Writing (WRIT-UH)

WRIT-UH 1001  Memory, Metamorphosis and Writing the Self  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Fall  
Memory, Metamorphosis and Writing the Self explores memory and the construction of identity, both personal and collective, within the human experience in relation to that of others and the world around us. The course investigates the personal and cultural conditions under which texts are produced, disseminated, and received. We will consider not only the personal and historical experiences that inform these works, but also the potential futures they imagine. We consider different categories of identity (gender, race, class, ethics, ethnicity, heritage, place and material culture). Class discussions and writing assignments invite students to interrogate and argue to what extent self is constructed through personal experiences and choices or by socially constructed paradigms and power dynamics. I&M examines the different ways writers write about themselves, their views and issues within the world context and read diverse writing styles to show the range of possibilities available to you as an academic writer.
Grading: Ugrd Abu Dhabi Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
WRIT-UH 1002J  Global Discoveries and Dialogues: The Quill and the Chisel  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered January term  
"Global Discoveries and Dialogues" examines the case for the "universal museum" through the twin lenses of global history and global heritage management. It explores different approaches to memorialization, and considers how to strike an appropriate balance between the desire to showcase "golden ages" and the responsibility to restore silenced voices. Beginning in Abu Dhabi, both sections will meet together to discuss global cultural heritage, before visiting the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The two sections then embark upon their own individual journeys. "The Quill and the Chisel" visits Florence, where students examine Michelangelo Buonnarroti’s unparalleled influence on Renaissance architecture, art, poetry, and sculpture. In considering Michelangelo’s remarkable artistic and literary achievements, alongside those featured at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, it asks students to weigh their importance in Florentine, Renaissance, and Global history. "Histories of - and in - Greece" considers the place of suppressed Byzantine, Ottoman, Jewish, and refugee histories within “Greek history” through an exploration of a diverse group of Athenian landmarks. In doing so, it challenges students to establish criteria for determining whether these sites and their attached histories have a larger significance, "outstanding universal value," and "importance to the collective interests of humanity." Through the use of social media, students will collaborate extensively between the two locations to further interrogate the question of how history and memory are produced. Upon returning to Abu Dhabi, groups comprised of students from both sections will craft presentations synthesizing their on-site research, in an effort to address the questions posed at the start of the course. PLEASE NOTE: This course is open only to NYU Abu Dhabi students.
Grading: Ugrd Abu Dhabi Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
Prerequisites: Must be a first year AEP or ESP student.  
WRIT-UH 1003J  Global Discoveries and Dialogues: Histories of and in Greece  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered January term  
Nationalist histories of Greece position the Golden Age of Athens (480-404BCE), the War of Independence (1821-1829CE), and the anti-Axis resistance as Greek history’s three touchstones. Since the Regime of the Colonels fell in 1974, historians have sought to add nuance to this picture by retrieving silenced narratives and restoring the suppressed voices of women and minorities. Recently, histories of Greece have emphasized trans-imperial and trans-national circulations of people, ideas, and capital, pushing the field to consider the utility of non-conventional area frames. This course introduces and examines these various and varied histories, challenging students to consider the place of suppressed Byzantine, Ottoman, Jewish, Romá, and refugee histories within "Greek history." Along the way, it addresses key debates about the ancient Greek "miracle," the right to culture, the continuity thesis, and Greek exceptionalism. Note: Pending feasible international travel conditions, this course will include a seminar in Greece. Prerequisite: Must be enrolled in the Academic Enrichment Program (AEP) program.
Grading: Ugrd Abu Dhabi Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
Prerequisites: Must be a first year AEP or ESP student.  
WRIT-UH 1004J  Global Discoveries: From Athena to Athens, Myth - Past and Present  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered January term  
This course examines myths as templates understanding the human experience and resonating across cultural boundaries to offer a pattern of being and a way of thinking tied to the past, present, and future. Students will analyze various texts to examine how myths connect human narratives, social contracts and expressions of human existence to understand: "Why are we here?" "Who are we?" "What is our purpose?" Through an exploration of a diverse group of Athenian landmarks, history, literature and material culture, the course will challenge students to establish criteria for determining whether these sites and their attached histories have a larger significance, "outstanding universal value," and "importance to the collective interests of humanity." The course explores different approaches to memorialization, and considers how to strike an appropriate balance between the desire to showcase "golden ages" and the responsibility to restore silenced voices. Beginning in Abu Dhabi, both sections will meet together to discuss global cultural heritage, before visiting the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The two courses then embark upon journeys: introducing and examining the various and varied histories of Greece, challenging students to consider the place of suppressed Byzantine, Ottoman, Jewish, Romá, and refugee histories within "Greek history." Along the way, it addresses key debates about the ancient Greek "miracle," the right to culture, the continuity thesis, and Greek exceptionalism. Note: Pending feasible international travel conditions, this course will include a seminar in Greece. Prerequisite: Must be enrolled in the Academic Enrichment Program (AEP) program.
Grading: Ugrd Abu Dhabi Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
WRIT-UH 1010  AEP/ESP Research Methods and Writing Process  (0 Credits)  
Typically offered Spring  
Students will learn about the organization and practice of research in the humanities, with specific meetings devoted to discussions of interactive reading and note-taking, the elements of a useful focus statement, as well as the transformation of a focus statement into a one-page outline. Throughout the term, the tutorial will function as a workshop, offering students a space within which they can conceptualize, share, and refine a self-designed research project, and design and rehearse a conference presentation.
Grading: Ugrd Abu Dhabi Pass/Fail  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
WRIT-UH 1100  FYWS: Taste, Culture & the Self  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Fall and Spring  
"There's no accounting for taste," the old saying goes. We like our favorite shoes, cars, and paintings for reasons that simply can't be explained. This FYWS challenges that assumption. Taking contemporary popular culture as a point of departure, the course delves into debates from history, sociology, and literary studies in order to understand the social construction of taste, giving special attention to the complex role that "good taste" or "bad taste" can play in perpetuating social hierarchies. Students will develop reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills while examining how ideas about "taste" are constructed, interrelated, and how they can inform, limit, or inspire the way we see ourselves in our social worlds.
Grading: Ugrd Abu Dhabi Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
  • Bulletin Categories: First Year Writing Seminar
  
