Read through our current course offerings, or click the links immediately below to scroll directly to the courses that interest you.
WRI 105 & 111
WRI 105: Introduction to Critical Reading and Writing: On Your Own Terms
Prof. Eric Ekstrand
TR 12:30-1:45 (CRN 60701)
“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
It might surprise you to know that linguists agree that there is not just one English. Instead, there are many varieties of English. You likely use at least one variety of English, but many of us use several—you might use one kind of English at home and another at school or at work, for instance. As you move out of your home community, you encounter other varieties of English. Maybe English isn’t the first language you learned, or maybe you learned English alongside another language as you were growing up. The reason for the variety of language is the same reason that there is any language at all: we use it with others. And because languages are made collaboratively as people use them, social values become attached to them. People make assumptions about a person—often unfair, inaccurate, and subconscious—based on what variety or varieties of English they use. Though no variety of English is more correct or capable than another, all varieties are not equally privileged.
In this class, we will treat learning academic English as a way of expanding the repertoire of Englishes available to us while considering the rhetorical and ethical questions of whether, when, and how to use it in light of how we are judged and judge others because of their language. We will accomplish this through regular reading, writing, discussing, and researching. We will begin by learning how languages develop and interact. Next, we will consider how language, in part, shapes identity through reading examples of linguistic memoirs and writing our own. We will interrogate White English supremacy and trace the historical development of academic American English. Towards the end of the semester, you will undertake an original research project as a member of a group where you will use field recordings, interviews, and database research to describe the language practices of a student community on campus. Through writing and research, we will glimpse something of what it means to join an academic community. Finally, we will consider how joining an academic community can alienate us in some important ways from other communities we might hold dear and might have felt more a part of in the past. By doing all this, you will be more ready to use academic English (or not) on your own terms.
WRI 111 A: Writing Seminar: On Writing
Prof. Anne Boyle
MW 2:00-3:15 (CRN 60674)
In this class, you will not only be introduced to the theories that inform composition or writing studies, but you will also have the opportunity to put those theories into practice as you construct and refine your own prose. We will immerse ourselves in words, as we read and write about a variety of interesting texts. You will read humorous and scholarly articles about the writing process, 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, and you will learn to recognize the rhetorical strategies used by the most cogent argumentation and advocacy essayists. Well-known writers will describe why they feel such urgency to write and what challenges they have faced; lesser known voices will experiment with new ways of writing; and writing theorists will explore what we know about how we learn to write and how to teach writing.
Worried that you never thought of yourself as a good writer? You will have the opportunity to explore and develop your own prose through low stakes assignments that you can share with supportive readers who will provide thoughtful feedback about your work. You will also have individual conferences with me throughout the term. In all, you will write and revise four papers that allow you to practice critical analysis, argumentation, and critical reflection. You will also learn how to create an academic dialogue with scholarly sources.
Look forward to lively discussions with me and your classmates, 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 effective writers.
- Writing about Writing: A College Reader, 4th edition, Eds. Elizabeth Wardle and Doug Downs
- Joseph Harris, Rewriting: How to Do Things with Texts (I suggest you keep this text. We will focus on the early chapters, but later chapters are helpful for upper division courses across the curriculum.)
- The Little Norton Reader: 50 Essays from the First 50 Years, Ed. M.A. Goldthwaite
- Easy Writer, Ed. Andrea Lunsford (This book should be used as a reference. The index contains a very helpful review of writing conventions, grammar, and usage.)
WRI 111 B: Writing Seminar: Rhetorics of Health and Medicine
Prof. Erin Branch
MWF 12:00-12:50 (CRN 60676)
Language and rhetoric have always been central to the medical encounter. Patients describe their symptoms or narrate an injury, the healthcare provider asks questions, provides a diagnosis, and suggests a treatment. In the digital era, this negotiation has become less straightforward. The Web offers us access to countless medical resources (reputable and not!) and to new communities through social media, which can empower patients. But this access has also challenged traditional hierarchies between doctors and patients, experts and non-experts, and the long-term effects of this challenge remain to be seen.
