First-Year Writing Seminar Spring- ENG 1111

Spring - 3 Credits


English 1168 - In Pursuit of Health and Wellbeing: Changing Beliefs, Trends and Practices

Krystyna Golkowska, PhD, Professor of English


This seminar traces the evolution of beliefs about health and disease from the 19th c to the present day. Throughout the semester, we will be applying a sociocultural perspective to multi-genre texts that reflect societal perceptions of wellness and prevalent practices of mind and body discipline. Whether it is the case of the Victorian obsession with wellness of the individual and the entire nation or the increasing medicalization of our society, maintaining healthy minds and bodies raises questions of agency and control. Thus, we will consider the role of gender and class as health determinants.

Since this is a writing intensive course, you will have to submit four formal essays in addition to shorter assignments.



English 1111 - Lights, Camera, Writing: Understanding Human Behavior Through Film

Rodney Sharkey, PhD, Professor of English

Recent changes in the nature of academic study have seen it widen its scope to incorporate film and other aspects of popular culture. Such changes make it imperative for philosophers to take film seriously as an art form on a par with the traditional genres of literature and theatre. Guided by a set of readings selected from contemporary philosophy, this course will examine the aims and associated responsibilities of contemporary film in society. For example, the role of cinema and television in shaping societies’ mores will be examined through readings of McLuhan and Žižek, and corresponding analysis of the films Quiz Show and The Truman Show. ‘What is the nature of social justice?’ is another recurring question the course will ask.


At the same time, the course will endeavor to provide an overview of the dominant ideologies generated by the Western film industry so that its role as both a shaper of public opinion and a critical commentator on social consensus will become more apparent. Moreover, the course also aims to enrich students’ writing skills as the repeated scrutiny of film form will result in an increased emphasis on the importance of narrative structure. During the course, students will undertake a series of sequenced assignments, and their revision. One of these will be a major multi-sourced paper, designed to help them recognize the unifying ideas that structure writing about culture in general. As a result, and at the conclusion of the course, students will have acquired the critical tools for a long and rewarding self-development program in appreciating film and the visual and narrative arts.


English 1168 - Health and Medical Humanities: Theory and Practice

Alan Weber, PhD, Professor of English

In this writing intensive course, we will look at the emerging fields of the health and medical humanities, including the health-related implications of literature, philosophy, art, ethics, history, sociology, etc. in clinical practice and medical education. Students will explore the evidence base for the use of the humanities in medicine. Topics include narrative medicine, gender and race in medicine, medical ethics, philosophy of medicine and art and medicine. Students will practice skills such as academic writing, timed writing, physicianship, public speaking, close observation, communication, and critical/analytical skills. Regular effective writing will be practiced throughout the course.



English 1111 - Islamic Medicine

Adam Larson, EdD, Lecturer, English as a Second Language

In the post-classical era (500-1450CE), the medicine practiced in lands ruled by various Muslim empires was the among the most advanced in the world. Scholars and physicians preserved, arranged, and elaborated on Greek, Persian, and Indian medical texts, synthesizing them into an all-encompassing approach to health and illness that endures until today. In this seminar, we explore Islamic medicine from the sixth century to its mature formulation in the thirteenth century. By closely reading translations of primary texts and relevant secondary scholarship, we seek to answer questions like: What is “Islamic” about Islamic medicine? How did people in medieval Islamic societies understand health and illness, and what kinds of diseases did they face? How did doctors practice and who was their competition? What is the legacy of Islamic medicine for contemporary society? A sequence of five essay assignments will develop your writing skills and offer you an opportunity to reflect on this unique and historically significant approach to medicine.