WRIT-UH 1108  FYWS: Writers on Writing  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Fall and Spring  
Why do people write? How do different cultures understand writing? How is writing valued and assessed? How do we learn to write? What happens when we consider the process of writing a complex affective and neurological process? These are some of the questions raised in this seminar by studying not only how writers write but, more importantly, how writers make sense of both their writing and their process. It is seemingly the simplest of acts: sit down, get out a pen or put your fingers to the keyboard, and start transferring thought into written matter. However, the act of writing is a complex neurological, psychological, imaginative, and cultural practice. This seminar will focus on writers and their expressive practice in an attempt to understand the process and material manifestation of writing. A fundamental tenet of the class is that writers and writing must be understood in their cultural and contextual complexities.
Grading: Ugrd Abu Dhabi Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
  • Bulletin Categories: First Year Writing Seminar
  
WRIT-UH 1110  FYWS: Power and Ethics in Photography  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Fall and Spring  
Since its invention in 1839, photography has come to dominate our lives in ways that would have been unthinkable to the medium's pioneers - so much so that it's almost impossible to imagine what a world without photographs might look like. The recent rise in smartphone technology and social media networks raises old and new questions about how photography alters the way we see and know the world, including important ethical questions about the medium’s intrusive and seductive nature. Drawing on the writings of Sontag, Sischy, Said and others, this FYWS analyzes photography’s power in shaping our collective consciousness, but also the limitations on capturing reality. Beginning with a fundamental division between "art" and "documentary" photography, students will delve into the ethics and aesthetics of portraying pain, tragedy, and death. They will explore how cameras can create illusions and how photographic representations of "otherness" can help reinforce existing power structures and dominant narratives about "us" and "them." In addition to drafting and writing three argumentative essays, students will create and present a photo-essay of 8 to 10 images.
Grading: Ugrd Abu Dhabi Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
Antirequisites: CADT-UH 1040.  
  • Bulletin Categories: First Year Writing Seminar
  
