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.).

Writing 2 classes fill quickly. Students needing Writing 2 should enroll during their first-pass enrollment appointments.

Spring 2021 Sections - Enrollment ends at 4:00PM, Friday, April 2


Perspectives on Happiness and Well-Being

Does money make us happy?  Can meditation improve our well-being?  How can we make this country a place where everyone can pursue a life of meaning and purpose?  In this section of Writing 2 we will discuss these questions and many others relating to the topic of happiness and well-being.  The readings for this course are drawn from a number of different traditions and disciplines:  psychology, philosophy, sociology, social criticism, and Buddhism.  These readings explore not only the personal choices that contribute to our individual well-being, but also the wider social beliefs and expectations that influence the way we think and act.  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, 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.

The Rhetoric of Subversion: Counterculture, Horror and Resistance

In this composition course we will investigate the many inroads to counterculture, or ways of being that resist and revolt against the dominant culture. Modern philosophers like Dr. Timothy Leary, Anton LaVey and Louise Hay will bridge the canon of Psychedelic and Horror Literature. In this class we will explore expressions of unique subcultures whose very existence are revolutionary in their atypicality of thought and being. Self-expression and self-inquiry about the Dark can reveal much about the Light, and writing within our class’ subject matter hopefully challenges your own established beliefs, identity(s), and values so that the fabric of their underlying nature may be more deeply probed. 

Have we created a culture where the insane outnumber the sane and waking zombies outnumber metacognitive humans? In this course may you cull from the herd and wake up to the call of your soul’s mission through an exploration of Counterculture from the late 1960s until today as it is represented in art, books, movies and music. Students will have the opportunity to metacognitively examine how their own perspectives of the dominant culture inform their ways of being in Self and society through assignments that include class dialogue, group participation, trips to McHenry Library’s “Dead Central,” several analytical writing assignments, several Metacognitive Reading Logs, a research essay, and a creative writing essay.

Curiosity, Engagement, Persistence, and Reflection 

What is writing if not an attempt to make visible our own thoughts and interpretations of the worlds in which we live? What is the value of our thoughts if they do not come from a place of sincere curiosity, an engagement with and an exploration of these worlds? How can strong writing be created without practice and persistence? How can compelling writing be created without our delight in the puzzle of word choice, syntax, and arrangement of ideas so that a reader might also participate in our ideas? How can we hope to become stronger writers without awareness of our choices and purposeful reflection on our decisions?

Students in this course will practice becoming curious, engaged, persistent, reflective writers. The work in this course will require you to choose one topic to examine, research, and write about for the entire quarter. As in other Writing 2 courses, expect to compose in multiple genres, learn how to navigate UCSC databases and other library resources, cite appropriate sources accurately, and transfer knowledge about writing to new contexts.

Writing, Noticing, and Uncertainty

In this class, we will develop practices for working productively with our uncertainties and for noticing what we notice. These practices will provide a way of getting in touch with our own authentic questions and ideas, which will form a powerful starting point for writing. We will compose in a variety of genres, beginning by exploring strategies for discovering more in the texts we encounter, engaging productively with uncertainty, and cultivating a mindset as writers that encourages resilience and growth. We will also explore the ways in which understanding rhetorical situations and genre conventions can help us to become stronger and more sophisticated readers and writers in any new situation we encounter. We will employ these strategies and habits of mind in writing a profile project, the foundation of which will be interviews you conduct with a person of interest to you. You’ll further develop your profile through research about an issue central to understanding some aspect of your interviewee’s experience. Along the way, we will practice skills for effectively engaging in a larger conversation, posing well-formulated questions, evaluating sources, conducting research, and presenting our own ideas with purpose and clarity.

Neuroscience Narratives of Health and Well Being

How do neuroscientists explain the influence of culture, politics, and physiology on perceptions of success, fitness, intelligence, and other aspects of well-being? And why do some researchers claim that physical health and neuro-emotional intelligence contribute to a person's success in life much more so than idealized physical beauty or high performance on IQ tests, SAT scores and other standardized exams? These are questions to consider as we negotiate several genres of criticism about how health and well-being are advanced or averted by neuro-emotional intelligence.

 Students will have the opportunity to examine how their own perspectives about health and well-being have been influenced--for better or worse--by gradations of neuro-emotional intelligence.  Assignments will include class discussions, peer group workshops, several analytical writing assignments, and a research essay

The Democratic Essay

In this composition class we'll hone our writing skills while looking at the roles we can play as citizens in a democracy—and the ways writing can help us carry out our work as citizens. To this end, we will be reading essay-length pieces on a variety of topics and writing frequently ourselves. In particular, we will work to create a rhetoric that is well informed, conscious of what it doesn't know, respectful in its advocacy, thoughtfully researched and supported, and conscious of its place in an on-going conversation among engaged, caring citizens.

