Fall 2021

Read through our current course offerings, or click the links immediately below to scroll directly to the courses that interest you.

WRI 111 | Upper Level WRI Courses | Crosslisted | For Writing Minors

WRI 111

WRI 105 A: Introduction to Critical Reading and Writing: On Your Own Terms
Prof. Eric Ekstrand
WF 2:00-3:15 (CRN 90325)
“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: The Ethics of Representation
Prof. Erin Branch
WF 12:30-1:45 (CRN 90033)
We live in a rhetorically combative moment in which pundits, journalists, and anyone with a social media account can announce their views to the world. While this moment has produced mountains of (often digital) writing, much of that writing is delivered as monologue, often without the expectation of a serious response. Pundits and guests on news shows shout at and over each other. Editorialists call each other out by name. Public figures regularly engage in Twitter wars and probably everyone has a story about a “fight” on their Facebook page. What public discourse teaches us right now is that the goal of debate is to vanquish an ideological opponent—to win the argument, rather than to engage with or even listen seriously to views which might differ from our own. Needless to say, such a climate offers us few opportunities for deep discussion or civil disagreement; such behaviors are often labeled weak or uncommitted. Yet finding ways to listen to and enter conversations constitutes the real work of living in civil society, not to mention the university of which you are now a part.

In this course, you will read essays and articles from journalists, academics, memoirists, and other writers. We will consider questions of genre, argument, audience, and evidence as we examine how these authors balance their own perspectives and opinions with those they don’t share. Ultimately, we will strive to develop a “rhetorical toolkit” for civil discourse in a variety of contexts. Readings may include texts by Richard Rodriguez, Gloria Anzaldua, Leslie Jamison, Claudia Rankine, John Edgar Wideman, and others; writing assignments may include summaries, analyses, and researched arguments. 

WRI 111 B/C: Writing Seminar: Writing Lived Experience
Prof. Eric Ekstrand
WRI 111 B: WF 9:30-10:45 (CRN 90035)
WRI 111 C: WF 11:00-12:15 (CRN 96023)
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 D/E/F: Writing Seminar: All Fun and Games: On Play
Prof. Marianne Erhardt

WRI 111 D: TR 8:00-9:15 (CRN 90051)
WRI 111 E: TR 9:30-10:45 (CRN 90037)
WRI 111 F: TR 12:30-1:45 (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? What is the value of play and who determines that value? How does play function for children? For adults? What is play’s relationship to privilege? Who gets to play? What makes a game work? What makes it fair? How do our ways of playing and pretending reflect and shape culture? 

We’ll treat writing itself as a form of play. Writers use tools. We make, follow and break rules. We write to explore, to attempt, to persuade, to win, to question, and to make sense of. Writing is an act of play that has the potential to engage countless readers, playmates, competitors, and referees. Our topics may include gender and children’s toys; the games of dating, politics, and school; play and technology; music, entertainment, and sports and sports fandom. 

This time in our world brings a new chapter for play. Quarantine and social distancing have fostered and disrupted many kinds of play, and have forced us to confront our personal relationships with play’s neighbors: creativity, boredom, fear, risk, inspiration, improvisation, and connection. We’ll explore all of these, as we write in a variety of genres, using peer workshops to develop our writing skills and our class community.

WRI 111 G/H: Writing Seminar: Exploring Community Writing
Prof. Keri Epps
WRI 111 G: WF 8:00-9:15 (CRN 90034)
WRI 111 H: WF 11:00-12:15 (CRN 90038)
Writing drives community action in ways that often go unnoticed. For example, nonprofit organizations regularly write grant proposals, communicate with media, and develop marketing campaigns for programs and fundraising events. Activist groups create large communities through posts on social media and write letters to officials to implement policy change. In this class, we will investigate genres of writing in the Winston-Salem community by asking the following questions: Where do you see social change and community writing happening in Winston-Salem? What are the possibilities for future social change and community writing? What are some organizations in the community that are working toward social change currently? What kinds of writing and communication do they use to implement such change? In this course, you will explore organizations on campus and in the community and will write in several genres and media to learn about your own dispositions toward social change and different types of writing that are changing (or have the potential to change) the lives of the people living in this community.