In this course, you will explore the roles of writing and rhetoric in health-related genres, including doctors’ accounts of their practice, illness narratives, public-facing health information, and medical/scientific accounts of disease and wellness. In analyzing these documents alongside theoretical arguments about medical narrative and medical rhetoric, we will think about questions of power, agency, voice, and rhetorical situation as we grapple with the idea that we both tell our own medical narratives and are told by entrenched narratives. Writing assignments may include personal narrative, expository essays, and researched arguments.
WRI 111 C: Writing Seminar: Ethics of Persuasion
Prof. Erin Branch
MWF 1:00-1:50 (CRN 61512)
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. 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 D/E: Writing Seminar: Writing Lived Experience
Prof. Eric Ekstrand
WRI 111 D: TR 9:30-10:45 (CRN 60685)
WRI 111 E: TR 2:00-3:15 (CRN 60677)
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 F/G: Writing Seminar: What Are Friends For?
Prof. Marianne Erhardt
WRI 111 F: WF 8:00-9:15 (CRN 60723)
WRI 11 G: WF 9:30-10:45 (CRN 60675)
This course is an opportunity for you to engage with writing for writing’s sake. To, well, befriend college writing. Our topic is friendship – the art of it, the game of it. We’ll consider the nature and significance of personal friendship, social networks, civic friendship, and love. We will read and write across several disciplines and genres, drawing from photography, philosophy, biology, literature, social science, journalism, social media, and one another. With an in-depth research project, you will choose an aspect of friendship that you find particularly compelling. You will research, analyze, synthesize, and reflect upon your subject, bringing something unique to the conversation.
Why friendship? Because this conversation is already underway and much of it suggests that we are mere fledglings in this whole friendship enterprise. Critics blame institutions, lack of institutions, technology, human selfishness, and Instagram. What does it take to be a friend? How do we discern the responsibilities that accompany friendship? What do we owe one another? What do our friendships say about us as individuals, as classmates, as communities?
WRI 111 H: Writing Seminar: All Fun and Games: On Play
Prof. Marianne Erhardt
WF 12:30-1:45 (CRN 60678)
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 I/J: Writing Seminar: Rhetoric of Food
Prof. Hannah Harrison
WRI 111 I: WF 9:30-10:45 (CRN 63296)
WRI 111 J: WF 11:00-12:15 (CRN 63327)
Food does more for humans than secure our survival. Food cultivation, distribution, preparation, and consumption reflect our values and maintain social norms. Just as food systems create communities, they also cause controversies and raise 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 cultivate and distribute food sustainably while confronting the realities of a changing climate and the needs of growing populations? What does the future of our food system look like and how can we adapt practices, technologies, and policies to improve it? Across your exploration, you’ll be encouraged to highlight the intersections of seemingly disconnected sectors and fields to the food systems that sustain us. We’ll incorporate material from sustainability perspectives as we learn about food systems issues. These concerns reflect the kinds of questions that will ground your practice in critical reading, research, writing, and revision.
Your rhetorical thinking and your writing skills will develop through your engagement in the work you’ll complete for this seminar- and workshop-style course. We’ll use Canvas Modules to guide our workflow and we’ll engage with one another in class and online. You’ll read across a range of genres and disciplines, including popular publications like The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Civil Eats. Three units will explore various genres of writing, and your work from each unit will be evaluated and graded using a portfolio method of assessment, which allows for—in fact, requires— ample feedback, revision, and reflection. For your first unit 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 write an essay that summarizes and synthesizes the public debate that you’ve elected to explore. Then, you’ll apply what you’ve learned to your own persuasive work. You’ll choose your genre and mode of delivery (eg: an editorial article, an advocacy letter, a podcast, a website) for the third project, and you’ll create research-informed compositions that advance a position and an idea for action around the controversy you’ve studied. Throughout the course, you’ll participate in low-stakes instructional exercises, reflective writing assignments, and peer feedback reviews to prepare for each unit project and portfolio compilation.
WRI 111 M: Writing Seminar: Just Words: Writing, Rhetoric, and Ethics
Prof. Ryan Shirey
TR 3:30-4:45 (CRN 63336)
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 K/L: Writing Seminar: Advice, Please?: Using Rhetoric to Navigate Advice Genres
Prof. Danielle Koupf
WRI 111 K: MWF 9:00-9:50 (CRN 60686)
WRI 111 L: MWF 10:00-10:50 (CRN 60679)
It may seem at times that everyone around you is giving you advice, whether verbally or in writing. For instance, you probably received a lot of advice about applying to and preparing for college, and now that you’re here, you might be hearing a lot about how to succeed in college, which courses to take (and avoid), and how to study and write successfully. Which advice do you find worth listening to, and which advice do you shrug your shoulders at? How do we determine the worth and value of the advice we receive? And how do we give sound advice to others?
