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PWR 1NC: From Green Cards to Gaming Avatars: Forms of Identity

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Fall 2021: Section 1 MW 9:30-11:15AM; Section 2 MW 11:30AM-1:15PM

Winter 2022: Not offered

Spring 2022: Not offered

Units: 4

Grade option: Letter (ABCD/NP) 

Prerequisite: None

Course Feature: WR-1 requirement

What information does your Instagram profile share about you? What about your passport? From code-switching speech patterns, to knowing what personal anecdote belongs in a group-text and what belongs in a college application essay, the different sites in which our identity manifests produce different versions of our selves. Through research and writing, this class explores identity’s forms, and how these forms’ restrictions are challenged through subversion and revision.

Whether you’re interested in forensic DNA profiles, the Met Gala’s fashion, Taylor Swift’s album artwork, astrology charts, Meyers Briggs personality types, or any other form through which identity is represented, this class will give you the chance to follow your interests, as you explore the relationship between form and content. Students have previously asked questions including: how do tech entrepreneurs’ fashion choices uphold or undercut the industry’s prejudices?; what do SETI’s communications to outer space reveal about the people of earth?; how can hospital intake forms contribute to racially biased medical practices?; and how might gait recognition software negatively impact the LGBTQIA community?

Major Assignments

Rhetorical Analysis

(1500-1800 words; 5-6 pages) This assignment asks you to choose a text or object intended to identify an individual (e.g. a political ad, a music video, an immigration application, a confessional poem) and analyze how this text’s form determines its content.

Texts in Conversation Essay

(1800-2400 words; 6-8 pages) In this assignment, you will select a topic related to our course’s theme that interests you (some ideas include: law enforcement’s use of facial recognition software, Egyptian funerary masks, Syrian refugees’ legal papers, the portrait paintings of Yayoi Kusama, or nineteenth-century “freedom papers”) and read widely on this topic in order to understand the conversation around you topic and develop a compelling research question that will form the basis of your Research-Based Argument.

Research-Based Argument

(3600-4500 words; 12-15 pages) For the course’s culminating assignment, you will build on your “Texts in Conversation”, developing a provocative argument in response to your research question through the use of primary and secondary sources.

PWR 1 Winter Catalog

PWR 1 Spring Catalog