Rhetoric and Inquiry

Writing 2 Provides declarative knowledge about writing, with a special focus on writing from research, composing in multiple genres, and transferring knowledge about writing to new contexts. Prerequisite(s): College 1 and satisfaction of the Entry Level Writing; or College 80A, 80D, or 80F and satisfaction of the C1 requirement. Enrollment is restricted to frosh, sophomore and junior students. Enrollment limited to 25. (General Education Code(s): C.).

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

Spring 2019 Sections - Enrollments end at 4:00pm, Friday, April 5 


Happiness in Modern Society

Does money make us happy?  Can meditation improve our well-being?  Is time pressure helping or hurting us? In this section of Writing 2 we will discuss these questions and many others relating to the topic of happiness.  The readings for this course are drawn from a number of different disciplines and traditions: psychology, sociology, social criticism, and Buddhism. These readings explore not only the personal choices and conditions that contribute to our individual well-being, but also the social norms and expectations that affect all of us in American society today.  Through a thoughtful engagement with these ideas, you will be encouraged to think critically and write papers that you really care about. All students will engage in class discussions, participate in collaborative group work, write compositions in different genres, submit some type of informal writing before most class sessions, and complete the course with a multi-stage research project.

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).

Return to top

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.

Return to top

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.

Rhetoric & Bullshit

Is bullshit the excess of our collective bowel, or the force that keeps it “regular”?

The stench of bullshit is near and clear, and yet it lingers -- why? In this course, we will explore the role bullshit plays in a “democratic society” by analyzing its relationship to rhetoric; to do this, we will write, read, critique, reflect, and interact with a variety of “texts” that explore a myriad of rhetorical situations and discursive formations -- ancient and modern, political and popular, fabricated and factual -- as a means for studying the excrement of our society. In short, this class will interrogate the shit that stains our collective un/conscious.

Return to top

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, peer group workshops, several expository papers, and a research essay.

Youth Identity in a Networked Culture

​In this course, ​we will seek to answer questions such as​ these​: How is your constructed online self a mirror​--or distortion--​of your own identity? How have you been defined by your personal involvement with social media, social networks, and digital devices? ​How are our thinking and learning shaped by our interactions in social media and o​ther ​virtual worlds? ​We​ will read and respond to a variety of texts, focusing on the ways in which our identities—including our own digital selves—are created and manipulated online. While ​examining how we invent and reinvent ourselves ​through our participation in social media and other virtual worlds​, w​​e will investigate how to write effectively​ ​by ​crafting ​​a number of essays, including a research paper. Additionally, you will participate in regular writing groups--peer editing conferences designed to help improve the style, content, and structure of your written work. 

 Return to top

Do Facts Matter?

Why do people disagree over facts? This course will introduce students to rhetorical concepts through a structured inquiry into this timely, yet timeless question. We will examine how facts are produced, verified, and challenged by analyzing four major types of writing: popular, news, non-scholarly research, and academic discourse. Students will be invited to generate their own research topics and compose in multiple genres and media. Ultimately, this course seeks to increase writers’ rhetorical awareness and information literacy to become more critical, effective, and adaptable knowledge producers in a world of abundant, conflicting facts.

 Return to top

Who Tells Your Story: Writing About Hamilton: An American Musical

When it was first staged in 2015, no one expected much from a musical about Alexander Hamilton, the nation’s first Treasury Secretary and the face of the $10 bill. Yet somehow, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton: An American Musical became a cultural sensation. Hamilton arrived in New York as an orphaned Caribbean immigrant. However, by the time he was shot and killed by Vice President Aaron Burr, Hamilton had aided George Washington, helped to ratify the Constitution, and established the United States’ economic system. He even starred in the nation’s first sex scandal. How did he achieve so much? He was a great writer.

In the spirit of great writers like Hamilton and Miranda, this course will help you to develop good critical reading, composition, revision, and editing practices and expand your rhetorical knowledge and control. You will have the opportunity to compose in multiple genres, adapting your rhetorical chocies according to your purpose and your audience’s needs. You will ask strategic questions and learn to find, evaluate, synthesize, and cite research materials on a topic of interest to you. In addition, you will experiment with language use and arrangement as you explore your personal writing style and voice. We will conclude with a multimodal #Ham4Ham collaborative writing presentation. If you want to spend time writing about and enjoying a hip-hop musical with hints of Tupac, Beyonce, the Beatles, and Les Mis, this is the class for you!