Researching and Writing for Life

In this class, you will develop writing skills that will help you succeed at UCSC, regardless of your major. We will first examine academic research genres and their characteristics. Then, you will be able to do a research project of your own devising. There is a lot of freedom in this class for you to choose a research topic about which you want to write. I will also ask you to write about your research for an audience outside of the academe so that you gain skills at conveying academic research to both academic and non-academic audiences, which will benefit you in your classes at UCSC and also in your life after graduation.

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.

Rememory as a Tool of Empowerment through Writing

In this course, we will be taking the time to discover the brilliance of Toni Morrison’s writing in her renowned 1987 novel, Beloved, by reading it in its entirety. The novel details a family’s struggle for survival post-Emancipation, focusing on the survival of a mother, Sethe, and her two daughters, Beloved and Denver. Morrison states in the preface to the novel that she drew her inspiration for the narrative from a real-life example of a slave mother, Margaret Garner, who killed her children in order to save them from slavery; the mother was then hanged. For Morrison, it is crucial to re-write, or re-member, a history (in the form of a novel) that focuses on the struggle for survival of African American women who were denied the right to motherhood. By reading the novel in its entirety, we will explore how Morrison’s writing serves as a counter-narrative to the traditional and often white and male-centered narratives of Reconstruction and beyond. These counter-narratives, rewritings, or rememories are keys to survival in a world that profits from the oppression of people of color, particularly women. Through our examination of Morrison’s novel and other articles, essays, and interviews, we will be taking the time to uncover the different genres of writing such as personal, academic, and every-day writing. At the end of the course, you will have the choice to write a traditional paper or develop an original genre that explores how Morrison’s use of writing as a tool of empowerment shapes your own relationship to writing.

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.

What’s in the New Yorker This Week? 

What makes writing interesting? We'll read & write in response to The New Yorker magazine--one of the oldest American magazines currently publishing, and noted for its reporting, commentary, cover art, and cartoons. In 2016, The New Yorker magazine won the first Pulitzers given to any magazine: one to Emily Nussbaum for television criticism, one for Feature Writing (Kathryn Schulz "The Really Big One"), another for UCSC Alum William Finnegan's biography Barbarian Days. In 2018, Ronan Farrow won for his reporting on Harvey Weinstein. In 2020, artist Barry Blitt won for Editorial Cartooning, and Colson Whitehead's "The Nickel Boys", winner in the Fiction category, was excerpted in the magazine. How did they get so good? We'll employ the classic tools of rhetoric, analysis, and research to find out. Readings will include The New Yorker, They Say, I Say 4th edition, and Web Literacy for Student Fact Checkers (a free, online textbook). Students will write regularly, revise often, and frequently work with peers. You can see the current issue at www.newyorker.com.

Writing in the Digital Age

 Do you rotfl when your professor says something nsfw? Tl;dr: This course examines writing and genre as they pertain to our age of new media. We will be interested in discerning how communication has changed in the digital age, including what types of messages emerge through internet platforms like social media or text messaging, and how conventional notions of academic writing may be informed or challenged by these new methods of communication. We’ll also cover topics such as the ideology of genre, writing and [digital] memory, and remediation. Readings will include selections of both scholarly articles and imaginative writing, including Marshall McLuhan, Teju Cole, Judith Hess, and others. Through careful reading, discussion, and written practice, students will develop an increased awareness of how different media shape the information we consume. Students will parley short written assignments into a longer research project about writing in the digital age.

Writing about Criminal Justice Reform

This course asks students to develop complex rhetorical tools to untangle and confront aspects of the American criminal justice system. We will begin with an overview of incarceration in America and recent reform efforts, and we will conclude with students’ independent research on self-selected topics related to the course theme. Students will engage with a variety of texts (e.g. podcasts, films, and peer reviewed articles) and will produce a variety of genres over multiple drafts. For example, students will read and analyze popular and peer reviewed sources, conduct remote qualitative interviews, generate a research proposal, and draft, revise, and present a research paper. This course is synchronous and writing groups will be established during week one to provide a sustained support structure and a stronger sense of classroom community.

Brevity 

This iteration of Writing 2 examines communication forms defined by concision. We'll tweet and tell anecdotes, analyze film clips and compose abstracts. We'll close read short stories and craft emoji proposals. Class is asynchronous with optional online meetings.

