WRITING AND CRITICAL THINKING: COLONIALISM AND COSMOPOLITANISM
2011/2012, Semester 1
University Scholars Programme (University Scholars Programme)
Modular Credits: 4
The term “cosmopolitanism,” which derives from Greek (i.e. Κόσμος + πολίτης),
citizenry.” In recent years, disciplines in the humanities and the social sciences have seen a revival of interest in this idea. There are, in a general sense, three distinct – though related – strands in these discussions. First, as a political ideal, cosmopolitanism proposes that, despite differences in terms of political affiliation, all human beings belong to a single community. Second, as a moral ideal, cosmopolitanism requires us to care for, understand and respect other people, even if they are not related to us by ties of family or a shared citizenship, and uphold values which we do not share. Third, as a cultural phenomenon, cosmopolitanism bespeaks of how, because of the mutual influence of diverse cultures, cultures themselves – and hence our cultural identity – are constantly changing. In this course, we will be reading, discussing and writing about discourses on these three meanings of cosmopolitanism. We will, in particular, examine these meanings in relation to colonialism.
Organization of the Module
In the first unit, we will examine the origin of cosmopolitanism in the context of European imperialism, selective treatises of cosmopolitanism in the history of European thought, as well as the problems embedded in them. We will then discuss, in the second unit, the relevance of cosmopolitanism as a moral ideal in the age of globalization, as well as the relation between colonialism and economic globalization. In the third unit, we will turn our focus to two diasporic Asian communities, and examine the process of the formation of cultural identity among the Hmong in America, and the Chinese in Southeast Asia.
Rhetorical Introduction and Course Objectives
The primary objective of this course is to develop our skills in writing academic arguments. A good academic argument, however, very often begins with a careful reading of and exciting intellectual exchanges about source texts. Hence, we will make use of a variety of source texts as our starting point. Students are required to do the readings in advance, and actively engage in class discussions about them. In addition to enabling us to understand source texts, class discussions give us the opportunity to practice the skills that we need in argumentative writing, for example, skills in formulating and defending an interesting thesis, critically analyzing passages, effectively addressing counter-arguments, and logically structuring multiple strands of argument. Students will also be required to peer-review one another’s written work, so that they will in turn improve in diagnosing problems in their own essays and in coming up with fixes for those problems.
. Writing with Sources
. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1998. (You will be given a copy of this book.)
All other readings are available on e-reserve via the IVLE web site.
Unit 1 Cosmopolitanism as a Response to Colonialism
· How to do close-reading
· How to formulate a thesis
· How to discover a motive for an essay
· How to make use of key terms
· How to work with textual evidence
· How to write an introduction
· How to cite or document sources
Wk 1 Aug 9 National Day; no class
Aug 12 Introduction
Topical Reading: Anthony Appiah,
Writing Lesson: close-reading; citation or documentation of sources; discussion of paper 1 assignment
Wk 2 Aug 16 Instructor sick; class cancelled
Aug 19 Topical Reading: Cicero,
, pp.1-9, 19-25
Writing Lesson: discussion of “thesis” and “motive”
Wk 3 Aug 23 Topical Reading: Christopher Columbus, “The First Voyage,” pp. 30-39, 55-59, 63-66, 80-84, 115-23
Writing Lesson: close-reading (continued); working with textual evidence (continued)
Aug 26 Topical Reading: Bartolomé de Las Casas,
In Defense of the Indians,
Writing Lesson: introduction and title
Wk 4 Conferences
Unit 2 Cosmopolitanism as a Cultural and Moral Ideal
· How to write a comparative essay: (1) comparing and contrasting two texts, and (2) making use of one text to analyze another
· How to structure an essay
· How to structure individual paragraphs
Week 5 Sep 6 Introduction: discussion of paper 2 assignment