WRIT-UH 1113  FYWS: Saving Strangers: Debates about Humanitarian Intervention  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Fall and Spring  
Can humanitarian intervention ever be morally justified? Humanitarian intervention is one of the most controversial concepts of international politics, and the list of arguments for and against using military force to address extreme human suffering, such as genocide and ethnic cleansing, is long. It seems that no single argument - legal, political, or ethical - adequately captures the principal views on the justice of the phenomenon and that perspectives on these questions are as diverse as the individuals and groups who either implement them or are the object of interventions. Thus, fundamental questions remain: Does our membership in a common humanity require us to engage in the act of killing to save others? Or is it an unacceptable onslaught on state sovereignty? This FYWS will pursue these questions through various writing exercises and assignments designed to help students explore and engage with different arguments about the ways we understand humanitarian intervention today.
Grading: Ugrd Abu Dhabi Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
  • Bulletin Categories: First Year Writing Seminar
  
WRIT-UH 1116  FYWS: The Politics of Spectacle  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Fall and Spring  
Political spectacle is often disparaged as ''style over substance,'' an image of action rather than action itself. Yet if spectacle is merely façade, why has it proved to be such a powerful tool in so many historical, geographical, and cultural contexts? Rulers and masses envision society through public display: rallies, demonstrations, festivals, rituals, trials, executions, etc. Such events both reveal and mask struggles over governance, privacy, globalization, religion, tradition, and change. This FYWS surveys an array of spectacles in order to discern how they work and to whose benefit: the spectator or the spectated? Course materials include model case studies from anthropology, political science, philosophy, and performance studies, as well as visual texts including film, photography, and social media. Writing assignments will challenge students to describe, analyze, and contextualize political power and its expression, leading to a sustained research paper on a topic of their choice. Students will pay particular attention to how their writing balances between word and image, between charged emotion and academic rigor, and between themselves and their publics.
Grading: Ugrd Abu Dhabi Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
  • Bulletin Categories: First Year Writing Seminar
  
WRIT-UH 1119  FYWS: Living Cities  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered all terms  
We often think of cities as collections of buildings, streets, and people. But what if we see them as living entities, with their own histories, identities, and subcultures? This FYWS sets out to investigate and map three distinct cities: Mumbai, Kampala, and Abu Dhabi. Considering each city as shaped by the ways citizens “practice” their everyday activities, students will examine different ways each city is represented in film, fiction, travel narratives, and scholarship from such fields as media, literary, and postcolonial studies . In the case of Abu Dhabi, students will also experience the city as pedestrians. Writing assignments include one essay on each city, each increasing in complexity, and each following different lines of inquiry: How is the city represented and shaped in different media? What are its stereotypes? Its conceptions of otherness or cosmopolitanism? What is urban culture and how does it differ from national culture? Who gets to claim a city as home? In the final research project and oral presentations, students will choose a method of inquiry and point of interest in Abu Dhabi, and in the process have to consider their own identities as its inhabitants.
Grading: Ugrd Abu Dhabi Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
  • Bulletin Categories: First Year Writing Seminar
  
WRIT-UH 1123  FYWS: Scientific Knowledge  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Fall  
The physical, natural, experimental sciences are advancing at an ever-accelerating rate to furnish our world with increasingly advanced technology. What are the origins of modern scientific research, how should we manage its current trajectory, and where will that path eventually lead us? This course seeks to explore these questions on science in society and knowledge management by drawing on readings from the history and philosophy of science, as well as contemporary scientific controversies. The first essay will be based on a close reading of Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions and Galilei’s Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, which provide a philosophical and historical grounding for the course. The second essay will construct an analytical framework centered on writings by Orwell and Sagan that debate the proper way for societies to manage and interact with the ever-expanding body of scientific fact-based knowledge. Finally, in the third essay, students will choose a contemporary controversy in science or technology to explore in depth: they will imagine a near future and explain it in terms of the themes of the course.
Grading: Ugrd Abu Dhabi Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
  • Bulletin Categories: First Year Writing Seminar
  
