Read through our current course offerings, or click the links immediately below to scroll directly to the courses that interest you.
WRI 105 A: Critical Reading and Writing [Blended: Online Pathway]
Prof. Erin Branch
MWF 11:00-11:50 (CRN 90325)
Note that this course is not available to continuing students.
Training in critical reading and expository writing. Frequent essays based on readings in a selected topic. Designed for students who want additional practice in making transition to college writing. Elective credit; does not satisfy the basic composition requirement.
WRI 105 B [Blended: Online Pathway]
Prof. Eric Ekstrand
TR 2:00-3:15 (CRN 90124)
Note that this course is not available to continuing students.
“My parents were the children of immigrants. My dad had two different kinds of Irish accent. My mother wanted us to speak good English because her first language was Polish. But the kids next door, who were lower class than us, spoke like Huck Finn. I wanted that. Part of it was my longing then to be real, like in books or in comic books.”
-Eileen Myles, Paris Review Interview
You made it! You got into college, and goodness was that hard. Now, what is this place all about? As you begin your college coursework, maybe you will sense that there are unstated new assumptions being made about your learning and writing that are different from those made in your schooling up to this point, (and likely different from those made outside of school—in your home and between your friends). You know the game has changed, but maybe you don’t know what the new rules are. In this class, through regular writing, reading, and speaking, we will try to make plain the various community values inherent to those very same literacy practices. Ultimately, by doing this, we might be better equipped to both take on and challenge those values on our own terms as we join new communities at college, both in and out of the classroom.
We will tense when Cedric Jennings, a first-year black student at the overwhelmingly white and elite Brown University, threatens his hall mates because they were ironically, playfully, acting “gay”– something no straight guy would ever do where Cedric grew up. We will root for Stephon Marbury and his friends from Coney Island as they navigate the economically and racially fraught world of college basketball recruitment. We will hear Mike Rose exclaim, tongue-in-cheek, “I just wanna be average!” We will examine how college instructors think about learning and what they expect from student writing. Along the way, you will be asked to tell your own stories and stake your own claims by way of trying to answer these essential questions about a college education: For what? For whom? What counts, and why?
WRI 111 A: Writing Seminar: Coming of Age During Difficult Times [Online]
Prof. Rian Bowie
TR 9:30-10:45 (CRN 90033)
From individual adolescent turmoil to collective national crises, each generation of young people has contended with an evolving and often uncertain world. For some, the difficulties develop in that transition from adolescence to adulthood, an experience that is often fraught with questions about identity and belonging. For others, the youthful search for identity is further complicated by the need to address political and social inequities in order to create new, more-inclusive communal structures and associations. Whether personal or political, generation after generation of young adults has faced seemingly insurmountable obstacles with bravery and resilience. Readings for this class will explore ways that individuals across an expanse of time have transformed themselves and the world around them.
In this course, students will examine a variety of fiction and non-fiction works of varying lengths to strengthen their critical reading and writing skills. From personal reflections to argumentative essays, students will be invited to see writing as a process requiring exploration, reflection, and revision. Structured writing workshops will empower students to craft strong sentences, compelling thesis statements, and thoughtfully nuanced arguments. Written work will undergo a series of revisions prior to completion.
Texts May Include:
Chbosky, Stephen. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Frosch, Mary. Coming of Age in the 21st Century: Growing up in America Today
Lamont, Anne. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
Kingston, Maxine Hong. Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood among Ghosts
Ward, Jesmyn. Sing, Unburied Sing
*Additional readings will be provided in pdf format
WRI 111 B: Writing Seminar: On Writing [Online]
Prof. Anne Boyle
WF 9:30-10:45 (CRN 90035)
Welcome to my online writing seminar. I am excited to translate my traditional face to face class into an online course. Throughout the semester, we will immerse ourselves in words, as we read and write about a variety of interesting texts. You’ll read humorous and scholarly articles about the writing process, along with deeply philosophical, well-researched essays about creativity, literacy, and contemporary issues, such as the ways that literacy intersects with race, class, gender, and sexual orientation. Well-known essayists will describe why they feel the urgency to write and what challenges they have faced; lesser known voices will experiment with new technologies of writing; and writing theorists will explore what we know about how we learn to write and teach writing.
Worried that you never thought of yourself as a good writer? You will have the opportunity to explore and develop your own writing through low stakes texts that you can share with supportive readers who will provide thoughtful feedback about your work. You will also have individual, virtual conferences with me throughout the term. In all, you will write four polished papers, culminating in arguments and critical analyses as you learn to construct an academic dialogue with scholarly sources. You will also have the option of practicing different kinds of writing exercises and taking on assignments of your own. I hope you feel enabled to tap into outside knowledge and experiences that complement our course, our readings, and our writings.
