Spring 2020

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

WRI 111 | WRI 210 | WRI 212 | WRI 340 | WRI 341 | WRI 350 | Crosslisted | For Writing Minors

WRI 111

WRI 111 A: Writing Seminar: Writing Selves, Writing Others: Ethics, Identity, Representation
Prof. Erin Branch
TR 9:30-10:45 (CRN 19395)

We live in a rhetorically combative moment in which pundits, journalists, and anyone with a social media account can announce their position to the world. While our rhetorical moment has produced mountains of (often digital) writing, much of that writing is delivered as monologue, often without the expectation of a serious response. Such writing can ignore the ethical questions inherent in representing the self and representing the views or experiences of others. 

In this class, we will read work by writers who engage specifically with the challenges of ethically representing themselves and others. We will ask how we can responsibly advocate for our views or advance our positions, and what obligations we have to others when representing their lives or views in writing. We will consider how identity itself is constructed (and sometimes deconstructed) through language and text, as well as practical issues, like the role of the first person, opinion, and anecdote. 

Readings may include work by anthropologists like Clifford Geertz and Ruth Behar, memoirists like Richard Rodriguez, John Edgar Wideman, and Mary Karr, and scholars like Susan Griffin and Richard Miller.  Students can expect to write regular responses to the readings, as well as longer expository and analytic essays. The semester culminates with a portfolio of revised student writing. 


WRI 111 B: Writing Seminar: On Writing
Prof. Anne Boyle
TR 9:30-10:45 (CRN 19396)

In this writing seminar, we will immerse ourselves in words, as we read and write a variety of interesting texts.  You’ll read humorous and scholarly articles about the writing process, along with deeply philosophical, well-researched argumentative, and personal essays about creativity, literacy, and contemporary issues.  Well-known essayists will describe why they feel the urgency to write; 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 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
Prof. Eric Ekstrand
WRI 111 C: TR 9:30-10:45 (CRN 19397)
WRI 111 D: TR 2:00-3:15 (CRN 19398)

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/H  Writing Seminar: Fig Leaves to Fashion: What We Wear
Prof. Marianne Erhardt
WRI 111 F: MWF 11:00-11:50 (CRN 19400)
WRI 111 G: MWF 1:00-1:50 (CRN 19401)
WRI 111 H: MWF 2:00-2:50 (CRN 19402)

In this class, we will tug at the seams of our many uniforms and costumes. What do we wear? Why do we wear it? What does it say and to whom? What is the distinction between function and fashion? Between clothing and technology? What are clothes made of, and by whom, and at what cost? How does consumption of clothing reflect and shape personal and cultural identities?

A shirt is a text. A fad is an object. A uniform is an argument. As we write our way through an inquiry of dress, we will engage with both scholarly and popular texts in order to examine and develop our rhetorical knowledge. We will aim for what Frank Cioffi calls “Imaginative Argument” borne out of process, practice, and revision. We will fashion a writing community. We will collaborate, reflect, and declare that we have “nothing to wear!” (or “no idea what to write!!”). But we will wear those jeans and we will write. A lot.

Readings may include Valerie Steele’s Corset: A Cultural History, Elizabeth Cline’s Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, R. Aicha’s Hijabi in Plain Sight, Alison Kinney’s Hood, Jill Soloway’s Transparent, Pietra Rivoli’s The Travels of a T-Shirt in a Global Economy, photographs by Spencer Tunick and Richard Renaldi, assorted fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm, and more. 

WRI 111 ZH/I/J: Writing Seminar: Gender and Pop Culture
Prof. Matt Fiander
WRI 111 ZH: TR 9:30-10:45 (CRN 26180)
WRI 111 I: TR 11:00-12:15 (CRN 20958)
WRI 111 J: TR 12:30-1:45 (CRN 19404)

This class will study how pop culture — including film, music, celebrity culture, and social media — represents gender roles and expectations to see what they reveal to us about societal concerns, confusions, and complexities about gender roles, sexuality, and self-identity. We’ll also examine how gender representation works within other societal concerns about race, class, and family. We will study and analyze direct examples from pop culture, but we will also read scholarly, journalistic, and literary texts that examine pop culture from a variety of lenses to learn not just what pop culture reflects about us and our understanding of gender, but also how we talk and write about that understanding.

