Read through our current course offerings, or click the links immediately below to scroll directly to the courses that interest you.
WRI 111 A/B/C: Writing Seminar: Everyday Rhetoric and Popular Culture
Prof. Kendra Andrews
WRI 111 A: MW 12:30-1:45 (CRN 19395)
WRI 111 B: MW 2:00-3:15 (CRN 19396)
WRI 111 C: MW 5:00-6:15 (CRN 19397)
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 111D/E: Writing Seminar: Writing Lived Experience
Prof. Eric Ekstrand
WRI 111 D: TR 12:30-1:45 (CRN 19398)
WRI 111 E: TR 2:00-3:15 (CRN 27020)
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: All Fun and Games: On Play
Prof. Marianne Erhardt
WRI 111 F: WF 8:00-9:15 (CRN 19400)
WRI 111 G: WF 9:30-10:45 (CRN 19401)
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 H: Writing Seminar: Rhetoric of Athletics
Prof. Hannah Harrison
TR 9:30-10:45 (CRN 19402)
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 topics and questions such as: What constitutes fair compensation for student-athletes? Which diets effectively and safely enhance athletic performance? What’s the value of professional athletes’ activism? How should we regulate gear and rules of play?
In this course, students will develop their research and writing skills using the theme of publicly debated sports and athletics controversies. You’ll become familiar with discourse communities through a series of reading, research, summary, and analysis exercises before you draft persuasive projects that advocate your position on a topic of your choosing. You’ll read across a range of genres and purposes: from public writing—such as news reports and op-eds—to scholarly sources, articles, and textbooks on writing strategies. You’ll use textual and multimedia sources, including sports journalism, tv broadcasts, even podcasts to enhance your understanding of rhetorical genres. You’ll compose three major projects in each of three units: Analyzing Rhetorics, Summarizing Controversies, and Advocating Positions. Each unit will incorporate scaffolded assignments to help you practice various skills. Throughout the course, you’ll take stock of your learning with low-stakes and lengthier reflection assignments. Your work will be assessed, evaluated, and graded based on each of three portfolios and your engagement with the course.
WRI 111 I/J: Writing Seminar: Rhetoric of Food
Prof. Hannah Harrison
WRI 111 I: TR 12:30-1:45 (CRN 20958)
WRI 111 J: TR 2:00-3:15 (CRN 19404)
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 L: Writing Seminar: Rewriting
Prof. Danielle Koupf
TR 5:00-6:15 (CRN 19406)
“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 M: Writing Seminar: Argumentation and Civil Discourse
Prof. Zak Lancaster
TR 12:30-1:45 (CRN 19407)
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. 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 N: Writing Seminar: Writing as Public Action
Prof. Alisa Russell
MW 2:00-3:15 (CRN 19408)
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 O/P: Writing Seminar: The English Next Door
Prof. Jonathan Smart
WRI 111 O: MWF 10:00-10:50 (CRN 19409)
WRI 111 P: MWF 11:00-11:50 (CRN 19410)
***NOTE: These sections are reserved for international students whose first language is not English.
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 analyses of critical issues related to language and develop an understanding of the role of English in their own experiences.
WRI 111 Q: Writing Seminar: write.hack
Prof. Jonathan Smart
MWF 1:00-1:50 (CRN 19411)
In this writing course, we explore the writing process through collaboration, remixing, and sharing of ideas. We also discuss and reflect on the ownership of ideas, the ethics of sharing, and the power structures that underlie our traditions and practices in writing. Readings for the course will include academic works on the writing process, genre, and revision. Additionally, we 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 R: Writing Seminar: Adaptation
Prof. (Richard) Carter Smith
WF 9:30-10:45 (CRN 19412)
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 disciplines. 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 S/T: Writing Seminar: Rhetorics of Music
Prof. (Richard) Carter Smith
WRI 111 S: WF 12:30-1:45 (CRN 19413)
WRI 111 T: WF 2:00-3:15 (CRN 19414)
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 U/V/W: Mindful Nation: Contemplative Inquiry and Society
Prof. Elisabeth Whitehead
WRI 111 U: TR 12:30-1:45 (CRN 19415)
WRI 111 V: TR 3:30-4:45 (CRN 19416)
WRI 111 W: TR 5:00-6:15 (CRN 19417)
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 X/Y: Writing Seminar: Weird Nature
Prof. Guy Witzel
WRI 111 X: TR 9:30-10:45 (CRN 19418)
WRI 111 Y: TR 12:30-1:45 (CRN 19419)
How should we describe our relationship with nature in the present moment? As a subject of anxiety given headlines, scientific reports, and recent natural disasters? As something more often experienced on screens than in everyday life – perhaps through a wildlife documentary or an idealized image found on social media? And how should we factor in more recent developments wherein zoonotic disease has upended our lives and the outdoors has become, for many, a source of solace and escape? Humanity’s relationship with nature has long animated the written word. This has been the case even and especially when this 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 strive 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 may 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 Z: Writing Seminar: Writing Justice
Prof. Phoebe Zerwick
TR 5:00-6:15 (CRN 19589)
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: Rhetoric in Television Media
Prof. LaKela Atkinson
WRI 111 ZA: MWF 11:00-11:50 (CRN 19590)
WRI 111 ZB: MWF 12:00-12:50 (CRN 19591)
WRI 111 ZC: MWF 2:00-2:50 (CRN 20987)
Television media is a popular form of art to present entertaining, persuasive, and informative information to its viewing audience. By examining a relevant form of art, students have an opportunity to consider the ways that various elements of a show contribute to the effectiveness of a work, written and visual. Students’ engagement with rhetoric in television media increases their awareness that writing is not a solitary event for the writer and audience. By considering the elements of the rhetorical situation, students can improve upon their analytical and critical thinking skills in examining texts, as well as build upon their own writing. Throughout the course, students will analyze various texts that explore diverse social themes, like diversity and inclusion, in preparation for analyzing their own selected shows.