Look forward to lively discussions, useful workshops, intriguing readings, and varied and sequenced writing assignments. I look forward to getting to know you and guiding you to become a more powerful and clear writer.
WRI 111 C & D: Writing Seminar: Writing Lived Experience [Online]
Prof. Eric Ekstrand
WRI 111 C: TR 9:30-10:45 (CRN 96023)
WRI 111 D: TR 12:30-1:45 (CRN 90051)
The word “phenomenology” might sound intimidating until you learn what it means: a way to study the lived quality of experience. In this course, you will conduct your own original phenomenological research alongside fellow, budding phenomenologists. This research project will be designed by you, with the help of your instructor and classmates, and grounded in an important experience in your life that is shared by others.
Early in the semester, you will use reflective and observational writing to interrogate meaningful experiences you have had in the past, working towards an “lived experience description with thematic reflection,” a real-world essay genre where you will narrate one experience so as to elicit the quality of that experience in the mind of your reader and explore its embedded themes. In the second half of the semester, you will develop a research question that emerges from previous writing. This might be something like, “What is the lived quality of singing with others in a gospel choir?” or of being dumped, or of losing something important, etc. Using your question, you will collect relevant lived experience descriptions from sources other than yourself. You will conduct interviews in addition to discovering descriptions in literature, film, other phenomenological human science writing, etc. You will use these descriptions and your analysis of them to further penetrate the quality of the experience you study.
Along the way, you will undertake short writing and research assignments, in and out of class, that will build into the sustained work. In class, as well as through group conferences and workshops, you will frequently read and reflect on your own and others’ developing writing. In addition to reading about the processes of composing, we will read examples of phenomenological writing by students and adult, expert writers in order to inform your own original work. This way, you will not prepare to be an academic writer so much as begin academic writing in earnest.
WRI 111 E/F Writing Seminar: All Fun and Games: On Play [Online]
Prof. Marianne Erhardt
WRI 111 E: TR 12:30-1:45 (CRN 90037)
WRI 111 F: TR 2:00-3:15 (CRN 90561)
In this class, we will write our way through an inquiry of games and play. What is play and why do we do it? How does it function for children? For adults? What is play’s relationship to privilege? Who gets to play? When is play stigmatized? What makes a game work? How do our ways of playing and pretending reflect and shape culture?
Writing itself can be a form of play. Writers use tools. We follow and break rules. We use writing to explore, to attempt, to persuade, to win, to question, to make sense of. Writing is an act of play that has the potential to engage countless readers, playmates, competitors, and referees.
Topics may include gender and children’s toys; the urban playground movement; the games of dating, politics, and school; play and technology; and sports and sports fandom. Texts may include Reality is Broken (McGonigal), Last Child in the Woods (Louv), Against Football (Almond), What It Is (Barry), and others.
WRI 111 G: Writing Seminar: Animals Make Us Human? A Service Learning Course [Online]
Prof. Melissa Jenkins
WF 9:30-10:45 (CRN 90034)
This course turns the title of Temple Grandin’s animal rights/slaughterhouse rights book, Animals Make Us Human, into its driving question. Topics will include animal rights and animal cruelty, the psychological effects of owning or interacting with animals, and current research about animal cognition and evolution. Course texts will include religious writings, novels, speeches, theoretical essays, science writing, popular journalism, and film. We will find that literary and socio-cultural engagements with the non-human world, while valuable in themselves, also serve to illuminate the human condition.
This is a workshop-based discussion class rather than a lecture course; thus, participation in course discussion is essential. In our analysis of the readings and in our work with each other’s writing, we will focus on process. In the fall of 2020, the course will retain its focus on integrating academic and community engagement, even as we transfer the work of the course into a virtual environment.
WRI 111 H: Writing Seminar: Essays and Memos and Reports—Oh My! Writing for College and Career [Online]
Prof. Benjamin Keating
TR 9:30-10:45 (CRN 90038)
The academic writing you do in college helps prepare you for the writing you will do in your career, that is, for the professional writing you will do in the workplace of your chosen profession. Yet professional writing and academic writing are often very different, with divergent conventions, expectations, and forms. For example, what is the difference between an investigative report for a marketing firm and a research paper for a scholarly journal? If there are similarities, what are they? In terms of everyday writing, what are the conventions of email correspondence in the working world and how will you learn them in internships, summer jobs, or in your first job after commencement?
In this seminar we will use samples of professional writing—broadly defined in contrast to creative writing, academic writing, and journalism—from a wide array of professional communities (e.g., law, medicine, science) to explore questions around audience, context, purpose, and form. Course readings will also include academic analyses of professional writing.
