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Expository Writing Courses for Spring 2015

 EXPO 1213 meets the GenEd Core I Second Semester Composition requirement.

EXPO 1223 meets the GenEd Core IV Lower Division Western Civ. & Culture requirement.

Every section of EXPO 1213/1223 features:
    •      a guided investigation of a special topic (see course listing below)
    •      a seminar-sized class of no more than 16 students
    •      an emphasis on individual instruction with plenty of feedback
    •      a lecturer who is a seasoned teacher with an advanced degree
    •      an open, interactive classroom atmosphere

Paris Through the Ages

Section 015: TR 12:00-1:15

Section 014: TR 1:30-2:45

Instructor: Sam Temple

In this course, students will explore the back alleys and boulevards of Paris, one of the world’s great capital cities. Best known as a tourist destination today, Paris played a key role in the forging of the modern era. Medieval kingship and absolutism met its end on the Place de la Concorde, just as modern mass democracy was taking its first steps at the gates of the Bastille. The origins of modern terrorism can be glimpsed in the rubble of cafés and concert halls blown up by anarchist bombs. It suffered the pains of foreign occupation and became a city of both resistance and collaboration, its trains helping deport thousands of French men, women and children to German death camps. But Paris also gave us some of the finer things in life—cuisine, fashion, and cabarets to name a few.  Through a selection of historical and contemporary sources, students will create their own “spatial histories” of this fascinating city, culminating with a collective digital “map” of Paris that highlights each student’s particular interest.

The Jane Austen Meme

Section 003: MW 1:30-2:45

Section 004: MW 3:00-4:15

Instructor: Kathryn Steele

Jane Austen’s novels remain popular 200 years after their publication, and — intriguingly—continue to spawn revisions, mash-ups, and film versions. What do these revisions tell us about ourselves? Why do we retell, repeat, and remake some stories? This course takes the ongoing revision of Austen’s work as a test case for the new perspectives that emerge when objects of “high” culture are appropriated by popular cultures. How do revisions—such as the films Clueless or Bride and Prejudice, or the mash-up Pride and Prejudice and Zombies—reveal changing assumptions and beliefs about gender, family, class, and education? Course readings will help us situate these texts within their historical and contemporary contexts. We will read one of Austen’s novels in its entirety (Northanger Abbey). Writing and research possibilities, however, will extend well beyond Austen.

Modern Monsters

Section 011: MWF 10:30-11:20
Instructor: David Long

Our world and our minds have always been populated by monsters.  Not only do they both horrify and fascinate us, but monsters may be said to shape and express the lives we lead—socially, politically, and psychologically.  From Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to Nazi death camps to 70s horror films and beyond, this course will investigate the birth and career of the modern monster in the Western world.  What is a monster?  In what ways are the monsters of a scientific, technological age different than their ancestors?  What do those differences reveal about the times in which we live?  How does our sense of what’s monstrous change as we move from fictional narrative and to actual history?  Why are monsters indispensable to our culture?  And why, no matter how fast we run or how carefully we bolt the door, can we never really escape them?

Violence and the Sacred

Section 012: TR 1:30-2:45

Instructor: Robert Scafe

Game theorist Jane McGonigal argues that human beings devote billions of hours to games each is year because "reality is broken." According to McGonigal, games give us a sense of purpose and accomplishment that most people find lacking in their everyday lives. In this course, we’ll examine the ways that games can make us feel smarter, more powerful, and more capable. We'll see how games can distract us from the "real world," but also how they can help us to learn, collaborate, and express ourselves more effectively. Finally, we'll think of ways to "gamify" the university experience in order to address specific problems faced by OU students.

Myth and Hero

Section 002: MWF 2:30-3:20

Instructor: Liz Locke

After discussing some of the ways in which scholars define and think about the word “myth,” we meet Theseus, a classical Greek hero, and his transformations into the iconic American Cowboy Hero. We then discover the significance of comic book superheroes in our popular, moral, and political cultures: How do “truth, justice, and the American Way” figure in our current narratives about American identity, power, law, vigilantism, heroism, and immigration? Finally, we consult representations of women superheroes, still asking: how do both our new and traditional hero myths mold our thinking on individual autonomy, community, suffering, justice, violence, and virtue? How do they influence our behaviors and attitudes about power, gender, ethnicity, class, citizenship, conflict, and peace?