Empathy, Narrative and Social Change

Can our stories help inspire social and environmental change? How might evoking empathy unify rather than divide us? In this class, we will develop our storytelling skills through a variety of genres. We will explore the ways in which empathy functions as a rhetorical tool to inspire social and environmental change. Along the way, we will develop a writing process, use rhetorical concepts, develop our research skills and ultimately learn to craft stories that evoke empathy. Note: this is an online course, which means you will need a functional device(s) and stable internet access; the class will be primarily asynchronous, but requires your participation in weekly Learning Pod appointments via Zoom.

The Big Questions: Writing and What it Means to Live

Over two millennia ago, as he defended himself before being sentenced to death, the Athenian Philosopher Socrates left us with this simple admonishment: "the unexamined life is not worth living."  As we move forward through an era of climate change, pandemics, and political upheaval, it behooves us to return to the philosopher's pithy reminder and to consider the fundamental questions that surround it.  What is human life--your experience, your education at UCSC, your future vocation--for? What do we do with the lives that we have? Through readings in short fiction, poetry, philosophy, and the contemporary essay, this course will explore various attempts to come to terms with human experience and what it means to live while carefully examining the craft of writing--how to generate questions and ideas, how to synthesize and employ evidence, how to structure coherent arguments. Reflecting a collaborative writing process that includes invention and research, as well as drafting, revising, and editing, assignments will promote the composition of trenchant, inventive, and elegant essays that seek to answer the most basic of human questions.

Writing with Agility

This Writing 2 course is foremost about versatile communication. Whether we realize it or not, all of us frequently shift our written, spoken and body language depending on our audience, context and purpose. In “Writing With Agility,” you will build upon your pre-existing communication skills and intuition, honing your ability to write effectively across a wide variety of contexts and disciplines. In this course, students have the freedom to choose their own research topics. Though this is a remote asynchronous course, we will consistently interact as a community using online platforms. You can expect to work with your classmates as part of sharpening your own writing. Together, we will study and put into action key rhetorical concepts including audience, genre, rhetorical situation, disciplinary discourse, and purpose. Course readings will be drawn from a variety of academic and non-academic sources, including non-textual. Writing assignments will emphasize research, critical thinking, intellectual empathy, and the reflective writing process. Ultimately there is no one right way to write, because different situations call for different kinds of writing. This course will help you build a set of tools to tackle college level writing assignments as well as a multitude of writing situations beyond the classroom.

Communicating about Climate Change 

Concerned about climate change?  This writing class will use material from multiple genres (book chapters, scientific articles, popular press articles, policy reviews, speeches, blogs, films, etc) to investigate why and how people communicate about (or deny) climate change. As in other W2 courses, you yourself will learn to write in multiple genres for different audiences and strengthen your arguments, organization, research skills, and rhetorical techniques.  But this course will also spend some time on affective writing (emotional appeals), as well as on techniques you can be aware of as a reader and use as a writer that go beyond the “create logical arguments/use strong evidence” approach that most writing texts teach.

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.
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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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 online 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, then write about the shit that stains our collective un/conscious. Note: this is an online course, which means you will need a functional device(s) and stable internet access; the class will be primarily asynchronous, but requires your participation in weekly writing community appointments via Zoom.

An Ethics of Care for Reading and Writing

 This course is committed to exploring what an ethics, or set of practices, of care around reading and writing might look like. Especially in this contemporary moment, we often find ourselves actively learning from others outside the classroom (e.g., social media) and sharing that information with others through speech or written text. We will explore instances when we are engaged in the act of reading through viewing infographics, advertisements, articles and other texts and practice what it would look like to be thoughtful and responsible to the ways we interact with and share knowledge that we receive. In the spirit of thinking about notions of care, students will develop a research paper that analyzes the work of a development or humanitarian organization in addressing a socio-political issue. NOTE: This Writing 2 section will be taught in a synchronous format. 

The Future: Utopia or Dystopia?

 Humanity stands at a turning point in planetary history. We have the knowledge and technological tools to create a utopia, yet our trajectory as a species appears to be accelerating toward dystopia or even extinction. How we perceive and react to this crisis is determined to a large extent by the words written about it. In this composition course, we will closely read and respond to contemporary texts in diverse genres, from Black Mirror episodes to peer-reviewed research. A primary text for the course will be Bill McKibben’s Falter, a book connecting the seemingly disparate dangers posed by runaway climate change, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, and libertarianism. We will research and respond to these controversial issues by examining McKibben’s sources, composing in multiple genres, and revising through multiple drafts. Through sharing our writing online and through participation in small group and class discussions, we will create a classroom community that improves our ability to write, leads to academic success, and illuminates a path forward through these troubled times. A note of caution: in this course, we will grapple with difficult global issues at a time when many students are struggling with their own personal issues. If you feel you are on the edge, this may not be the course for you.  

