Instructor: Neeraja Sankaran, Raj Ladher, Dasaradhi Palakodeti
Duration of the course:
15th Sep 2022 to 29th Dec 2022
Days: Tuesday, Thursday
Credits: 2
Course Outline:


Critical thinking and good writing are fundamental life skills that are especially important for scientists if they wish to excel in their field and enjoy productive and rewarding careers in increasingly competitive publish-or-perish environments both within academia and without. 

Based on the conviction that excellent thinkers and writers, must first and foremost be good and critical readers who can extract information from the written word and deploy it for multiple purposes, this course, uses the book review as the whetstone on which students may sharpen both their thinking and their communication skills. 

Over the course of the semester each participant in this course will be reading a book—one that is related to their scientific interests, but puts the science into broader intellectual, social and cultural contexts—and working through a process of small cumulative tasks, to ultimately develop their review essay.  Depending on the choice of book, as well as the quality of the essay/review, this course will also provide students an opportunity to publish something in an academic journal. 


This course is an interactive, workshop-based class, in which students will be immersed in the process of reading and writing critically right from the get go. The course emphasizes the writing as an incremental process and not a one-shot venture. 

Over a period of 3-4 months (the typical window of time offered by most academic journals to turn a review around) the participants in this course work on developing their review of a book of their choice (the very act of selection is an exercise in critical thinking). Participants will be responsible for reading the books on their own time and in-class sessions will be used to work on component tasks such as summarization, contextualization and evaluation of texts. 

Prerequisites: Due to the heavy reading workload for the instructor, however, this class will be capped at 15 students and will not be open for auditing. Credit is dependent on the successful completion of a review that meets the criteria set by the instructor.


Course Term: Aug Term - 2022
Course Year: 2022/2023