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 completed the Entry Level Writing Requirement.

CAT 1 Course Goals

Critical Reading and Writing

  • Find and summarize academic arguments.
  • Use reading and writing for thinking, inquiry, learning, and communicating.
  • Identify and explicate a text's purpose and argument.

Genre and Rhetorical Knowledge

  • Understand how genres shape reading and writing.
  • Read critically across several genres and modes (from written to visual to digital).
  • Identify and use genre conventions ranging from structure and paragraphing to tone and mechanics appropriate to the rhetorical situation.
  • Control surface features such as syntax, grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
  • Practice appropriate means of documenting work.


  • Develop strategies for generating, editing, revising, and proofreading.

CAT 1A: From Hillbilly Music to Hip-Hop: US Culture and Popular Music

Joe Bigham

Lecturer, CAT

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

This course examines US musical history as a lens into how we understand, interpret, and engage with our collective pasts. What have musicians, music critics, and fans said about the music they listen to, and by extension themselves and others? As the introduction to the CAT writing sequence, we will focus on the interpretation and understanding of past music and musical writing. Musical examples may include (but aren't limited to) Appalachian folk music, 1970s soul music, 1980s heavy metal, and 1990s hip-hop. Our readings will range from fan-based writing to scholarly articles from musicology and ethnomusicology. We will hear and see how music shaped a sense of both individual and collective identity within US cultural movements. Writing in short blog posts and longer essay forms, we will develop the ability to summarize, write about, and engage with musical culture and history.

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 Profesor, 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: Music and Globalization

David Borgo

Professor, Music

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

Creating and appreciating music has always been a global phenomenon, but the possibility for specific musical styles and performances to circulate globally is relatively new. Using various musical "encounters" as case studies, this course explores the broader role that culture, art, and technology play in globalization. Music, as a particularly mobile and popular form of cultural practice, offers a compelling window into these processes and issues. What are the dynamics and mechanisms of musical communication and musical commodification? How have various technological innovation—from sound recording and radio to the internet—inflected musical production and consumption? When was the "world music" label first used, and how has it been applied and understood? Ultimately, this course explores changes in music, but also changes in musical representations and constructions, and how music, in a globalizing world, can both enable and hinder cross-cultural understanding.

CAT 1E: Visual ReExperience: A Nonlinear Guide to a History of Looking at Things

Michael Ano

Lecturer, CAT

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

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 from antiquity to the present, which will introduce students to the 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.

Imagine a box. Filled with pictures of every drawing ever made. At the back of the box is the first thing and at the front is the most recent. As we look through the box only one thing can be before it and one after and so we flip through image after image seeing how A connects to B connects to C to D to E to F...but how does F connect to A? What if we poured the images out of the box. And made a pile. Now F is next to A and C and Z and covering part of G and M is upside-down. The network of connections expands exponentially. Maybe the things we thought we knew still have more to give.

CAT 1F: Sacred Space Formation

Jennifer Pantoja

Lecturer, CAT

Monday/Wednesday/Friday 8:00-8:50 a.m.

Why do certain locations hold more significance than others? How come people behave differently inside a synagogue, church, or mosque than at a sporting event? What is the difference between sacred and profane space? Are there specific criteria a location must meet in order to be considered sacred space? How does a patch of earth become a "magnet" of sacred revelation?

This course will explore the construction of sacred space in one city, Jerusalem, over three millennia, primarily as the symbolic focus of three faiths: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. When was this location recognized as wholly different than the space around it? How did this city evolve into a place of pilgrimage for so many religious traditions? Emphasis will be placed on the intersection of religion and culture as well as religion and interpretation. While exploring the city's origins and cultural development, present-day news coverage associated with this particular sacred space will also be highlighted.