By the end of the semester, to reach the course goals, you will have written three major assignments and submitted a culminating portfolio with an introductory reflection (or, conducted a project with a local organization in lieu of a final portfolio). The sequence of major assignments includes a “social change” self-study, a summary and response to a local community issue, and a rhetorical analysis of a genre of community writing. In this class, you will have the opportunity to analyze and practice writing in the classroom and for public audiences to see how writing really can and does make change in the world.

WRI 111 K/L: Writing Seminar: Originality and Invention
Prof. Danielle Koupf
WRI 111 K: TR 5:00-6:15 (CRN 90052)
WRI 111 L: TR 3:30-4:45 (CRN 90043)
“[A]ppropriation, mimicry, quotation, allusion, and sublimated collaboration consist of a kind of sine qua non of the creative act, cutting across all forms and genres in the realm of cultural production.” –Jonathan Lethem, “The Ecstasy of Influence”

You may have heard someone lament the lack of “original” content in today’s popular culture: more and more movies, television shows, and songs, it seems, are merely remakes, remixes, adaptations, sequels, prequels, or covers. But is originality really all that important in writing, art, and media? After all, even Shakespeare adapted some of his ideas from history and literature. While the burden of originality can plague budding writers, adopting “unoriginal” techniques like collage can free us of some of this burden. We can still be inventive and creative when composing with reused materials, as the line between “original” and “unoriginal” is blurry. This course introduces you to invention as a rhetorical concept that encompasses both creation and discovery, meaning that invention can entail repetition just as it can entail generation. We will explore where ideas come from and how we can reliably generate them through invention processes. We will investigate the difference between plagiarism and appropriate, creative reuse and the overlap between technical invention and rhetorical invention. You will grow more aware of which tools for invention work for you and which influences affect your writing and reading practices. You will learn to experiment with your writing.

We will practice writing in a variety of styles, including exploratory, personal reflection, critical analysis, researched writing, and collage writing. We will engage in frequent low-stakes writing assignments and undertake substantial revisions of our 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 N: Writing Seminar: Argumentation and Civil Discourse
Prof. Zak Lancaster
TR 5:00-6:15 (CRN 90045)
Many people think of argumentation in terms of armed combat: two sides pitched against each other, staking claims, launching attacks and counter-attacks, and defending and strengthening their positions. Such combative language pervades our ordinary conceptions of argumentation, and it shapes how we make arguments (even in academia). Seemingly neutral descriptors like “defending your position” and “finding common ground” are fundamentally based in conflict. But do we advance dialogue if our aim is to beat down others’ arguments? Research in the social sciences suggests we do not: When we try to persuade through argumentation—even gentle presentation of facts—, people often resist and dig in, rejecting evidence that conflicts with their beliefs. What, then, is the point of argumentation? And how can we contribute to tough conversations, in both academic and public spaces, in ways that foster civility and trust? 

In this course, we will pursue these questions as we practice argumentation from a range of perspectives. We will explore views on argumentation from cognitive psychologists and linguists (Deborah Tannen, George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Lera Boroditsky), from literature and rhetoric scholars, and from popular writers. You will practice using a variety of argument strategies on topics of interest to you, and you will learn how arguments work in various academic fields. You will learn how to motivate your argument, identify stakes, engage fairly and generously with others’ perspectives, position your evidence, embrace evidence that does not support your views, and express both open-mindedness and authority as you take positions.

WRI 111 O: Writing Seminar: Writing as Public Action
Prof. Alisa Russell
MW 12:30-1:45 (CRN 90046)
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 Q/R: Writing Seminar: Rhetorics of Music
Prof. (Richard) Carter Smith
WRI 111 Q: TR 12:30-1:45 (CRN 90044)
WRI 111 R:  TR 2:00-3:15 (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. 

