RQ: Cohen, “Noah’s Arkive”

Featured Image: Svalbard Global Seed Vault


Keep the following questions in mind as you read Jeffrey Jerome Cohen’s, “Noah’s Arkive.” The questions are designed to guide your reading practices and our class discussions. You are not required to provide formal answers in class or online.

1. According to Cohen why are humans such “experts at imagining end times” (par 1)? What problems does apocalypse solve? How have representations of apocalypse changed over time?

2. Let’s try to answer the question that Cohen puts to his audience at the start of the post, “But as we brace for denouement in storm and tempest, what does our apocalyptic imagination unveil about the limits of our environmental frames, the limits of the stories that we tell?” (par 1)

3. How does Cohen define ‘ark’? What are some examples he gives? Can you think of more examples?

4. Why is ark building a natural response to (impending) catastrophe?

5. Why is ark building, in any of the contexts Cohen cites, always going to be a failed project? OR, put another way, why is Cohen more invested in what is left behind than what gets included an ark?

6. Why do we keep returning to biblical frames to imagine the future?

7. What does Cohen mean when he says, “Climate change requires more and better stories than the ones we have been telling” (par 4)?

8. What’s the story of Noah’s Flood? According to Cohen how has/does that story get read? How does Cohen read the long history of Noah’s Flood stories as “a source for counter-narratives that do not make of a coming Flood untroubled waters” (par 4)?

9. Who are Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones, The blogger Burrito Justice, Jeffrey Linn? How do these designers envision the final effects of climate change? How/why does Cohen suggest we should shift away from this imaginative work?

10. Take a minute and think about the image below and then consider some of the following: who’s the audience for this image? Describe the point of view the photo renders. What does this image of the future suggest is missing from our present?

Postcards from the Future, Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones

11. What sorts of social relationships do floods, ironically, reveal even as the cover over cities and countrysides?

12. What are some details from the Noah story that Cohen recounts, but often are left out of the simplified/children’s version of the story? Why do you think the story of the Flood is such a mainstay of children’s fiction?

13. What are some contradictions that Cohen points out in the Noah story? What does the etymology of the terms suggest for Cohen?

12. Why do you think Noah failed to “’ appeal for mercy on the world’s behalf’” (par. 10) like Abraham does? Why does Noah comply “leaving the earth to drown” (par. 10)?

13. Consider the series of illuminated illustrations that Cohen includes in his post—what’s the relationship between the manuscript images, such as BL Harley  4381 f. 12 and BL Royal 14 B IX, and the story of the flood? What choices do the artists make in the “translation” of the biblical story into images?

14. Why doesn’t Noah in the BL Royal 2 B VII  f. 7  and BL Add MS 47682 realize that the Devil stowed away on the Ark? Why doesn’t he consider the staggering loss of all the other life I the world? What would it take for him to realize?

15. Compare the illustration of the Flood below, drawn by William de Brails in the 13th c., to the image of flooded London above. Why/how does “He provides what’s missing from those pictures of a submerged London, Seattle, New York as seen from the sky” (par. 16)?

16.In Cohen’s final assessment,what is the value of an ark?

William de Brails



Welcome to Back to the Future!

Part I. Introductions

Welcome to ENGL 1102, Back to the Future. Before we discuss the class, let’s chat about these questions: When you think of “the future” what do you imagine? How does out idea of the future shape the choices we make now?

Class Activity: Shared Futures

Please complete the following & be prepared to share with the class:
  • 1. Freewrite: take five minutes and respond to the following without stopping:

    What is your major and/or the volunteer or extra curricular work to which you contribute a good portion of your time?

    How does your discipline (i.e. major field) and/or extra curricular work shape the way you think about the future in both the short and long term?

    What ideas of the future does your discipline hold and how does that idea of the future shape the do the choices you make in your present?

  • 2. Once you have written completed your freewrite, find a partner, WHO YOU DO NOT KNOW, introduce yourselves, and discuss your responses to the questions.  Where your answers overlap? Where do they differ?
  • 3. Once you have finished working in your pairs, please find another pair to work with. Once in your bigger groups, please introduce yourselves, and compare your answers. Once you have finished comparing, write your favorite answers to the questions above on the board

Part II. Course Overview

Follow along as I review the following information all contained on the course site. After the review has concluded you will have time to complete the Student Instructor Agreement Form.

Part III. Responding to Vice Article

Take 15-20 minutes read Nafeez, “New Report Suggests ‘High Likelihood of Human Civilization  Coming to an End’ in 2050” (Vice 4 June 2019) and then consider the following questions. Once finished, we will chat about your responses:

1.What’s the overall goal/claim of the article?

2. Are you persuaded?

3. Who’s the audience?

4. Is this article more science fiction than science?

PD 1: Theoretical Analysis


According to one or more of the authors we have read so far this semester, how does the concept of the future affect society, ecology, or technology? 

  • 1. For full credit your response to the prompt above must be at least 300 words long.
  • 2. Please also cite and analyze at least one passage from the theoretical text you chose and then synthesize your analysis into the larger argument you make in response to the prompt.
  • 3. All Blog Posts must be in MLA format when applicable.


As long as you post your response to your blog feed on or by the due date you will earn full points per post. Remember these posts are process documents that develop skills we will use in class and in the final paper. The posts also provide an opportunity for invention and revision.