 Return to top

Are We Having Fun Yet?: The Rhetoric of Leisure

This course is devoted to deconstructing “fun”: What does our culture consider fun/leisurely/entertaining, and why? Where do we learn how to be entertained? What can we learn about our broader cultural values and motivations by studying what we do in our free time? We’ll analyze public spaces and discourses associated with leisure, learn about the history of the weekend, and trace our culture’s ideologies of recreation and entertainment. We’ll be thinking about the media that we consume, the subcultures that we affiliate ourselves with, and the various built environments that we inhabit in our leisure lives. Students will conduct research throughout the quarter related to these issues, gaining experience with primary, secondary, and mixed methods research; undertaking both social sciences and humanities approaches to research; and writing for a range of audiences, both scholarly and popular.

 Return to top

The Art of Living through Writing

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, […] and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”—Henry David Thoreau

We routinely train for a sport, for endurance, for the realization of long term goals, but we rarely train for life...yet how much more difficult and important is life?  The single question of “how to live” is one of the oldest questions preoccupying some of the greatest thinkers around the world from the beginning of writing. This course engages the philosophical writings of both classical western thinkers (such as Thoreau, Montaigne, Plato, and Epictetus) and non–western texts (such as the Tao Te Ching) to explore the connections between writing and living purposefully.  In addition to learning from these classics something about the art of living, we’ll also learn how writing is tied to self-knowledge and empowerment. This course is writing intensive and engages the full writing process from experimental, informal, reflective writing to research and revision. Specifically, the writing process in this course will begin by using Plato’s Dialogues to learn the basics of academic argumentation including logical reasoning, debate, and the elements of persuasion.  Next, we move into research writing by learning how to generate research questions and how to situate our ideas within a larger scholarly conversation. Finally, seeking inspiration from Montaigne--the inventor of the essay--students will write a reflective, personal essay applying the course readings to their own lives.

 Return to top

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 research topic, then complete several writing assignments that navigate the process of writing up research. 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 research project. 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 writing up research in any discipline.

 Return to top

Rhetoric and Inquiry 

Provides declarative knowledge about writing, with a special focus on writing from research, composing in multiple genres, and transferring knowledge about writing to new contexts. Prerequisite(s): College 1 and satisfaction of the Entry Level Writing; or College 80A, 80D, or 80F and satisfaction of the C1 requirement. Enrollment is restricted to frosh, sophomore and junior students. Enrollment limited to 25. (General Education Code(s): C.).

 Return to top

A House Divided: Reading and Writing about Contemporary America

"Something is profoundly wrong with the way we live today." So begins Tony Judt's recent commentary, Ill Fares the Land. Jobs are disappearing; the social services that our parents and grandparents erected over the second half of the twentieth century are under threat; public schools are decaying; healthcare is all but unaffordable. Above all, we live in a country divided, divided by religion as well as politics, by belief as much as ideology, where, for many, our sense of belonging and collective identity has eroded under the pressure of violence, economic struggle, and political rancor. What has happened? What divides us from our neighbors and and makes common cause so difficult to find within a haze of social resentment and name calling? While carefully examining the craft of writing--how to generate questions and ideas, how to synthesize and employ evidence, how to structure coherent arguments--we will explore the society we live in, what has gone wrong, and what is to be done. Assignments will embrace all aspects of a collaborative writing process, ranging from invention, research, and drafting, to revision and editing, and will seek to promote the composition of inventive essays that explore the issues that unite all of our lives.

 Return to top

Writing Across Contexts

In this course, we will learn how to develop writing practices, as well as knowledge about writing, that you can transfer to a variety of writing situations. Together, we will explore key rhetorical concepts--rhetorical situation, audience, genre, and other terms--and you will learn how to identify and practice these concepts for various writing situations, including those you may encounter in the future. Projects will ask you to write about self-selected topics applicable to your area of study or personal interests and to develop primary and/or secondary research skills as you explore and write about your topics. Our goals in this course are to develop a set of concrete writing habits that will enable you to develop your own theory of writing and to learn strategies for becoming a versatile writer who can navigate the demands and expectations of writing in a variety of contexts.

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, 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. We will explore samples of classic and less known activist texts and examine how we can use a variety of rhetorical strategies to inspire the social change we hope to see. 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 has this power--and put those discoveries to use.

 Return to top

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.

Return to top 

Writing and the Critique of Everyday Life

This class is about questioning what is otherwise unquestioned: everyday life. While everyday life is sometimes thought to be boring, uneventful, or insignificant, it is also filled with complexities and mysteries that are overlooked, unrecognizable, or taken for granted. Our goal throughout the quarter will be to explore different ways in which our daily experience can provide us with the critical questions, inspiration, and raw material for writing and research – in university courses and other rhetorical contexts. We will study writing as a practice, requiring a set of habits and strategies for critical thought and inquiry with which to understand, challenge, and transform elements of our everyday life.