In addition to your regular class attendance, we will watch four films (6:00 - 8:30 p.m., place TBA): Shane (1953), The Dark Knight (2008), Wonder Women: The Untold Story of American Superheroines (2012), and Miss Representation (2012).

Monsters Among Us

Section 024: MWF 9:30-10:20

Instructor: Jennifer Shaiman

When does a person become a monster? This course investigates the creation of monsters in our daily lives in fiction, news coverage, film, and our own minds. First, we will investigate the way monsters have changed from the nineteenth century to our times. Then, we will study the media coverage of notorious real-life murderers and watch Lost Boys and Nightmare on Elm Street. In these units, we will seek to answer the question: What do monsters reveal about the times in which we live? Finally, we will ask what the potential monster inside each of us can tell us about how we must live in the world.

Course texts include personal essays by David Sedaris, George Orwell, and Annie Dillard; news reports about Timothy McVeigh, Susan Smith, Eric Harris, and Dylan Klebold; and critical readings about horror movies.

Poetry Matters

Section 020: TR 3:00-4:15

Instructor: Matthias Rudolf

What's the matter with poetry? Newspapers no longer review poetry, critics pay little attention to it, and there are hardly any collections of contemporary poetry available except anthologies marketed to academics. Yet at the same time, poetry is experiencing an unprecedented boom--there have never been so many new books of poetry published, it's easier than ever to earn a living as a poet, and there are now poet laureates in more than half the states of the union. To understand how poetry matters, this course first asks, What is the "matter" of poetry?  Readings will include poems by Keats, Blake, Charlotte Smith, Tennyson, Dickinson, Pound, Michael Smith, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Bishop, Atwood, Brooks; poems read at presidential inaugurations, as well as selection of exemplary critical texts.

A-OK: Alternative Oklahoma

Section 009: TR 9:00-10:15

Instructor: Rachel Jackson

This course will examine the various meanings and connotations of “red” in Oklahoma’s public discourse, political identity, and popular cultural history.  Beginning with an examination of Oklahoma City’s globally popular, radical music phenomenon the Flaming Lips, the course will inquire into several other topics related to “red.”  These topics will include Native history and experience, “red state” politics & economics, women's history, racial equality, and the Red Scare.  Texts will include scholarship in rhetoric and Oklahoma history, films and music, and archival sources.  Students will be encouraged to question the contradictions and ironies of Oklahoma’s unique political histories and to consider the crimson depths of the state’s rhetorical identity.

From Poets to Rockstars: Creative Artists as Celebrities

Section 022: TH 3:00-4:15

Section 023: TH 4:30-5:45

Instructor: Nick LoLordo

Why are so many of our celebrities artists? Why do so many of these famous artists have famously difficult lives? Why do we hunger for every possible detail about those lives? And how does our obsession help us understand their art?

Beginning with the Romantic poet Lord Byron (who was called "mad, bad, and dangerous to know"--by his lover!), and ending with Tupac Shakur (who remains famous enough to need no further advertisement), we will look for answers to these and related questions, to better understand the co-dependent relationship between art and fame that characterizes modern cultural life.

 

World of Tomorrow

Section 007: TR 9:00-10:45

Instructor: Jennifer Shaiman

How do our dreams of the future define who we are today?  This course examines the imagined futures of the past and the potential of cutting-edge science to transform our tomorrows.  We will investigate using traditional mediums (fiction and film) and newer media (podcast and web), and we will experience the future for ourselves by exploring virtual worlds and local resources.  What do today's cutting edge trends in technology tell us about who we are as Americans?  Do new ethical obligations arise with new technology and the knowledge it brings?  Will our world become increasingly virtual and is that a good thing? As we gaze into the far future, we'll find ourselves looking back at us.