Please note that most of the writing you do in this seminar will be academic, not professional. This is because the central project of the course is to study professional writing as a productive vehicle to learn academic writing, much in the same way you might have read poetry but not written it for previous courses. In other words, you will learn about professional writing as you develop a set of writing tools to be used in future academic writing contexts.
WRI 111 K & X: Writing Seminar: The World is Yours: Identity and Power in Academic Writing [Online]
Prof. Benjamin Keating
WRI 111 K: TR 12:30-1:45 (CRN 90052)
WRI 111 X: TR 3:30-4:45 (CRN 94175)
In 1987, the Oprah Winfrey Show aired an episode entitled, “Standard & ‘Black’ English.” The topic of the show was language—“Black English versus Standard English,” as Winfrey put it, but the subject of the conversation was not just language. Identity was also a central topic, exposing power dynamics around, and connections between, identity and language.
In this writing seminar, we will think expansively about identity and power, focusing on the diverse ways in which many social groups speak and write. Course readings will help us analyze how academic communities (e.g., research scientists, professors of education), professional communities (e.g., attorneys and medical doctors), and interest communities (e.g., stamp collectors and hip-hop fans) use language to mark belonging, accomplish specific goals, and construct their worlds. Allow me to propose that the world is yours—if—you can develop your ability to communicate successfully in different ways to different groups of people.
As we scout out areas of scholarship where we can imagine ourselves making arguments or doing research that matters to us and that matters to others, we will continually locate ourselves as writers with unique sets of linguistic and cultural experience. Finally—and crucially—this seminar will empower you by supporting your facility with academic writing in a range of contexts.
WRI 111 I/J: Writing Seminar: Truth and Fiction [Online]
Prof. Danielle Koupf
WRI 111 I: MWF 11:00-11:50 (CRN 90040)
WRI 111 J: MWF 12:00-12:50 (CRN 90036)
The line between truth and fiction continues to blur in today’s media landscape, as fake news, satirical websites, exaggerations, and biased reporting populate our social media feeds and phone screens. In art and writing too, there’s often no clear boundary between truth and fiction. Seemingly solid categories like fiction and nonfiction are not so easily distinguished, with genres like memoir, creative nonfiction, reality television, and documentary film constantly challenging the distinction. In this course, we will embrace the playfulness that such blurriness promotes while training to become more discerning consumers of all kinds of media. We will hone our skepticism and our skills of critical analysis by learning to spot fake news, evaluate journalism’s credibility, explore the essay’s many guises, and read a variety of genres critically.
We will practice writing in several styles, including personal reflection, researched writing, argument, and description. We will engage in frequent low-stakes writing assignments in class and undertake substantial revisions of our essays and projects. As we work on our writing, we will also work on our reading by probing unusual and challenging texts, annotating them thoroughly, and reflecting on our reading experiences. You will leave this class with a better sense of how to read and write effectively in a post-truth world.
WRI 111 L/M/N: Writing Seminar: What’s (y)our story? [Online]
Prof. Keri Epps Mathis
WRI 111 L: MWF 10:00-10:50 (CRN 90043)
WRI 111 M : MWF 12:00-12:50 (CRN 90042)
WRI 111 N: MWF 1:00-1:50 (CRN 90045)
Stories help us understand ourselves and others. Stories serve as the foundation for human connection and communication. We use our own and others’ stories to direct our responses in nearly every communicative act.
In this class, we will compose, analyze, and collect stories, or narratives, in a range of genres and media to explore the role that narrative plays in argumentation and persuasion in and outside of academic settings. We will consider the following questions: What is my story? What are others’ stories that challenge my own? What roles do stories play in research? What are the stories existing around me at Wake Forest or in the Winston-Salem community?
To begin answering such questions, we will engage with readings on narrative from composition studies and from viral storytelling campaigns like Brandon Stanton’s “Humans of New York.” We will use the readings and our writing assignments to consider the many roles of narrative: as a therapeutic tool, as a way of knowing, a means of translating our lived experience, a rhetorical device, among others (Countryman, 1995; Kurtyka, 2017).
By the end of the semester, to reach the course goals, you will have engaged in a writing process—including rounds of drafting, feedback, and revision—to complete three major writing assignments, a digital project (creating blogs, social media campaigns, or videos) and a final portfolio. The sequence of major assignments ranges from composing personal stories, identifying and responding to stories that challenge our own, and finding disciplinary or professional genres where narrative is used as evidence, to collecting and compiling community stories in both print and digital spaces.