WRI 111 ZD/ZE/ZF: Writing Seminar: Rhetoric of Protest
Prof. Matthew Fiander
WRI 111 ZD: WF 9:30-10:45 (CRN 22979)
WRI 111 ZE: WF 11:00-12:15 (CRN 22980)
WRI 111 ZF: WF 2:00-3:15 (CRN 24715)
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 ongoing modes of public discourse, and how uncovering the way protests communicate can help us better understand their perspective and their impact, but also traditions, complications, and biases inherent in how we communicate publicly, who gets to communicate publicly, and how they get to air their concerns.
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 others). 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’ll look at the stories and narratives we construct as a culture and society and how protest movements and disruptive rhetoric ask us to re-see these narratives and their consequences. In short, we’ll spend this semester studying the conflict and complication of social discourse, and we will use this theme to practice our own discourse, sharpen key writing skills, dive deeply into drafting and revision, and discover and strengthen our effective writing processes.
WRI 111 ZG/ZH/ZI: Writing Seminar: Rhetoric of Culture and Place
Prof. Leah Haynes
WRI 111 ZG: MWF 9:00-9:50 (CRN 24716)
WRI 111 ZH: MWF 10:00-10:50 (CRN 26180)
WRI 111 ZI: MWF 12:00-12:50 (CRN 27122)
In this seminar, we will focus on the rhetorics of culture and place as a way to practice a variety of writing skills. The course will ask you to think critically about the cultures and places 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? What do we mean when we say that a college campus – or a city, or a region – has a culture?
You will practice your observation and interview skills, look closely at texts for the way language taps into our experiences of place as a way 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, revisions, and self- and peer-assessments.
Upper Level Writing Courses
WRI 210 A: Advanced Academic Writing: Writing as Knowledge Creation
Prof. Alisa Russell
MW 12:30-1:45 (CRN 20996)
Questioning is a natural part of the human experience, and it forms the foundation of the academy in which scholars seek to build knowledge in their domains. Yet, how questions are asked and how answers are found can vary widely between disciplines — from the humanities to the sciences, from the social sciences to the performing arts. Each discipline has its own ways of asking questions, finding answers, and sharing results with others. What is the same across disciplines, though, is that this knowledge is built, crafted, and shared through writing. Writing becomes both process and product: It is used to guide research processes and craft findings. In this way, knowledge is both created and distributed through academic writing.
In this course, we will explore how writing shapes and sustains the work of academic disciplines. We will practice with the analytical tools and research methods that allow us to comparatively explore academic writing for what conventions make it effective in different disciplines, as well as what values and worldviews those conventions convey. We’ll explore different disciplinary genres, how they make arguments, their major organizational structures, sentence-level linguistic patterns, and their research/writing processes.
Therefore, this course will heighten your awareness as an academic reader and writer, and it will increase your flexibility to engage with academic (and non-academic) texts. Moreover, it will provide the opportunity to deep-dive into the writing (and therefore knowledge-building practices) of the discipline(s) in which you’re most interested. And of course, the main way we will explore academic writing is by…writing about it. We will thus aim to become a community of writers who frequently share their ideas and their work with one another for feedback and support.
