Fall 2024

Reminder: Fall 2024 Course Registration Will Take Place in Workday, Not WIN!

Please Speak with Your Primary Advisor BEFORE Your “Registration Appointment” time to Get the Hold Released on Your Account. Information and Trainings on Student Registration in Workday Are Found Here: https://wakeday.wfu.edu/workday-student-support-for-students/.

Read through our current course offerings for Fall 2024 below.

Please note that the course information below is subject to change. For the most up-to-date information, please reference WRI course sections in Workday.

WRI 109 and WRI 111

WRI 109 A: Writing Seminar, Part 1: On Your Own Terms
Prof. Eric Ekstrand
WRI 109-A: TR 10:00-10:50am
“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’s kind of funny. Although we may know experientially that there are many varieties of English, we often conceptualize English as if there were only one: the right one.

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. You might switch between the varieties of English you use throughout the day, or over the course of a single conversation. 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. The diversity of language can be celebrated, but all too often people make negative 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. By doing all this, you will be more ready to use academic English (or not) on your own terms.

WRI 109 B/C: Writing Seminar, Part 1: Rhetoric of Food
Prof. Hannah Harrison
WRI 109-B: WF 1:00-1:50pm
WRI 109-C: WF 2:00-2:50pm
WRI 109 Rhetoric of Food approaches the study and practice of writing using rhetorical theory and genre analysis as our main theoretical foundations. Students will learn practical writing skills and strategies that they can transfer to a variety of situations for writing, from the academic and professional to the creative and personal. To adopt new strategies and develop existing strengths, students will complete scaffolded exercises designed to facilitate their growth as independent, confident writers. These low-stakes assignments will be completed for homework and during class time so that students have opportunities to engage with and learn from their peers. They will create at least two project portfolios, which could include genres and purposes such as analysis, evaluation, narrative, summary, description or argumentation. Students should leave the class feeling more confident that they can respond effectively to any rhetorical situation that calls for thoughtful, persuasive, sometimes conventional or otherwise innovative composition.

We will approach this range of genres and purposes through the lens of food systems controversies. This means that students will identify and research discourse communities invested in issues related to the production, processing, distribution, or consumption of food in contemporary–often local and personally relevant–communities. Students will self-directed their engagement with the course theme in consultation with the instructor.

WRI 109 D/E: Writing Seminar, Part 1: The Language of Writing
Prof. Jon Smart
WRI 109-D: TR 1:00-1:50pm
WRI 109-E: TR 2:00-2:50pm
In this course we explore how humans use language as the building block of written communication. Humans write more now than they ever have, and new emergent forms of writing – from informal, highly interactive writing to texts authored by artificial intelligence – pervade our daily lives. Through this course, students will consider how we make choices about the language we use to participate in both traditional and emergent forms of writing. We will read and discuss how the language we use when we speak and write connects to our own identities and the communities we participate in. We’ll also examine, through discussion and hands-on tasks, how human language adapts and re-invents itself for new technologies and genres. The course teaches you to use rhetorical principles to analyze texts and to develop your own iterative writing processes.

WRI 111 A/B: Writing Seminar: Everyday Rhetoric and Writing in Popular Culture
Prof. Kendra Andrews
WRI 111 A: TR 12:30-1:45pm
WRI 111 B: TR 2:00-3:15pm
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. Throughout our rhetorical inquiry, we will read scholarly texts such as academic articles and conference presentations as well as non-scholarly texts such as song lyrics and a scene from popular television shows. We will not only have a wide range of readings, but we will also compose in multimodal ways. During this class, we will develop student-driven writing projects including argumentative rhetorical analysis, genre remix, individual blogging, and inquiry-based research. As part of our work in the class, we will also develop a writer’s website that demonstrates their engagement as critical consumers and producers of modern rhetorical texts.

WRI 111 C: Writing Seminar: The Ethics of Persuasion
Prof. Erin Branch
WRI 111-C: TR 9:30-10:45am
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, uncommitted, or even harmful.  Yet finding ways to listen to and enter conversations constitutes the real work of living in a deliberative democracy, not to mention the university of which you are now a part.

In this course, we will study arguments across a range of media and genres, as well as some theories and frameworks for reading and creating arguments. As readers, we will consider questions of genre, context, purpose, audience, and evidence as we examine how these authors balance their own perspectives and opinions with those they don’t share. As writers, we will develop strategies for listening and responding to the many and varied persuasive messages coming at us every day. We will analyze published/extant arguments and create new ones of our own, while trying out different modalities and genres to suit different audiences and contexts. The course will culminate in a collaborative guide to ethical persuasion.