In this section of WRI 111, we’ll explore these questions by learning to analyze rhetorically the advice genres that surround us. These might include handbooks, websites, discussion boards, advice columns, and self-improvement books. You’ll learn how advice involves persuasion and how it handles rhetorical concepts such as audience, ethos, credibility, expertise, and genre. You’ll gain experience reading and analyzing advice genres, as well as crafting your own advice guides for fellow students and others interested in the topics you’re knowledgeable about. You’ll leave this course with a greater understanding of advice genres specifically and of writing and rhetoric more broadly.
WRI 111 N: Writing Seminar: Adaptation
Prof. (Richard) Carter Smith
MWF 9:00-9:50 (CRN 60681)
“The spaces between people are widening at such a freshly elevated rate that they risk splitting us altogether,” the graphic novelist Kristen Radtke writes in Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness. The book (which we’ll read) is interested in a specific, very contemporary, form of loneliness, one that it links to various forms of what we might call electracy, theorist Gregory Ulmer’s term for literacy in electronic media. This course takes Ulmer’s concept as a starting point for an investigation of how electronic media have shaped our approach to writing, our sense of ourselves, and our sense of ourselves in relation to others. In our class meetings, we will read, write, and think about the effects—potentially good, potentially bad, often unacknowledged—of the communication technologies that we use every day.
WRI 111 O/P: Writing Seminar: Rhetorics of Music
Prof. (Richard) Carter Smith
WRI 111 O: MWF 11:00-11:50 (CRN 60682)
WRI 111 P: MWF 12:00-12:50 (CRN 63337)
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 Q/R: Mindful Nation: Contemplative Inquiry and Society
Prof. Elisabeth Whitehead
WRI 111 Q: MW 2:00-3:15 (CRN 60680)
WRI 111 R: MW 5:00-6:15 (CRN 60687)
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 T/U: Writing Seminar: Weird Nature
Prof. Guy Witzel
WRI 111 T: WF 8:00-9:15 (CRN 60683)
WRI 111 U: WF 9:30-10:45 (CRN 63338)
How would you describe your relationship with nature? As a source of solace and escape during the pandemic? As something more often experienced on screens than in everyday life – perhaps through a wildlife documentary or an idealized image on Instagram? As a subject of anxiety given today’s headlines, scientific reports, and natural disasters? Humanity’s relationship with nature has long animated the written word. This has been the case even and especially when that relationship has grown confusing, fraught, or just plain weird. In this course, we will study how 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 in-class writings that respond to this body of work. From there, we will each work to translate our findings into analyses that put 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 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 can use 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 V: Writing Seminar: Writing Justice
Prof. Phoebe Zerwick
TR 2:00-3:15 (CRN 60684)
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 Z/ZG: Writing Seminar
Prof. Moises Garcia-Renteria
WRI 111 Z: TR 3:30-4:45 (CRN 61244)
WRI 111 ZG: TR 2:00-3:15 (CRN 62188)
Description to come
WRI 111 ZA/ZB/ZC: Writing Seminar
WRI 111 ZA: TR 11:00-12:15 (CRN 61312)
WRI 111 ZB: TR 12:30-1:45 (CRN 61568)
WRI 111 ZC: TR 3:30-4:45 (CRN 61569)
WRI 111 ZD/ZE/ZF: Writing Seminar: Rhetoric of Place and Identity
Prof. Leah Haynes
WRI 111 ZD: WF 9:30-10:45 (CRN 61570)
WRI 111 ZE: WF 11:00-12:15 (CRN 62186)
WRI 111 ZF: WF 2:00-3:15 (CRN 62187)
In this seminar, we will focus on the rhetorics of place and identity as a way to practice a variety of writing skills, as well as to think critically about the relationships between identity, place, and language. The course will ask you to think critically about the places and cultures with which you identify and interact. How does place influence your life and the way you talk or write about who you are? What are the places that are meaningful to you?