Our readings take up the concept of writing as a practice of everyday life through a variety of genres, ranging from essays, journalism, critical theory and scholarly research to memoirs, diaries, poems and manifestoes. Moving forward, students investigate aspects of daily life, develop research skills, and design projects through stages of inquiry, drafting, and revision. This project culminates in a final portfolio submission at the end of the quarter.

Return to top 

Big History

Education often seems like a game of momentarily memorizing bits of a blizzard of disconnected "factoids."  This is in large part a reaction to the explosion of information, begun by writing, accelerated by printing, super-novaed by the digital revolution; in response, our natural personal and institutional inclination is to specialize, learning more and more about less and less.  Thus we are drowning in information but starving for meaning. Big History pulls all these major subject matter "silos" into a single compelling story of eight thresholds we have passed through, beginning with the Big Bang and ending with terra-forming space. The course will give insight into systems thinking, and into the nature of innovation and creativity required to thrive in the future. We will investigate the nature of social networks and innovation by helping to build James Burke’s Knowledge Web (k-web.org).  As in every Writing 2 course, students in this class will write several substantive essays, including a final research project (which may be a group).

Return to top 

Writing Against the Silence

So many silences are created by societies, by societies’ need to obscure their operational power. And as a writer you dwell in silences. You dwell in what’s not being said, you dwell in what’s not being discussed, you dwell in what’s being erased. And from my point of view, no matter what [you] write about, it has a way of working against, cutting across the grain of a society that wants you to forget and not to see.

--Pulitzer Prize Winner Junot Diaz, Smithsonian interview  “In His Own Words”

What does it mean to dwell in the silences created by society? To enter into ongoing conversations and assess what perspectives are being left out, what narratives need to be developed, challenged, advanced? What does it mean to speak out of these silences, to write against, as Junot Diaz says, “the grain of a society that wants you to forget and not to see?” And, how do we most effectively write against these silences? In this course, we will analyze texts in a variety of genres and medias about suppressed groups (racial, ethnic, cultural) in the Americas in order to help answer these questions and to explore effective and diverse techniques for writing.

We will focus on the significance of rhetorical situations (including context, audience, and purpose) and will sequentially and recursively build academic writing skills (summary, citation, synthesis, analysis, argument). As a research project, students will be asked to dwell in some aspect of silence and write to address that silence. Topics may be chosen from our course texts, from the “text” of your life, or from our current society. A cumulative portfolio project will be due at the end of the course.

Return to top 

Writing the Emerging Africa: beyond the four D’s

Charlayne Hunter-Gault, an award-winning American journalist who worked in Johannesburg, South Africa for NPR and CNN, stated in in an interview for her book New News out of Africa that Americans “aren’t getting the information they need to understand Africa. Reporting [in the US] is dominated by the four d’s ... death, disease, disaster and despair. ... If all you hear about is hunger, drought, disease and conflict, people conclude that Africa’s problems are intractable and that nothing in Africa ever changes.” In this course, we will examine two common American notions of Africa as a lost continent: first, that Africa is lost from our view, or as in Hunter-Gault’s criticism of American media, only partially—and usually negatively—viewed; second, that Africa is somehow hopelessly lost due to “the four d’s. ... death, disease, disaster and despair.” In this research and composition course, we will examine these four d’s, but we will also discover, through research, critical reading, and analytical writing, other, more complex and balanced visions of an Africa emerging into our view. We will research popular and scholarly texts to find a new set of “d’s” of our own, with the intention of composing original, informative, and elegantly written responses. Goals of this course include helping you become a stronger reader, an incisive thinker, and an effective writer. The course will encourage you to create new strategies for generating and supporting ideas, improve your skill and confidence as a researcher and writer, and expand your understanding of the writing process through active revision—all while you articulate your own emerging knowledge of Africa.

 Return to top

Writing our Relationship to Animals

In this composition course, we will read and write various genres to explore human attitudes toward and treatment of other animals. The messages we give and get about animals in human society come to us in many forms, and can shape our views and behavior if they are composed with rhetorical awareness. Understanding who your audience is and what message you want to convey to them will help you figure out which rhetorical strategies to use yourself. Through research, you will have the opportunity to investigate an animal-related issue that interests you and write about it in a various genres. The habits and strategies you practice in thinking and writing rhetorically about animals should serve you beyond this class and topic.

Return to top 

Why Write?