WRI 111 O: Writing Seminar: Just Words: Writing, Rhetoric, and Ethics [Online]
Prof. Ryan Shirey
TR 12:30-1:45 (CRN 90046)
When we want to disregard what someone else has to say, it is all too easy to claim that our opponents’ statements are “just words” or “empty rhetoric.” Such claims dismiss the link between language and the world of action and civic responsibility; they suggest that saying and doing are unrelated things. In this course, we will consider the ways in which language is a kind of action that takes place in the context of human communities. Instead of taking the phrase “just words” to mean “merely (or only) words,” we will take seriously the idea that words themselves may (or should) be just, which is to say concerned with fairness, equitability, and moral good within specific rhetorical situations. Why, for instance, does academic writing require specific kinds of citation rules? How do we argue about important ideas in responsible and ethical ways? What kinds of obligations as writers and thinkers do we have to ourselves, our beliefs, and our audiences? All of these questions and more will be taken up in this course as we think carefully and critically about what it means to write and argue well. Texts may include, among others, selections from Aristotle’s Rhetoric, Richard M. Weaver’s The Ethics of Rhetoric, Kenneth Burke’s Language as Symbolic Action and A Rhetoric of Motives, Robert Jensen’s Arguing for Our Lives, and Sarah Manguso’s 300 Arguments.
WRI 111 P: Writing Seminar: write.hack: Collaboration and Ownership in Writing [Online]
Prof. Jonathan Smart
WF 9:30-10:45 (CRN 90047)
In this writing course, we explore the writing process through collaboration, remixing, and sharing of ideas. We also discuss and reflect on the ownership of ideas, the ethics of sharing, and the power structures that underlie our traditions and practices in writing. Readings for the course will include academic works on the writing process, genre, and revision. Additionally, we will examine issues related to ownership, writing, and collaboration through reading texts by Cory Doctorow, Steven Levy, Lawrence Lessig, and others. Writing assignments will incorporate online and collaborative tasks, as well as individual writing projects.
WRI 111 Q/R: Writing Seminar: Rhetorics of Music [Online]
Prof. (Richard) Carter Smith
WRI 111 Q: WF 9:30-10:45 (CRN 90044)
WRI 111 R: WF 11:00-12:15 (CRN 90053)
Have you debated with a friend the merits of a particular song? Have you sought out an interview with one of your favorite artists or followed a music blog? This seminar considers the ways in which arguments about music—the intentions of music makers, the methods used to realize them, and the way that listeners register their effects—are integral to the meanings that we find in it. Reading a variety of literary and musicological texts, we will consider what we “get” from music and also how we get it, as its audience and as consumers. Our readings and conversations on these matters will allow us to analyze the situatedness of musical texts, and texts about those texts, with the goal of entering into the conversation with our own effective writing. Readings may include work by James Baldwin, Moises Kaufman, Greg Milner, J Dilla, and others.
WRI 111 T/V: Mindful Nation: Contemplative Inquiry and Society [Online]
Prof. Elisabeth Whitehead
WRI 111 T: 9:30-10:45 (CRN 90049)
WRI 111 V: 2:00-3:15 (CRN 90050)
Morris Graves defines contemplation as “stilling the surfaces of the mind and letting the inner surfaces bloom.” In this course we will practice stilling the mind’s surface through exercises of concentration, listening, and reflection, and from this place of contemplative inquiry we will investigate social issues relevant to us in contemporary society. By practicing awareness and attention (awareness of ourselves, each other, our writing, and the world we live in) we will begin to cultivate the space we need as writers, as well as the qualities of listening, observation, and empathy to foster ethical communication and advocacy. With a focus on strengthening critical reading, writing, thinking, and listening skills, we will study a variety of texts including essays, memoirs, film, a graphic novel, and poetry in order to encounter a wide range of social and cultural issues that occupy our attention today.
This course will be a conversation about the issues themselves but also the ways in which we know, understand, speak, and write about these issues. By approaching a variety of controversies in the spirit of mindfulness, and with a willingness “to face whatever the reality of a situation may be” (The Dalai Lama) we will delve into the complexities of these contemporary social concerns, to understand and recognize these issues not as simple pro/con boxes but as spectrums of belief with a multitude of positions and players involved. We will work to understand how we fit into these conversations, and how we can engage in genuine dialogue, even with those who might disagree with us. Contemplative inquiry will allow us to move beyond facile distinctions between ‘us’ and ‘them’–distinctions so easily drawn in contentious debates. By nurturing mindfulness, we will be able to open up authentic modes of communication between opposing views, thereby realizing the radical potential for change inherent in meditative practices.
Projects will include in-depth analyses of rhetorical strategies employed by published authors; research projects that seek to balance and integrate narrative with gathered facts, statistics, expert opinion, and psychological studies; exercises in advocacy; and a campus-based project that implements strategies for creating a more mindful Wake Forest.