WRI 111 T/V: Mindful Nation: Contemplative Inquiry and Society
Prof. Elisabeth Whitehead
WRI 111 T: TR 12:30-1:45 (CRN 90049)

WRI 111 V: TR 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, memoir, film, and poetry in order to encounter a wide range of social and cultural issues that occupy our attention today. 

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 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. 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; and essays of advocacy that utilize personal narrative in addition to research.

WRI 111 W: Writing Seminar: Tech Troubles
Prof. Guy Witzel
WF 9:30-10:45 (CRN 94174)
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 discussion board posts, workshop session writing, and synchronous session 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 X/Y: Writing Seminar: Weird Nature
Prof. Guy Witzel
WRI 111 X: WF 12:30-1:45 (CRN 94175)
WRI 111 Y: WF 2:00-3:15 (CRN 94176)
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 watch 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 discussion board posts, hypothesis annotations, and synchronous session writings that respond to this body of work. From there, we will each work to translate our findings into analyses that puts forward their own, divergent ecological visions. 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 the challenging ecological questions of our time. These works will create opportunities for us to study how major public dialogues unfold as well as the techniques we may use in order to shape these conversations ourselves. 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 Z: Writing Seminar: Writing Justice
Prof. Phoebe Zerwick
MW 5:00-6:15 (CRN 94209)
A carefully crafted legal brief. A series of investigative newspaper articles. A letter scrawled on a sheet of notebook paper. These are all forms of writing that have resulted in justice. In this course, drawn from the instructor’s experience as an investigative journalist, you will learn to write with that sense of purpose and urgency as you explore contemporary issues that lead to wrongful conviction and other miscarriages of justice. You will read and write in a variety of genres that expose you to the kinds of texts that inform the public discussion of injustice and, in some cases, work to right these wrongs. 

WRI 111 ZA/ZB/ZC: Writing Seminar: Everyday Rhetoric and Popular Culture
Prof. Kendra Andrews
WRI 111 ZA: MW 12:30-1:45 (CRN 94814)
WRI 111 ZB: MW 2:00-3:15 (CRN 96240)
WRI 111 ZC: MW 5:00-6:15 (CRN 96241)
When we hear the term “rhetoric,” we typically think about the lectures of ancient philosophers or the speeches of tricky politicians; however, rhetoric is deeply ingrained in everyday aspects of our modern life. Rhetoric is a part of everything that surrounds us from the way that we dress to the things that we buy to the way that we communicate – any time that a message is communicated with an audience or purpose in mind, an argument is made and rhetoric is enacted. The influx of rhetorical messaging in everyday “texts” becomes even more striking as we spend more time online or on digital devices. While we are all subjected to thousands of rhetorical messages on a daily basis, we are often unaware of their power of persuasion. In this class, we will look directly at the rhetorical messaging in our popular culture and ask questions such as: how does advertising shape the way we see the world? Can social media posts change the state of a nation?  What could music videos or sitcoms tell us about academic genres? What are the ethical obligations of a celebrity or influencer? How does what we read online affect what we write and who we are as a culture? By asking these types of questions, we can break the cycle as mass consumers of popular culture and media and we will learn how to thoughtfully digest information and critically engage with the rhetorical world around us.

During this class, we will expand our understanding of rhetoric by locating examples of rhetorical texts in our everyday lives. Through the critical reading and analysis of popular media such as music videos, commercials, viral  videos, and social media posts, we will begin to unpack the underlying power that these rhetorical messages have in our everyday lives.  pervasiveness in our everyday lives by analyzing and writing about popular culture and everyday objects.  Throughout our rhetorical inquiry, we will read scholarly texts such as academic articles and conference presentations as well as non-scholarly texts such as song lyrics and a scene from popular television shows. We will not only have a wide range of readings, but we will also compose in multimodal ways. During this class, we will develop student-driven writing projects including argumentative rhetorical analysis, genre remix, individual blogging, and inquiry-based research. As part of our work in the class, we will also develop a writer’s website that demonstrates their engagement as critical consumers and producers of modern rhetorical texts.