Topical Reading 1: Anthony Appiah,
Topical Reading 2: John Lennon, “Imagine”
In-class screening and discussion of
On Orientalism – Edward Said
Writing Lesson: comparative analysis
Sep 9 Topical Reading: Edward Said,
Writing lesson: “lens” paper, the distinction between primary and secondary sources, and structure
Week 6 Sep 13 Topical Reading: Roy Wagner, “The Assumption of Culture,” pp.1-16
Writing Lesson: stitching and orienting
Sep 16 Discussion of
Writing Lesson: “lens” paper – using one text to analyze another
Recess Week Sep 17-25 No class
Week 7 Sep 27 Topical Reading: Kwame Anthony Appiah,
Writing Lesson: “compare and contrast” paper (continued)
Sep 30 Topical Reading: Kwame Anthony Appiah,
Writing Lesson: paragraph structure and topic sentences
Wk 8 Oct 4 Library Visit
Oct 7 Appiah's
pp.13-44; Comparative Analysis
Wk 9 Oct 11 Conferences; no class
Oct 14 Counter-argument
Unit 3 Cosmopolitanism and the Asian Diaspora
· How to develop a research topic
· How to work with multiple sources
· How to anticipate and respond to counter-arguments
· How to write a conclusion
Wk 10 Oct 18 Wayne Booth, “From Topics to Questions,” pp.40-55
Brain-storm paper topics
Explanation of Paper 3 Assignment
Oct 21 Paper 2 peer review
Wk 11 Oct 25 Kwame Anthony Appiah,
Oct 28 Booth’s “Introduction and Conclusion,” pp.222-240
Wk 12 Nov 1 Student Presentations
Nov 4 Student Presentations
Wk 13 Nov 8 Peer Review: class members will exchange their drafts for feedback.
Nov 11 No class; revised draft due on IVLE
Appiah, Kwame Anthony.
Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers
. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2006. xi-xviii, & 13-44.
Between Two Worlds: the Hmong Shaman in America.
Dir. Taggart Siegel. Collective Eye, Inc., 2008. Film.
Cheah, Pheng. “Chinese Cosmopolitanism in Two Senses and Postcolonial Memory.”
Inhuman Conditions: On Cosmopolitanism and Human Rights
(Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006). 120-142.
. Ed. M.T. Griffin and E.M. Atkins. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1991. 1-9, & 19-25.
Columbus, Christopher. “The First Voyage.”
The Four Voyages.
Trans. J.M. Cohen. London: Penguin, 1969. 30-39, 55-59, 63-66, 80-84, 115-23.
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997. 181-209.
Kant, Immanuel. “Perpetual Peace.”
Kant: Political Writings
. Ed. Hans Reiss. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1970, 1991. 93-115.
Las Casas, Bartolomé de.
In Defense of the Indians
. DeKalb: Northern Illinois UP, 1992. 7-9, 25-53.
On Orientalism – Edward Said
. Dir. Sut Jhally. 1986.
Said Edward. “Introduction.”
. London: Penguin, 1991. 1-9.
Shadow Catcher: Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indian, The.
Dir. Teri McLuhan. Perf. Donald Sutherland. Mystic Fire Video, 1998. Film.
Wagner, Roy. “The Assumption of Culture.’
The Invention of Culture (Revised and Expanded Edition)
. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1981. 1-16.
: Students are required to write three papers, each of which requires two rough drafts, i.e. one short and one long. While the shorter rough draft will be the basis of peer reviews, the instructor will hold conferences with individual students on their longer draft. Students cannot pass an assignment if they do not hand in the rough drafts. Rough drafts and final papers are due on the dates noted, and no late submissions are accepted. Students are responsible for bringing three copies their rough draft to each peer review session.
Paper grades include assessment on all drafts, revisions, and conferences:
Paper 1: 3-4 page Close Reading of One Text (20%)
Paper 2: 5-6 page Comparative Analysis of Two Texts (25%)
Paper 3: 7-9 page Research Paper Analyzing Multiple Sources (35%)
All papers and rough drafts must have a title, page numbers, be word-processed, double-spaced, with 1- to 1.25-inch margins, and in 12-point font. Do not include a cover page, but please provide the following information at the top left-hand corner of the first page:
Student’s matric number
Module code and title
Assignment [e.g. Paper 1 Draft]
Assignment due date
2. Participation (10%):
Students are responsible for preparing texts assigned for discussion.
3. Presentation (10%):
Students are responsible for one presentation.
are allowed, whether excused or unexcused.