Director of Writing
Rachel Norman, Ph.D.
At the center of Linfield’s general education program stands the Inquiry Seminar, which is taken by all new first- and second-year students. Each Seminar provides an in-depth exploration of a compelling topic chosen because it is of passionate interest to the instructor and prompts significant questions for which there are no clear or absolute answers. Discovering the complexity of such topics is the essential mission of the Inquiry Seminar, which initiates students into the dynamic, collaborative exchange that is university learning at its best.
To help extend the conversation beyond the INQS classroom, students simultaneously enroll in a Writing Lab (INQUIRY SEMINAR (INQS 125)) led by a Writing Fellow. Writing Fellows are peer mentors who meet with INQS students to discuss the writing process, share revision strategies, and help with setting goals. Ultimately, though, INQS students and their Fellows do more than just talk about writing, they participate in a mutually beneficial exchange that allows them to shape their own education.
INQS 125 INQUIRY SEMINAR (4 credits)
See individual sections in specific terms for descriptions.
Prerequisites: Required 1 credit lab INQS 125L.
Typically offered: Fall and Spring Semesters, Annually
INQS 125L WRITING LAB (1 credit)
INQS 126 INQUIRY SEMINAR (4 credits)
Satisfies Inquiry Seminar requirement for Online/ Continuing Education students. Not applicable for McMinnville campus students.
INQS 125-01 MULTICULTURAL AMERICA
What does the term multiculturalism in America really mean? Have we always been a multicultural society (historically speaking)? What about the history of Oregon in terms of multiculturalism? What are some rewards and challenges of living in a multicultural environment? In this course, we will read, write and discuss in a historical and in a contemporary sense America's experience with multiculturalism and difference, from the Chinese Exclusion Act to the post September 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the Muslim ban. We will also actively engage in addressing the changing racial and ethnic landscape of the U.S. where by 2045 we will become what is being called a "minority white" or a "majority-minority" nation, while also asking throughout the course what does it mean to live in a racially just society?
INQS 125-02 FOOD WRITING & THE WESTERN PSYCHE
Why are we fascinated with other people’s experiences with food? From the writing of ancient Greek and Roman historians to today’s explosion of food and cooking blogs and Instagram posts, Western cultures have long shown interest in writing and reading about food and eating. Food plays a key role in our cultural and social interactions both private and public, and food writing as become an increasingly popular way of engaging with others around our experiences of food. In this class, we will explore food writing throughout Western history and the personal, social, and cultural significance of sharing our experiences with food.
INQS 125-04 WHAT TO LISTEN FOR IN THE WORLD
Music is the product and expression of all humanity. Why should we listen to music? Where and when is music performed and for what reasons? What is the relationship of music and empathy? What impacts our listening choices? Who makes music and who should support the creation of music and why? What effect does music have on us as we listen? How does music connect us with our friends, family, and the rest of the world? In this Inquiry Seminar, we will explore the sounds and music of our own and other cultures of the world. Regardless of a student's music background, this INQS will help to develop a music vocabulary to understand and to convey in both writing and speaking the various properties of music and its impact on diverse cultures of the world. Through thoughtful research, reading, listening, and contemplation, students will consider , discuss and write about the human response to music from physical, emotional, intellectual, and other perspectives. Through engaged inquiry, students will draw conclusions about the value music has for the connection of people within their own and other cultures. 4 credits. $35 Fee.
INQS 125-05 WHAT IS A GOOD CITIZEN?
Explores ideas and commitments to citizenship. Is being a good citizen merely the paying of taxes and casting of ballots? Has economic and cultural globalization undermined traditional ideas about citizenship? Are the duties, obligations, and privileges of US citizenship peculiar to its borders? Has information technology and social media undermined national solidarities and dissolved borders? This class will consider these questions and outline many forms of civic engagement and responsibility taking its cues from sociology, political activism, and history as seen through literature, film, and classroom debate. Students will be challenged to create their own agendas for critical assessments of the present conjuncture and build toward another possible nation and world.
INQS 125-06 MEXICAN IMMIGRANTS IN THE U.S.
What role has Mexican migration played in the development of Mexico and the United States? In this course, we examine both the historical context of this process, as well as contemporary issues surrounding the migrant experience (legal vs. illegal immigration; employment and labor rights; racial and cultural discrimination; education; security issues/militarization of the border; use of resources; citizenship). Students will develop a more sophisticated understanding of the historical and contemporary importance of Mexican immigrants to the U.S. economy, the role Mexican immigrants have played in the shaping of U.S. cultural identity, and to challenge many of the myths about Mexican migrants that have persisted for over 100 years. This course is also meant to help you understand the relationship between the past (history) and present (current events), and how essential it is to understand historical backgrounds and how they inform current social and cultural issues.
INQS 125-07 PATH OF WISDOM
Do you ever wonder about the meaning of the life or the order of things in this world? What does a "happy" or "successful" life look like, and how might you pursue such a life? How do you make sense of suffering and injustice in the world? In this course, we will address these important and relevant questions in various "wisdom" traditions. We will consider ideas about wisdom, meaning and suffering through the study of the biblical books of Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs and Psalms and by bringing in texts from other religions and contemporary voices.
INQS 125-08 IN SEARCH OF THE GOOD LIFE
What is the "good life"? This is perhaps the deepest human question. It is not only a question we hope recipients of a liberal arts education will ask, it is also a question that permeates film and literature. Looking at thinkers as ancient as Aristotle and films as contemporary as Hell or Highwater, this class will discuss and evaluate different conceptions of a good life and provide a place for students to engage in their own inquiry. In short, we will ask big questions and answer them through thinking, reading, discussing, and writing.
INQS 125-09 RURAL AMERICA IN CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE AND FILM
One of our bedrock myths-just take a listen to most any truck commercial or country music video-is that of the family farmer, the rancher, the small-towner who is hardworking, neighborly, and patriotic, who stands on his own two feet, who is, it almost goes without saying, white and male, and who raises children who want to be just like him. Yet one of the nation's most pernicious stereotypes stands in direct opposition to this mythology: that of the redneck, those written off as crackers or white trash-think of the hillbillies of Deliverance or Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel on The Simpsons. But what happens if we peel back the mythologies and stereotypes? What, really, is going on in rural America right now? This semester, we'll turn to contemporary literature and film from and about rural America in the hopes that we might uncover-via close reading, careful discussion, and critical writing-deeper truths about rural America and those who call it home.
INQS 125-10 THE ENDANGERED SEAS
This course carefully considers the current state of our oceans and asks why we seem unable to do anything about it. How do we talk about climate change, especially in relation to the ocean? Does how we describe the current ocean crisis matter? Could we shift public perception by changing the way we communicate about this topic?