Course Descriptions Spring 2021

WRC 1104.101 INVESTIGATIONS GLOBAL: J.M. COETZEE AND THE LIVES OF ANIMALS

  • Gen Ed. Attribute: Liberal Studies Experience.
  • Instructor: Michael Dale
  • Time: MW 2:00 - 3:15 pm & TR 11:00-12:15 pm
  • Online Synchronous

As Martha Nussbaum reminds us, we homo sapiens do not live alone on the planet. We share the world and its resources with a wonderful variety of flora and fauna, including other intelligent and emotional creatures. The nature of communal living requires that we be attentive to the moral questions and issues that relationships between living beings demands. What should be the nature of our human relationships with the non-human animals with which we share this world? Should non-human animals be seen as part of the community of human beings? What, if any, are the moral demands that non-human animals make upon us if they are seen as a part of our community? What does it mean to be a human being in a moral relationship with other living, non-human beings? Drawing upon novels, short stories, essays, and narrative works of non-fiction we will be attentive to and engaged with questions and issues of our humanly intimate and complex relations to, and at times callous disregard for and cruelty towards the lives and deaths of non-human animals.

WRC 1104.102 INVESTIGATIONS GLOBAL: POLITICS, GENDER, AND GLOBAL DETECTIVE FICTION

  • Gen Ed. Attribute: Liberal Studies Experience.
  • Instructor: Jessica Martell
  • Time: TR  11:00 -12:15 pm & TR 2:00 - 3:15 pm 
  • Online Synchronous

This section of WRC 1104 explores the genre of detective fiction and the figure of the detective as it evolves from nineteenth-century male hero to twenty-first century feminist and queer icons. Historically, the detective story has not been taken very seriously by critics and scholars; yet it enjoys massive global popularity and has grown to include spy, crime, and thriller genres in print and visual media around the world.

We will read books and watch shows from the UK, Ireland, Russia, Sweden, and France that present versions of that most famous of detectives, Sherlock Holmes. By tracing the Holmesian detective figure as it is updated, remixed, and upcycled, we will analyze a critical theme in the literary arts: the conflict between self and society. Holmesian detectives view themselves—or are perceived by others—to live outside of the ‘normal’ social world that everyone else seems to occupy. When we sympathize with outsiders, we are invited to challenge social norms and investigate the political controversies that arise when norms are questioned. For example, this course will take a deep dive into feminist and queer theories, which question patriarchal and hetero norms, when we study the popularity of women and LGBTQ+ detectives in more recent global series. Sometimes the detective-as-outsider invites our sympathy, and sometimes they don’t. But their stories can reveal tragedy, enlightenment, suffering, love, and truths about the world that insiders aren’t always able to see.

WRC 1104.103 INVESTIGATIONS GLOBAL: NATIONS, BORDERS, AND MIGRATION

  • Gen Ed. Attribute: Liberal Studies Experience.
  • Instructor: Julia Callander
  • Time: TR 11:00 - 12:15 pm & TR 2:00 - 3:15 pm
  • Online Synchronous

This class will focus on moments and places in American history where questions of race, citizenship, and belonging were in flux. What does it mean to belong in a place? How do the parameters of this question shift depending on context (historical, geographical, and disciplinary)? Our inquiry will focus on three texts: Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States, Elizabeth Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration, and Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. In engaging deeply with these and other texts, and with the current questions they pose, we will also explore issues of genre: what counts as history? What makes something literary, or autobiographical? Who gets to tell whose story, and what’s at stake in doing so?

WRC 1104.104 INVESTIGATIONS GLOBAL: THE SHADOW WARS: VOICES FROM IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN

  • Gen Ed. Attribute: Liberal Studies Experience.
  • Instructor: Joseph Bathanti
  • Time: TR 11:00 -12:15 pm  & TR 2:00 -3:15 pm
  • Online Synchronous

The war in Afghanistan, begun in 2001, is now 20 years old. The war in Iraq, begun in 2003, also continues in different forms, and across different Middle East borders. Out of these wars has exploded an extraordinary trove of literature that continues to appear even as the wars continue, and there’s reason to believe that an entire wave of a wholly new genre of literature, borne of our 21st-century wars, is being minted, especially, by this hybrid generation of U.S. combat veteran writers. This course will explore that literature – through poetry, fiction, memoir, essays, plays, films, and testimony of combat veterans and family members of combat veterans who will visit our class – and through a variety of voices and lenses, including those of U.S. men and women soldiers, families left stateside, as well Iraqi, Afghan and other noncombatants from war-torn Middle East.

