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Fall 2019 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: Cities

Stanley Chodorow

Emeritus Professor, History

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

This course will investigate instances when governments made major changes in the physical organization of large cities. We will study Rome in the fourth and fifteenth centuries, Paris in the nineteenth century, and New York in the twentieth century. In each case, we will look at how the cities were reorganized or changed, why the governments carried out the changes, and what difference the changes made in the way the cities functioned and represented both their political communities and their cultures. We will look carefully at the topography of these cities, at their geographical place in their countries or empires, at their political roles before and after the transformations, and at their social and economic characteristics.

CAT 1B: Origins

Guillermo Algaze

Professor, Anthropology

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

This CAT 1 course 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 technological innovation and symbolic representation. It presents a global historical overview of the general principles and patterns of past human development, and focuses particular attention on the interrelationships between demographic, cultural, and technological changes in the last 50,000 or so years of the human career.


Joe Bigham

Lecturer, CAT

Monday/Wednesday/Friday 1:00-1:50 p.m.

Course description coming soon!

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

William Tronzo

Teaching Professor, Visual Arts

Tuesday/Thursday 11:00 a.m.-12:20 p.m.

"It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world; we explain that world with words, but word 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 is what the present course sets out to do. Its subject in a chronological sense is the western tradition in art and architecture from antiquity to the present, which will introduce the student to the main periods and styles—ancient, medieval, renaissance, baroque, and modern. In a conceptual sense, however, it will be to provide a critical vocabulary for the analysis of visual experience and to familiarize the student with major categories and forms of artistic achievement across the board.

CAT 1E: Design Fiction

Ash Smith

Lecturer, CAT

Tuesday/Thursday 2:00-3:20 p.m.

This class will review fiction as a way of designing the future.