WRIT-UH 1124  FYWS: Slavery After Slavery  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Fall  
In the nineteenth century, most states in Africa and the Atlantic world outlawed slavery. Abolition was a revolutionary act that put an end to the legal sale and ownership of human beings. However, official abolition often coexisted with new or old forms of systemic labor exploitation, political domination, and violence. This FYWS invites students to explore this paradox of change and permanence across cultures in Africa and the Atlantic world. How did different economic structures and geopolitical dynamics determine the lived experiences of servitude and liberation? To what extent did religion influence slavery systems and emancipation processes? How did enslaved and freed people in the colonies shape the theory and practice of European abolitionism? Perceptions of freedom and slavery in the nineteenth century were different from ours, and so the course will seek to understand how these fluid ideas shaped people’s lives in real ways. Students will reconsider concepts often taken for granted as they engage with academic texts, photographs, newspaper articles, autobiographies, and films.
Grading: Ugrd Abu Dhabi Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
  • Bulletin Categories: First Year Writing Seminar
  
WRIT-UH 1125  FYWS: Graphic Violence  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Fall  
Our lives seem ever more beset by acts of violence, from widespread war and autocratic politics to intimate abuse and harassment; meanwhile, our entertainment seems ever more saturated with representations of violence, from news and viral videos to the fantastical carnage of superhero films and the carnal fantasy of Game of Thrones. Yet debates about how such representations relate to real-world brutality often overlook how definitions of violence hinge on concepts as disparate as nature, culture, force, injury, deprivation, and desire. Such mutations of meaning are not mere semantics; how we represent violence defines our response to it. Playing on the term "graphic," this FYWS explores the ways we write about and with violence. In their first essay, students engage with debates on violence’s entanglements with representation. Next, students synthesize theoretical perspectives on violence (e.g. postcolonial, feminist, Marxist). Finally, they tackle a research topic of their own choosing while comparing case studies from disciplines and domains including cinema, art exhibitions, and video games. Throughout, the course aims for awareness of diverse experiences and sensitivities.
Grading: Ugrd Abu Dhabi Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
  • Bulletin Categories: First Year Writing Seminar
  
WRIT-UH 1126X  FYWS: Understanding Postcolonial Feminisms  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Fall  
''I'm a feminist but…'' How many times have we heard that? Or its twin: ''I'm not a feminist but...''? What is it about this label (the ''F word'') that seems to complicate one's personal identification with gender equality? Do such statements betray a fear of group identification? A fear of universalist thinking? This FYWS explores a range of texts and media in which postcolonial writers, artists, and intellectuals negotiate issues of gender, class, identity, and culture in understanding the impact of feminism in decolonization. Students will explore cultural developments and political narratives in a range of genres and learn to analyze techniques and contexts of feminist and postcolonial thought and expression. Two interrelated concerns motivate the writing assignments: 1) What is the relationship between women's voices and their agency in the postcolonial context? 2) How do these writers mobilize the category of gender to negotiate understandings of individual and community in these regions? Consideration of various cultural, racial, class, and national perspectives will initiate a deeper understanding of postcolonial feminism and its contribution to ongoing political developments.
Grading: Ugrd Abu Dhabi Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
  • Bulletin Categories: First Year Writing Seminar
  
WRIT-UH 1127  FYWS: Real and Imagined: Women’s Writing Across Worlds  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Spring  
How do women writers across the world negotiate social and political questions about their place in society? How do they interpret expectations of the maternal ideal, of the primary caregiver, of the silenced and the marginalized? And how are these identities complicated by the privilege of class, race, citizenship, heterosexuality, and various definitions of "femininity"? Looking at contemporary creative nonfiction, memoir, and confessional writing by women from different parts of the world, this FYWS explores how women writers contest structures of power and articulate identities through self-representation. Drawing upon various genres of life-writing, the course falls into three parts: Between Cultures; Maternal Matrix; and Private Lives, Publicly. Materials reflect on women’s experience of migration, of subverting traditional gendered norms, and of crossing boundaries of self-censorship and voicing experiences publicly, while also considering critically the ethics of representing “true” material from life history or observation, and the responsibility writers have towards others.
Grading: Ugrd Abu Dhabi Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
  • Bulletin Categories: First Year Writing Seminar
  