Texts will include work by Martin Luther King, Jr., Mark Edmundson, Sister Helen Prejean, Art Spiegelman, and Hannah Arendt.
WRI 111 W: Writing Seminar: Writing as Public Action [Online]
Prof. Alisa Russell
WF 11:00-12:15 (CRN 94174)
Have you found that you’re deeply passionate about an ideal, a stance, a movement, or an issue? You want to do something — engage with others, open a new line of thinking, and/or bring about change for your community. But how do you get in on the conversation? How do you reach a variety of audiences? What will allow you to take action in the seemingly impenetrable publics around you? This course focuses on a variety of written genres that allow one to engage and shape public conversations.
In the first half of the course, we will focus on learning the language of GENRE — the way various elements of writing (e.g., author/audience, main claims/stakes, evidence/appeals, organization/formatting, tone/style) come together in patterned ways to achieve particular actions in the world. No matter your major or career goals, writing will be part of your regular routine because it is how we record, communicate, argue, inform, understand, and share ideas across time and space. In this course, you will gain the analytical language and tools to figure out any new genre you may encounter in the future. Even more, we will keep a critical eye on these genres (e.g., who gets included and excluded? what values do they emphasize?), and we will even play with the boundaries of genre to investigate their flexibility.
In the second half of the course, we will use our new knowledge of genre to write about the public issues we care about most. You will choose which genres would best fulfill your chosen purpose and reach your chosen audiences in order to accomplish the public actions that will bring about positive change in your communities. We will compose genres across modes and mediums, and we will practice shifting rhetorical strategies from genre to genre to build our flexibility. We will especially consider how composing is rather messy: We’ll explore a number of writing processes and strategies, and you can experiment with which ones work for you. We’ll also find that writing is an inherently social activity; you will use your peers (and me) as resources for feedback and growth in your writing skills as part of your process.
WRI 111 Y/Z/ZA: Writing Seminar: Rhetoric of Food [Online]
Prof. Hannah Harrison
WRI 111 Y: MWF 9:00-9:50 (CRN 94176)
WRI 111 Z: MWF 10:00-10:50 (CRN 94209)
WRI 111 ZA: MWF 1:00-1:50 (CRN 94814)
Food does more for humans than secure our survival. Food cultivation, distribution, preparation, and consumption contribute to our identities, reflect our values, and maintain social norms. Just as food creates communities, it also causes controversies and raises questions: Who has access to farmable land and healthy food? Why? What constitutes a healthy diet and how can we educate everyone about food and nutrition? How can we grow and distribute food sustainably with a warming climate while feeding a growing population? What does the future of our food system look like and how can we adapt practices, technologies, and policies to improve it?
Through a series of a/synchronous, online reading, research, writing, discussion, and reflection assignments, each student in this course will identify and focus their own semester-long inquiry on one food-related public controversy. You will have weekly opportunities to work with me one-on-one and to collaborate with your peers in small group discussions and writing feedback groups hosted via Zoom. Health safety permitting, students may be invited to participate in occasional and optional “field trips” to local sites of urban agriculture and food advocacy events, both online and face-to-face.
The first portion of the course explores genres of public writing and emphasizes learning about discourse communities and neutrally summarizing other peoples’ arguments. You will write two documents to demonstrate what you’ve learned: an annotated bibliography and a “controversy map” that summarizes and synthesizes the critical conversation. Next, each student will draft a rhetorical analysis essay that explores a local food systems actor, advocacy group, business, or organization and analyzes their digital media presence. The last major project asks you to apply what you’ve learned about discourse communities and public rhetoric to your own persuasive work. You will choose your genre for the project (ie: an editorial article; an advocacy letter; a podcast; a website) and craft research-informed documents that advance a position and an idea for action around the controversy you’ve studied all semester. Throughout the course, you will participate in shorter, low-stakes writing exercises and feedback reviews with small group members. During finals, you will participate in our Food Systems Symposium, where you will present your work, advocate your call to action, and ask questions of your peers as a member of an informed audience.
WRI 111 ZB: Tech Troubles [Online]
Prof. Guy Witzel
TR 9:30-10:45 (CRN 96240)
Technology today is undoubtedly a wonder; its advancements often manifest as solutions to stubborn problems. But technology can also make us anxious, complicate things, give us trouble. As much as technology positions itself as evidence of progress, its advancements have nevertheless been shown to exacerbate inequality, perpetuate injustice, and reinforce the status quo. What should we make of these contradictions? As writers eager to responsibly engage these matters with well-reasoned analysis, how might we begin?
