Reading & Composition
Frontiers and Borderlands
The frontier is a tricky place to define: within, yet apart; the same, yet different. It shouldn’t surprise us that literary and cinematic depictions of these peculiar spaces often contain unexpected contradictions. Think, for example, of the the Hollywood western – the genre most famous for depicting the American frontier. These movies are set on the outskirts of civilization, in the forests and deserts of the American West, and yet they’re all about the things that make up civilization: law and order, financial stability, and the family. The frontier is a space of exploration and collision; a place where definitions are up for grabs, and where the usual rules might not operate. This semester, we will look at works of film and literature that will take us to the US/Mexico border, the forests of northern Morocco, the refugee camps of Europe, and even to outer space.
This class fulfills the university’s first semester requirement for Reading and Composition. As such, this is a writing-intensive course that focuses on building an essential skill: the argumentative academic essay. Assignments will focus on close reading and literary analysis. Over the course of the semester, we will work on developing persuasive and complex written arguments through drafting, peer review and revision.