The #metoo and Time’s Up movements have opened up new conversations about complex issues of gender roles, violence, expectations, and work-place culture. The impact of films like Get Out and Black Panther have raised new questions about race and masculinity. Beyonce and Jay-Z have used their music to have a very public discussion of gender, family, and wealth. Janelle Monae’s Dirty Computer asks us to rethink how we talk about sexuality. While media coverage of these and other elements of pop culture may give you new ideas to think about, this class will focus on how you convey those ideas and how writing can help you figure out and best articulate your ideas. By engaging with, analyzing, and responding to sources covering gender within pop culture, you can also examine how language is used to reinforce expectations of gender, race, and class. We’ll use this topic to better understand rhetorical moves in our own work and in the work of others. Finally, we’ll work to develop a set of tools that help us create an active and self-aware writing process — from invention to drafting to submission — that will persist beyond this semester’s work.

WRI 111 K/L/M: Writing Seminar: Rhetoric of Food
Prof. Hannah Harrison
WRI 111 K: MWF 9:00-9:50 (CRN 19405)
WRI 111 L: MWF 11:00-11:50 (CRN 19406)
WRI 111 M : MWF 12:00-12:50 (CRN 19407)

Food does more for humans than secure our survival. Food cultivation, distribution, preparation, and consumption contribute to our individual and collective identities. Food systems and foodways reflect political values and social norms. Just as food creates communities, it also causes controversies and raises questions: Who has access to farmable land, to healthy food, and why? How should our community respond to food insecurity? What can we do to better educate citizens about their health and nutrition? What does a sustainable, equitable food system look like for our community, and how can we affect policy to improve it? Through a series of reading, research, writing, and reflection assignments, students in this course will focus their inquiry on one food-related public controversy and, ultimately, advocate their own position using the rhetorical strategies they’ve engaged with throughout the semester.

Writing often involves both independent and collaborative work. As a class, students will identify topic areas for research and analysis (ie: Food & Policy, Farming, Health, Environment). Each student will then rank their own areas of greatest interest and will be assigned to small groups based on their preferences. The first portion of the course explores genres of public writing and emphasizes reading, researching, and summarizing arguments. During Unit 1, students research a food systems controversy based on their topic selection and write summaries of various arguments within the discourse community. Students write two documents to demonstrate what they’ve learned: an annotated bibliography and a controversy map that summarizes and synthesizes the critical conversation. These projects will be shared with classmates and serve as a resource for the remainder of the course. During Unit 2, each student will draft a rhetorical analysis essay based on the digital media of organizations that do food systems advocacy work in their research topic areas. During Unit 3, students will apply what they’ve learned about food-related discourse communities and rhetorical features of public rhetoric to their own work. Students will select a genre (ie: academic essay; advocacy letter; digital media project) and craft research-informed documents that advance a position and an idea for action around the controversy they’ve studied. They will participate in feedback reviews and in-class exercises with their group members throughout the term. During finals, students will participate in our Food Systems Symposium, where they will present their work, advocate their call to action, and ask questions of their peers as members of an informed audience. 


WRI 111 N: Writing Seminar: Essays and Memos and Reports—Oh My! Writing for College and Career
Prof. Benjamin Keating
TR 9:30-10:45 (CRN 19408)

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 O & P: Writing Seminar: The World is Yours: Identity and Power in Academic Writing
Prof. Benjamin  Keating
WRI 111 O: TR 2:00-3:15 (CRN 19409)
WRI 111 P: TR 3:30-4:45 (CRN 19410)

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 Q & R: Writing Seminar: Rewriting
Prof. Danielle Koupf
WRI 111 Q: MWF 10:00-10:50 (CRN 19411)
WRI 111 R: MWF 11:00-11:50 (CRN 19412)