You will practice your observation and interview skills, look closely at texts for the way language connects to place, and build arguments that help us better understand how writing is tied to where we are, where we’ve been, and how we understand ourselves. Projects will include mindful note-taking, interviewing, annotations and reflections on written texts (instructor-assigned and student-chosen), essays incorporating field research and secondary sources, and self- and peer-assessments.
Upper Level WRI Courses
WRI 210 A/B/C: Exploring Academic Genres
Prof. Kendra Andrews
WRI 210 A: MW 12:30-1:45 (CRN 60689)
WRI 210 B: MW 2:00-3:15 (CRN 61601)
WRI 210 C: MW 5:00-6:15 (CRN 63970)
Academic writing takes many forms and happens across the disciplines, which can be intimidating to student writers as they encounter new practices and conventions in classes across the university. This course aims to demystify the rhetorical moves of the academy and to help students negotiate new and unfamiliar writing tasks they may face in college and beyond. During this class, we will explore the complex nature of the academic conversation and examine how research and writing work across a variety of academic disciplines and rhetorical contexts. Through the exploration of academic discourse communities, we will consider the range of values and approaches taken by the humanities, the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the applied fields in service of academic research and knowledge-making, disciplinary discourse and language conventions, and the analysis and production of field-specific genres.
During this course, we will examine how different academic discourse communities require different approaches from writers and we will hone our rhetorical flexibility as we write for different disciplinary contexts. We will also explore the role of technology within these discourse communities and engage 21st century literacy skills in the production of writing across various genres. Additionally, you will develop and engage your own rhetorical agency as you focus your attention on the disciplines and subject areas that matter the most to you. By the end of the course, you will have a better understanding of how different academic contexts demand different approaches and will be better equipped to actively engage in writing throughout the university.
WRI 210 D/E/F: Advanced Academic Writing: Navigating Genres and Discourse Communities
Prof. Keri Epps
WRI 210 D: TR 9:30-10:45 (CRN 63978)
WRI 210 E: TR 12:30-1:45 (CRN 63979)
WRI 210 F: TR 2:00-3:15 (CRN 63980)
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. Guy Witzel
WF 12:30-1:45 (CRN 61191)
In this course we will explore the rhetoric and development of the personal essay. Together we will sample the genre’s classical antecedents, consider its crystallization in the essais of Michel de Montaigne, and chart its trajectories into the twenty-first century as it shapes the popular field of creative nonfiction. We’ll consider Phillip Lopate’s assertion that the joy of reading such writing is in following a “really interesting unpredictable mind struggling to entangle and disentangle itself in a thorny problem.” We’ll take up Vivian Gornick’s claim that successful essays must feature “truth-speaking personae.” We’ll test out Lee Gutkind’s belief that the personal nature of the genre “can help alleviate the anxiety of the writing experience.” And when we study more experimental developments, we’ll ask why Randon Billings Noble sees “a commitment to weirdness in the face of convention” as an essential part of one’s writing practice.
In our efforts to understand the “art” of the personal essay, we will also practice its varieties ourselves. Featured forms include the meditation, memoir, immersion, and lyric essay. We will also explore digital adaptations in the form of audio essays and podcasts. Each of these projects will benefit from workshops and other collaborative activities. Together, we’ll push back on the idea of the writer as a solitary genius. Together, we’ll approach writing as inseparable from the communities to which we belong, including the one in our very classroom.
Featured writers may include William Hazlitt, Virginia Woolf, James Baldwin, Joan Didion, Patricia Hampl, Hanif Abdurraqib, Larissa Pham, Patricia Lockwood, Kiese Laymon, Elizabeth Rush, Emily Raboteau, Elissa Washuta, Tracy K. Smith, Ross Gay, Sarah Minor, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and John Green.
