There is a reason that most Penn students shudder at the term “literature review.”
The writing requirement is notorious for being dreaded by students, but there are a few courses that have shown to be the exception. Whether you’re an incoming freshman or a rising senior who has managed to avoid this requirement thus far, here are three recommendations for writing seminars:
"Chick Lit and Postfeminism"
Taught by Amy Paeth, this class explores the term, “chick lit,” focusing on what it implies about gender in our society. The seminar analyzes books including "Sex and the City" by Candace Bushnell and relates their themes to more classic works such as novels by Jane Austen.
When rising Nursing sophomore Gabbie Ramos took the seminar in the fall, she said she enjoyed Paeth’s teaching style.
“She made most things like game or activity,” Ramos said. “I made a lot of new friends.”
Ramos said Paeth was also a particularly nurturing instructor.
“She met every student where they were at, she wanted to see improvement,” Ramos said.
Paeth is excited to teach the course in the fall and especially loves it connection to real-world issues.
“One reason I continue to teach is because it opens a diverse range of research topics,” Paeth said. ”[Writing seminar] is an opportunity to write not just for the class, but to the world.”
"Stewart & Colbert: Cool News"
This seminar focuses on satire found in the late night comedy shows, such as "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" and "The Daily Show," formerly hosted by Jon Stewart. The seminar explores the effect of these shows on popular culture and politics.
Rising College sophomore Isabella Pilotta took the course last spring and said she appreciated professor Gail Shister’s passion for the topic as well as her use of class discussion and peer feedback.
Kasra Khadem, a rising Wharton sophomore, took the seminar in the fall and said he enjoyed the book assigned for the course.
“It was written in a way that you actually wanted to read it,” Khadem said, adding that he particularly enjoyed watching clips and videos from the late-night shows they discussed.
"The Hunger Games"
While this course will not be offered in the upcoming fall term, it was extremely popular among its students last spring. Led by Marian Makins, the course examines the themes addressed in the dystopian novel. Unlike most writing seminars, the research book for this course is a compilation of various articles rather than a single author’s work.
Rising Wharton and College sophomore Maria Curry said she enjoyed the class under Makins.
“We respected her because she was really passionate and actually wanted us to care about it,” she said.