WRIT-UH 1128  FYWS: Memory, History, and Forgetting  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Spring  
Why do we remember some events and forget others? How do we come to know facts about the past that we haven’t experienced ourselves? How do our memories of the past shape the person we are today? These are some key questions addressed in this writing seminar. Drawing upon a range of materials including conceptual texts, memoirs, witness testimonies, archives, museums, history textbooks, and film, this course sheds light on the processes through which individual and social memory are constructed, mediated, disseminated and received. The seminar also focuses on how words, symbols, objects, and spaces become carriers and sites of memory. Some themes to be explored include the relationship between history and collective memory, commemoration and national identity, and the role of memory in peace and conflict. Classes will combine reading discussions, writing exercises, film screenings, onsite visits, and oral presentations through which students will be invited to think about the workings of their own memories and the ways in which these memories interplay with their histories and their identities.
Grading: Ugrd Abu Dhabi Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
  • Bulletin Categories: First Year Writing Seminar
  
WRIT-UH 1129  FYWS: The World of Babel: Translation Before the Modern Age  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Fall and Spring  
Translators and interpreters have been an important part of society in every age, but they are often the unsung heroes of successful cultural exchange, diplomatic negotiations, or trade deals. It is only when they make mistakes that they become visible, because their purpose is to ensure that communication happens smoothly. In this Writing Seminar, we will shine a light on how translation practices and the people in this profession were regarded in ancient and medieval times. How was translation defined and discussed? What place did it have in society? What roles did its practitioners have and where do they appear in the historical record? And, on a more theoretical level, how did people think about translation practices in different pre-modern cultures and why? We will work with original translations and works about translation from the Middle East, Europe, and Asia to try and answer some of these questions, while reflecting on modern circumstances of multilingual interaction. Through assigned readings, written papers, guided class discussions, and presentations, students will be invited to compare and contrast different traditions of translation.
Grading: Ugrd Abu Dhabi Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
  • Bulletin Categories: First Year Writing Seminar
  
WRIT-UH 1131  FYWS: Writing About the Languages We Speak  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Fall and Spring  
How does the language we speak influence our perception of the world? How do the languages we speak shape or reveal who we are? While many people take language for granted, this writing seminar will ask how spoken language differs from written communication. For example, do you expect this writing seminar to be about the LANGUAGES we speak, the languages WE speak, or the languages we SPEAK? While reading the previous interrogative sentence out loud, you would have been under the influence of the text in all caps and spoken with increased pitch, intensity, and/or duration of the accented word. But how might various cases of multilingualism--including sequential or simultaneous bilinguals, second-language or third-language learners, and foreign-language or heritage speakers--play into questions of language production? By looking first at mainstream media coverage of spoken language, then turning to scholarly debates about multilingualism, this writing seminar will explore how the study of language, especially spoken language, offers a key to an understanding of the self and the world, a world mediated through and organized by language.
Grading: Ugrd Abu Dhabi Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
  • Bulletin Categories: First Year Writing Seminar
  
WRIT-UH 1132  FYWS: Protest Art  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Fall and Spring  
We live in a time of intense political, economic, social, and environmental tensions. Today, we count over 230 protests in more than 110 countries by democracy seekers, political and ethnic minorities, climate activists, youth movements, and other groups. What role can the Arts play in the formation and remembrance of these social movements? How do cultural and aesthetic representations of the past in film, music, and street art shape our political and social relations? What is the role of social media in disseminating such representations? This seminar looks at how societies use various artistic forms to protest injustice and resist forgetting. We will combine foundational texts on subversive art, memory, and social movements with novels, cartoons, songs, graffiti, and other cultural productions to practice and develop your reading and writing skills. The goal is to think about the relationship between art and social justice and examine how creative work can amplify voices and empower the powerless to effect change.
Grading: Ugrd Abu Dhabi Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
  • Bulletin Categories: First Year Writing Seminar
  
