Linda S Watts
Study of special topics in interdisciplinary arts and sciences. Prerequisite: BIS 300.
Senior Seminar Description Course Title: Revisiting the Weather Underground Course Instructor: L. Watts
Course Description: Members of this senior seminar will explore the history of the countercultural (anti-war, anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-imperialist) group known as Weatherman/Weather Underground Organization. We will read both primary and secondary sources, including items including the group’s own publications, FBI surveillance files, memoirs, documentaries, and scholarly works. Class members will conduct original research as a means to assess this movement’s implications both during the years of its greatest activity (1969-1975)-- and now.
Recommended Preparation: There are no specific prerequisites for this course. As with all of my classes, however, I ask that those students enrolling bring a seriousness of purpose in terms of the experience of learning, a passion for thoughtful and productive dialogue, and an appetite for intellectual risk-taking. Since we will work intensively with a particular organization as our focus, it's also a good idea to familiarize yourself enough with the group to assess your level of interest in the topic at hand.
What Historical Content Will This Volume Ask You to Discover? • The Organization and its Origins • The Membership in Profile • Their Purposes and Methods • The Order of Events • Surveillance/Prosecution • Narratives of Life Underground • Captures and Resurfacings • History, Myth and Memory Surrounding WU What Transferable Historical Skills Will This Course Help You Build? • Using both primary and secondary sources • Applying critical methods to historical issues • Thinking temporally • Making historical inferences • Evaluating historical sources • Engaging conflicts among historical accounts • Reading/practicing across modes of historical writing (such as description, narrative, exposition, and argument) What Translatable Abilities the Course Will Help You Cultivate: • Public speaking • Dialogue/discussion • Analysis/interpretation/critical thinking • Writing • Inquiry/posing and refining compelling questions
Course Grading in Brief: Self-Assessment/Degree Portfolio, 20%; Class Contributions, 20%; Writing Assignments (4 major pieces, each at 10%, for a total of) 40%; In-Class Presentation, 10%; Peer Response Postings, 10% Should You Take This Course? There are many ways to meet your degree requirements, so it is important for you to choose each course wisely. Sometimes practical constraints (such as time slot and the like) play a part in your decisions, but these should not trump choices based upon the learning prospect. No course is right for everyone, but only you are positioned to determine which course is most appropriate for you.
You should know from the outset that the way I teach calls upon students to “do something” rather than hear or watch me do something. What this means is that you will need to take responsibility for your own learning; hold yourself accountable for your choices; interact, question, respond, and introspect; deal constructively with complexity, ambiguity, uncertainty, ambivalence, and nuance; contribute to shared inquiry by a community of learners; and be ever receptive to, and resilient in, intellectual risk-taking.
Here are a few clear indications that this course might not be for you: you prefer lecture courses, you like to be anonymous in the classroom, you decline to participate in class, you want to interact only with the instructor (vs. peers), you expect to be successful on the first attempt at a skill, you dislike reading and/or writing, you are uncomfortable with readings featuring adult situations or strong/coarse language, you like best a class where questions can be settled and facts confirmed, you think it will be an easy course because humanities topics seem wholly subjective, or you are more concerned with your grade than with what you learn. If any of these statements describes you, the course is probably not a good choice for you. If this is the case, I would be glad to assist you in finding one more suitable to your educational needs.
Note: If you have questions or wish further information, please contact the instructor.
Student learning goals
please see information above
General method of instruction
This course will operate on a seminar model, and so will involve extensive discussion and substantive inquiry, including individual projects.
Three attributes in each participant within this shared inquiry are absolutely crucial to our—and your—success: (1) seriousness of purpose, (2) passion for dialogue, and (3) commitment to be both reflective and consultative in academic practice.
Prior course experience with textual analysis and the contextual study of culture will help position seminar students for the challenges ahead.
Class assignments and grading
Requirements will include reading, viewing, writing, research, reflection, and response. Expectations typically includes participation, presentations, in-class writings, and projects.