WRI 306 A: Special Topics in Rhetoric and Writing
TR 2:00-3:15 (CRN 62905)
Description to come
WRI 340 A: Practice in Rhetoric and Composition: Mission Possible: Digital Rhetorics for Local Nonprofits
Prof. Hannah Harrison
WF 2:15-3:30 Wake Downtown (CRN 63983)
This applied rhetorics course explores rhetoric and composition in partnership with local nonprofit organizations. Students will read from rhetorical theory on genre, visual rhetoric, digital composing & information design, and professional writing. Threshold concepts from these fields will provide the theoretical foundations you need to make strategic decisions about how to convey an organization’s mission, values, and services to the public. In this community-engaged course, you’ll learn about community food systems and collaborate with two nonprofits in the area–the Piedmont Triad Regional Food Council (PTRFC) and Growing High Point–to develop digital media projects in alignment with the organizations’ goals. For example, depending on the current needs of our partner organizations, students might: compose or revise website content; create social media campaigns; write newsletters and other correspondence; feature the organizations’ participants, programs and events, and the community members they serve. You will explore how professionals use digital media to reach public audiences and engage local communities on issues and opportunities that impact their lives. As a result of these mentored partnerships, you’ll deepen your fluency with intersections of audiences, messages, and rhetors in the “ambient [digital] condition” (Boyle) that envelopes our engagement with contemporary social problems. In other words, after this course, you’ll recognize how to transfer rhetorical situations analysis to create impactful, public-facing digital products. The course appeals to a range of student interests: professional writing, digital design, social media outreach, nonprofit work, entrepreneurship, marketing and communications, community engagement, public health, social justice, advocacy, food systems issues, and others.
Readings may include selections from rhetoricians including Adam Banks, Charles Bazerman, Kenneth Burke, Lloyd Bitzer, Casey Boyle, Katherine DeLuca, Laurie Gries, Carolyn R. Miller, Donnie J. Sackey, Joanna Wolfe. We will read articles from publications like Computers and Composition Online, Kairos, and Reflections: Community-Engaged Writing and Rhetoric. Selections from compilations such as Social Writing/Social Media: Publics, Presentations, and Pedagogies (eds. Wall and Vie), The Handbook of Organizational Rhetoric and Communication (eds. Ihlen and Heath), and Solving Problems in Technical Communication (eds. Johnson-Eilola and Selber) are also possible reading materials.
WRI 340 B: Practice in Rhetoric and Composition: Flow
Prof. Danielle Koupf
WF 12:30-1:45 (CRN 63983)
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 five-paragraph essay, the IMRAD research paper, the collage essay, the lyric essay, the hermit crab essay, and digital writing. 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, and revised.
WRI 341 A: Writing Center Pedagogy
Prof. Ryan Shirey
TR 12:30-1:45 (CRN 62121)
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.
WRI 344 (Crosslisted with JOU 340): Magazine Writing
Prof. Barry Yeoman
M 2:00-4:30 (CRN 61815)
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.
For Writing Minors
Here is a list of courses being offered in spring 2022 that count toward the Interdisciplinary Writing Minor. For detailed descriptions, please visit the department course descriptions. For more detail on what credits you may still need for your minor, please consult the Minor Checklist.
JOU 270 A/B/C: Introduction to Journalism, Prof. Justin Catanoso/Mandy Locke/Ivan Weiss
JOU 278: News Literacy, Prof. Maria Henson
JOU 320: Community Journalism, Prof. Phoebe Zerwick
JOU 321/BIO 303: Environmental Journalism, Prof. Justin Catanoso & Prof. Katy Lack (JOU 270 pre-requisite)
JOU 330: Podcasting, Prof. Ivan Weiss
JOU 335: Multimedia Storytelling, Prof. Ivan Weiss
JOU 345: Sports Journalism, Prof. Justin Catanoso (JOU 270 pre-requisite)
JOU 355: Broadcast Journalism, Prof. Melissa Painter-Greene
JOU 375 C: Screenwriting, Prof. Linder
JOU 375 B: Visual Storytelling
CRW 285 A: Poetry Workshop, Prof. Amy Catanzano
CRW 286 A/B: Short Story Workshop, Prof. Joanna Ruocco
CRW 287: Literary Nonfiction Workshop, Prof. Susan Harlan
CRW 300: Special Topics in Creative Writing, Prof. Amy Catanzano (Note pre-requisites)
CRW 385: Advanced Poetry Workshop, Prof. Laura Mullen
CRW 387: Advanced Literary Nonfiction Workshop, Prof. Eric Wilson
Pre-Approved Writing Enhanced Electives
EDU 388/688: Writing Pedagogy, Professor Joan Mitchell
PHI 362: Social and Political Philosophy, Professor Adam Kadlac
PSY 338: Emotion, Professor Christian Waugh
SOC 384: Special Topics: The Sociology of Guns, Professor David Yamane