Our Course Schedule

The empty lecture hall.
The empty lecture hall. // Creative Commons

Schedules have been signed, and CR/D/Fail courses secured. But WEEKEND still longs for a different reality — a world in which not one, or two, but ALL SIX Yale College distributional requirements are fulfilled with the most bacterial guts we hibernating sloths could imagine. On that age-old quest to Learn Something, Anything!, our writers achieved such scholarly feats as “movement” and “fox.” The rest is but a dream.

Reading Twitter for Craft

by Oliver Preston

Reading Twitter for Craft is an introductory seminar on the reading and writing of tweets. Using their own accounts, students will maintain an eclectic and balanced feed that will span a broad range of genres, including celebrity accounts, fake celebrity accounts, periodical accounts, parody accounts, parodies of parody accounts and your mom’s suspiciously inactive account that she got “just to get the latest on Martha Stewart’s French Bulldogs and definitely not to keep tabs on you while you’re away at college Jesus do you trust me at all?”

Over the course of the semester, students will use their feeds to learn the fundamentals of tweeting from some of the masters of the craft. By engaging with artists at the vanguard of the form — @MileyCyrus, @realDonaldTrump, @RealCarrotFacts and @justinbieber, to name a few — students will gain a basic understanding of the tweet and all of its subtle components: sound, sense, texture, tone, hashtag.

Specific topics of study will include:

-The rhetoric of apology in the tweets of Paula Deen

-Jaden Smith: Capitalization, Consciousness And The Riddle Of Existence

-Why the fuck does Jonathan Franzen refuse to get a twitter? What is wrong with him?

-Cats, books, and gun violence: deciphering Joyce Carol Oates’ tweet diptychs

-Live-tweeting Woads

-Kanye West, Jimmy Kimmel and the art of the online flame war

-Re-tweeting as a form of poetic allusion

Students will publish 15-20 tweets each week. The class will also involve a weekly workshop in which the students will critique one of their classmates’ work, paying special attention to language, structure and the effective use of the hashtag. Creative writing and journalism courses require an application. Consult the English department website for detailed instructions and application deadlines.

Intermediate Fox II  

by Marissa Medansky

This course exposes students with advanced preparation to additional sounds within the repertoire of the fox. The notion that the language of the fox is fundamentally inaccessible to humans, yet still worth attempting to learn, is central to its pedagogical philosophy. At the end of the semester, students should be proficient in “Fraka-kaka-kaka-kaka-kow!” and “A-hee-ahee-ha-hee!” Additional topics of study may be introduced, and texts may change to accommodate student interest.

This is not a class in history or sociology, but we will briefly discuss the ancient legends of the fox and fox culture more broadly. The course includes screenings of films such Wes Anderson’s “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and Tim Story’s “Fantastic Four,” which was released by 20th Century Fox (and therefore counts for our purposes). Brief attention will be paid to the future of the fox and its declining relevance in 2014. One class session will be devoted to the potential that the fox has jumped the shark.

Class discussions form the foundation of the course. Grades will be determined based on effort. The Yale College Undergraduate Regulations defines plagiarism as “the use of someone else’s work, words, or ideas as if they were one’s own.” Please, do not make plagiarism an issue this semester in this or any classroom.

Note: This course is part of a departmental sequence, and builds upon the skills developed in YLVS 130 (Intermediate Fox I). Please see the instructor after class if you have questions about your eligibility and preparedness. Some students may prefer to enroll in YLVS 150 (Fox for Native Speakers), or an advanced course, such as YLVS 162 (Massachusetts and its Discontents) or YLVS 188 (Stonehenge and Society).

Introduction to Social Interaction

by Stephanie Addenbrooke

An introduction to the psychological and sociological theories that inform our social decision, this course will provide you with an academic background that actually is applicable to your college experience.

Our class on Monday afternoon will primarily act as a discussion forum, where you can share stories from your weekends. You will advise each other on their individual social faux pas and be rewarded for your ability to recall as little of your evenings as possible. Then, our class on Friday afternoon will prepare you with social theories and advice — entering the science of questions that have been debated by college students for centuries.