WRC 1104.105 INVESTIGATIONS GLOBAL: MAPPING MONSTERS

  • Gen Ed. Attribute: Liberal Studies Experience.
  • Instructor: Audrey Fessler
  • Time: MW 2:00 - 3:15 pm & TR 11:00-12:15 pm
  • Online Synchronous

This course will range across many eras and cultures to explore diverse monsters and their psychological and social functions. Andrew J. Hoffman, in his anthology Monsters, posits that “Monsters are not merely entertainment. The study of monsters is the study of what it means to be human in a world that provides much to fear and avoid. Since time immemorial, people have had to deal with fear: fear of the wild, fear of the unknown, even fear of each other. Monsters may be a repository for much that is negative in human experience. In this way, monsters provide us with the opportunity to connect to important issues of society, psychology, science, medicine, art, and religion” (3). Analyses by scholars from many fields—including classical studies, critical studies, cultural anthropology, history, monster theory (yes!), sociology, philosophy, psychology, religion, and urban theory—will inform our responses to primary sources of monster lore. Course work will include frequent reading reflections and quizzes, occasional leadership of portions of class discussion, and two research projects with accompanying research presentations.

WRC 2001.101 DAYS IN THE LIFE

  • Gen Ed Attribute: Second Year Writing
  • Instructor: Clark Maddux
  • Time: TR 2:00 - 3:15 pm 
  • Online Synchronous

The theme of this section of WRC 2001 is the history and rhetoric of religion in Appalachia.  By honing our practices of reading, writing, and critical thinking in this course, we will investigate the practice of religion in our locality and wider region.  We will write a variety of papers and prepare projects based on our research.  Students will exercise all of the learning outcomes of RC 2001, including writing in a variety of genres and developing a meta-cognitive understanding of rhetoric.

WRC 2100.101 THE LIVES OF ANIMALS

  • Gen Ed Attribute: Integrative Learning Experience Theme (Lives of Animals)
  • Instructor: Michael Dale
  • Time: TR 9:30-10:45 am
  • Online Synchronous

As Martha Nussbaum reminds us, we homo sapiens do not live alone on the planet. We share the world and its resources with a wonderful variety of flora and fauna, including other intelligent and emotional creatures. The nature of communal living requires that we be attentive to the moral questions and issues that relationships between living beings demands. What should be the nature of our human relationships with the non-human animals with which we share this world? Should non-human animals be seen as part of the community of human beings? What, if any, are the moral demands that non-human animals make upon us if they are seen as a part of our community? What does it mean to be a human being in a moral relationship with other living, non-human beings?

WRC 2201.101 QUEER AND SOUTHERN VOICES

  • Gen Ed Attribute: Integrative Learning Experience Theme (Experiencing Inquiry); Literary Studies Designation
  • Instructor: Julia Callander
  • Time: TR 3:30 -4:45 pm
  • Online Synchronous

In this class, we will explore possible definitions and understandings of “Southern,” “queer,” and “literature.” Does someone have to identify a certain way in order to write about members of a specific group? Can we read queerness into texts that don’t explicitly call attention to having such a status? Can new media such as Instagram or ‘zines still be read as literature, and if so, what methods can we use to do so? We will also think deeply about genre and medium: what, for example, can a poem do that creative nonfiction cannot (and vice versa)? We will approach these questions using a variety of methods and texts, including Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, Silas House’s Southernmost, Julia Koets’s The Rib Joint, and a number of shorter works, especially poetry.

