Winter 2018 CAT 2 Courses

CAT 2 courses (winter quarter, six units) are writing intensive, foregrounding argumentation, revision, and writing as process by examining case studies of culture, art, and technology interacting in the present moment. Please note that in order to enroll in CAT 2, you must have completed the Entry Level Writing Requirement.


CAT 2A: REMIX: Authorship of the “Found” in “Public” Space

Michael Trigilio

Professor, Visual Arts

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


This CAT 2 class has two goals. The first is to introduce students to an art/cultural history populated by works of remix, appropriation, and derivation. From the Gutenberg Bible to Andy Warhol to The Simpsons, we will look at the ways creators rely on a history of appropriation and quotation to generate new creative works utilizing evolving technologies and tools. The second goal of the course is to provide some resources for students to improve their writing, focusing especially on revising and precision.

CAT 2B

Amelia Glaser

Professor, Literature

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


“Brooklyn Bridge,” wrote the revolutionary Russian poet Vladimir Mayakovsky on his 1926 visit to the United States, “Yes…that’s quite a thing!” Russians and Americans have long viewed each other with a mixture of fascination, fear, and admiration. Recent portrayals of Russia in the American media have led many to reconsider the relationship between the two countries. In this course, we will study how Russia and the United States, from 1917 to the present, have portrayed each other in film, on television, in art, in literature, and in the news media. We will begin with a brief overview of historical parallels and contrasts, such as the nearly simultaneous abolition of slavery in the US and serfdom in Russia. We will discuss American views of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and discuss Russian-American relations before World War II, during the war, and in the Cold War period. We will examine fantasies and fears involving spies, sabotage, and terrorism. The readings and lectures will be designed to help us better understand both countries’ views of one another today, the relationship between “right” and “left,” freedom and Wikileaks, protest and state power, truth and myth in both countries.

CAT 2C: Religion, Migration, and America

Jennifer Pantoja

Lecturer, CAT

Monday/Wednesday/Friday 12:00-12:50 p.m. LEDDN AUD


“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” -Declaration of Independence

This writing and communication course explores the depiction of the “other” in religious literature (Judaism, Christianity, Mormonism, Islam, Buddhism, etc.). Using this framework, we will consider how religion has and continues to shape encounters between different cultural groups in America (for example, the indigenous population and French Catholics, Christians and Muslims). We will also grapple with various United States immigration laws and how these policies define the “other” in contrast to the dominant cultural landscape (Indian Appropriation Act, Chinese Exclusion Act, Executive Order 9066, DACA, etc.). Some other questions we will consider: Who is an American? How has religion shaped American immigration policy? What role has forced migration played in America’s history? How has technology and visual culture influenced the dissemination of religious ideologies (Quaker Abolitionist movement, talk radio, invention of the pill/birth control, same sex marriage, abortion rights)?

The readings for the course will include contemporary works by immigrant authors, US immigration laws, and sacred literature related to the “other.” We will also interact with popular publications, podcasts, and documentaries. Possible assignments for this course may include an ethnographic interview, an analysis of a memoir or visual piece related to course topics, or a close reading of either a Supreme Court case related to religion or one of the United States immigration laws. Critical inquiry, exploration of multiple genres and mediums of communication, and the mechanics of the writing process will be emphasized in both lecture and discussion section.


CAT 2D: The Process of Music: A Study of Listening, Composing, and Performing

Joe Bigham

Lecturer, CAT

Tuesday/Thursday 5:00-6:20 p.m. LEDDN AUD


This course examines how we actively negotiate music as listeners and musicians by examining music’s layers of process and procedure. We will consider how music is learned, performed, composed, recorded, and heard in examples including jazz (Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew), hip-hop (J-Dilla’s Donuts), rock (The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields” and Radioheads’ In Rainbows), and art-music (Terry Riley’s In C). We will give special attention to the technologies that have transformed musical processes, ranging from Auto-Tune to YouTube. Section work will draw parallels between musical processes and rhetorical composition. You will describe the layers and procedures of musical activity through written and graphical descriptions. You will also document your own learning experience, by learning a simple instrument, song, or instrumental technique using online media. A final essay project will argue for or against one of the processes we examine in the course. Our goals in the course are multifaceted: developing the skills to document process, evaluating and critiquing process, and considering music as linked activities rather than a fixed product.

CAT 2E: A House Is (Not) a Home: Theorizing Race, Gender, and Technology at Home

Phoebe Bronstein

Assistant Teaching Professor, CAT

Monday/Wednesday/Friday 10:00-10:50 a.m. MANDE B-153


This writing and communication course will examine the idea of the American home, family, and domesticity as these concepts and ideologies developed in and around the television. Not only was television physically integrated into the new postwar domestic space (literally built into the structure of suburban homes), but its programming defined new—white, middle class, and suburban—ideas of the home and asserted raced and gendered roles within that space. We will think of television as an active site (versus the boob tube or “vast wasteland”) reshaping the home, inspiring new technologies, and even familial relations (like the advent of the TV dinner). To this end, we will start by asking, what was and is television? In many ways this is a television history class, but we will also consider contemporary television families and how we watch television now—from appointment viewing in primetime to Netflix binging on our computers. In tracking the evolution of domestic tropes (like the housewife or the maid), the technology itself, and how domestic space is articulated as raced and gendered, we will ask questions about what home and television meant and continue to mean as a function of Americanness.

We will use these explorations to hone our writing and critical thinking skills, perform close readings, and learn how to make and support ethical arguments. We will read a combination of academic and popular press articles and watch a lot of television and hopefully these texts will serve as inspiration and models for your course projects, which might include essays, short writing assignments, and a video essay.