WRI 111 D/E: Writing Seminar: Writing Lived Experience
Prof. Eric Ekstrand
WRI 111-D: TR 12:30-1:45pm
WRI 111-E: TR 2:00-3:15pm
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: On Play and Games
Prof. Marianne Erhardt
WRI 111-F: MWF 10:00-10:50am
WRI 111-G: MWF 11:00-11:50am
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: Controversies
Prof. Hannah Harrison
WRI 111-H: WF 11:00-12:15pm
WRI 111 Controversies approaches the teaching and learning of writing through rhetorical theory and genre analysis. In a series of scaffolded projects, students will identify and describe a contemporary controversy and learn how to engage in public discourses through their research and writing. Genres may include: rhetorical analysis, genre analysis, literacy narrative, research report, multimodal composition, professional writing. Students should leave the class feeling more confident that they can effectively interpret and address rhetorical situations in their undergraduate coursework and in areas of their lives that invite written responses or persuasive compositions.

WRI 111 I/J: Writing Seminar: Rewriting
Prof. Danielle Koupf
WRI 111-I: MWF 9:00-9:50am
WRI 111-J: MWF 10:00-10:50am
“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 Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walker Percy, Alan Lightman, Teju Cole, Eula Biss, and Emily Raboteau, while also examining different takes on revision as presented by writers such as 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 K: Writing Seminar: Argumentation and Civil Discourse
Prof. Zak Lancaster
WRI 111-K: WF 2:00-3:15pm
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,” “finding common ground,” and even “making concessions” are fundamentally based in conflict. But how do we advance dialogue if our aim is to overcome opponents? Research in the social sciences suggests we do not: When we try to persuade others through argumentation, even through 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 to literature and rhetoric scholars to popular writers. You will practice using a variety of argument strategies on topics of interest to you, and you will learn how arguments work across fields and disciplines. 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 write.

WRI 111 L: Writing Seminar: Writing as Public Action
Prof. Alisa Russell
WRI 111-L: WF 12:30-1:45pm
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? 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, including ChatGPT. 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 N/O: Writing Seminar: Rhetorics of Music
Prof. Carter Smith
WRI 111-N: TR 2:00-3:15pm
WRI 111-O: TR 3:30-4:45pm
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 P/Q: Writing Seminar: Eco-Mindfulness
Prof. Elisabeth Whitehead
WRI 111-P: MWF 11:00-11:50am
WRI 111-Q: MWF 12:00-12:50pm
The environmental painter Morris Graves defined 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, meditation, listening, and reflection, and from this place of contemplative inquiry we will investigate issues related to our environment and the natural world. By practicing mindfulness, awareness, and attention (awareness of ourselves, each other, our writing, and our interconnectedness to the natural world) we will begin to cultivate the space we need as writers, as well as the qualities of listening, observation, and empathy necessary to foster ethical communication and environmental advocacy.  We will begin by grounding ourselves in personal observation and our experience of our natural environments. Through close reading, discussion, and writing we will also develop a greater understanding of rhetorical knowledge and advocacy, exploring various issues related to environmental justice and sustainability. Readings may include the work of Joy Harjo, Barbara Kingsolver, Bill McKibben, Jon Krakauer, N. Scott Momaday, Terry Tempest Williams, and Wendell Berry.

WRI 111 S/T: Writing Seminar: Wander, Gather, Write
Prof. Guy Witzel
WRI 111-S: TR 8:00-9:15am
WRI 111-T: TR 9:30-10:45am
How often do you let your mind wander? How often do you allow your thoughts to drift without purpose? And what about your feet? Is there time in your schedule to step away from your work, step out into the world, and let happenstance and a good pair of shoes surprise you? Do you know the joys of strolling through the park, hitting the streets, hiking the trail, or otherwise getting your steps in? Such meandering journeys, whether in the land of daydreams or on dirt paths, can freshen your perspective and focus your attention in startling ways.

In this course we view wandering, be it out in the world or within the boundlessness of our very skulls, as vital to the practice of good writing. This may seem strange when we describe, for instance, the strong academic essay as focused, well-organized, and logical. And yet, without time to experiment, think on the page, stumble upon the unexpected, and gather new insights and experiences, strong writing rarely manifests.