Writing is a fundamental feature of academic life, but we participate in creating and interpreting writing in many situations beyond the university. This course will ask students to examine the writing they engage with and in, as students of the university, but also as citizens, consumers, and members of different communities. The course will begin by examining the relationship between language and identity, asking students to consider the different communities they belong to as both speakers and writers. Students will be introduced to rhetorical concepts through reading and analyzing texts from multiple genres, including popular and scholarly sources. In addition, each student will explore a topic of their choosing from a variety of perspectives and develop a research question to drive a more focused investigation. Students will compose and revise several writing assignments related to this topic, including a major research paper, to improve their understanding of the writing process and the rhetorical choices writers make.

Return to top

Writing in Communities

 In this course we will ask what makes a community, what communities we want to be a part of, and how writing can help us create, join, build, and change communities. We will explore the question of community in both academic and non-academic contexts, from news, politics, and culture to the academic disciplines of the sciences, humanities, and arts. We will learn how to ask questions that can push community knowledge further, research information to answer those questions, and communicate our research through writing in ways that our communities will understand. We will look at the ways that writing changes depending on who we want to communicate with and think about how our writing skills can be adapted to different situations.

Students will choose a community they want to communicate with, study its rhetorical devices, ask a research question, write a substantial research paper, and present their research in different contexts and formats. Regular writing assignments throughout the quarter will focus on different aspects of the writing process. A final portfolio will demonstrate the student’s research and learning path, development as a writer, and how their relationship to their communities has evolved.

Return to top

Language and Education

This composition course will prepare you to write analytically across a variety of genres and will equip you with strategies to locate, evaluate, and apply the information you need to grapple with complex questions. The course develops these practices through the theme of language and education. This thematic focus allows us to explore the role that language plays in shaping students’ educational experiences, which will provide you with important insights into the types of language and literacy practices you are expected to develop in college. You will draw on a range of sources to compose pieces that deliberately attend to purpose and audience and engage complex issues thoughtfully. We will read and discuss research articles as well as pieces from popular media and examine how language and questions of language shape the politics and the practice of schooling as well as public perceptions of education. You will have the opportunity to reflect on your own experiences and begin to view those experiences analytically as we consider various perspectives on the opportunities and challenges of educating a linguistically diverse population.  You will write formal and informal papers that call for a range of thinking and writing practices, including reflection, analysis, and source-based argument. By the end of this course, you will be able to analyze a writing task, make strategic decisions based on the nature of the task, and work through the stages of the writing process.

The Changing Rhetoric of Queer Identity in American Popular Culture

In 1997, Ellen DeGeneres came out as a lesbian on her sitcom, Ellen. Problematically, a year later, the show was canceled due to “low ratings.” Through analysis of primary sources such as television, magazines, and other popular media, in this class we will examine how and why the rhetoric of queer identity has changed since Ellen’s proverbial “mic drop.” As in other Writing 2 courses, students will write from research, compose in multiple genres, and transfer knowledge about writing to new contexts.

Return to top 

Language, Identity, and Power

How do words (written and oral) form our identities? How does the language that we use impact what others think of us? How do we use language to understand, negotiate, and (re)construct ourselves and the world around us? How do we use language to accomplish things in the world? In this course we will interrogate our language use in- and outside of school as it relates to positionality and identity. We will build an introductory framework to talk about some aspects of language (e.g. discourse v. Discourse; “Standard English” v. nonstandard dialects), investigate the ways in which language works in the real world, and independently research a phenomenon within the course theme. Throughout this course we will critically engage in the composing process (brainstorming, drafting, writing, revising, peer reviewing, editing, publishing), actively read a variety of texts, and thoughtfully foster classroom discussion and community.

Return to top

Writing Bodies: Storytelling, Ethics, and Visualization

Writing is often imagined as a disembodied, uncomplicated act, where brain waves magically talk to computer screens, where ethical boundaries are clear, and where everyone has the time and ability to read deeply. This course questions these assumptions, instead suggesting that reading and writing are very much about the bodies we’re in, that research writing is ethically fraught, and that visualizing research can effectively communicate findings to a broader, information-overloaded public. In this project-based course, students will explore these ideas by: (1) drawing from principles of creative nonfiction to produce a story about how their bodies read and write; (2) developing an understanding of ethical lapses in research (including the paywalling of academic research) while researching a topic of their choice; and (3) creating a visualization (infographic or map) that communicates their research to a diverse audience. At each step, students will reflect on what they are learning and why, as research reveals that such reflection increases student learning.

Return to top

Confronting the Blank Page: Writing Through and About Fear

In this Writing 2 course, we will consider fear from the individual level up to the societal level. The theme of “fear” will inform both what we write about in this class and how we write. Our writing will address what “fear,” as both psychological and cultural phenomena, means in US society today, as well as our own fears about writing. We will re-imagine what it means to start writing (“confronting the blank page”) and what it means to revise. Over the course of the quarter, our assignments will build from short, informal writing exercises that help you develop confidence in your own writing, to research-based writing in both academic and non-academic genres. You will leave this course with a range of tools you can use to write confidently in future university courses and beyond.

