Writing Fellows Courses

Writing Fellows Courses, Spring 2019 

One of many student-driven organizations at Brown, Writing Fellows work in a spirit of collegiality, helping to extend intellectual discourse beyond the classroom. Mutually engaged, Fellows and Fellowees ultimately do more than focus on writing; they shape their own and each other’s education, and in so doing they help to keep vibrant what is most unique and valuable about Brown. As peers, Fellows serve as sympathetic readers, providing informed, constructive criticism directed toward the argumentation, analysis, organization, clarity and style of papers. After drafts of papers are returned, Writing Fellows meet with each of their Fellowees in conference. These conferences provide a chance to discuss revision strategies and work through additional concerns.


AMST 1905N: War and the Mind in Modern America

  • Professor: Debbie Weinstein     
  • This course examines how the crucible of war has shaped modern conceptions of human nature. Moving from the Civil War to the present, we will consider questions such as changing theories of combat trauma, evolutionary and social scientific explanations for why people fight wars, and the role of memory in individual and collective understandings of violent conflicts. Students will analyze representations of war in film and literature in addition to reading historical and theoretical texts.

BIOL 0160: Plants, Food, and People

  • Professor: P. Heywood
  • Examines the selection, breeding, cultivation and uses of food plants. Discusses the effects on agriculture of pathogens, climate change, and loss of biodiversity. Considers whether enough food can be produced for a world population of potentially 10 billion, while sustaining biodiversity and environmental quality. Course will include two papers and assistance from Writing Fellows; feedback from first paper will be available when writing second paper. Enrollment limited to 50.

CZCH 0320A Czech Animation: Cross-Cultural Dialogues

  • Professor: Masako Ueda Fidler
  • Czech animation has a long tradition and international reputation. Jiří Trnka beat Walt Disney at the post-war Cannes Film Festival. Karel Zeman is a pioneer in creating fantasy films with animation. Surrealist films by Jan Švankmajer continue to shock the audience. Younger animators such as Barta, Klimt, and Pospíšilová have been developing new modes of expression after the fall of socialism. This course explores a variety of Czech animated films from the 1960’s to the 21st century and its cross-cultural dialog, especially with the Japanese anime. Readings in English and films with English subtitles. DPLL LILE FYS

EDUC 1860-01 Social Context of Learning and Development

  • Professor: Jin Li
  • Focuses on the social environment that contributes to the development of children's minds, language, self-understanding, relations with others, affect, and attitudes toward learning. Examines the period from birth through young adulthood. Topics include children's social interactions, parental expectations and socialization practices, and the influences of family, peers, school, and media. Prerequisites: EDUC 0800, EDUC 1270, EDUC 1430, EDUC 1580, EDUC 1710, CLPS 0610 (COGS 0630), or equivalent. Enrollment limited to 30.

ENGL 0900: Critical Reading and Writing I: The Academic Essay

  • Professor: Austin Jackson            
  • An introduction to university-level writing. Students produce and revise multiple drafts of essays, practice essential skills of paragraph organization, and develop techniques of critical analysis and research. Readings from a wide range of texts in literature, the media, and academic disciplines. Assignments move from personal response papers to formal academic essays. Enrollment limited to 17. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGN 1010-S01 The Entrepreneurial Process: Innovation in Practice

  • Professor: Danny Warshay
  • Entrepreneurship is innovation in practice: transforming ideas into opportunities, and, through a deliberate process, opportunities into commercial realities. These entrepreneurial activities can take place in two contexts: the creation of new organizations; and within existing organizations. This course will present an entrepreneurial framework for these entrepreneurial processes, supported by case studies that illustrate essential elements. Successful entrepreneurs and expert practitioners will be introduced who will highlight practical approaches to entrepreneurial success. Enrollment limited to 35.