To start, we’ll learn from others, studying the rhetoric and conventions of scholars, social critics, and essayists interested in the intersections of justice and technology. In examining this work through blog posts, in-class writing, and discussion, we’ll develop new critical thinking, reading, and writing strategies. We’ll then capitalize on what we’ve learned to invent, draft, and revise writing that fearlessly confronts today’s technological troubles. We’ll then repeat this cycle of invention, feedback, and revision in assignments concerning technological dilemmas in popular culture and accounts of alternative relationships to technology. In doing so, we will intervene within a variety of genres, disciplines, and rhetorical situations, including discussions of algorithmic bias, the commodification of attention, and the online experiences of women and people of color.
More and more we will all be asked to write in and respond to a world that is at once ethically complex, quickly changing, and significantly located in digital environments. By honing our writing skills in this context, we’ll be better prepared to seek out and put forward alternative perspectives, evaluate and integrate evidence in our analyses, and craft arguments for different mediums and audiences.
WRI 111 ZC & ZD: Weird Nature [Online]
Prof. Guy Witzel
WRI 111 ZC: TR 2:00-3:15 (CRN 96241)
WRI 111 ZD: TR 3:30-4:45 (CRN 96248)
How should we characterize our relationship to nature in the twenty-first century? As the refuge from modern life that we heart on Instagram? As the deadly and frightening place we see in nature documentaries? As a sphere subject to our control? As a force threatening to overwhelm our lives? Humanity’s relationship with nature has long animated the written word. In this course, we will study the ways in which writers, researchers, and makers of culture depict our shifting and sometimes “strange” relationships with the natural world. These works will provide a lens from which to consider and practice various genres, rhetorical strategies, and writing conventions.
We’ll start by studying writers who challenge our ordinary perceptions of nature through estrangement, examining the rhetoric and conventions they use to render the familiar foreign. To practice new critical thinking, reading, and writing skills we will generate blog posts and in-class writings that respond to this body of work. From there, we will each work to translate our findings into a rhetorical analysis that also puts forward its own, divergent ecological vision. For this and other major assignments we will move through drafting and peer-editing phases that will help us become more comfortable with the processes of invention and revision that support strong writing.
We will also consider recent creative and critical works so as to examine various environmental fantasies and issues of identity. These works will also create opportunities for us to study how major public dialogues unfold and the various techniques we might use in order to engage and participate in them. By the end of this class, you will be better equipped to make arguments, present evidence, challenge common sense, and invent meaning through writing.
WRI 111 ZE/ZH: Writing Seminar [Online]
Prof. Gail Clements
ZE: TR 9:30-10:45 (CRN 98293)
ZH: TR 12:30-1:45 (CRN 98691)
The first prerequisite to understanding any linguistic message is the ability to decipher its code. How do you decipher or understand the quotes above? How do others understand them? Language is personal and public; language is social and political; language is law and is precedent. Topics will range from more technical problems (theories of meaning, reference, and truth) to broader issues, such as examining the relationship between language and culture. The study of language and communication will inform our writing practice in discussion of how others present themselves publicly and why they choose to represent themselves in a certain way and through certain forms. In addition, the study of language will inform how we decide to present ourselves in written form.
Speakers and writers communicate in different ways (styles or formality levels and registers or dialects) for a variety of reasons, including audience, topic, speaker and listener education level, speaker intention, race, gender, and more. While we are considering and working to broaden and improve our own written and oral communication styles, analyzing other speaking and writing ways through a critical study of language systems and language use.
We will write in a variety of styles, including exploratory, personal reflection, critical analysis, and researched writing. We will engage in low-stakes writing assignments in class and undertake substantial revisions of essays and projects. As we work on our writing, we will also work on our reading by reading unusual and challenging texts, annotating them thoroughly, and reflecting on our reading experiences.
WRI 111 ZF/ZG/ZJ: The Rhetoric of Protest [Online]
Prof. Matt Fiander
ZF: WF 9:30-10:45 (CRN 98284)
ZG: WF 11:00-12:15 (CRN 98295)
ZJ: WF 2:00-3:15 (CRN 98692)
In this course, we will analyze the language and rhetoric of protest. First, we’ll try and figure out what we mean when we say “protest.” What conventions, communication, expectations, and representation comprise protest movements? Within our definition of protest, we will examine when, why, and how groups voice their resistance against particular moments, systems, or conditions. We will also examine protest language to understand its intentions and implications. We’ll study various forms of protest (songs, social media, organized movements), but we’ll also look at how media depicts protest movements, as well as how different genres of writing discuss them. The goal will be to learn how visual and language-based rhetoric shapes protest and resistance, how protests enter into ongoing modes of public discourse, and how uncovering the way protests communicate can help us better understand their perspective and their impact.