WRI 212 A: The Art of the Essay
Prof. Guy Witzel
TR 2:00-3:15 (CRN 20993)
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 claim 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 assertion that successful essays must feature “truth-speaking personae.” And we’ll test out Lee Gutkind’s belief that the personal nature of the genre “creates a special magic that can help alleviate the anxiety of the writing experience.”
But a major aspect of our work will also involve practicing the varieties of personal essay ourselves. Subgenres include meditation, topical, memoir, immersion, prose poem, and lyric essays. We shall even explore digital adaptations via audio-essays and podcasts. Furthermore, we will embark upon these projects through workshops and other collaborative activities. By doing away with the myth of the writer as solitary genius, we will approach our essays as inseparable from the communities to which we belong, including the one in our very classroom.
Featured writers may include Virginia Woolf, James Baldwin, Susan Sontag, Richard Rodriguez, Anne Lamott, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Claudia Rankine, Patricia Hampl, Lauret Savoy, Hilton Als, Hanif Abdurraqib, Elizabeth Rush, Emily Raboteau, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Rachel Kushner, Robert Macfarlane, Elissa Gabbert, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and John Green.
WRI 341 A: 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 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 97232)
Students in this class will learn and practice the skills needed to produce magazine stories for publication. Focusing on a single topic of their own choosing all semester, they will be encouraged to write creatively and often. They will learn advanced principles of interviewing, document research, story structure, character development, and explanatory journalism. They will also read and analyze some of the best magazine stories written over the past 30 years.
WRI 344 counts as an elective in the English major.
For Writing Minors
WRI 350: Writing Minor Capstone
Prof. Danielle Koupf
TR 3:30-4:45 (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 the work that you feel best represents your creativity, your intellectual abilities, and your rhetorical effectiveness.
ENG 309: Modern English Grammar
Prof. Zak Lancaster
TR 9:30-10:45 (CRN 26827)
“Modern English Grammar” offers a fun, rigorous exploration of how English grammar works. Many English speakers have a conflicted relationship with grammar: they want to understand the details, sensing that they will be useful, but they also may think of grammar as “something they are not good at” or as “something they should know but don’t.” This course offers a different perspective on grammar: all speakers of English know grammar intuitively. You know, for instance, that you can say John gave Maria the book, but not *John explained Maria the problem; you know you can say, I’m not tall, but she is, but not I’m not tall, but she’s. You know literally thousands of such grammatical rules, but you may be hard-pressed to explain them. The principal goal of this course is to assist you to do that—to unpack your intuitive grammatical knowledge so that you can be more effective and purposeful with your uses and judgments of language.
In addition to examining relationships between grammar, style, and rhetoric, the course also gives students a chance to explore difficult issues around linguistic discrimination, the politics of language authority, and grammatical change and variation. Class discussions, short assignments, and longer projects invite critical reflection on the following questions: What does it mean to “know” the grammar of our native language? Where do prescriptive rules like “avoid singular-they” come from, and on whose authority? What does it mean to say that all varieties of English are linguistically equivalent, and how did one variety of English get selected as “standard”?
No background in linguistics is required, but a genuine interest in the details of language is strongly recommended! Counts toward the LIN minor, WRI minor, and ENG major/minor.
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. Justin Catanoso
JOU 310: Editing, Prof. Justin Catanoso
JOU 320: Community Journalism, Prof. Phoebe Zerwick
JOU 335: Multimedia Storytelling, Prof. Ivan Weiss
JOU 350: Writing for PR & Advertising, Prof. Peter Mitchell
JOU 355: Broadcast Journalism, Prof. Melissa Painter-Greene
JOU 375 A: Deep Dive: Photojournalism
JOU 375 B: Deep Dive: Bearing Witness, Prof. Paul Garber, POI only
JOU 375 C: Telling Stories with Data, Prof. Mandy Locke & Ryan Thornburg, POI only
JOU 375 D/PHI 280: Truth and Authenticity, Prof. Ivan Weiss & Prof. Francisco Gallegos
JOU 375 E: Screenwriting, Prof. Southerland
JOU 375 F: Visual Storytelling, Prof. Gloeckner
CRW 285 A/B: Poetry Workshop, Prof. Amy Catanzano/Marream Krollos
CRW 286: Short Story Workshop, Prof. Marream Krollos
CRW 287: Literary Nonfiction Workshop, Prof. Eric Wilson
CRW 300: Special Topics in Creative Writing: Collaboration, Prof. Laura Mullen
CRW 385: Advanced Poetry Workshop, Prof. Amy Catanzano
CRW 387: Advanced Literary Nonfiction Workshop, Prof. Laura Mullen
Pre-Approved Writing Enhanced Electives
PSY 338: Emotion, Professor Christian Waugh