As studying is the least social thing one can imagine, there will be no written papers or exams. Anything that takes you away from the practical application of socializing and engaging with other human beings is strictly forbidden. The final exam will consist of a research paper, centered on the psychology of group outings to Toad’s Place — you must assist and aid each other in this very real application of social theory. This research may take the entire semester, and frequent attendance at key campus social events is crucial to obtaining a good grade in this course.

Freshman enrollment is actively encouraged.

Middling English Poets

by David Whipple

“Had they been supported on each side with buttresses,

At least many sensible men confesses,

For the stronger we our houses do build,

The less chance we have of being killed.”

–William McGonagall, “The Tay Bridge Disaster”

Whatever the opposite of “timeless” is, William McGonagall and comparable poets have nailed it. English 146 offers an exploration of England’s lesser-known and generally mediocre poets. With a focus on unimaginative rhymes, sloppy metaphors and generally cringe-inducing prose, the course will survey the landscape of English poetry while asking fundamental questions about the nature of bad verse — “How, without the aid of powerful hallucinogens, did anyone delude themselves into writing this shit?” “Did William McGonagall really think ‘buttresses’ rhymed with ‘confesses’?” Readings will be fairly boring, but instead of telling themselves, “Well, this class is called ‘Major English Poets’ so it’s probably just over my head,” students will take solace in the fact that the poetry they are reading is simply not that good. And if students just don’t feel like doing the reading, they won’t be missing much. Skills will include distinguishing “slant rhyme” from “not rhyme,” and “unorthodoxy” from a “lack of talent”. The course’s two papers will be of whatever length students feel is adequate, usually falling between one and three pages, with a half-page of introduction and another of conclusion. In keeping with the spirit of the course, mediocre work will be accepted, perhaps even encouraged.

Flow and Networks in Structural Context

by Andrew Koenig

Comparative analysis of the etiology, teleology and ontology of flow networks in post-Harlem Renaissance New York, pre-dot-com-bubble Silicon Valley and late-Situationist Paris. The nature, purposes and pretentions of so-called “social networks” in the Digital Age. The concept of flow as it has manifested itself in nature (rivers, deltas, etc.), human sexual and renal biology, and urban society. Some attention will be paid to innovators, envoys and messengers of “the network” — chiefly Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs, with lesser attention devoted to Tom from MySpace. Extra detail paid to the coalescence of ideas, intersubjectivities, ethnographic symbioses and mutualisms in the Internet Age. Questions of identity, mind-body dualism and self-alienation as they relate to the ascendancy of a new Internet “superclass,” not unrelated to Nietzsche’s Übermensch, to be discussed in historicized context.

At the end of the term, a practicum in the implementation of “networking,” which will include a visit from the Winklevoss twins (manqué networkers) as well as an appearance from YBB+ networkers Harry Yu ’14 and David Xu ’14. Environments that foster and discourage the growth and spread of networks; traditionalism, démodé republicanism, etc. as structural hindrances to digital virality. Several screenings of avant-garde films particularly apt at addressing the issue of self-identification within “the network” — Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” (restored), Dziga Vertov’s “Man with a Movie Camera,” and “Her” starring Joaquin Phoenix.

The class will culminate in a field-work-based project researching some aspect of one of the several central networks at Yale — the fraternity, the secret society, the a cappella group. Dissection of the mythology, symbolism and ritual of said networks, as they manifest themselves as a proxies for the emotional and psychological reassurance once afforded human social units by religion and familial community in a post-religious, post-familial world, etc.

Refuting Scientific Mistakes

by Aaron Gertler

Note: the major’s full name is “History of Science, History of Medicine”

Course description:

“Does the Sun revolve around the Earth? Do objects fall faster when you tie them together? Did a sadistic God create pandas to be both adorable and impotent?

In this class, we’ll examine notable wrong arguments from the history of science and refute them using both the passive voice and the passive-aggressive voice. Recommended for future science bloggers, commentators on science blogs, and high school teachers.”

Textbooks:

The Magic School Bus: Season 1

The Magic School Bus: Season 2

The Magic School Bus: Holiday Special

The Basic Works of Aristotle

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