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CAT 3 courses (six units, spring quarter) are writing and research intensive, focusing on collaboration, research, and art-making by speculating on how the relationships between culture, art, and technology will be transformed in the future. Students must have passed CAT 2 in order to enroll in CAT 3.

Course Goals

Writing and Argumentation

  • Develop an ability to read, understand, critique, write, and make your own arguments and assumptions in texts in diverse genres including multimodal texts (such as film, television, posters, photography, and digital genres).

  • Organize and support an argument effectively with useful evidence and clear analysis.

  • Use the revision process consistently and effectively by clearly progressing from draft to draft and assignment to assignment.


  • Understand and evaluate relevant sources.

  • Cite texts and arguments fairly and effectively.

  • Use sources effectively by drawing key examples from research to support arguments, creativity, and art-making.

  • Develop an independent research project and understand key components of research such as literature review (and annotated bibliography), proposal process, and revision.

Collaboration and Art-Making

  • Develop effective ways to collaborate with groups of peers.

  • Use digital methods to enhance collaboration.

Spring 2021 Courses

CAT 3: Queering Climate Change

Brad Werner

Professor, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

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

The dominant discourse on climate change centers on the past and possible future trajectories mapped out by scientists for Earth's climate, the origin of climate change in anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, the disastrous consequences that will ensue if action isn't taken immediately, and the secure and sustainable, although perhaps difficult, future that will result if the advice of scientists, engineers, and policymakers is followed. In effect, if the future is put in the hands of these experts, catastrophe will be be averted. This discourse has given rise to a focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions through incentives or restrictions and has narrowed popular and political discussion on climate change to peripheral arguments over whether change is happening, whether anthropogenic emissions are responsible, and what forms of green technology and geoengineering are best.

In this course, we are going to queer climate change by critiquing this discourse and envisioning alternate futures. First, we will sample well-established critical analysis frameworks such as indigenous ways of knowing, ecofeminism, ecowomxnism, critical race theory, postcolonialism, intersectionality, disaster capitalism/NGO industrial complex, environmental justice, crip theory, and queer theory to provide us with a lens and a set of tools to deconstruct the assumptions and logic that underlay climate change discourse. Then, guided by the foregrounding of marginalized voices, including BIPOC, People from the Global South, Womxn, Dissident Artists, People with Disabilities, Activists, and Queers, we will open up and explore the space of possible societal relationships to Earth's climate.

Students in this course will construct arguments surrounding climate change through writing, presentations, and art to chart an alternate description of where we've been, where we are, and where we are going. Read more about this class at


Adam Burgasser

Professor, Physics

Course description coming soon!

CAT 3: Disability, Inclusion, and the Arts

Matthew Herbst

Director, Making of the Modern World

Lisa Porter

Professor, Theatre and Dance

Asynchronous lectures

Course description coming soon!

CAT 3: Environmental Futures: Media, Technology, and the Future of the Planet

Phoebe Bronstein

Assistant Teaching Professor, CAT

Synchronous lectures

This CAT 3 course will examine how popular culture—magazine/newspaper articles, literature, film, and television—has and continues to imagine the future of the environment and the climate crisis. From contemporary films like Okja and Weathering with You to documentaries like March of the Penguins and Hollywood's The Day After Tomorrow, we will examine how mass media promotes, questions, and reinforces environmental politics. How can these future worlds help us understand and engage with our past, current, and future relationship to the environment? How do these films shape our own relationship with the planet? How do these visions sooth or exacerbate anxieties about topics like global warming? Potential topics we will cover include (but are not limited to) the climate crisis; capitalism and the environment; race, gender, and the environment; technology and the environment; and the politics of food. This course is driven by research, collaboration, and creativity—using film/literature/television texts to help us question and engage with ideas about the future of the planet. The texts we read, watch, and discuss will thus serve as models and inspiration for your own research projects. While there will be some assigned reading, much of what you read for this course will be articles of your own choosing, which will provide grounding for your original and collaborative final research projects: crafting a short television episode or film (fiction or documentary) that engages with questions and topics we've covered in class.