“No text is sacred. The best writers know this. Fiction or nonfiction, poetry or reportage, it can all be endlessly tinkered with, buffed, polished, reshaped, rearranged.” –Jennifer B. McDonald, The New York Times

Many writers have claimed that all writing is rewriting. In this class, we will explore this sentiment by engaging in three dominant forms of rewriting. First, we will regularly tinker in class—that is, creatively rewrite the texts we are reading (both published texts and student texts) to gain greater insight into them and to practice new writing techniques. Through tinkering, we will modify, improve, and in fact, sabotage others’ texts. Second, we will learn to position our ideas among others by carefully reading texts and (re)writing their ideas into our essays, whether by summarizing, forwarding, countering, critiquing, or imitating them. Finally, we will embrace McDonald’s notion, above, that “No text is sacred” and pursue substantial revision of our own texts by reimagining significant parts of them, such as the focus, argument, evidence, or organization.

We will read and respond to essays on a variety of topics by authors such as Walker Percy, Paulo Freire, and Susan Griffin, while also examining different takes on revision as presented by writers such as Donald Murray, Peter Elbow, Natalie Goldberg, Joseph Harris, and Nancy Sommers. This class challenges you to approach writing as a recursive process, to mess with writing that might already feel complete, and to take seriously the ideas of others and respond to them thoughtfully and patiently. You will leave this class with new stylistic, grammatical, and rhetorical techniques for writing; skills in integrating quotations and writing the voices of others into your writing; experience with substantial revision; and a portfolio of essays that have been carefully shaped, reshaped, and shaped again. 


WRI 111 S: Writing Seminar: Truth and Fiction
Prof. Danielle Koupf
MWF 1:00-1:50 (CRN 19413)

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 genres critically. 

We will practice writing in a variety of 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 reading 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 T: Writing Seminar: Argumentation and Civil Discourse
Prof. Zak Lancaster
WF 9:30-10:45 (CRN 19414)
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 how 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. In this course, we will embrace these challenges as we practice argumentation from a range of perspectives. We will explore views on argumentation from cognitive psychologists and linguists, from literature and rhetoric scholars, and from popular writers ranging from Mark Twain to David Sedaris. 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 (economics, politics, philosophy, and sciences). 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 U: Writing Seminar: What’s (y)our story?
Prof. Keri Mathis
WF 9:30-10:45 (CRN 19415)

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 V: Writing Seminar: write.hack: Collaboration and Ownership in Writing
Prof. Jonathan Smart
WF 9:30-10:45 (CRN 19416)

In this writing course, we explore the writing process through cooperation, collaboration, remixing, and sharing of ideas.  We will 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 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 W & X: Writing Seminar:The English Next Door
Prof. Jonathan Smart
WRI 111 W: WF 12:30-1:45 (CRN 19417)
WRI 111 X: WF 2:00-3:15 (CRN 19418)

Note: These sections are reserved for international students.

What does the type of English you speak say about who you are?  Are some varieties of English better than others? Who decides what grammar is correct and why are there different varieties of English to begin with?  In this course, we will examine societal issues related to language variation in English, from everyday speech to academic writing.  We will read and discuss texts from experts and stakeholders on contemporary issues in language use. Students will collaborate on language analyses tasks to develop understanding of English variation (with a focus on academic varieties). In addition to analyzing use, students will construct written arguments about critical issues related to language and develop an understanding of the role of English in their own experiences.   


WRI 111 Y: Adaptation
Prof. (Richard) Carter Smith
TR 9:30-10:45 (CRN 19419)

In a writing context, an adaptation is a text produced by altering another. You’re likely familiar, for example, with any number of films that have been adapted from literary works. But adaptation has a slightly different meaning as it travels through other writing contexts. In biology, for example, it designates the process by which an organism responds to its environment, changing to better survive in it. In this course, we will read examples of adaptations and the texts from which they’ve been adapted, certainly, but we will also consider adaptation more broadly—as a process of changing and responding—to think through the theory and practice of writing. Composing and adapting our own writing, we will ask over the course of the semester how writing finds the shape in which it survives and, possibly, thrives.