Return to top

Conveying Meaning:  Ethics, Responsibility, and Identity in Writing

 Whether we are aware of it or not, writing is a powerful tool that, along with our diverse experiences, values, and beliefs, helps to shape our identities--including how others perceive us and how we perceive ourselves. As such, writing is both an expression of identity and a dynamic device that can generate thought and emotion (happiness, anger, love, contempt, etc.) in others. Hence, the decisions we make when writing--word choice, tone, genre--carries with it a responsibility to convey meaning with authority in order to avoid the unintended consequence of Misunderstanding. In this course, we will explore the relationship between writers and audiences through a variety of genres and rhetorical situations. We will approach writing as a social activity that connects us to others and, through several assignments (an abstraction, research paper, and final multimodal project), we will ask ourselves what is the ethical obligation we have to our audience and how can we use writing to express ourselves conscientiously.

Return to top

Investigating Erasures

The Oxford English Dictionary offers the following as one definition of “erasure”: “the action of erasing or obliterating.” What we create in this class will likely problematize, respond to, or investigate the stakes of erasures—be they cultural, historical, environmental, political, or even those related to academic disciplines such as Writing Studies. Not coincidentally, our course materials privilege historically marginalized or underrepresented voices who similarly investigate and problematize an erasure that they seek to highlight and learn from. Thus, the course asks us to consider how such writers position themselves strategically amongst stakeholders, and through their rhetorical tactics or research methodologies. The course tasks us with contemplating—more personally—what content and perspectives writers and researchers in our own chosen disciplines of interest commonly omit, sideline, forget, or overlook. Consequently, it challenges us as writers to consider highlighting and reckoning with some of these absences through our own research inquiries and development of new ideas.

Return to top

Writing for Life

In this class, we will investigate genres and the frameworks that shape various forms of writing so that you will be able to write effectively in many different contexts. You will be able to choose an academic discipline in which you have interest and do a research paper in your chosen field. This will help to prepare you for future coursework at UCSC. Then, the final project will give you the opportunity to creatively convey your research findings to a more general audience by writing in a popular genre of your choice.

Return to top

Writing about Illness and Health

 In this course, we’ll begin by grappling with a series of questions concerning the power of narrative, or stories, within the discourses of illness and wellness, and the role narrative might play in the recovery process. How do stories help shape our understanding of illness and wellness? What role can narrative play in our efforts at ontological coherence in the face of illness or trauma?

Students will then undertake a term-long research project on a topic of their own choosing, based on the course theme. Through a series of assignments, we will explore multiple strategies for delivering rhetorically-effective arguments across a range of academic and professional genres and media.

Return to top

Breaking Science

In this course, we investigate and make sense out of a variety of complex issues in science, including tracking current news from issues of Science and Nature magazines and other current science writing. We engage in understanding and communicating research in science and engineering, including communicating in different genres for a variety of audiences and purposes. We engage rhetorical principles in our writing of persuasive arguments on topics affecting science and society. As in every Writing 2 course, students in this class write several substantive essays, including a research project (literature review) and an argument based on researched sources. Emphasis is on clear written communication of complex scientific inquiry.

Return to top

Mindfulness of the Creative Experience

In this course we explore how mindfulness, and paying attention to the process of our creative experiences, makes us stronger writers as we move through different writing genres that prepare us for our professional, personal, and academic lives. Through mindfulness writing practice, we begin to realize that creativity is paradoxical. It requires expertise and hard work yet involves freedom and spontaneity. The creative process brings joy and delight yet is fraught with fear, frustration, and even terror. How do we prepare ourselves to be open and responsive to whatever writing challenge awaits us? Be it drafting a cover letter to a potential employer, writing a eulogy for a loved one’s funeral, or completing a lengthy investigative research paper. As writers in this course, we engage critically with readings that examine creativity and mindfulness in both theory and practice. We also explore the questions: How do we learn to ignite awareness and compassion for ourselves as writers and for the subjects of our writing? Once this awareness and compassion ignites, how do we use rhetoric and inquiry to help us sustain our passion? Lastly, as writers, for whom do we create? Is our audience professional, personal, and academic as stated above? Or do we sometimes create for a more wilder divine that points to something more unspeakable and unknown? As a way of promoting good will towards ourselves and our writing practice, this course will include mindfulness based stress reduction writing and meditation practices.

Return to top