Fall 2013 CCE Course Offerings
To enroll in any of these seminars, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 914-395-2205. Enrollment is limited and available on a space-available basis.
Instructor: Carol Zoref
Wednesdays 1:30-3:30 PM in the Wrexham Sun Porch Classroom
September 11-Decemeber 18, 2013
This writing workshop originates from the belief that every writer is first and always a reader. Class discussions will focus on close readings of 19th, 20th and 21st century stories, novels, and essays examined through the lens of narrative design. Dovetailing with this endeavor will be conference work dedicated to student writing. The initial emphasis will be on analytical writing, through which students will explore the intimate relationships between the reader, the writer, and the text that persuade us to brave the powerful, disquieting and illuminating terrain of the cathartic experience. Opportunities for creative work will be introduced as students achieve fluency in the elements of narrative craft.
Tools for understanding will be close and careful readings of the texts, highly participatory class discussions, weekly study groups with other students, and regularly scheduled writing assignments. Readings will be chosen from among such authors as James Baldwin, Charles Dickens, Edward P. Jones, Toni Morrison, Alice Munro, Flannery O'Connor, Cynthia Ozick, Susan Sontag, Mark Twain, Eudora Welty and Virginia Woolf. A very intensive writing course.
Literature, Culture and Politics in U.S. History, 1840s-1920s
Instructor: Lyde Sizer
Mondays 1:00-3:00 PM in the Wrexham 2nd Floor Classroom
September 9-December 16, 2013
In this course we will use both classic and popular texts in literary history to open up the political and cultural issues of the day. The assumption behind this course is that the public words and stories that Americans choose to tell have meaning, that they reflect ideas, concerns, presumptions, and intentions about their time period. To help decode the historical significance of these texts we will use a short history of the U.S. focusing on the theme of freedom to accompany primary texts. Other themes of particular significance will include the constructing of national identity, class and class consciousness, the experience and meaning of immigration, slavery and particularly race, and the political significance of gender and sexuality. Authors will include short classics by well-known writers—Herman Melville, Frederick Douglass, Mark Twain, W.E.B. Dubois, F. Scott Fitzgerald—along with texts of great contemporary appeal, like Fanny Fern’s Ruth Hall, Horatio Alger’s Ragged Dick, and Jack London’s The Call of the Wild, among others. We will work hard and attentively on the craft of analytic writing (and rewriting), as well on how to speak in a concise and articulate way about a literary and historical text.
A Newly Re-enchanted World: Secularism, Religion and the Limits of Modern Society
Instructor: David Peritz
Mondays 6:30-8:30 PM in the Wrexham Sun Porch Classroom
September 9-December 16, 2013
For the last three hundred years many of the world’s most enlightened thinkers have predicted the beginning of humanity’s first ‘disenchanted’ epoch: a world from which God and organized religion withdrew, leaving us alone to understand nature scientifically and to create meaning for ourselves. At the dawn of the 21st century we witness a rather different reality, a major religious resurgence in societies throughout the world. Internationally, religion has replaced ideology as the most important axis of conflict. At home controversies between religion and science roil our politics, with even some secular critics claiming that ‘scienticism’ is its own kind of fundamentalism. Meanwhile, fundamentalism proper—forms of faith that deny that sacred texts are always subject to human interpretation—is proving among the most popular and dynamic sources of religious faith. This course tackles issues emerging in the new field of post-secular studies, which starts by acknowledging that traditional forms of religiosity often play an important role in the civil life of advanced modern societies. The course will focus on the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) and modern and contemporary issues, especially (1) the persistence of religion as a main source of practical belief (especially in ‘secular’ societies), (2) religion’s reemergence as a major axis of international and cross-cultural conflict (specifically the clash between Judeo-Christian and Islamic faiths), and (3) ‘secularism and its discontents’ within modern, Western liberal societies.
The course will focus on the following questions. On the one hand, are religious worldviews and rituals unrivalled in the ability to create a sense of meaning, purpose and belonging in the world? If so, where does religion’s unique power come from and what are the obstacles to transferring it onto secular culture and philosophies? On the other hand, taking into account post-secular insights, can we still salvage the ‘secular’ project of taming fundamentalist political theologies and the messianic zeal and disastrous certitudes they can generate? Is it possible for persons who subscribe to different religions or hold widely varying attitudes (from the deeply religious to the aggressively secular) to nevertheless understand one another, engage in meaningful political and ethical discourse, reach some basic understanding about how to live together, and embrace tolerance and the idea of a non-sectarian state? To address these questions, we will read about religion, including theological and philosophical texts, and then turn to works that consider the persistence of religion and its social and political implications from the perspectives of the sociology of religion, political theory and cultural studies.