WRI 111 Z & ZA: Writing Seminar: Rhetorics of Music
Prof. (Richard) Carter Smith
WRI 111 Z: TR 2:00-3:15 (CRN 19589)
WRI 111 ZA: TR 12:30-1:45 (CRN 19590)

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 ZB/ZC/ZD: Us vs. Them: The Rhetoric of Groups
Prof. Elisabeth Whitehead
WRI 111 ZB: MWF 9:00-9:50 (CRN 19591)
WRI 111 ZC: MWF 10:00-10:50 (CRN 20987)
WRI 111 ZD: MWF 12:00-12:50 (CRN 22979)

Sometimes we choose the group, and sometimes the group chooses us.  But whether it is race, gender, religion, sexuality, a nation or an ideology, we all can claim numerous group affiliations.  Group membership can fulfill important needs, helping us to negotiate and establish identity, reduce chaos, and create a sense of larger purpose.  It can also instill in us a feeling of safety and confidence, or even aid in our survival. So when is group alliance functioning in a life-giving way, and when does it become dangerous?  

In this course we will be investigating the psychology and rhetoric of groups, especially as it relates to written text. We will look at themes such as conformity, obedience to authority, dispersal of responsibility, group privilege and power, and stereotypes.  We will discuss through what lens groups see each other, speak to each other, and write about each other. Analyzing texts about issues including racism, hazing, cults, and the Holocaust, we will examine the language of prejudice and exclusion. In addition, we will study authors who embrace a very different vision, of empathy and inclusion, including Martin Luther King Jr. who once wrote: “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.”

This is a reading and writing intensive course.  We will be exploring a variety of texts, including nonfiction essays, journalism, literature, psychological studies, film, letters, speeches, poetry, and the graphic novel.  In addition to analytical and researched writing, you will also have the opportunity to write narratives from personal experience.

Texts may include work by Martin Luther King Jr., Stanley Milgram, Philip Zimbardo, Art Spiegelman, and Deborah Layton. 


WRI 111 ZE & ZF: Writing Seminar: Weird Nature
Prof. Guy Witzel
WRI 111 ZE: TR 2:00-3:15 (CRN 22980)
WRI 111 ZF: TR 3:30-4:45 (CRN 24715)

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 on Animal Planet? As a sphere that resists or welcomes our control? As a subject of concern and controversy? Humanity’s relationship with nature has long animated the written word. In this course, we shall study the ways in which writers, researchers, and makers of culture depict our shifting and sometimes weird 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 ZG: Writing Seminar: Writing Justice
Prof. Phoebe Zerwick
TR 9:30-10:45 (CRN 24716)

Since the advent of DNA technology in the criminal justice system, more than 300 defendants in the United States have been exonerated for crimes they did not commit. These cases have exposed deep flaws in our criminal justice system, raising the likelihood that hundreds, if not thousands, have been wrongly convicted and imprisoned. Writing, either by journalists, lawyers or advocates, has always played a role in bringing about 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 wrongful conviction and, in some cases, work to right these wrongs.

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WRI 210

WRI 210 A & B: Advanced Academic Writing: Navigating Genres and Discourse Communities
Prof. Keri Mathis
WRI 210 A: WF 12:30-1:45 (CRN 20996)
WRI 210 B: WF 2:00-3:15 (CRN 25874)

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

WRI 212 A: Literary Nonfiction: The Art of the Essay
Prof. Anne Boyle
TR 12:30-1:45 (CRN 20993)

“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 or to explore his ideas and share them 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 essays across cultures and centuries as you hone your writing skills and write, revise, and publish your own essays.  Look forward to intriguing readings, lively class discussions, writing workshops, and student presentations. 