Writing and wandering have long been fellow travelers. Our earliest written stories are rich with journeys, flights, migrations, and adventures-on-foot. This course invites students to embrace this tradition—symbolically, yes, through writing activities designed to let your mind roam free while improving your skills as a writer. But this course also asks students to venture forth literally. Assignments and class sessions will take students out of the classroom and onto the paths that wind through and just beyond campus, all in an effort to find and refine one’s voice, style, and place as a writer. Consequently, students will leave this course better equipped to gather and assess evidence, map critical conversations, challenge common sense, and invent meaning through writing.

WRI 111 U/V/W: Writing Seminar: Voices from the Forest
Prof. Franziska Tsufim
WRI 111-U: MW 12:30-1:45pm
WRI 111-V: MW 2:00-3:15pm
WRI 111-W: MW 5:00-6:15pm

“Voices from the Forest” invites you to explore the concept of writerly voice in a variety of academic and non-academic genres and to listen for the echoes of student voices—past and present, your own included—at this university. Projects will include 1) an op-ed piece written for a student newspaper, 2) a research paper on a primary source from the WFU archives, and 3) a collaborative class podcast.
Full course description coming soon!

WRI 111 X/Y/Z: Writing Seminar: School, Competition, Grades, and Writing
Prof. Jeremy Levine
WRI 111-X: TR 9:30-10:45am
WRI 111-Y: TR 2:00-3:15pm
WRI 111-Z: TR 3:30-4:45pm
Course description coming soon!

WRI 111 ZA/ZB/ZC: Writing Seminar: Bodies, Narratives, and Reimagining Norms
Prof. Elena Makarion
WRI 111-ZA: WF 9:30-10:45am
WRI 111-ZB: WF 12:30-1:45pm
WRI 111-ZC: WF 2:00-3:15pm
Who wouldn’t want to be healthy? In recent years, conversations about wellness and mental health have exploded. But what exactly is health, who gets to define it, and what is at stake in the shapes it takes across contexts? By drawing from an expansive collection of sources, ranging from 19th century asylum narratives, to evolving medical diagnostic criteria, to poems and novels, we will uncover cultural assumptions and imperatives in popular and medical discourses. Further, we will explore histories of disability, asking how gender, religion, race, and class impacts how someone is diagnosed and treated. For example, we consider metaphors (why is depression described as blue and black and not yellow?) or genres (how does a social media quiz like do you have depression? impose on one’s identity)? By making visible the social constructions of language, we will become more aware of our own writing choices and the impact they have on our readers. Such questions will enable us to think about our own positionality and to consider where we write from and what norms we might take for granted.

Primarily, this course will prepare you for future academic, personal, and career writing. We will focus on developing your voice and craft, understanding your composing processes, and applying rhetorical and research tools to convincingly present your ideas to an audience. Additionally, we will read writers who have imagined what individual and collective healing might look like, and we’ll speculate (through our research) alongside these authors what resistance narratives and the process of writing can encompass in our personal and public lives today. Together, we will consider what inventive techniques authors used to navigate their credibility and how we can borrow from their writing moves. Your assignments will include close readings, essays, practice with analysis, peer workshops, and seminar style class discussions. Besides these critical engagements, we will also write creatively, reveling in poetry and fiction and imagining ways that writing can be both transformational and healing.

WRI 111 ZD/ZE/ZF: Writing Seminar:
Prof. Sebastián Terneus
WRI111-ZD: TR 8:00-9:15am
WRI 111-ZE: TR 9:30-10:45am
WRI 111-ZF: TR 12:30-1:45pm
Course description coming soon!

WRI 111 ZG: Writing Seminar: Rhetoric of Place: Exploring the Intersection of Place and Identity
Prof. Elka Staley
WRI 111-ZG: MWF 8-8:50am
Exploring rhetorical approaches to place means uncovering complexity and conflict. It means analyzing where “culture” comes from, loss and recovery, the natural environment, urban and rural landscapes, and considering the ways in which places change through time, both gradually and suddenly, and the people who are most affected by those changes.

Perhaps most importantly, we cannot consider “place” without considering “identity.” Reflecting upon where you are from, and how that place has shaped your identity, is not a simple task. Even very common terms like citizen, country, and resident are loaded with meaning and controversy. Why are some people willing to die for their country? What does it mean to belong to a land, to be a local, a native, or to be an outsider, or an expat? What does home mean? Even describing your “happy place” reveals so much about you. We will also consider imaginary places like our lives online, or the virtual universes of video games, virtual reality, etc.