WRI 111 ZD/ZE/ZF: Writing Seminar: Rhetoric of Protest
Prof. Matthew Fiander
WRI 111 ZD: TR 9:30-10:45 (CRN 96248)
WRI 111 ZE: TR 11:00-12:15 (CRN 98293)
WRI 111 ZF: TR 2:00-3:15 (CRN 98294)
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, Bob Mould, 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. We will 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. 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 111 ZG/ZH: Writing Seminar: Rhetoric of Food
Prof. Hannah Harrison
WRI 111 ZG: WF 9:30-10:45 (CRN 98295)
WRI 111 ZH: WF 11:00-12:15 (CRN 98691)
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 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? 

In this seminar, you’ll focus your research and writing on one food-related public controversy. You’ll read across a range of genres and disciplines, including popular publications like The New York Times and The Washington Post. Each of three projects will be assessed and graded using the portfolio method, which allows for ample feedback, revision, and reflection. For your first project, you’ll complete an essay that profiles a local food systems actor (an advocacy group, business, organization, or individual) and analyzes their digital media presence. Next, you’ll explore discourse communities, genre, and summary. You will write an essay that summarizes and synthesizes the public debate. Then, you’ll apply what you’ve learned to your own persuasive work. You will choose your media and genre for the last project (e.g., an editorial article, an advocacy letter, a podcast, a website) and compose research-informed documents that advance a position and an idea for action around the controversy you’ve studied. Throughout the course, you will participate in low-stakes instructional exercises, reflective writing assignments, and peer feedback reviews. During finals, you’ll present your work, advocate your call to action, and ask questions of your peers as a member of an informed audience during our Food Systems Symposium.

WRI 111 ZJ: Writing Seminar: Rhetoric of Athletics
Prof. Hannah Harrison
WF 2:00-3:15 (CRN 98692)
As much fun and community-building as sports bring to our lives—from children’s leagues to college campuses to the professional industry—they can also create controversies. Public debates swirl around such widely-ranging topics as what constitutes fair compensation for student-athletes, to which diets are best for enhancing athletic performance, to the value of professional athletes as political activists, to safety regulations around gear and rules of play, to name just a few. Some debates have been ongoing for decades (How do we interpret and uphold the legacy and future of Title IX? for example) while others are brand new (How do we decide when it will be safe to return spectators to athletic arenas during the COVID-19 pandemic?).

In this skills-based seminar, students will develop their research and writing skills using the theme of publicly debated sports and athletics conversations. You will select an athletics controversy that interests you and become familiar with the discourse community through a series of reading, research, summary, and analysis exercises before you draft persuasive projects that advocate your position. You will read across a range of genres and purposes: from public writing (such as news reports and op-eds) to scholarly sources, to texts on writing strategies. You will engage textual and multimedia sources, including sports journalism, tv broadcasts, even podcasts. Throughout the course, you will have multiple opportunities to take stock of your learning with low-stakes and lengthier reflection assignments. Your learning will be assessed, evaluated, and graded based on each of three portfolios and your engagement with the course.

WRI 111 ZK/ZL/ZM: Writing Seminar: Rhetoric of Place and Culture
Prof. Leah Haynes
WRI 111 ZK: MWF 10:00-10:50 (CRN 99796)
WRI 111 ZL: MWF 11:00-11:50 (CRN 99797)
WRI 111 ZM: MWF 1:00-1:50 (CRN 99798)

In this seminar, we will focus on the rhetorics of place and culture as a way to practice a variety of writing skills as well as to think critically about the relationships between culture, place, and language. 

The course will ask you to think critically about the places and cultures with which you identify and interact. How does culture influence your life – back home, here at Wake Forest, and in other places that are meaningful to you? You will practice your observation and interview skills, look closely at texts for the way language taps into place and culture as ways to make meaning, and build arguments that help us better understand how writing is tied to where we are and where we’ve been. 

Projects will include mindful note-taking, interviewing, annotations and reflections on written texts (instructor-assigned and student-chosen), short essays incorporating field research and secondary sources, and self- and peer-assessments. 