Phillip Lopate, The Art of the Personal Essay:  An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present

Various electronic texts  

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WRI 340

WRI 340 A: Writing To, As, and About Animals
Prof. Eric Ekstrand
TR 3:30-4:45 (CRN 24812)

This is an advanced class in writing original, literary essays. WRI 212 is good preparation for this course, but is not required. In this class, you will be asked to explore the human, the animal, and intersections between them by writing memoir, popular political essays, and essays that explore language, consciousness, and the body from the standpoint of an individual (you) whose lived experience is brought to bear on thought. This course is not about science writing, necessarily, although young scientists would be very welcome, along with others. Loving animals and loving writing are sufficient reasons to take this course. At least loving animals.(Counts as an elective in the English major.)


WRI 340 B/JOU 375/LAW 500: Investigating Innocence
Prof. Phoebe Zerwick
R 4:00-6:30 (CRN 26181)
Note: POI required

In this course, you will learn to write like a journalist and think like a lawyer, on the premise that lawyers have much to learn from journalists about storytelling and journalists have much to learn from lawyers about evidence. Working together, students in the Law School and the journalism and writing programs in The College will investigate an ongoing case of wrongful murder conviction under review by the law school’s Innocence & Justice Clinic.  The course is writing intensive, with a series of building-block assignment leading to final projects in journalism and appellate law that tell compelling stories of the quest for justice. Since all students will be working on an actual case, students will be required to sign confidentiality agreements and to comply with other professional standards required of lawyers and law students in North Carolina. The actual case also requires flexibility and commitment from students and a willingness to jump feet first into unfamiliar terrain. In return, students can expect to break new ground in a collaborative and supportive environment. (WRI 340 counts as an elective in the English major.)


WRI 341

WRI 341: Writing Center Pedagogy
Prof. Ryan Shirey
WF 2:00-3:15 (CRN 22982)

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.)

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Crosslisted Courses

WRI 344 A / JOU 340 A: Magazine Writing
Prof. Barry Yeoman
M 2:00- 4:30 (CRN 25132)

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.)


WRI 350

WRI 350: Writing Minor Capstone
Prof. Erin Branch
TR 12:30-1:45 (CRN 22985)

“Writing develops like a seed, not a line, and

like a seed it confuses beginning and end, conception and production.”

Roland Barthes 

WRI 350 provides you, as writing minors, the opportunity to work closely with a professor and explore your development as writers during your college tenure. You will also construct new writing projects that highlight and hone your advanced rhetorical strategies. We will begin by reflecting on texts you have written at Wake Forest—and, perhaps, beyond Wake Forest. Experimenting with genre, audience, and exigence, you will have the opportunity to repurpose and radically revise earlier texts. Various readings on writing studies, our scholarly discussions, your reflective writings, and your own research should prompt you to identify a capstone project that you can complete during the semester. Finally, you will create an electronic portfolio that can serve multiple purposes: it will contain not only a narrative of your development as a writer, but also highlight that work that are feel best represents your creativity, your intellectual abilities, and your rhetorical effectiveness.

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For Minors

Here is a list of the courses being offered in Spring 2020 that count as writing elective credit for the Interdisciplinary Writing Minor. For detailed descriptions, please click the links to the department course descriptions.

JOU Courses

JOU 270: Introduction to Journalism, Prof. Justin Catanoso/Prof. Mandy Locke
JOU 278: News Literacy, Prof. Justin Catanoso
JOU 330: Podcasting, Prof. Ivan Weiss
JOU 350: Writing for Public Relations and Advertising, Prof. Polly Black
JOU 355: Broadcast Journalism, Prof. Melissa Painter

CRW Courses

CRW 285: Poetry Workshop, Prof. Amy Catanzano
CRW 286: Short Story Workshop, Prof. Joanna Ruocco
CRW 287: Creative Nonfiction Workshop, Prof. Susan Harlan
CRW 383: Theory and Practice of Poetry Writing, Prof. Amy Catanzano
CRW 384: Playwriting, Prof. Sharon Andrews
CRW 397: Advanced Creative Nonfiction Workshop: Memoir, Prof. Eric Wilson

300-level ENG Courses

ENG 309: Modern English Grammar, Prof. Zak Lancaster