WRIT-UH 1134  FYWS: The Last Straw: The Effects of Environmental Change Throughout Time  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
Climate and environmental change are not new problems. When drastic or quick, these changes are characterized as catastrophic, periods of complete upheaval including traumatic shifts in society. People are painted as passive victims. However, as active agents of change, humans alter and adapt to their environments. This writing seminar explores how people have faced environmental disruptions throughout time, those caused by human intervention and modifications as well as by natural climatic phenomena. Exploring case-studies to contextualize such changes, the class will begin with methodological and theoretical perspectives to qualify and quantify change. The majority of the class will be concerned with how the environment influenced and was changed by societies in the Middle East, beginning with the agricultural revolution and ending with modern built environments. Through assigned readings, essays, class discussions, and presentations, students will be encouraged to explore how environmental change is recursive and heavily influenced by cultures in diverse ways.
Grading: Ugrd Abu Dhabi Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
  • Bulletin Categories: First Year Writing Seminar
  
WRIT-UH 1135  FYWS: Non-Violence  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
What is non-violence? In historical conditions of colonialism, postcolonialism, and authoritarianism, and in contemporary conditions of climate change and migration crises, is non-violence possible, and to what effect? This course considers non-violence both as a philosophy and a practice of everyday life, asking what relationship between violence and non-violence exists and how this relationship changes over time. We will look at societies where theories of non-violence have influenced social movements from civil rights to climate change activism, as well as study movements that have explicitly rejected non-violence. Non-violence includes everything from a refusal to kill to an outcome granted as temporary relief after war to a political tactic not always directly opposed to violence. Non-violence includes everything from a refusal to kill to an outcome granted as temporary relief after war to a political tactic not always directly opposed to violence. When we look at non-violence as both philosophy and practice, we confront forms of everyday life that emerge from situations that may be neither violence nor peace and ask: is closure possible?
Grading: Ugrd Abu Dhabi Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
  • Bulletin Categories: First Year Writing Seminar
  
WRIT-UH 1136  FYWS: Movement & Meaning  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Fall and Spring  
Why do people dance? Dance can be entertaining. It can also be informative. People dance for fun, to build community, to express themselves, to earn a living, as a form of exercise, and to relieve stress. Dancers may embody authority or perform political resistance. Dance incorporates national, gender, racial, ethnic, class, and other identities. Drawing on the scholarly field of critical dance studies, this course will develop your skills to think, write, speak, and research about dance, sharpening your attention to forms of embodied evidence. We will analyze both concert and social dance forms, live dancing and dances on screens. We will engage with dance movement as a primary source as well as with the historical, social, economic, political, and cultural contexts in which these dances were or are practiced because the same movement can bear different meanings, depending on the contexts of its performance and reception. Understanding dance as a site of knowledge, a form of communication, and a meaning-making practice, we will think and write about the varied aesthetics inherent in dance practices from around the world.
Grading: Ugrd Abu Dhabi Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
  • Bulletin Categories: First Year Writing Seminar
  
WRIT-UH 1137  FYWS: Resilience at the Margins  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Fall and Spring  
How do communities on the periphery of power maintain themselves? How do we keep going when structures of power shift priorities? Does exclusion have a structure? This course introduces the student to social theory, not merely as a descriptive or predictive discipline, but as an intellectual and life-affirming practice. We will learn how to write and argue about power in society, and what communities excluded from centers of power do to persevere, build strength, and thrive in a changing world. We will learn ways of thinking about how power operates in social systems, and build up understandings of the experiences that lead to resilient counter-movements. In class, we'll discuss environmental disasters like the Flint Water Crisis, indigenous peoples like the Crow, the struggle for women’s rights, the movement for Dalit empowerment, the downfall of Oscar Wilde, Bolivian "Cholo" and "Ch'ixi" movements, the Salem Witch trials, the transatlantic slave trade, Black spirituals and minstrelsy, the Haitian revolution, and more. Throughout our course, we will work through the philosophical grounding necessary to turn experience, our own or another's, into texts of penetrating power.
Grading: Ugrd Abu Dhabi Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
  • Bulletin Categories: First Year Writing Seminar
  