Alcohol in America

Section 008: MWF 1:30-2:20

Instructor: David Long

Ambivalence toward the consumption of alcoholic beverages has always been a defining tension in American social and cultural life. Alcohol's popularity as a recreational drug that enhances sociability has co-existed with concerns about alcohol as a threat to health, morality, and productivity. Course topics will include the various rites of social drinking; drinking as a source of class, gender, and racial stereotypes; nationwide efforts to curb or ban alcohol consumption, such as the 19th-century temperance movement, Prohibition of the 1920s, and AA, MADD, and modern rehab clinics; the commercialization of alcoholic beverages; and the physiological and psychological effects of alcohol consumption.

(De)Constructing Gender

Section 010: TR 10:30-11:45

Instructor: Nyla Ali Khan

This course will examine and interrogate cultural formations of gender, with a particular focus on the experiences of Muslim women throughout the world. A broad range of Muslim women, some who identify as feminist, others who do not, consider Islam crucial to their gendered identity. There are also feminist women who were born Muslim, some of whom continue to practice Islam, others who do not, who consider Islam as oppressing their gendered identity. Whatever their positions, it is crucial that these women discuss their relationships, as women, to Islam. In this current historical and cultural moment, critics and proponents of Islam often speak on behalf of Muslim women, while Muslim women remain silent. In this class, we will read Muslim women writing, in their own words, about their religious practices, their feminist practices, and how these practices affect their lives and perspectives.

Guns and Democracy

Section 021: TR 1:30-2:45

Instructor: Matthias Rudolf

The recent shootings in Aurora CO and Newtown CT have revived the debate about the right to bear arms. “Guns and Democracy” invites students to reflect on and develop their own positions on the role of guns in American society by focusing on the second amendment’s political history and the questions of individual freedom and social obligation it raises. Students will explore the historical background of the second amendment and its changing interpretation by US courts, investigate the civil rights context of the modern gun-control and gun-right movements, conduct an independent research project, and pen an editorial that responds to a contemporary event.

Expo 3103: Consumption and Consumer Identity

**Counts for Social Responsibility Support Credit in Human Relations**

**Counts towards the Major and Minor in Women’s and Gender Studies**

Section 003: TR 3:00-4:15

Instructor: Catherine Mintler

This course will trace the evolution of consumption and consumer identity from the Enlightenment to the present, exploring them as important components in the evolution of the capitalist market economy and the emergence of modern identity. Several issues we will discuss include: the relationship between production and consumption; the tension between labor and capital; how changes in consumption practices affect social class identity and social mobility—and vice versa; socially competitive practices like conspicuous consumption; the creation of department stores as gendered public spaces; whether consumers are sovereign agents or manipulated by external influences, such as advertising; and whether we develop individual taste and identity or acquire them from the influences of social class and subcultural groups. Our readings will examine consumption and consumerism from a variety of disciplinary angles—such as political economy, literature, socio-economics, philosophy, and gender studies. Students will write about issues informing the evolution and development of consumption and consumer identity, and examine and evaluate the extent to which these issues have mediated their own identification not only as consumers, but also as individuals, as members of classes and groups, as men and women, and as citizens.  

Expo 3103: Race, Class, and Gender in Hollywood Film

**Counts for Social Responsibility Support Credit in Human Relations**

**Counts towards the Major and Minor in Women’s and Gender Studies**

Section 007: TR 12:00-1:15 AND Wed 4:30-7:45

Instructor: Liz Locke

More often than we like to admit, when we put a lot of Americans together in one place, what we get is too much ignorance about “race,” the refusal of class, and a lot of unproductive confusion about gender. In this course, we will view and discuss a variety of documentary, independent, and Hollywood films augmented by weekly reading, with special attention to vocabulary to help develop our critical thinking about the intersections of class, gender, and race in our personal and political lives. In addition to your regular class attendance on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we’ll be viewing eleven films (Wednesdays 4:30 - 7:45 p.m.) to deepen our understandings and analyses of the systemic relationships that govern so much of our conscious and unconscious attitudes and behaviors.