Previous Research Guide
Suggested resources for PWR 1 course on Flesh Made Words: New Rhetorics of the Human Body. Tips for finding books, films, newspaper, magazine and journal articles.
In 2008, Oscar Pistorius was almost the first amputee runner to compete in the Olympics. To determine whether or not Pistorius had a technological advantage over able-bodied sprinters, the International Association of Athletics Federations required extensive testing of his prosthetic legs (known as "Cheetahs"). The tests revealed that Cheetahs do in fact provide an advantage in both efficiency and endurance. After a hard-fought legal battle, it was the scientific evidence that sealed Pistorius' Olympic fate.
The science of sports takes us to the root of what powers and corrupts the games we love. It allows us to zoom into the minds and bodies of athletes, looking at sports on the level of cells and psychology. Science shapes the equipment that protects, enhances, and quantifies athletic performance, as well as the spaces on/in which athletes perform. The science of sports takes us to the boundaries of human achievement, challenging us to ask tough questions about the ethics of performance enhancement. Understanding and appreciating the science of sports can make us better athletes, but it also can make us better, more engaged fans.
ow is it that the irreverent puppets of Avenue Q became the toast of Broadway in 2004, earning the show the Tony award for the year's best musical? What accounts for the extraordinary success of Fela!, the new musical sensation "whose hot (and seriously cool) energy," as one critic put it, fuels the depiction of the life of Nigerian revolutionary and musician Fela Kuti? How do these musicals follow from Showboat, the first book musical, or Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma, the trendsetter in the golden age of the Broadway musical, or the tribal rock musical Hair¿all watershed events in the history and development of the stage musical?
In this course, we'll explore the conventions and strategies that define the genre of American musical theater, analyzing how contemporary musicals mirror, revise, and even subvert these traditional rules while addressing a range of current issues. Watching musicals on film (including Oklahoma, West Side Story, and Rent), reading reviews by theater critics Ben Brantley and John Lahr, and attending a local production, we'll examine the cultural arguments made by American musicals. For instance, despite vast differences in period and style, musicals such as Gershwin's 1935 Porgy and Bess and this summer's film hit Hairspray engage longstanding American concerns, with specific attention to issues of race, class, and gender.
How can we make the world a better place? In Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson describes his project of building schools for girls in Pakistan, including the challenge of learning the cross-cultural rhetoric skills he needed in order to make a difference. Similar obstacles face those who want to have an impact on world poverty and disease, such as Paul Farmer in Haiti, who had to learn the needs of his audience in Cange and develop skills of communicating his vision to donors before he could begin building his hospital.
In this course, we'll learn how rhetoric as a practical art can help women and men intervene in global controversies, from the need for alternative energy to global food politics as described by Michael Pollan. We'll study Susie McClelland's argument that western beauty standards of whiteness and thinness have dangerous consequences in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. We'll compare theories of globalization from Thomas Friedman and Naomi Klein and consider pioneering projects that attempt to better the world. We'll pay close attention to the need to understand intercultural perspectives when advancing a vision for change, and we'll consider media responses to global controversies and the leaders who seek to make change. Students in this CCR course will participate in several video-conference discussions and blogging activities with students from other universities overseas.