WRI 111 ZN: Writing Seminar
Prof. Gail Clements
TR 11:00-12:15 (CRN 99832)
Description to come.

WRI 111 ZO/ZP/ZQ: Writing Seminar
Prof. LaKela Atkinson
WRI 111 ZO: MWF 9:00-9:50 (CRN 99844)
WRI 111 ZP: MWF 10:00-10:50 (CRN 99845)
WRI 111 ZQ: MWF 12:00-12:50 (CRN 99846)
Description to come.

Return to Top | WRI 111 | Upper Level WRI Courses | Crosslisted | For Writing Minors

Upper Level WRI Courses

WRI 210 A: Advanced Academic Writing: Rhetoric, Genres, and the Disciplines
Prof. Ryan Shirey
TR 12:30-1:45 (CRN 90093)
This course invites students to consider the ways that research and writing work across a variety of academic disciplines and rhetorical contexts. We approach this task by examining the ways that the natural sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities employ different written genres and how they approach such issues as the definition and use of evidence; the construction and organization of arguments; and the roles of individual voice, style, and register. We will practice the skills of rhetorical, discourse, and genre analysis in order to gain a deeper understanding of how various sociocultural and disciplinary contexts demand different approaches from writers in order to communicate their ideas effectively.

Our goal, following Aristotle’s classic definition of rhetoric, will be to “discover the available means of persuasion” for a variety of rhetorical situations in academic and professional writing by looking closely and carefully at models from such situations. As we analyze and write about different genres, we will also consider how our own writing processes can become more flexible and sophisticated when we are better able to understand what different writing occasions might require of us.

WRI 210 B: Advanced Academic Writing: Navigating Genres and Discourse Communities
Prof. Keri Epps
WF 12:30-1:45 (CRN 96394)

We often approach “academic writing” as if it is constructed from a set of predetermined—and perhaps inexplicable—rules. This course aims to demystify some of these “rules” and ways academic writing comes to be. To do so, we will use rhetorical genre studies as a primary lens and examine sample texts from across genres and disciplines to learn how academic writing represents the needs and values of the discourse communities that use it.

We will consider questions such as the following: what counts as evidence in this disciplinary genre? How do writers position themselves toward their research and toward their readers? What does the writing reveal about how disciplinary writers value knowledge creation and dissemination in their fields? Throughout the semester, you will analyze patterns and conventions of academic writing and practice using some of the rhetorical strategies you discover to develop your own writing for discourse communities that you care about most.

WRI 212 A: The Art of the Essay
Prof. Anne Boyle
MW 2:00-3:15 (CRN 93835)
“The drama of the essay is the way the public life intersects with my personal and private life. It’s in that intersection that I find the energy of the essay,” so writes noted essayist and journalist, Richard Rodriguez. 

The essay, as literary genre, is often traced back to three works that Michel de Montaigne published in the 1580s and 1590s; he called his works Essays, a French word meaning attempt or trial. No matter whether the wealthy, retired Montaigne wrote his essays to stave off melancholy, to discover and explore his ideas, or to share his ideas and judgments with his friends, he is often credited with popularizing a genre that has had, as Phillip Lopate argues, its forerunners. The essay genre is certainly evolving in the 21st century, with blogs, TED talks, etc. In this class, you will have the opportunity to study the history of the essay across cultures and centuries and hone your writing skills as you write, revise, and publish your own essays. Your engagement with the readings will be the starting point for most of your writing. This class is predicated on careful readings, your own creative thoughts, memories, experiences, and knowledge, your curiosity and, mostly, your willingness to experiment and share ideas on paper and with one another. 


  • Phillip Lopate, The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present
  • Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird
  • Various electronic texts 

WRI 306 A: Writing as Access: Toward Socially Just Schools, Workplaces, and Governments
Prof. Alisa Russell
MW 2:00-3:15 (CRN 99377)
Schools, workplaces, and governments are pillars of modern society. Since these institutions are baked into how we function, we regularly interact with them—and are part of them—to fulfill our goals as individuals and as citizens. These institutions, though, are not just composed of people or buildings, but of written texts. Think of all the genres you’re encountering just to choose and register for classes: course descriptions, email reminders, instructions, online registration portals, major/minor requirement lists, notes from your advisor, professor review sites, program websites… Just this one slice of university life is made possible by myriad genres. As a whole, the actions, histories, roles, and ideologies of an institution are carried out across its genres. This means that writing becomes a significant factor in gaining access to institutional spaces. In this course, we will explore how writing practices inform access to three major institutions that shape our worlds—schools, workplaces, and governments. 