#Trending: Exploring Viral Stories

What does it mean to “go viral”? And why does such virality matter? We will answer these questions by unpacking viral stories that pique our curiosities, examining them over the course of the quarter for different purposes. For instance, we will analyze the popularity of our stories, making sense of their motivations and effects; tease out their facts and possible fictions, digging deeper into their social, cultural, political, or historical layers; and produce our own multimodal projects through which we advance conversations on these stories or shift their narratives.  In doing so, we will engage with different genres, as both consumers and creators; conduct research by employing a range of strategies, navigating both public and university databases; and evaluate texts for credibility and authority.  Key to this work will be drafting and revising in stages so as to compose projects that meet our audiences’ needs and convey our purposes in precise, ethical, and impactful ways.  Please note that this section of Writing 2 will be taught in a synchronous format. We will meet via Zoom at the assigned time, participating in both full-class discussions and breakout-room activities.

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 in the Digital Ecosystem 

The digital revolution of the past 30 years has completely transformed literacy. To be successful with our writing in this exciting, yet perilous age, we must understand the complexity and dynamism of the digital ecosystem. In this course you will learn the fundamental properties and systems that shape writing in the contemporary moment. And you will acquire strategies for advanced digital research and composing practices in both popular and scholarly genres. Students will have flexibility in choosing research questions around topics such as: the spread of misinformation, polarization and extremism, algorithms and social biases, writing and machine learning, privacy and surveillance, digital activism, and online identity formation. You do not need to be a “tech” person or a “writing” person to take this course--students from all majors and backgrounds are welcome. This course will be fully asynchronous.

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Writing and Listening in a Changing World 

 We live in turbulent times, and often we may feel that our ideas get lost in the many opinions that divide people rather than prompting them to simply listen to others’ voices.  So what can we do?  We can write.  In this class we will look at the ways that writing can play a part in social change. Reading and writing a variety of genres and formats we will examine the many perspectives that enter into the conversations and the controversies that affect the many people whose voices might not be heard in the turmoil.  We will use writing to see how we can join that social conversation.  Students will write about self-chosen topics that truly matter to them, and in the process examine the many genres that can allow for multiple perspectives to be heard. Research work will run throughout the quarter, in a different form for each type of writing we practice.  Social justice, equality, and passion for the transformations possible in this society will center our work as writers in a changing world.

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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. This course will meet synchronously twice per week for live Zoom classes, and asynchronously once per week. 



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Climate Change, Biodiversity, and the Environment

In this fully online course, 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 follow the same process as a scientist or policy analyst reviewing the current state of knowledge on a scientific or environmental problem. The class will emphasize the development of research-level information literacy skills across disciplines, and assignments will navigate the process of writing up research. Individual writing assignment genres may include: a critical analysis, literature review, argument essay, abstract, and/or a conference poster. Although the class emphasizes reading, understanding, and writing up scientific research, non-science students will find the class helpful for writing up research in any discipline.

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Developing your Superpowers: Writing for Action

The pen is mightier than the sword. Now prove it! Let’s examine, explore, practice, and play with the skill, the art, and the power of writing in order to take action to improve the state of our world. Through an inquiry-based approach into how writers of various genres have helped effect change, we will explore the power of key rhetorical concepts. We will then develop our skills, as writers, learners, and leaders, by compiling a writer’s notebook in which we analyze writing strategies, articles, and discussions. Finally, you will design your own battle of the pen by producing an annotated bibliography which will lead to a well-developed research paper to fight a struggle of your choice. Note: this is an online course, which means you will need a functional device(s) and stable internet access; the class will be primarily asynchronous with several optional zoom meetings.

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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.

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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 Montaigne 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 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. Seeking inspiration from Montaigne--the inventor of the essay--students will write reflective, personal essays applying the course readings to their own lives while also engaging in academic research and scholarly debate.

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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 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, a more incisive thinker, and a more 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 write about your own emerging knowledge of Africa.

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Mindfulness of the Creative Experience

In this course, we explore how mindfulness, and paying attention to the process of our creative experiences, make 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 report. As writers in this course, we critically engage 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 ignite, which research questions do we ask and what rhetorical devices and techniques do we use 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? During Spring 2021, this course will be taught asynchronously via Canvas with opportunities for synchronous peer group and instructor meetings.

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