English | Advanced Expository Writing
W350 | 16097 | Matthew Johnson

Matthew Johnson

9:30a-10:45a 	TR (25 students) 3 cr., IW.

TOPIC: “Inventing the Human”

In this section of W350, we will address a broad question: how have
the means by which we define “humanity” – through science, religion,
and the arts – worked together and through conflict to help
understand what it means to be human?  Where do these seemingly
disparate foci overlap?  Where do they inform one another?  What
questions do they ask in order to help us define the “human
condition?”  As a way to grapple with such broad questions, we will
interrogate the role that technology has played in changing our
conception of who we are.  The list of authors include Brian Greene,
Stephen Hawking, John Henry Cardinal Newman, Carl Sagan, Mary
Shelley, and Walt Whitman; we will work together to show how these
seemingly incongruous authors contribute (in sometimes surprisingly
similar ways) to what it means to “invent the human.”

By examining a variety of different texts from multiple genres
(essay, poem, novel, film, hypertext), we will have the opportunity
to integrate reading, writing, and analytical activities applicable
to both academic and professional fields.  The course is designed to
help us to strengthen our writing abilities, and to develop an
intellectual community as a class.  Every week, we will work on the
sorts of tasks that integrate thinking, speaking, and writing:
reading critically, responding individually and as a group, and
analyzing what we read.

There will be three major essays and required drafts; four short
analytical writings (1-2 pages); a classroom presentation; and short,
informal response writings (of email and in-class varieties).