We will consider how reading and composing the various written forms of these institutions enables collaborative work; establishes social roles and membership; and carries out patterned activities. We will especially focus on how institutional writing can reflect systemic discrimination that affects the access of many marginalized community members. We will critically examine the ways in which access is not only gained through writing practices, but the ways in which access is denied—to whom? by whom?—across intersections of identity and power. Most importantly, we will brainstorm innovations to writing practices that would increase access to institutions for more socially just schools, workplaces, and governments. The main way we will explore writing as access 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 340 A: Racism, Journalism, and the Law (JOU 375D/LAW 500)
Profs. Phoebe Zerwick and Mark Rabil
R 4:00-6:30 (CRN 99551)
Undergraduates and law students will work together on a death penalty case on appeal under the Racial Justice Act, which allowed defendants to challenge their sentence with a claim of racial bias. These claims provide an opportunity for students to study the ways in which racial bias is embedded in the practice both of the law and journalism and how the two fields can be used to challenge such systemic racism. Students will begin the course by reflecting on their own biases, then move to investigating the case, using legal documents, witness interviews, local historical records, media reports and more. Students will write often, in a range of genres, among them personal reflections, field notes, research summaries, interview transcripts, short news articles, and case memoranda. By POI only. 

WRI 340 B: Handcrafted Rhetorics
Prof. Danielle Koupf
TR 12:30-1:45 (CRN 99552)
With the 2018 opening of WakerSpace, the maker movement officially came to Wake Forest’s campus. Whether you’re a knitter, a sculptor, a fabricator, a woodworker, or a web designer, makerspaces like WakerSpace offer something for you to do. In this hands-on course, we will practice critical making and multimodal composition with a range of media—from paper to fibercraft to Photoshop. As we tinker, experiment, and pursue various projects, we will reflect on our experiences, becoming engaged bricoleurs. Guided by theories of cultural rhetorics, we will ask: what are the relationships among writing, rhetoric, making, and crafting? How can crafts perform rhetorical, political, and activist work? We will learn to make things using a DIY-influenced process of trial and error and will embrace failure as an inevitable part of that process. We will transfer that process to our own writing and try out new writing techniques for creative and reflective work. To conclude the course, we will showcase our handcrafted rhetorics as part of our very own Makers Faire. You will leave this class with new skills and with your very own handcrafted products. No previous experience with any particular tools or technologies is necessary for success in this course.

WRI 341 A: Writing Center Pedagogy
Prof. Ryan Shirey
TR 2:00-3:15 (CRN 98110)
Introduction to composition pedagogy and writing center theory and practices, with special emphases 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 these experiences to prepare a final researched writing project. Strongly recommended for those interested in working in the Writing Center as peer tutors.
WRI 341 counts as an elective in the English major.

Return to Top | WRI 111 | Upper Level WRI Courses | Crosslisted | For Writing Minors


WRI 344 A/B (Crosslisted with JOU 340): Magazine Writing
Prof. Barry Yeoman
WRI 344 A: M 2:00-4:30 (CRN 97232)
WRI 344 B: T 2:00-4:30 (CRN 99383)
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.

Return to Top | WRI 111 | Upper Level WRI Courses | Crosslisted | For Writing Minors

For Writing Minors

ENG 390: The Structure of English
Prof. Jon Smart
WF 2:00-3:15 (CRN 99224)
This course offers an introduction to the principles and techniques of modern linguistics through an examination of American English. You will become familiar with how contemporary English varies across different dialects and contexts of use, as well as between spoken and written English. We will discuss language norms, dialects, and cultural values. We will also investigate problem areas in basic grammar, including parts of speech and sentence structures. Additionally, you will learn about methods for analyzing language data to see firsthand how English varies according to the context of use.
ENG 390 counts as an upper-level writing course in the Writing Minor.

