Rhetoric and Inquiry

Writing 2 explores the intersections of investigation, interpretation, and persuasion and hones strategies for writing and research. Students develop specific, practical ways of improving their writing through sustained critical thinking about diverse issues from multiple points of view. Prerequisite(s): satisfaction of the Entry Level Writing and C1 requirements. Enrollment limited to 25. (General Education Code(s): C2.)

Enrollment Procedures:
Writing 2 classes fill quickly. Students needing Writing 2 should try to enroll during their first-pass enrollment appointments.


Climate Change, Biodiversity, and the Environment

Students will explore a major ecological problem: global climate change and the loss of biodiversity on planet Earth. Students choose a major essay topic, then complete several writing assignments that navigate the process of writing a research essay. Each student follows the same process as a scientist or policy analyst reviewing the current state of knowledge on a scientific or environmental issue. Individual writing assignments will be revised and then incorporated into the final essay. Although the class emphasizes reading, understanding, and writing scientific and policy reviews and arguments, non-science students will find the step-by-step writing process helpful for crafting written arguments in any discipline.

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Fun, Food and Fantasy:  Mass Media Representations of Health, Nutrition and Well Being

Students will research and question how mass media shape human perceptions of food, nutrition and body image, as well as critically examine written arguments and films about the politics of health. In this course students will investigate several genres of criticism about the ways that mass media and other channels of social communication promote messages about health and well being. Students will have the opportunity to examine how their own perspectives about health and well being have been influenced--for better or worse--by mass media.  Assignments will include class discussions, working in peer groups, several expository papers, and a research essay.

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Interrogating Education

Why are many students apathetic about what courses they take, the papers they "have" to write? If a course (like this one) is “required,” who’s doing the requiring, and why? And why are the woes of higher education so much in the news? In this class we’ll explore who decides what “good” writing is and who benefits/who is excluded by these criteria, and we’ll investigate who determines what constitutes an “education” and what political/social consequences accrue from various definitions, priorities, and choices. As you dig into debates about what’s wrong with education (are students at fault? or teachers? or administrators? or legislators? or taxpayers? or…?), you’ll become more adept as critical thinkers and interrogators of situations and issues (better able to discern writers’ hidden agendas, competing values, unspoken assumptions, and slippery uses of evidence). And as you learn that professors/professionals read/write/think in ways differently from most students, you’ll become more strategic users of language (more proficient in arguing, organizing, marshalling evidence, and in general employing the “secret codes” of academia, but also able to interrogate the conventions of academic writing).

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Mapping the Neighborhood: Writing about Communities, Social Justice, Social Change

In this course we will read about, explore, and write on a number of contemporary social problems and social justice issues, particularly as they pertain to the communities we inhabit and know. We’ll focus on urban studies, race and class, gentrification, community identities and activism, and other current topics of interest to class members. Readings will include selections by Howard Zinn, bell hooks, Gloria Anzaldúa, Mike Davis, Luis Rodriguez, and others.  We will also work with news articles, scholarly texts, and multi-media sources. Through reading, class discussion, and independent work, students will gain greater awareness of the writing process, of different rhetorical moves writers make, of various genres relevant to writing both inside and outside the university, and will develop methods for successful independent editing. Students will write several short papers as well as one longer research project that will involve an overview of the research process. Revision will be a major focus of all writing projects. 

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The Story

This course focuses on the theme of stories:  From narratives where what actually happened is questionable, to how we can think of intellectual writing as telling a story.  We will write a personal story, analyze long-form journalism—both print and audio—look at media coverage of current events, and write an investigative essay based on student research.  Texts include articles from The New Yorker, Wired, The New York Times and others;  podcasts of This American Life, The Moth, RadioLab, Studio 360, Bullseye, Snap Judgement and On the Media.  This course prepares students to write across the disciplines.  Students can expect to learn about all steps of the writing process—planning, researching, drafting, revising and editing—to read, listen, and watch interesting texts, and to engage in lively discussion.

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Writing as a Revolutionary Act

In this section of Writing 2, we will examine the power of writing to inspire revolution. Incorporating a wide range of writing genres, which may include open letters, op-ed pieces, academic essays, social media postings, fact sheets, and white papers, students will examine and practice the type of writing that initiates change and forces readers to think critically about societal norms and challenge commonly held beliefs. Students will be able to identify and write about their own passions and will incorporate various forms of research throughout the quarter in order to add substance and support to their ideas. Writing can indeed create change, and in this class, we will examine how writing does this and put those discoveries to use.

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Writing the Urban Landscape

The journey of this course will provide class members the space to read, think, and write about architecture, buildings, communities, urban studies, social justice – and the relationship(s) among them.  We’ll read and work with a series of texts that engage architectural and urban studies topics such as public space, gentrification, buildings and their relationship with people, and other topics of related interest selected by members of the class.  Course readings and materials will vary from scholarly texts to news articles to multi-media sources. Through reading, class discussion, and independent work, students will gain greater awareness of the writing process, of different approaches to and forms of academic and professional writing; additionally, students will develop methods for successful independent editing of their writing.  Coursework will include short papers as well as one longer research project that will involve an overview of the research process. Revision will be a major focus of all writing projects.

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Writing (With) Bodies

Writing is often imagined as a disembodied act, as something magical where brain waves map to computer screens. But really, as writers, we’re all working within the constraints of our bodies. These constraints are simultaneously limiting and enabling – they make us the writers we are, both by encouraging and discouraging certain ways of writing (and being). This course seeks to determine the environments and practices that make you most effective and innovative as a writer, by considering various bodily identities (including gender and disability) alongside writing concepts like voice, organization, and argument. Projects will focus on lively research writing (no boring research papers please), exploration of learning styles (to avoid writer’s block), and attention to audience (get ready to revise and workshop). In all, our goal is to both engage – and question – what it means to write academically in the diverse bodies we’re in.

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