. Assignments will include daily written responses and a research paper that explores connections between your academic field or future career and some aspect of spiritual identity.