Rhetorical Criticisms: Traditions & Practices
English 702/WRI 343
Prof. Erin Branch
WF 2-3:15 (CRN 99563)
POI only
Traditional definitions of rhetoric have often sidelined the physical world, describing instead a disembodied intellectual activity occurring in antiseptic, decontextualized spaces. For instance, Aristotle defined rhetoric as “the faculty of discovering in a particular case all available means of persuasion;” the Roman orator Cicero called it “one great art comprised of five lesser arts: inventio, disposito, elocutio, memoria, pronunciato.” While the Roman educator Quintilian acknowledged the necessity of a body, he limited his definition of an orator to a “good man speaking well.” All of these ideas fail to acknowledge what contemporary scholars across fields of literature, language, rhetoric and writing now consider crucial: considerations of gender, embodiment, and materiality. 

This seminar will investigate the ways that gendered bodies and the materials spaces they occupy both create and foreclose rhetorical possibilities. We will examine how rhetoric both describes and circumscribes these bodies and spaces (and to what ends). Finally, we will consider what might be some affordances and limitations of rhetorical theories and practices that center physical bodies and the tangible world. Though this course will foreground scholarship in rhetoric and writing studies, the concepts we will explore are part of a much larger trend across English studies (and the humanities generally) to foreground questions of embodiment and materiality and so should be useful for all MA students in English. 

Readings will include some critical and feminist theory (Judith Butler, Michel Foucault, Elaine Scarry, Deborah Brandt), rhetorical theory (Kenneth Burke, Susan Jarratt, Krista Ratcliffe) and rhetorical criticism (Cheryl Glenn, Andrea Lunsford, Deborah Hawhee, Jessica Enoch, Susan Wells, Jack Selzer and Sharon Crowley). Assignments will include several short response papers, class presentations, and a longer research project designed to complement the student’s academic and professional goals.

Here is a list of the courses being offered in Fall 2021 that count toward the Interdisciplinary Writing Minor. For detailed descriptions, please click the links to the department course descriptions. For more detail on what credits you may still need for your minor, please check the Minor Checklist.

JOU Courses

JOU 270, Introduction to Journalism, Prof. Justin Catanoso/Prof. Ivan Weiss
JOU 278, News Literacy, Prof. Maria Henson
JOU 315, Beat Reporting, Prof. Justin Catanoso
JOU 345, Sports Journalism, Prof. Justin Catanoso
JOU 350, Writing for PR and Advertising, Prof. Peter Mitchell
JOU 355, Broadcast Journalism, Prof. Melissa Painter
JOU 375A, On the Air with WFDD, Prof. Paul Garber
JOU 375B, Deep Dive: Race and the Media, Robert Samuels

CRW Courses

CRW 285, Poetry Workshop, Prof. Elisabeth Whitehead/Prof. Amy Catanzano
CRW 286, Short Story Workshop, Prof. Marream Krollos
CRW 287, Literary Nonfiction Workshop, Prof. Eric Wilson
CRW 385, Advanced Poetry Workshop, Prof. Amy Catanzano
CRW 386, Advanced Fiction Writing, Prof. Marream Krollos

Pre-Approved Writing Enhanced Course Electives

CHM 341L: Physical Chemistry I Lab, Professor Scott Geyer
ENG 301: Oscar Wilde: The Critic as Artist, Professor Melissa Jenkins
HST 268: African History to 1870, Professor Nathan Plageman
PHI 362: Social and Political Philosophy, Professor Adam Kadlac
PHI 232: Ancient Greek Philosophy, Professor Emily Austin
PSY 338: Emotion, Professor Christian Waugh
SOC 384: Special Topics: The Sociology of Guns, Professor David Yamane

Return to Top | WRI 111 | Upper Level WRI Courses | Crosslisted | For Writing Minors