WRIT-UH 1138  FYWS: Elsewhere  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Fall and Spring  
Travel in the 21st century is haunted by overtourism, white saviorism, conflict and climate change, phenomena all rooted in global inequality. Whether one travels for leisure or is forced to move to another place due to conflict, environmental disaster or economic necessity, we can often trace the roots of one's situation to global power imbalances or colonial legacies. This writing seminar sets out to "decolonize elsewhere" by examining the privilege of some to travel and the obstacles which make it difficult for others to move freely "in, at, or to some other place or other places" - a definition of elsewhere. How do we reconcile travel's negative effects with the learning and understanding that encounters with others can also produce? How do one's cultural background, gender and class affect one's own perspective and how one is perceived? We will consider such questions by studying travel narratives, essays, drama, film and documentaries about encounters between different peoples, both historical and contemporary, all through the lens of postcolonial, gender and cultural studies. We will grapple with the course's central questions through writing exercises and assignments designed to help students find their own voice and to express it effectively and powerfully in their writing.
Grading: Ugrd Abu Dhabi Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
  • Bulletin Categories: First Year Writing Seminar
  
WRIT-UH 1139  FYWS: Exploring Our Linguistic Identities  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Fall and Spring  
In this global era where one's ethnic background no longer coincides with nationality or race and oftentimes cannot be easily defined for many, one's linguistic identity becomes ever so complicated. Notably in the Gulf region, there is an environment of countless cases of bilingualism, multilingualism, and diglossia, that do not fit into the traditional classification of first or second language acquisition. How do we define a native speaker of a language? We will first explore the traditional way of defining the native and the non-native speakers of a language, including sequential or simultaneous bilinguals. Then, we will challenge the notions by turning our focus to the acquisition of non-traditional, linguistically marginalized, and oftentimes heterogeneous groups of non-native speakers of a language, including heritage language acquisition, which share some characteristics with first language acquisition and others with second language acquisition and sometimes neither. Through guided class discussions based on reading materials ranging from popular magazines to scholarly articles, students will be invited to make sense of the linguistic identities of people around them.
Grading: Ugrd Abu Dhabi Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
  • Bulletin Categories: First Year Writing Seminar
  
WRIT-UH 1140  FYWS: Racisms and Race  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Fall and Spring  
How does the false idea that some races are better than others come about, and how have societies struggled to overcome this idea and its legacy of inequality? Racism and race are defining characteristics of many contemporary societies the whole world over, and scientists, lawmakers, government rulers, scholars, and ordinary people all shape and live race and racisms in highly different ways. In this Writing Seminar, we will study the social, political, and scientific construction of the concept of race and the far-reaching global consequences of the applications of racism. At the conclusion of this course, you should be able to critique contemporary ideas that race originates from nature, explain how race has been socially constructed through economics, law, religion, and gender, and comprehend how human diversity does not fit tidily into categories of race.
Grading: Ugrd Abu Dhabi Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
  • Bulletin Categories: First Year Writing Seminar
  
WRIT-UH 1141  FYWS: Understanding Photography  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Spring  
What exactly is a photograph? The photographic image, since its invention in 1839, has become ubiquitous in almost every aspect of human life in almost every corner of the globe. According to some estimates, over 1.7 trillion photographs are taken daily around the world. This Writing Seminar explores the premise that the photograph, in all its diverse forms, has become for us what water is to fish: because it is an environment in which we are now completely immersed, we are no longer aware of its existence. This premise is intended as a provocation toward critical reflection. The course aims to defamiliarize what we accept too often as an object so familiar that it is essentially obvious in its meanings: the photograph. What relation to the real world does it have? How has photography changed who we are and what the world is? And how does photography mediate our relationship with others, be they family or members of a social or cultural group different from us? These large questions are approached through slow, close readings of particular photographs in a variety of formal and cultural contexts.
Grading: Ugrd Abu Dhabi Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
  • Bulletin Categories: First Year Writing Seminar
  
