Through courses with a writing intensive designation (WI), you
will learn to further develop and articulate content knowledge and
critical thinking through frequent practice of informal and formal
writing. You will learn to demonstrate understanding of audience
expectations, genres, and conventions appropriate to a specific
academic discipline or related profession. The WI course will
require you to compose one or more papers totaling at least 3,000
words through the stages of writing—brainstorming, drafting,
integrating sources, and revising comprehensively after receiving
substantial, formative feedback on drafts.
You must fulfill the first-year composition requirement before enrolling in a writing intensive course.
RLST24000 Writing about Religion: Heaven and Hell
This seminar is an interdisciplinary introduction to how portrayals of heaven and hell have been transformed over time, with a focus on learning how to write about religion from a secularly minded but religiously-informed context. We will focus on various myths, including the Genesis account of the Garden of Eden and its vision of paradise; the Jewish story of the fall of the watchers; legends about Lilith, the supposed first wife of Adam; medieval stories about heaven and hell; analysis of the historical development of stories about Satan; and contemporary pop culture portrayals of heaven and hell. As we move through our chronological analysis, we will look at how the same stories are shaped and changed by the social and historical movements that provide their context. We’ll learn how writing can help you process ideas that are complicated, intertwined, and that are transformed through time. At the end of the course, you’ll be aware of how the notion of heaven and hell developed in Judeo-Christian and Muslim tradition, and how these ideas still shape culture and society today, whether they are actually believed to exist or not. Throughout the course, you will be invited to think critically about the material you encounter, placing it in its historical context and assessing it, reflecting upon, and synthesizing it as a product of human thought as expressed through writing. You will practice discussion skills, listening skills, and basic research skills, and you will also be encouraged to actively practice your writing skills through a series of short papers and one long paper, composed through a series of iterations with careful editing and revision.