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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.

Learning Objectives

After completing CAT 1 and CAT 2, CAT 3 students should be confident in their ability to do the following:

  • Understand and practice effective research, including developing research questions and finding and evaluating appropriate sources.

  • Use research to make an effective multimodal and/or creative argument towards a specific audience.

  • Engage with cultural products, including art and popular culture, as the result of research but also as legitimate objects of research.

  • Develop an independent research project: find and evaluate appropriate sources, compose research genres (such as annotated bibliographies and literature reviews, etc.), and practice revision.

  • Develop independence in the composition process and effectively collaborate with peers in the process of research and development of a multimodal project.

Writing Skills

CAT 3 fosters the following skills:

  • Intersectional approaches to research.

  • Writing with research and developing a voice.

  • Respectful and responsible collaboration (interpersonal communication).

  • Multimodal/creative composition.

Core Concepts

By the end of CAT 3, students should be able to understand and define the below terms and ideas:

  • Resistance/revolution.

  • Interdisciplinarity.

  • Art as argument.

  • Research as a process.

Common Readings

All CAT 3 students will read these texts:

  • Walter Benjamin: "Thesis on History."

  • Octavia Butler: "A Few Rules for Predicting the Future."

Spring 2024 Courses


Amelia Glaser

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

How have humans, from the ancient world to the present, made themselves understood across languages? What methods have proved the most effective and under what circumstances? This course seeks to answer these questions by examining innovations in translation from the Rosetta Stone, to Biblical translation, to web-based language technology. You will read essays and articles exploring the possibilities and impossibilities of translating jokes, slang, and terms of endearment. We will discuss how translators, the "work horses of literature," have sought to render poetry into different languages. We will test new technologies that are changing the way we approach foreign texts. In-class exercises will allow you to try your hand at a variety of translation techniques. You do not need to know a foreign language for this class, but if you do you might have a chance to use it.

Creative Community: Disability and the Arts

Matthew Herbst

Associate Teaching Professor, MMW

Lisa Porter

Professor, Theatre and Dance
Tuesday/Thursday 2:00-3:20 p.m.

Disability is a manifestation of diversity that has often been ignored, marginalized, and denigrated. In response, this course provides an introduction to the topic, centering its inquiry on two central themes: community and creativity. We use an historical framework to situate the present as we imagine a future that moves beyond tolerance and accommodation to an affirmation of the dignity of all, the sine qua non of inclusive community. Our inquiry draws on the Arts and Humanities, through which we examine diverse forms of creative and communal expression. Along the way, we meet advocacy groups, theater companies, and intentional communities, through which people with disabilities challenged inequity, confronting cultural stigma, exclusionary social and legal boundaries, and institutionalization used to withhold fundamental civil and human rights. Through such agency, social awareness was raised, pathways of inclusion forged, and inclusive community made possible. PLEASE NOTE: Course content includes topics of abuse, violence (including sexual violence), discrimination, injustice, and inequity in many guises, which are disturbing and thus, can be triggering for some. Consider this before committing to the class. If you have concerns about your readiness to engage this challenging content, please speak with the CAT program or with the course faculty, and/or consider another CAT 3 option. Staying in the course is acknowledgement that you are ready to complete the course and its assignments. Please be mindful of your own wellbeing.

What If?: Fearsome Futures and Possible Presents

Jennifer Marchisotto

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

Imagination is subversive. Creators of speculative art have long used it to undermine power structures, providing alternative views of what our world could look like. This CAT 3 course will look at the ways creators use art to warn us of pending catastrophe or show us the possibility of a different present, directing our gaze to better understand contemporary experience by reflecting it in fantastic, fun, and sometimes horrifying ways. We will read, watch, and listen to texts that contemplate the ways ability, gender, race, and other elements of identity intersect with contemporary culture and the environment to say something about who we are and where we are going. Possible texts and authors include Black Panther, Octavia Butler, Ted Chiang, N.K. Jemisin, and others.

Futurism: Histories and Political Aesthetics of Tomorrow

Babak Rahimi

Associate Professor, Literature
Tuesday/Thursday 9:30-10:50 a.m.

This is a course about speculative imaginings of the future and how being (or becoming) modern is reimagined through the future. Futurist imaginaries under study range from artistic movements that celebrate the power and speed of the machine to speculative fiction that envision futures in diasporic realities. While the first half of the course looks at conceptions of futurism, the second half focuses on Afrofuturism and Muslim Futurism as case studies. Although various themes are studied through assigned academic readings, much of this course will revolve around cinematic and literary works of fiction such as Binti, Frankenstein, Metropolis, and Modern Times.

CAT 3CE: Environmental Futures: Community-Engaged Learning

Phoebe Bronstein

Associate Teaching Professor, CAT
Monday/Wednesday 10:00-11:50 a.m.

This CAT 3CE course is restricted to students who have applied for and been accepted to the Community Engagement Program.

This small, seminar-style CAT 3CE course will examine how popular culture—magazine/newspaper articles, literature, film, and television—has and continues to imagine the environment, with particular attention to the climate crisis. From contemporary films like Okja and Weathering with You to Hollywood's The Day After Tomorrow, we will examine how mass media promotes, questions, and reinforces environmental politics. Paired with our course content, this course will foreground community engagement by having students volunteer with local elementary schools in partnership with the Sage Garden Project. Through discussion and reflection on both the course content and your volunteer experiences, we will ask how these stories we tell help shape and propel environmental change. For instance, 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.

Writing Support

There are a variety of writing resources around campus for students to take advantage of. In addition to CAT TAs' office hours, students may visit the Writing Hub in the Teaching and Learning Commons for help with their writing assignments. The Office of Academic Support and Instructional Services (OASIS) also offers a variety of tutoring programs, including the Language Arts Tutorial Services (LATS).