PD 2: Image Annotation


To prepare for the poster design and practice visual analysis, choose a contemporary scene from a movie, TV show, or video game of your choice and explain how it illustrates/exemplifies what one, or more, of the authors we have read so far this semester says about the future? 

  • 1. Your response to the prompt above should be a least 300 words long and include 2 images from the contemporary text you chose.
  • 2. For full credit briefly cite the concept of the future you think the text you chose illustrates, and remember to describe the formal details of your scene, i.e. description of contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity.
  • 3. Please use MLA format

Citing Images From a Database in MLA

Citing Movies, TV Shows, and Games in MLA


As long as you post your response to your blog feed on or by the due date you will earn full points per post. Remember these posts are process documents that develop skills we will use in class and in the final paper. The posts also provide an opportunity for invention and revision.

PD 3: What’s the greatest threat to the continued existence of life on earth?

Featured Image: NASA Goddard Space Flight Images


In 200-600 words, explain what you think poses the single greatest threat to the future of life on earth. Please include at least one link to an online example of the threat you discuss as well as a Featured Image and at least one in-text image. Be sure to briefly explain why you think the threat you chose surpasses other threats. Also, offer a few ways you think the threat can be neutralized.

PD 5: Advertising Your Future

For full credit, please complete the following:
  • In Adobe Spark, Canva, or a design medium of your choice create a pamphlet or flyer advertising the future you imagine to an audience in the present. Pamphlet or flyer must have at least 2-4 images, the tittle of your future world, and give audiences some sense of what to sort of future world they could expect if they visited of moved there. Beyond the baseline criteria, layout and design are up to you.

Citing Images from a Database 

23 April. Podcast Reflection & Final Portfolio W/S.


  • I’ll be in my office 10-2 next Thursday, May 2 if you would like to pick up your objects. Also, for those of whose objects will be displayed, I think they can be picked up over the summer. I teach 10-12 during the second short session, so email me if you want the objects back and we can work something out
  • You all did terrific work this semester! It’s been a pleasure!


  • While revision is built into all major assignments, during the semester you will have the opportunity to revise one major assignment that earns a B- or below. If you wish to revise a graded assignment, meet with me during office hours or by appointment to discuss steps and due dates. The revised assignment will receive an entirely new grade (not an average of the old and new grade).

Part I. Podcast Reflection

Take 6-7 minutes and respond to the prompts below in a Word or Google Doc. Since you will be required to include reflections in your Final Portfolio, please file this reflection with your other process documents.
  • 1. Explain one way your Podcast met one Course Goal/Concept.
  • 2. Given the opportunity to revise, what is one thing you would change in the Project and why?
  • 3. In what ways did the project help you think differently about your writing process?
  • 4. Be prepared to share your responses to the questions above

Part II. Portfolio Workshop

Please complete the following individually or in groups:
  • 1. Open up your Canvas portfolio and, if applicable, add all your final artifacts and process documents
  • 2. Overview of page building/adding documents in Canvas. 1. process documents as .pdf files from Google Drive & 2. embedding web pages
  • 3. Once you have a had a chance to work for 10-15 minutes, form a group around the page of the portfolio you have the most questions about.

Embedding Web Pages in Canvas Portfolio:

The html is below: All you need to do is substitute the src (which is currently another student’s url) with your url.

<iframe id=”here” class=”here” height=”600″ width=”1000″ src=”https://s3-sa-east-1.amazonaws.com/identidog/ENGL1101/index.html”></iframe>


16 April. Podcast & Portfolio W/S.


Podcast Groups:

  • Before we get started, get into your podcast groups and chat about any last minute plans for the final week of composition.

Panel Presentation: Podcast Drafts

If you are scheduled to present on today, please share the following with the class:
  • 1. Share 30-60 seconds of audio recording and/or one or two annotations or resources you are using to support your final project. If you are presenting, please share any files you would like me to project/play
  • 2. Narrate your Podcast composition process

Reflective Essay Freewrite

On your own, freewrite for 5-8 minutes in response to each of the following prompts. Be prepared to discuss your response with the class after each:
  • 1. Rhetorical Awareness/Stance: From the beginning of the semester to this moment, why have you “grown as a communicator”?

    Your response to the question will form the topic and generate the claim of your reflection. To answer this question, think about the five major communicative modes in WOVEN–have you developed in any one of those areas more than others? Also, think about the artifacts you have produced this semester, what assignments or specific modes within assignments can you point to to show “development” over time? You may also want to frame your claim and subsequent essay in terms of one or more areas featured on the Common Feedback Chart.

  • 2. Draft an outline of the 4-6 paragraphs you imagine will follow from the claim you just generated.

    Organization: While the artifacts in the portfolio serve as evidence, remember, just like in the Literary Analysis Essay, you never want to lead with the evidence. Instead, you want to lead with claim and move from paragraph to paragraph in service of that claim.

  • 3. What artifacts do you plan to analyze to develop & support the claim you generated? (i.e. what final assignments best show your growth as a communicator?)

    Development of Ideas: How can you describe and analyze your own work the way we have described and analyzed images, poetry, essays, and film this semester? What key terms can you borrow from our analysis of design, rhetoric, fiction, and/or film to apply to your own artifacts?

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