Course Descriptions

Composition: Special Topics

Architecture & Design in Victorian Literature

In this class, we will examine the idea that people are products of architectural spaces and styles, and we will see how these spaces become social, political, and transformative.

Students will construct digital replications of architectural styles that appear in Victorian literature and England, diagram the rhetorical uses of setting and character in literature, and design a home that reflects the lessons and values expressed by Victorian authors.

By the end of the semester, students will be able to articulate major design issues of the nineteenth century, interpret the purpose of domestic settings in Victorian literature, and produce multimodal projects on the relationships between architectural design and human identity.  Spring 2011 (3 sections).

The New Consumer Society

The economic crisis, alongside developments in social media, has prompted a growth in a new consumer society, characterized by collaborative consumption, which stretches the boundaries of exchange between individuals, so that strangers can effectively share anything imaginable, from tools to cars, cash loans, or personal services. In this class, we explore historical and contemporary discussions of commodity culture; the way consumers identify with brands and their branded communities; and how technology can facilitate relationships between individuals in the new consumer economy. The course will culminate in a Startup Showcase for social entrepreneurs where students will exhibit their designs for a new venture in collaborative consumption. Taught Fall 2010 (3 sections).

What's Mine Is Yours By Rachel Botsman, Roo RogersThe Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy

Survey of English Literature, 1750 to the Present

Technologies of the Individual

In this class, we examine texts that combine the aesthetic and mechanical spirit of the era with the dynamic exploration of selfhood. We consider the representation of identity across the visual arts, science, and technology. Taught Fall 2007.

Frankenstein - Second Editionbook cover Brave New World and Brave New World Revisited By Aldous Huxley

Industrialism and Society

This course focuses on multiple aspects of class and labor in English literature, including the entanglement of industry and religion, the challenges of political economy in theory and practice, and the permeation of captivity metaphors. Texts include: The Longman Anthology of British Literature, Mansfield Park, Hard Times, and Howard’s End. Taught Fall 2006, Spring 2007.

book cover Howards End

Survey of World Literature, 17th Century to Modern: Imagined Societies

In our examination of literary responses to the French Revolution, we explore political rhetoric that advocates social mobility and equality, and we observed contrasting depictions of characters held captive to the social limitations of their economic rank. Taught Spring 2008.

book coverbook cover Death in Venice

Survey of American Literature: The American Dream Revisited

This class explores limitations to the American Dream founded upon racial and ethnic discrimination, class disparity, and gender inequality. Students also prepare group teaching presentations on other areas in American literature, including Native American literature, Transcendentalism, and Southern Literature. Taught Spring 2009.

book coverSula Life in the Iron Millsbook cover

Introduction to Argument and Persuasion

In this interdisciplinary research-intensive course, I direct students through a semester-long research project related to their field of study. In 2005, I collaborated on the program-wide Outcomes Statement for this course. I also experiment with research methods, introducing field research and knowledge communities into my courses. Taught Fall 2004 (2 sections), Spring 2005, Summer 2005, Summer 2006, Summer 2008.

Introduction to College Writing

In this introductory composition course, I experiment with various teaching methods, including visits to the university art museum in a unit on visual rhetoric and experiments in sociological contexts in a unit on audience perspectives. Taught Fall 2005 (2 sections), Spring 2006, Summer 2007.


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