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CAT 2 courses (six units, winter quarter) are writing intensive, foregrounding argumentation, revision, and writing as process by examining case studies of culture, art, and technology interacting in the present moment. Students must have passed CAT 1 in order to enroll in CAT 2.

Learning Objectives

Building off what you learned in CAT 1, in CAT 2 you will:

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

  • Craft and organize a compelling argument and support it with relevant and carefully-evaluated evidence.

  • Synthesize a variety of sources and points of view on a single topic (i.e. in service of an argument).

  • Practice proper citation and documentation of sources, including in multimodal assignments.

  • Develop your own writing voice, using revision to hone your argument and reflect on your own writing practice.

Core Concepts

By the end of CAT 2, students should be able to understand and define the following terms and ideas:

  • Genre and medium/mode.

  • Interdisciplinarity.

  • Form and content.

  • Parts of an argument.

Winter 2021 Courses

CAT 2: Cities and States

Guillermo Algaze

Professor, Anthropology
Monday/Wednesday/Friday 11:00-11:50 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 are used to legitimize the new emerging order.

CAT 2: 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, K-pop, and dramas, for example) and their cuisines (for example, General Tso's chicken, pad thai, and 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 2: The Contemporary Gothic: Literature of Horror, Mystery, and Grief

Liz Gumm

Lecturer, CAT
Monday/Wednesday/Friday 9:00-9:50 a.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 television 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 2: Russia and the United States

Amelia Glaser

Associate Professor, Literature
Tuesday/Thursday 11:00 a.m.-12:20 p.m.

"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, and have led artists, translators, and activists to seek new forms of collaboration. 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 United States 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," protest and state power, and truth and myth in both countries. We will also discuss how artist and activists have sought to bridge the distance between North America and Eastern Europe during a year of social distancing, protest, and political change.