Everyone wants to be happy, or at least we all think we do. But, what is happiness? Why do advertisements, pharmaceutical companies, doctors, parents, and friends all think they know the big answer? In “Happiness,” Dead Prez writes, “we can’t escape from the realness/happiness is all in the mind.” Following this notion that “happiness is all in the mind,” this course will begin by exploring and interrogating recent work in the recent field of psychology often referred to as “happiness studies,” beginning with excerpts from Daniel Gilbert’s Stumbling on Happiness. The course will include a wide variety of texts, with an emphasis placed on looking at scientific studies and newspaper articles alongside literature (both contemporary and canonical).
English 2150 continues the work of English 2100, asking you to write sound academic arguments. I will assume you have the basic skills acquired in English 2100: the ability to read a variety of articles and essays, identify their key points, and subject them to logical analysis; the ability to understand writing as a process requiring the outlining of ideas, multiple drafting, peer review, and revision of complete essays; the ability to write a cogent thesis and develop an argument in unified and coherent paragraphs; and the ability to observe sentence boundaries, use correct punctuation, and incorporate a variety of sentence structures. In exploring different types of literature—from nonfiction to fiction to poetry and plays—you will learn how to look for intriguing questions in a text, pull together evidence and analyze its implications, make sound and interesting claims based on your evidence, develop convincing arguments, and structure coherent essays with clear theses. Be prepared to write frequently, engage in class discussions of assigned readings, respond to student work, share your own writing with peer editors, and participate in small group work and presentations.