We’ll find connections between the classic protest singers (like Bob Dylan and Nina Simone) and those singing in protest today (Beyonce, Janelle Monae, Kendrick Lamar, NNAMDI, and more). We’ll see how hashtag movements like #metoo and #BlackLivesMatter use various rhetorical techniques to communicate their message. We’ll cover historical protests in labor, anti-war and civil rights, but we’ll also discuss what’s happening today. Though we’ll work together online, we will still collaborate in several ways to have a semester-long, in-depth conversation about how protest works and use that complex discussion to inform and improve our writing and understanding of rhetoric. Though we won’t be together, we’ll still analyze popular music together, create and present video projects, and draft and review our writing in groups. Our purpose in looking at protest is not to pick sides, but rather to use our writing to effectively convey how these movements work and to use writing to deepen our thinking on these topics. Our work is to clarify and support our perspective, and to help us become more engaged and interested citizens in the communities around us and in the world at large.
WRI 210 A: Academic Research & Writing: Argumentation Across Disciplines [Online]
Prof. Zak Lancaster
TR 2:00-3:15 (CRN 90093)
This is an advanced course in writing for both public and specialized audiences, with the aim of assisting you to become a more flexible and aware writer. You will learn how to expose the subtle and powerful rhetorical strategies that writers from the sciences to the humanities use in their writing to construct authority and pull readers toward their views, and you will learn how to tailor your writing techniques for the various audiences and contexts that interest you. In undertaking these goals, we will focus on evidence-based argumentation. This means we’ll examine argumentation in general, then turn to disciplinary distinctions and overlaps, and then to techniques for interfacing with the public. How do writers use language to position readers, and different kinds of readers? What counts as evidence in different fields? How do writers take a stance toward their evidence, and promote their arguments?
Some reading and writing practices central to the course include: (1) analyzing language and moves in the texts we read and write; (2) considering the context and audience expectations informing each text we read and write; (3) engaging in collaborative processes of writing and thinking with your peers; and (4) being willing to take initiative with your writing, including seeking feedback and revising substantially.
WRI 210 B: Academic Research & Writing: Asking Questions, Getting Answers, and Crafting Knowledge [Online]
Prof. Alisa Russell
WF 12:30-1:45 (CRN 96394)
Questioning is a natural part of the human experience, and it forms the foundation of the academy in which scholars seek to build knowledge in their domains. Yet, how questions are asked and how answers are found can vary widely between disciplines — from the humanities to the sciences, from the social sciences to the performing arts. Each discipline has its own ways of asking questions, finding answers, and sharing results with others. What is the same across disciplines, though, is that this knowledge is built, crafted, and shared through writing. Writing becomes both process and product: It is used to guide research processes and craft findings. In this way, knowledge is both created and distributed through academic writing.
In this course, we will explore how writing shapes and sustains the work of academic disciplines. We will practice with the analytical tools and research methods that allow us to comparatively explore academic writing for what conventions make it effective in different disciplines, as well as what values and worldviews those conventions convey. We’ll explore different disciplinary genres, how they make arguments, their major organizational structures, sentence-level linguistic patterns, and their research/writing processes.
Therefore, this course will heighten your awareness as a academic reader and writer, and it will increase your flexibility to engage with academic (and non-academic) texts. Moreover, it will provide the opportunity to deep-dive into the writing — and therefore knowledge-building practices — of the discipline(s) in which you’re most interested. And of course, the main way we will explore academic writing is by…writing about it. We will thus aim to become a community of writers who frequently share their ideas and their work with one another for feedback and support.
WRI 212 A: Art? Of the Essay? [Blended: Online Pathway]
Prof. (Richard) Carter Smith
WF 2:00-3:15 (CRN 93835)
Though you might not know from the way you’ve been asked to use it in the past, an essay, in its root sense, is an attempt. A trial. It is a genre especially well suited to posing questions, testing ideas, and working things out. In this course, we will approach the essay from this perspective, reading a variety of examples in order to ask questions like: what happens when a reader thoughtfully engages with a writer’s attempt? what does a writer gain from making one? what kind of knowledge does an attempt produce? As you will see from the essays that we read, the focus here is not critical writing and research. It is, rather, the essay as an exploration of your experience, as an art commensurate with other forms of making.
WRI 306: Special Topics in Rhetoric and Writing: Rhetorical Educations: Theories of Writing and Writers [Blended: Online Pathway]
Prof. Erin Branch
WF 12:30-1:45 (CRN 96129)
Learning to write explicitly or implicitly involves learning to adjust what we say (and how we say it) to accomplish our purposes, given a particular context. We might consider this learning a form of rhetorical education—a concept which we can use to examine the theoretical underpinnings of writing practices and writing pedagogy today.
