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First Year Composition

SPSU First Year Composition
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Marietta, GA 30060

Special Topics Course Descriptions

Spring 2015 Course Descriptions

for Special Topics (English 1102)

As an alternative to ENGL 1102, students can choose a Special Topics course. English 1102 is a continuation of English 1101 that emphasizes writing about and responding to a variety of texts. These courses incorporate more advanced research skills than those introduced in English 1101 and require one or more researched projects connected to the topic. All special topics are 3 credit hours ( 3-0-3 ) - Prerequisites: "C" or better in ENGL 1101.

These courses meet all the requirements and course outcomes of a regular 1102 class, except they focus on a particular subject, genre or topic. Perhaps you are interested in writing about sports, digital media, gender, graphic novels, film, food, or more.  Join other students who share your interests. Special topics courses are linked in Banner so students are aware of the designated sections.

Check out the offerings for Spring 2015:

Register early!  These courses are in high demand.

  The Graphic Novel: Interrogating the Real Through Text and Image – Charles Thorne

In this course we examine the graphic novel as a literary space that examines contemporary social, technological, political, and environmental issues. To examine how graphic novels engage these questions we will read works "American Splendor" by Harvey Pekar, "Swamp Thing" and "V for Vendetta" by Alan Moore, "Dolltopia" by Abby Denson, and "The Surrogates" by Robert Venditti. Additionally, we will look at recent film versions of graphic novels including "Sin City," "The Watchmen" and "300." We will discuss how the graphic genre uses text and image to examine "real" world problems and issues in unique and innovative ways. Over the course of the semester we will work on a writing portfolio that includes a diverse set of genres including bibliographies, video essays, presentations and possible your own comic strip.

Who Will Save Us Now? An Examination of Archetypes in Science Fiction – Instructor: JoAnn Loverde Dropp

Is Spock a warrior? Why is Weena's role as "child" crucial to the time traveler's humanity in The Time Machine by H.G. Wells? "Who Will Save Us Now?" seeks to establish our own set of definitions regarding archetypes before venturing into the scholarly templates. Then, as a cohesive community, we will strike out into the world of Wells, Asimov, Lovecraft and the world of Star Trek to discover why these roles continue to fascinate us in the context of both the penetration and escape from reality. Throughout the course of the semester, students will interpret their own archetypal identities and express them in the form of still and animated projects, including the creation of a classroom-wide science fiction story.  

 Rereading America: Understanding Cultural Intersections – Instructor: Katherine Taylor

Are you curious about the underlying cultural aspects of communication, identity, and perception? Would you like to know more about how America uses signs and symbols to create meaning? How can you learn a culture through its popular media presentation? In this class, we will critically analyze the ‘signs of life,' taking a semiotic approach to understanding American culture. We will research how symbols and language create meaning in movies, songs, and advertising. This class meets at the intersection of media, ideology, culture, and entertainment.

Sports, Film and Society – Cassie Race

This special topics section, Sports, Film, and Society, will explore a number of issues related to sports, particularly as portrayed in movies about sports: What does our passion for sports reveal about our culture? How are sports more than a game, but act as an ongoing metaphor for life and living? What are some of the complex, many faceted roles that sports...and movies about in society? In class, you will view and analyze films with a sports theme, conduct research into contemporary issues and write on a variety of related topics, all within the context of sports.

From The Simpsons to Naruto: Evaluating Commercial Animation and its Impact on American Popular Culture – Instructor: Jeanne Bohannon

In this course, students will learn to critically consume and produce commercialized and indie animation.  We will synthesize and evaluate the Western animation industry, contrasted with independent and non-Western examples.  Then, we will produce research that describes the growth of multiple types of visual design as viable career paths for DWMA majors.  Finally, we will produce a scholarly publication and presentation panel for SPSU's Women's History Month.  We will present papers in two panels about representation of women in across genres of commercialized animation.

The Hero's Journey: Transformative Trails and Trials – Instructor: Molly Brodak

From The Ramayana to the Divine Comedy to Sailor Moon, the story of the hero's journey has developed in all known civilizations the world over, with common themes and pathways. This class examines the meaning and attributes of the transformational journeys of select heroes from various media and epochs, from The Bride in "Kill Bill" to Batman and Aeneas. The role of the hero in cultural theory and the various iterations of his or her journey will culminate in unique, individual digital projects relevant to each student's interests and major.

Food Forage: The Search for Sustainable Food  - Instructor: Monique Logan

From the philosophy of agrarian thinking to the politics of food and farming, from land conservation to genetically modified organisms, the world as we know it will not be the same in the coming decade. Food systems are being challenged, and it has become the role of not only governments but grassroots organizations as well to examine choices made as it relates to food – its development, its production, its distribution. Join your schoolmates as we research and write about food, the politics of it, the sustainability of it and what we can do to improve food systems for our local community and economy and even our nation. Everyone has a part to play -- what will be yours? This course aims to increase our understanding of global and local food systems as well as to provide an opportunity for engagement. Expect to participate in field trips to local farms, food pantries and more. Students should expect to spend between to $50 to $75 over the course of the semester for course related external engagements.

 Writing About Film and Drama—Instructor: Charlotte Stephenson

As you research and write, you will travel through space and time. Star Wars as mythology, The Matrix as a modern depiction of Plato’s “The Allegory of the Cave,” What Dreams May Come as Dante’s “Inferno" provide enlightenment as well as enjoyment.  Among other films are Jurassic Park, Forrest Gump, The Color Purple, Troy, Gladiator, To Dance with the White Dog, and Ben Hur. In this class we will examine our ideas through the lens of film and drama and the ways we are impacted by these popular literary forms. Come join us for a great ride into fantasy and fact through writing.