Skip to main content

Winter 2020 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 passed CAT 1.

CAT 2 Course Goals

Writing and Rhetoric

  • Practice clear prose that advances the rhetorical purpose.
  • Choose a tone that is appropriate to the subject and audience.

Argument: Organization, Evidence, and Analysis

  • Craft and organize a compelling argument and support it with relevant and carefully-evaluated evidence.
  • Develop an ability to read, critique, and create arguments in diverse genres including, when appropriate, multimedia texts.
  • Identify, analyze, and respond to explicit and implicit arguments, and understand why some parts of an argument might not be visible or open to debate.
  • Acknowledge, react to, and effectively integrate counterarguments and other points of view (such as from readings) into arguments.

Revision and Citation

  • Practice writing as revision by using revision effectively to rethink and reimagine your work.
  • Practice proper citation and documentation of sources, including in multimodal assignments.

CAT 2A: Cities and States

Guillermo Algaze

Professor, Anthropology

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

Our section of CAT 2 focuses on the cultural and technical transformations that made early cities, states, and civilizations across the world possible. Specifically, the course focuses on the emergence of the city and the state as new technologies of spatial and social organization, respectively, in human societies. Along the way we explore the emergence of writing systems, organized religion, the role of warfare on social evolution, the emergence of ideologies of kinship associated with cities and states, and how socially-stratified urban societies used are to legitimize the new emerging order.


CAT 2B: Law of Men and Laws of Nature: Science, Technology, and Law

Tal Golan

Associate Professor, History

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

For this track of CAT 2, we will examine various case studies at the intersections of science, technology, policy, and law that will help us to better understand how these institutions interact and cooperate with each other to maintain truth, authority, and social order. A few of the questions that will guide this writing and communication course are: What is the relation between truth and justice? How does one make a scientific argument? How does one make a legal argument? How do law and science cooperate?


CAT 2C: The Contemporary Gothic: Literature of Horror, Mystery, and Grief

Liz Gumm

Lecturer, CAT

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

For this CAT 2 course, you will develop your argumentative writing and analysis skills by exploring gothic literature as it exists in the contemporary period. Typically, "gothic" is associated with the ghostly fiction of the Romantic period of the late eighteenth/early nineteenth centuries or with the "goth" fashion of the late twentieth/early twenty-first centuries. Yet, gothic is much more than "old" literature or commercialized counterculture. Gothic describes stories and storytelling strategies that serve important purposes for societies, particularly ones in the midst of radical cultural changes, such as ours. Gothic literature reflects cultural anxieties, fears, desires, and values, through tales of haunted houses, monsters, violence, odd communities, and other unsettling elements. Through short stories, novellas, and the occasional film and TV show, we will examine, evaluate, and even challenge what Steven King calls the "dirty job" of scary stories to relieve these cultural anxieties.

One of the major goals of this course is to teach you how to read the larger world around you through a particular lens and participate in larger conversations about community, family, identity, history, memory, the body, cyberspace, and the purpose of fiction, among other important topics. Authors in this class include Octavia Bulter, Philip K. Dick, Karen Russell, Victor LaVelle, Shirley Jackson, and Steven King.


CAT 2D: Asian Diasporas in Film and Media

Hoang Nguyen

Associate Professor, Literature

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

Asians are everywhere: on college and university campuses, in high-tech companies and ethnic restaurants, from the west and east coasts to the flyover states in between. This course examines the ubiquitous presence of Asians in the United States and around the world through film and visual media. Asians are considered forever foreigners ("Where are you really from?") but also model minorities. On the one hand, Asians have been described as the threatening yellow peril and as robotic workers taking over America. On the other, Asians are loved and envied for their popular cultures (anime and K-pop and dramas, for example) and their cuisines (for example, General Tso's chicken, pad thai, phở). The course considers the reasons why Asians venture far from Asia: to seek asylum from war-torn countries, to seek a good education and well-paying jobs, to search for family, to look for love, to find a new home. We will also consider the reasons why diasporic Asians want to return to their countries of origin: to reunite with family, to find themselves, to seek closure.

The Asian diasporic figures we will examine include the immigrant, the refugee, the migrant worker, the adoptee, the restaurateur, and the Internet bride. We will consider the following questions: How does diaspora challenge, and reinforce, national identity? How does it disrupt gender and sexual norms? What intimate relationships does diaspora make possible and disallow? How does it interrogate notions of ethnic, racial, and cultural authenticity? In what ways does it trouble, and reinvest in, the idea of an originary homeland?

The films we will study may include Flower Drum Song (1961), The Way of the Dragon (1972), Surname Viet Given Name Nam (1989), First Person Plural (2000), Seeking Asian Female (2012), and Crazy Rich Asians (2018).

Students will develop and hone skills in film and media analysis, critical thinking, and writing and argumentation that can be applied to close readings of diverse visual and written texts.


CAT 2E: Art and Brain

Pinar Yoldas

Assistant Professor, Visual Arts

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

Neuroscience is one of the most rapidly developing areas in biological sciences with major projects like the White House BRAIN Initiative or the Allen Brain Atlas. It is no surprise that many subfields of neuroscience have emerged within the last decade such as neuroeconomics, neurophilosophy, and neuroaesthetics. In this class we will be focusing on the interactions between neuroscience and art, primarily looking at studies that focus on how art is represented in the brain. The course will focus on perception, emotion, memory, and creativity to offer a scientific understanding of art.