In this class, we will begin by studying the emergence of rhetorical theory in the Classical world and following some of its evolutions over the past two and a half millennia. We will witness its rise and fall as a widely taught academic discipline, and observe its re-emergence as a foundation to writing pedagogy in the mid-20th century.
Along the way, we will consider uptake: which ideas about rhetoric and writing were circulated and adopted, and for what purposes? We will also ask what these privileged ideas value, tacitly or explicitly, about writers: whose voices get heard and celebrated, and whose might be questioned or silenced?
Readings may include selections from ancient (Plato, Aristotle, Cicero) and modern (Nietzsche, Burke, Perelman & Olbrechts-Tyteca) rhetoricians, as well as contemporary rhetoric and composition scholars and historians. Writing assignments may include a literacy narrative, short encyclopedia-entry-style essays on rhetorical concepts, a research proposal, and a literature review.
WRI 340 A: Flow [Online]
Prof. Danielle Koupf
WF 2:00-3:15 (CRN 97192)
When we writers reflect on a piece of writing, we often remark on its “flow.” It flows well. It doesn’t flow well. What do we mean when we use the word flow in this way? What is “good flow,” and how do we achieve it as writers? How important is “good flow” anyway? In this course, we will investigate these questions through analysis and production of all sorts of texts.
“Flow” seems to describe both a state of mind (when the writing is flowing well) and the state of a text (whether it coheres together). We will consider both aspects of flow with an emphasis on the latter. We will explore terms like structure, organization, meta-discourse, coherence, and cohesion in depth and learn to analyze writing for these properties. We will examine writing from different academic disciplines, as well as the options available in public, professional, digital, and creative writing, with attention to genres such as the classical oration, the five-paragraph essay, the IMRAD research paper, the lyric essay, the braided essay, and the graphic novel. We will read and create writing that both does and does not “flow” to better discern flow’s role in effective discourse.
You will leave this course with strategies for getting into the flow of your writing and for constructing writing with and without cohesion and coherence, alongside a portfolio of diverse writing that has been drafted, reviewed, revised, and tinkered with.
WRI 341: Writing Center Pedagogy [Blended: Online Pathway]
Prof. Ryan Shirey
WF 3:30-4:45 (CRN 98110)
Introduction to composition pedagogy and writing center theory and practices, with special emphasis on one-to-one and small group peer tutoring techniques. The course includes classroom-based work—reading, writing, responding, discussing, and exploring instruction and consultation processes—and field experiences. Students spend a total of 20 hours observing in writing classrooms, the WFU Writing Center and/or community sites, and tutoring. Students reflect on those experiences to prepare a final researched writing project. Strongly recommended for those interested in working in the Writing Center as peer tutors. (Counts as an elective in the English major.)
WRI 344 A / JOU 340 A: Magazine Writing [Online]
Prof. Barry Yeoman
M 2:00- 4:30 (CRN 97232)
Students in this class will learn and practice the skills needed to produce magazine stories for publication. Focusing on a single topic of their own choosing all semester, they will be encouraged to write creatively and often. They will learn advanced principles of interviewing, document research, story structure, character development, and explanatory journalism. They will also read and analyze some of the best magazine stories written over the past 30 years. (WRI 344 counts as an elective in the English major.)
Here is a list of the courses being offered in Fall 2020 that count toward the Interdisciplinary Writing Minor. For detailed descriptions, please click the links to the department course descriptions.
JOU 270, Introduction to Journalism, Prof. Justin Catanoso/Prof. Mandy Locke/Prof. Ivan Weiss
JOU 278, News Literacy, Prof. Justin Catanoso
JOU 335, Multimedia Storytelling, Prof. Ivan Weiss
JOU 345, Sports Journalism, Prof. Justin Catanoso
JOU 350, Writing for Public Relations and Advertising, Prof. Peter Mitchell
JOU 355, Broadcast Journalism, Prof. Melissa Painter
JOU 375A, On the Air with WFDD, Paul Garber
CRW 285, Poetry Workshop, Prof. Elisabeth Whitehead
CRW 286, Short Story Workshop, Prof. Joanna Ruocco
CRW 287, Literary Nonfiction Workshop, Prof. Eric Wilson
CRW 385, Advanced Poetry Workshop: Documentary Poetics, Prof. L. Lamar Wilson
CRW 386, Advanced Fiction Writing, Prof. Joanna Ruocco
Pre-Approved Writing Enhanced Course Electives
CHM 341L: Physical Chemistry I Lab, Professor Scott Geyer
HST 268: African History to 1870, Professor Nathan Plageman
PHI 232: Ancient Greek Philosophy, Professor Emily Austin
PSY 338: Emotion, Professor Christian Waugh