In this class, we will read and write about place, especially examining the ways in which identity is informed by place, and the ways in which the rhetoric of place demands that we slow down and examine multiple perspectives: who tells the narratives, and whom are the narratives about?

We will write shorter personal narratives and rhetorical analysis, as well as a longer research-based essay–your choice of a cultural ethnography about a specific group of people in a specific place, or an argumentative essay that persuasively shares your views about a chosen place and its role in shaping identity. For your final, you will create a photo essay centered on a specific place and topic. Throughout the semester we will participate in written and verbal discussions about a variety of texts and genres: nonfiction, fiction, memoir, travel writing, television, etc. Selections could include texts from Zadie Smith, Mark Twain, Samuel Johnson, James Boswell, David Sedaris, Roxanne Gay, Leslie Marmon Silko, Sherman Alexie, Rebecca Solnit, and more.

WRI 111 ZH/ZI: Writing Seminar: Writing: Linguistics, Language, and Communication
Prof. Gail Clements
WRI 111-ZH: TR 9:30-10:45am
WRI 111-ZI: TR 11:00-12:15pm
This course begins with discourse analysis of communicative and argument strategies, uncovering the motivations and underlying meanings behind spoken and written texts through the lens of various social and historical contexts. We will transition to how these motivations and meanings can be useful in our own writing employing various rhetorical modes and moves (along with literary and linguistic strategies) to create pieces that will be socially, culturally, politically, educationally relevant.

More sections of WRI 111 coming soon!

Upper-Level WRI Courses

WRI 210A: Exploring Academic Genres: Writing as Knowledge Creation
Prof. Alisa Russell
WRI 210A: WF 9:30-10:45am
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: Literary Nonfiction: The Art of the Essay
Prof. Marianne Erhardt
WRI 212-A: MW 12:30-1:45pm
Acclaimed writer Natalie Goldberg was not an acclaimed writer, and did not think of herself as a writer at all, when she visited a bookstore one day after work as a cook. She selected Fruits and Vegetables by Erica Jong and found a poem about an eggplant. “I was amazed. You mean you can write about something like that? Something as ordinary as that? Something that I did in my life?” All at once, she was a writer. In Writing Down the Bones, she tells us, “A synapse connected in my brain. I went home with the resolve to write what I knew and to trust my own thoughts and feelings.”

In this class, we will have the audacity to write from our own eggplant experiences – both ordinary and extraordinary – as we explore the genre of literary nonfiction. We will read for pleasure, for rhetorical study, and for appreciation and development of craft. We will consider the history of the essay form, some of its many subgenres, and imagine its future. And we will “write down the bones,” which Goldberg says is “the essential, awake speech of [our] minds.” We will write as poets, peers, critics, and scholars, all of whom work to coax this “awake speech” to the blank page. While building our writing portfolios, we will build a writing community.

WRI 306A/ENV 302 A: Special Topics: Rhetoric & Writing: Environmental Writing in the Anthropocene
Prof. Guy Witzel
WRI 306-A/ENV 302-A: TR 12:30-1:45pm 

Climate change is increasingly described as an existential threat. Today, scientists and activists are joined by voices across society in communicating the dire nature of our ecological circumstances. Yet despite the pervasiveness of such language, climate change’s implications for the larger biosphere, much less human civilization, remain difficult to express, conceptualize, and process.

In this course we will examine and contribute to a writing practice that approaches these difficulties as their central preoccupation: contemporary environmental writing. In this body of work, we find some of the most sophisticated attempts to address the existential, representational, and rhetorical dilemmas characterizing life in the Anthropocene.

These dilemmas include:

  • Scale: How can we come to grips with an emergency whose origins date back to the late eighteenth century and whose effects promise to shape the planet for centuries to come?
  • Interconnectedness: How can we make clear our interdependence with other species?
  • Generational Dynamics: What does it mean that our ancestors created and left us with this problem? What does it mean to bring a child into this world knowing the calamity and upheaval they may face?
  • Hope and Meaning: How do we cultivate a sense of purpose and possibility when the scientific consensus suggests the future will involve hardship and change?

Together we will engage with the innovations of present-day environmental writers and explore their efforts to portray, come to terms with, and move beyond these and other Anthropocene dilemmas. We will also take up these challenges ourselves in a variety of writing assignments, including an ongoing reading/nature journal, an anthology essay, a keywords essay, and a memoir/immersion essay.
WRI 306 counts as an elective towards the English major.