WRIT-UH 1142  FYWS: Genders and Falconry  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
This FYWS explores how women contributed to the history, methodology and community of falconry worldwide. The art of falconry - recognized as a UNESCO Intangible Heritage of Humanity - has often been viewed as a homosocial ritual tied to ideas of manhood and patriotism, whose legacy is to be transmitted from father to son. However, what if this seemingly obvious connection of the falcon and the man, obscures and conceals an alternative reality in which falconry had been and is a female practice, where the human-animal relation is built on symbols and signs that explicitly highlight a certain kind of femininity? Drawing on examples from the UAE, Asia, and Europe, students will analyze how women across the world have intentionally exploited falcon imagery and its connotations of class and privilege in their quests for emancipation and empowerment. They will reflect on how the performance of falconry has been - and is still - used to understand, define and/or transform social gender roles and ideas. Scrutinizing historical sources, visual material, or narrative accounts, students will analyze more generally the role of falcons in the constitution of our collective imagination, and, therefore also in the perception we have of the social, political, moral and divine order of our societies, and ultimately on how we see ourselves.
Grading: Ugrd Abu Dhabi Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
  • Bulletin Categories: First Year Writing Seminar
  
WRIT-UH 1143  FYWS: Reacting to the Past: Evidence-Based Public Health  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered Spring  
How do communities respond to public health crises? In this writing seminar, via a series of immersive role-playing games, students will explore the positions of historical actors who debate the pros and cons of genetically modified food aid in Southern Africa in 2002, consider approaches to the plague in England in 1349, and analyze the evidence (or lack thereof) for low-fat diets as a means to prevent cardiovascular disease in the United States in 1977. Students will experience multiple perspectives on each issue, engaging with evidence from the fields of agriculture, chemistry, economics, genetics, history, international relations, journalism, medicine, and politics in order to inform their thinking and writing. Three essays afford students opportunities to argue for evidence-based public health solutions to crises past or present. Students will come to understand how promoting the health of communities requires not only medical expertise but consideration of ethics, economics, and social dynamics.
Grading: Ugrd Abu Dhabi Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
  • Bulletin Categories: First Year Writing Seminar
  
WRIT-UH 1144  FYWS: Nonsense  (4 Credits)  
Typically offered occasionally  
There appears to be a lot of it sloshing around these days. The exponential rise in fake news, conspiracy theories, hoaxes, propaganda, misinformation, and disinformation would suggest that we're churning out much more of it than we used to. It's tempting to believe that our "post-truth era" is a strictly 21st-century phenomenon - driven by a lethal combination of new communication technologies, bad faith actors, and an increasingly polarized world. But in truth, the preponderance of nonsense has a long history - going at least as far back as when Plato called out Gorgias for being a fraudster or when Niccolò Machiavelli turned deception and equivocation into a public art form. It's also tempting to believe that so much of today's nonsense is little more than the social media protestations of an increasingly angry, distrusting, and disenfranchised mob. On the contrary, it's everywhere, and to some extent, we all knowingly indulge in it - smearing each other with our own nonsense and wallowing in the nonsense of others. It permeates almost every domain of our public lives - the media, business, law, politics, and corporate culture, but perhaps most troublingly of all where we should least expect to find it - in our intellectual culture: in the arts, the humanities, the social and natural sciences. So, what constitutes nonsense? Why is there so much of it around? What might we do to curb its spread? Why do some of us fall for it more than others? What can we do to call it out? And if we could wipe away all the world's nonsense, what might a world without nonsense look like? By drawing on the writings of Harry G. Frankfurt, G. A. Cohen, John Petrocelli, and Gordon Pennycook, these are some of the philosophical, sociological, and psychological questions we'll be exploring in the course.
Grading: Ugrd Abu Dhabi Graded  
Repeatable for additional credit: No  
  • Bulletin Categories: First Year Writing Seminar