Writing and Research from thought piece to conference paper
Instructor: Pat Dunn
Wednesdays 5:00 -6:00 PM in the Wrexham 2nd Floor Classroom
September11 -December 18, 2013
Together we will practice the fundamentals of writing here at Sarah Lawrence College. We will write and revise (emphasis on revise) the work we are producing for our other classes: the thought pieces, essays, and conference papers. We will learn how to identify a workable thesis statement and how to find and incorporate the data to develop an argument that will support this statement. We will work on structure and smooth transitions. We will work on strong beginnings and earned conclusions.
This course is for the student who is transitioning back to the writing life and for those who feel they could use more writing practice.
Developing a Better Understanding of Our Increasingly Quantitative World
Instructor: Daniel King
Tuesdays 5:00-7:00 PM in the Wrexham Dining Room Classroom
September10 –October 15, 2013
This one-credit seminar will investigate various topics aimed at strengthening and extending crucial quantitative skills. Topics will be drawn from basic mathematical skills (fractions, percents, proportions), data analysis (histograms and other visual devices, numerical summary measures including mean, median, standard deviation and percentiles) and data models (normal curve and other distributions) and, if time permits, foundational topics in probability theory.
Patricia Dunn earned her MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College where she has taught in the Writing Institute for the past ten years. She also serves as the Director of Graduate Support Services and a Don in CCE. She is the author of the novel Rebels By Accident, Alikai Press, 2012. Her writing has appeared in Global City Review, Salon.com, Women’s eNews, The Christian Science Monitor, The Village Voice, The Nation, and L.A. Weekly, the Portland Review of Books, among others.. Her work has been anthologized in Stories of Illness and Healing: Women Write Their Bodies; Progressive Muslim Identities: Personal Stories from the U.S. and Canada; and, most recently, in the bestselling anthology, Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women.
Daniel King has taught in the Mathematics Department at Sarah Lawrence College since 1997 and currently holds the Sara Yates Exley Chair in Teaching Excellence. He holds a B.S. from Lafayette College and an M.S. and PhD from the University of Virginia. Special interests in mathematics education, game theory, history and philosophy of mathematics, and the outreach of mathematics to the social sciences and the humanities. He is the author of research papers in the areas of nonassociative algebra, fair division theory, and mathematics education. He is also Governor of the Metropolitan New York Section of the Mathematical Association of America and a member of the Board of Editors, The College Mathematics Journal.
David Peritz earned his B.A. from Occidental College and his PhD from Oxford University. A professor at Sarah Lawrence College since 2000, he is a recipient of a Marshal Scholarship and has taught at Harvard, Deep Springs, Cornell, and Dartmouth. He is also the visiting scholar at Erasmus University Rotterdam and the London School of Economics, and regular visiting faculty member at Dartmouth. His special interests include democracy in conditions of cultural diversity, social complexity and political dispersal, critical social theory, social contract theory, the ethics of identity, and radical democratic thought.
Lyde Sizer is a professor of U.S. cultural and intellectual history at Sarah Lawrence College, who has also taught at Connecticut College and Harvard University. She received her BA from Yale, and a PhD from Brown. She is the author of The Political Work of Northern Women Writers in the American Civil War Era, 1850-1872 (2000) and editor, with Jim Cullen, of The Civil War Era: An Anthology of Sources (2005); and chapters in Love, Sex, Race: Crossing Boundaries in North American History and Houses Divided: Gender and the Civil War. She has been teaching 19th and 20th century American cultural and intellectual history—focusing on women’s history, and including courses on the overlap with European intellectual history—since 1994.
Carol Zoref earned her B.A., M.F.A. from Sarah Lawrence College. She is a fiction writer and essayist; recipient of fellowships and grants from the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Hall Farm Center for Arts, and In Our Own Write; winner of I.O.W.W. Emerging Artist Award; and finalist for the Henfield and American Fiction Awards and Pushcart Prize.