WRI 310A/LIN 340A: Interaction in Language: Introduction to Written Discourse Studies
Prof. Zak Lancaster
WRI 310-A/LIN 340-A: WF 11:00-12:15pm
This course offers students an introduction to discourse analysis: a subfield of linguistics that examines the relationships between language use and the social and cultural contexts in which it is used. Discourse analysis as a field embraces the view that to really understand language—that is, how language works in communicative exchanges—one must go beyond formal semantics and syntax and view it within the specific contexts where it is being used. In this way, discourse analysis draws from work in linguistics, sociology, psychology, anthropology, and related disciplines. In this course, we will look specifically at the variety of ways in which we use language to communicate through writing. We will pursue questions such as these:

  • How do we use language to construct readers in our texts, and to position them toward our views?
  • How do we use language to present ourselves, and to establish and maintain relationships?
  • How do specific linguistic and rhetorical choices reflect and affect power relationships and group structure?
  • How do ideologies, both overt and underlying, get expressed and reinforced in written discourses?

In taking up these questions, the course provides students with new approaches and tools with which to critically examine language as discourse. Together, we will analyze a variety of written texts, and students will have chances to conduct in-depth explorations of how language works in discourses that are meaningful to them.

For students of writing, this course offers a linguistic perspective on discourse that complements the study of rhetoric. For students of linguistics, this course sits at the intersections between semantics, pragmatics, and grammatical analysis, offering new ways to view variation in language use. By the end of the course, all students will be better able to undertake a detailed analysis of a text informed by linguistic theory; speak authoritatively about how language works above the level of the sentence; read texts with greater insight and critical distance; and manipulate language in texts with more explicit awareness. Class discussions, regular practice, two short writing assignments, and one major project encourage critical inquiry on the questions posed above.

WRI 340A: Practice in Rhetoric and Composition
Prof. Kendra Andrews
TR 3:30-4:45pm
For millennia, writing has been primarily associated with the interpretation and production of alphabetic text, a.k.a words printed on the page. However, with the advancements and increased access to computer technologies as well as the proliferation of digital media and online networks, what “writing” means for contemporary communication has shifted. A 21st century writer forges meaning not only from words on the printed page, but also combines those words with images, colors, sounds, videos, and digital design principles to produce rhetorically complex, multimodal texts.

In this class, we will explore what it means to be a 21st century writer who moves from the page to the screen in both theory and practice. We will develop our understanding of digital rhetoric and multimodal composition as more than critiquing writing used in digital spaces or producing simple texts to be seen online. The course will include an in-depth exploration of the theoretical and ideological issues involved with the shift from writing in text-only modes to writing with(in) new media. We will apply this expanded understanding of digital rhetoric and multimodal composition through projects involving various digital tools and methods of critical making.

Although previous computing knowledge or technical skill are not required to take this course, you must be willing to engage in topics related to writing in the 21st century, such as multimodal rhetorics, remix culture, artificial intelligence, participatory culture and social networks, digital storytelling, data visualization, or accessibility issues. We will apply these topics and theoretical approaches through active participation, experimentation, and production of course projects such as developing audio-visual projects, creating data and network visualizations, conducting digital inquiry research, exploring the role of the maker, and creating personal websites. We will explore composition with platforms such as the Adobe Creative Suite (primarily PhotoShop and Adobe Express), Wix Website Builder, the Google Suite, and the Wakerspace on campus. By the end of this course, you should be able to more easily recognize the rhetoricity of digital environments and demonstrate flexibility when composing in 21st century contexts.
WRI 340 counts as an elective in the English major.

WRI 340 B: Practice in Rhetoric and Composition: Flow
Prof. Danielle Koupf
MW 2:00-3:15pm
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 340 counts as an elective towards the English major.

WRI 341 A/WRI 641 AG: Writing Center Pedagogy
Prof. Ryan Shirey
TR 2:00-3:15pm
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. Required for those interested in working in the Writing Center as peer tutors.
WRI 341 counts as an elective in the English major.

WRI 344 A/JOU 340 A
Magazine Writing
Prof. Barry Yeoman
M 1:00-3:30
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 thirty years. Two seats are reserved for Interdisciplinary Writing minors.
WRI 344 counts as an elective in the English major.