Fall 2018 CAT 1 Courses

CAT 1 courses (fall quarter, four units) teach critical reading and drafting by examining how culture, art, and technology have intersected in the past. Please note that in order to enroll in CAT 1, you must have either completed the Entry Level Writing Requirement or be concurrently enrolled in AWP 1 during the fall quarter. For questions about concurrently enrolling in CAT 1 and AWP 1, please contact the Undergraduate Instruction Coordinator, Lynette Brossard.


CAT 1A: Origins

Guillermo Algaze

Professor, Anthropology

Monday/Wednesday/Friday 9:00-9:50 a.m.

CAT 1: Origins focuses on a key question: "How did human beings come to have culture, art, and technology in the first place?" The course is centered on the human capacity for symbolic representation, artistic expression, and technological innovation.  More specifically, it presents a historical overview of how changes in these capacities allowed Homo sapiens to spread across the globe. Additionally, the course examines in detail the demographic, health, economic, and cultural consequences of the onset of food production and early village life across the world following the end of the last glaciation, 12,000 or so years ago.


CAT 1B: A Hollywood History: Filming America from Boxing Cats to Jaws

Phoebe Bronstein

Assistant Teaching Professor, CAT

Monday/Wednesday/Friday 10:00-10:50 a.m.

This writing and communication course will focus on the history of American film from early one-shot shorts like Edison’s Boxing Cats to the first summer blockbuster, Jaws. As film became a mass medium in the early part of the twentieth century, so too did Hollywood shape and react to social and political forces. Understanding the history of Hollywood will help us better understand, critique, and appreciate today’s popular culture landscape. Thus, as we learn to read film and read about film history, we will use a close analysis of Hollywood productions to consider topics in American culture from racism to sex (and Hollywood scandals!), violence, and humor. Potential films we will watch include (but are not limited to) Scarface (1933), Modern Times (1936), Gilda (1946), Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), Bonnie and Clyde (1968), and Shaft (1971). As we read across a variety of genres—from films to academic articles and popular press pieces—we will develop critical reading and writing skills that will prepare you for the writing-intensive CAT 2 and to read college-level material across your other courses.


CAT 1C: Revolutions

Amelia Glaser

Associate Professor, Literature

Monday/Wednesday/Friday 2:00-2:50 p.m.

This course will address the concept of “revolution” in the modern world. Each week we will discuss a major historical revolutionary moment. You will read one philosophical text that emerged as a result of that revolution, and watch, read, or experience one or two artistic or literary works having to do with that event. Students will gain an appreciation for the way that the concepts of revolution and rebellion have shaped rhetoric around nationhood and statehood. They will also gain familiarity with major thinkers, including Mao, Marx, Tocqueville, Arendt, and Luxemburg. The major political revolutions will include those in France, the United States, China, Russia, Cuba, and Haiti, as well as the Arab Spring and the Ukrainian “Maidan.”


CAT 1D: Hearing History

David Borgo

Professor, Music

Tuesday/Thursday 9:30-10:50 a.m.

Humans have undergone and effected an enormous amount of change in the past 70,000 years. We have developed new ways to think, imagine, communicate, and live together. Yet we tend to learn about this history through vision, by looking at old artifacts and reading old manuscripts hoping to interpret what they might mean. The world, however, was never a quiet place. What can an auditory history offer? What role has sound, music, and oral culture played in our abilities to imagine, communicate, and feel together? This course offers a sweeping, multi-disciplinary history of Homo sapiens that adds sound, music, and listening to the mix.


CAT 1E: Visual Experience: A User's Guide to the History of Art and Architecture

William Tronzo

Teaching Professor, Visual Arts

Tuesday/Thursday 3:30-4:50 p.m.

“It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world; we explain that world with words, but words can never undo the fact that we are surrounded by it. The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.” -John Berger, Ways of Seeing

Images are inescapable; some say that they are fundamental to the way in which our world is formed. We easily absorb images, but unlike words, we have not been schooled in a methodology that would allow us to approach them critically. This introductory writing and communication course sets out to teach students to approach visual texts with a critical eye. Its subject in a chronological sense is the western tradition in art and architecture from antiquity to the present, which will introduce students to the main periods and styles—ancient, medieval, renaissance, baroque, and modern. In a conceptual sense, however, the course will provide a critical vocabulary for the analysis of visual experience and to familiarize students with major categories and forms of artistic achievement across the board.