ENGN 0120A-S01 & 02 Crossing the Consumer Chasm by Design

  • Professor: Richard D. Fleeter
  • Technologies have shaped human life since tools were sticks and flints to today's hydrocarbon powered, silicon managed era. Some spread throughout society; bread, cell phones, airlines, but most never do; personal jet packs, Apple Newton, freeze dried ice cream. Space Tourism, the Segway, electric cars: Can we predict which ones will cross the chasm to broad application? Can we help them to by combining design, engineering, marketing, communications, education, art, and business strategies? Student teams identify potential new products, conceptualize, package, and define their business mode. By plotting their course across the chasm, we confront the cross-disciplinary barriers to realizing benefits from technology. Enrollment limited to 18 first year students. Instructor permission required. FYS

GEOL 0240-S01 Earth: Evolution of a Habitable Planet

  • Professor: Timothy D. Herbert
  • Introduces Earth's surface environment evolution - climate, chemistry, and physical makeup. Uses Earth's carbon cycle to understand solar, tectonic, and biological cycles' interactions. Examines the origin of the sedimentary record, dating of the geological record, chemistry and life on early Earth, and the nature of feedbacks that maintain the "habitable" range on Earth. Two field trips; five laboratories arranged. Prerequisite: GEOL 0220 or 0230, or instructor permission.

HISP 1290J The Spain on Screen

  • Professor: Sarah Thomas
  • No other event marked contemporary Spain as profoundly as the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). This course will study the history of the war itself and trace the multiple ways it has been remembered and represented from its immediate aftermath through to the present. Materials will include films and documentaries, paintings and photography, propaganda posters and newsreels, radio and television, monuments and comics, oral histories and fiction. In addition, we will read critical and theoretical texts on historical trauma and individual and collective memory as well as amnesia. This course will be conducted in Spanish.

HIST 0537A Popular Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Professor: Jennifer Lambe           
  • From tango to plastic surgery, Donald Duck to reggaeton, this course places popular culture at the center of modern Latin American and Caribbean history. How, we will ask, did popular culture reflect and shape struggles over national belonging? How did foreign cultural products come to bear on international relations and transnational flows? In what contexts has culture served as a vehicle of resistance to dominant ideologies and systems of power? Far from a mere "diversion," popular culture instead offers a compelling lens onto the relationship between state and society in Latin America and beyond.

POBS 0990L Mapping Cross-Cultural Identities

  • Professor: Patricia Sobral
  • How do we construct our own identity as life becomes a multitude of narrative threads intersecting and overlapping like roadways on a map? How do we reconfigure identities vis-à-vis those who surround us? We will investigate the ever-changing map of cultural identities and its repercussions on human existence via contemporary literature and a series projects that incorporate the arts (visual, digital, literary) and oral history. Some of the writers include Julia Alvarez, Kiran Desai, Junot Diaz, Milton Hatoum, Chang-Rae Lee, Clarice Lispector, Dinaw Mengestu, Nélida Piñon, Salman Rushdie, Taiye Selasi and others. No experience in the arts necessary.

PHP 0030-S01 Health of Hispaniola

  • Professor: Timothy M. Empkie   
  • Two developing countries, Dominican Republic and Haiti, have widely differing health outcomes despite centuries of shared experience on the Caribbean Island of Hispaniola. This course will examine the history, politics, economics, culture, international relations, demography, and geography, as well as epidemiology and health services, to demonstrate that multiple factors, both recent and long-standing, determine the present health of these populations. Enrollment limited to 20 first year students. Instructor permission required. FYS

RELS 0085A: Exodus: Freedom in the Modern Black and Jewish Religious Imaginations

  • Professors: Andre Willis & Paul Nahme
  • A symbol of the journey from exile and captivity, slavery and oppression to liberation and freedom, the story of the Biblical Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt has helped many communities articulate narratives of suffering and redemption. In this class, we will examine Black and Jewish confrontations with catastrophic conditions in modernity and try to understand the distinctive and yet paralleled ways the Exodus narrative has helped these communities undertake projects of racial, ethnic, and collective struggle for freedom and cultural self-transformation.

RUSS 1200 Russian Fantasy and Science Fiction

  • Professor: Alexander Levitsky    
  • Survey of Russian literature, from fairy tales, utopias, and dream sequences to science fiction, which depict altered states of reality. Readings in English, supplemented with films in March and April. Seminar with emphasis on discussion. Russian concentrators and graduate students expected to cover most of the readings in Russian. Familiarity with Russian literary history is not required.

SOC 1430 Social Structure and Personal Development 

  • Professor: Gregory Elliott             
  • The relationship between one's place in the social structure and one's own personal growth. Investigates the social aspects of individual growth and change throughout the life course. Also examines social factors involved in the failure to find a meaningful place for oneself in society.