WRC 2202.101 WHAT IF? ASKING HISTORICAL QUESTIONS: "WAIT, WHAT HAPPENED?!" EXPLORING THE BLACK DEATH THROUGH NARRATIVE HISTORY AND HISTORICAL FICTION 

  • Gen Ed Attribute:  Integrative Learning Experience theme (Experiencing Inquiry); Historical Studies designation
  • Instructor: Marjon Ames
  • Time: MWF 11:00 - 11:50 am
  • Online Synchronous

How do we know what we think we know? What informs our understanding of the past? This course examines both historical nonfiction and fictionalized accounts of plagues to help us shape the ways we think about European history. Students read a variety of historical works in order to form a foundation of techniques and theories on which to build. Students read fiction in conjunction with nonfiction in order to consider what results in successful storytelling and why it has fascinated people throughout history. Students examine different storytelling techniques employed, question the quality of the portrayal of the historical backdrop, and observe how different approaches in narrative can result in different stories. 

WRC 2405.101 LIVING & LEARNING IN COMMUNITY

  • Gen Ed Attribute:  Liberal Studies Experience 
  • Instructor: Holly Ambler 
  • Time: MW 3:30 - 4:45 pm 
  • Hybrid

What does it mean to be a community member and leader? How do leaders mobilize residents to make progress on tough community issues? What does it mean to be an academic community? In this course we will investigate personal development, community development, responsible citizenship and individual/community identity. We will use the knowledge gained about individual and community development to examine what it means to be a successful community. This will be a project based learning lab with Watauga Residential College as our primary resource. We will continue the work of the community in the areas of branding/marketing, creeds, community engagement, curriculum, houses, student government. Various books, media and readings will be resources as we investigate the concept of living and learning in community.

WRC 3203.101 WHY ART? WAYS OF RESPONDING TO THE WORLD AROUND US

  • Gen Ed Attribute: Integrative Learning Experience Experiencing Inquiry), Fine Arts Designation 
  • Instructor: Mel Falck 
  • Time: W 5:00 - 7:30 pm
  • Online Synchronous

An integrative and creative encounter with multi-model artistic processes as a means of exploring unique inquiries and responses to natural, social, and constructed environments. Artisitc forms studied may include visual art, dance, drama, poetry, music, puppetry, and film. 

WRC 3665.101 BLACK MOUNTAIN COLLEGE

  • Gen Ed Attribute: Liberal Studies Experience, Literary Studies Designation  
  • Instructor: Joseph Bathanti
  • Time: TR 3:30  - 4:45 pm
  • Online Synchronous

This course will tackle the phenomenon of Black Mountain College: how a band of disgruntled academic dissidents from Rollins College in Florida, led by John Andrew Rice, founded Black Mountain College in North Carolina’s very rural Swannanoa Valley in 1933. Black Mountain College closed its doors in 1957, yet to this day remains the greatest experimental academic adventure ever launched on American soil. During its shimmering stormy history, many of the world’s greatest thinkers and artists were in residence or paid visits at Black Mountain: Anni Albers, Josef Albers, Hazel Larsen Archer, Ruth Asawa, Eric Bentley, John Cage, Harry Callahan, Robert Creeley, Merce Cunningham, Fielding Dawson, John Dewey, Robert Duncan, Aldous Huxley, Alfred Kazin, Willem de Kooning, Buckminster Fuller, Paul Goodman, Walter Gropius, Anais Nin, Zora Neale Hurston, Robert Duncan, Franz Kline, Jacob Lawrence, Henry Miller, Robert Motherwell, Charles Olson, Arthur Penn, Francine du Plessix-Gray, Robert Rauschenburg, Mary Caroline Richards, Ben Shahn, Aaron Siskind, Cy Twombly, Thornton Wilder, and countless others. As Martin Duberman points out in Black Mountain: An Exploration in Community: "It was the forerunner and exemplar of much that is currently considered innovative in art, education and lifestyle."
 

WRC 4001.101 SEMINAR IN EXPERIENTIAL, INTEGRATIVE LEARNING

  • Gen Ed Attribute: Capstone for Watauga Minor
  • Instructor: Joe Gonzalez
  • Time: TR 3:30 pm - 4:45 pm 
  • Online Synchronous

This is the culminating course for the Watauga minor. In this class, we'll compare the history and organization of Watauga Residential College with other residential colleges. Students will draft and revise a written reflection on their own experience in WRC; draft and revise a seminar paper on the history of WRC; compose an annotated bibliography related to residential colleges; develop an original policy or procedure designed to improve the work of the College and present research, findings, and recommendations to the faculty of the College. Students will also compile a final portfolio containing evidence of their work in the minor during this class and submit it on Aportfolio.