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.).

Sixty (60) sections of Writing 2 will be offered in spring 2020.

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

Winter 2020 Sections - Enrollments end at 4:00pm, Friday, January 10


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.

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Writing Human Rights

This course will explore the meanings and practices of human rights in both global and local contexts. The academic field of human rights is an interdisciplinary one, spanning history, economics, international relations, law, philosophy, literature, and cultural studies (among others), and its chief concerns resemble those of academic writing and discourse: How do we—as humans, as writers—equitably and sensitively participate in a larger community? And how do we do so in a way that respects difference and limits harm? We will engage with a variety of texts that speak to the difficulty of answering such questions, and your intellectual growth throughout the term will stem from your engagement with these texts. In addition to developing an in-depth knowledge of key theories and issues surrounding human rights, you will achieve proficiency with a diverse array of writing techniques, strategies, and genres.

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How To Tell A Story?

Have you ever asked yourself what makes some stories powerful andcaptivating? Why do some texts engage, and others fall flat? What makes agood writer, and what strategies can be used to become one? In this course,you will be introduced to the practice of story-telling in the form of long-readjournalism. Working on the topic of your choice, you will explore variationsacross audiences, genres and modes of composition. Guided by strategicexploration of relevant questions, you will generate research topics andsustain meaningful inquiry, as well as develop a strategy to tell your story in away that fulfills the purpose, reaches the target audience and fits into aparticular context. Anchored in writing a long journalistic articles, this coursewill guide your through the stages of conducting relevant and effectiveresearch, composing a text that builds on analyzing and synthesizing ideas insource material, introducing different modes, and reflecting critically on howto apply processes for writing and analysis to projects across various contexts,both within and outside the university.

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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.

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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.

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Language in Context

What language(s) do you speak to your family? to your friends? to your professors? What kind of lingo do you use in a text message? in a job interview? with your friends from back home? Whether you speak English only or you are bi- or tri-lingual, chances are you are fluent in many ways of communicating, and you are accustomed to choosing the appropriate language or lingo to use for a particular context. In this Writing 2 course, we will explore these kinds of language choices in order to better understand the choices each writer must make in order to present ideas to an audience. Course readings will include texts in which writers explore their own experiences with writing, reading, speaking, translating, understanding, and misunderstanding language(s), as well as texts exploring important Writing Studies concepts such as audience, genre, and rhetorical situation.  Each student will choose a research topic to pursue over the course of the quarter, and the goal of the course will be for each student to learn writing concepts and strategies that will be useful in a variety of disciplines and divisions--from Physical and Biological Sciences to Humanities and Arts, and from Social Sciences to Engineering--and for each student to complete the course with writing knowledge that will transfer to a variety of future writing situations

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Storytelling and Narrative

“The most powerful thing you can hear, and the only thing that ever persuades any of us in our own lives, is [when] you meet somebody whose story contradicts the thing you think you know. At that point, it’s possible to question what you know, because the authenticity of their experience is real enough to do it.” – Ira Glass

How do stories argue? How do they have a persuasive role in shaping our political, social, and moral selves?​ In this course we’ll aim to broaden our understanding of storytelling as a multidimensional​ activity, simultaneously engaging our intellects, emotions, ideologies, and ethics.​ We’ll develop skills to understand the power of stories more profoundly; to use them in our own lives and within the frameworks of professional organizations; to identify better social change strategies; and to become aware of emerging fields that are recognizing the importance of storytelling to enhance effectiveness and emotional connection.

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Critical Thinking

In this course we'll use advanced Heuristic techniques such as Semiotics to analyze various kinds of “texts” in order to determine what they can tell us about the state of the culture that produced them. Possibilities for examination include advertising, film and television programs (including broadcast journalism), music, videogames and immersive virtual reality spaces. We'll learn how to "read" such "texts" critically, and to convince others of the legitimacy of our reading as well as of our judgment about what the social effects of the messages are. We'll also examine scholarly written criticism of popular culture as models to be emulated, as expert positions to support our views, or as points of departure or disagreement. One essay will be revised and expanded into the final research project. In addition, we’ll use writing workshop groups to get feedback on drafts.

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How to Create Knowledge

Students and faculty are knowledge workers, and the University is our workshop. In this course, you will learn how to develop and refine writing and research practices that you can transfer to a variety of writing situations across public, professional, and academic contexts. Through an inquiry-based approach into how experts and novices create new knowledge, we will explore key rhetorical concepts for the digital age. You will learn how to identify and practice these concepts for a variety of knowledge-making situations, including those you are likely to encounter at a research university. Projects will invite you to develop multidisciplinary practices in research-based writing and to inquire into topics of your choice by composing in multiple genres and media.

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Writing about Criminal Justice Reform

This course asks students to develop complex rhetorical tools to untangle and challenge aspects of the American criminal justice system. We will begin with a survey of the history of incarceration in America, the War on Drugs, and recent reform efforts, and we will conclude with students’ independent and in-depth research on topics broadly related to the course theme. In this course, students will engage with a variety of texts (podcasts, popular media, film, peer reviewed articles) and will produce a variety of genres over multiple drafts. For example, students will: explore the etymology of words related to incarceration and criminal justice reform, read and analyze popular sources and peer reviewed articles on related topics, produce an annotated bibliography and research proposal, draft and revise a research paper, and present their work in thematic panels to a larger audience.

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Should We All Be Vegan? And Other Paths of Inquiry Toward Writing the High-Stakes Future of Our World

 What matters and why? In this course, you will enter high-stakes discussions through writing and designing your own personalized pathway of inquiry into ethical issues. Beginning with Steven Pinker’s “The Moral Instinct,” we’ll examine issues of agriculture/animal welfare, climate change, technology, and more. Delving into various journalistic and popular genres—essays, profiles, Q&As, feature articles, op-eds, and others—we analyze what makes a question, issue, or problem have stakes, and devise our own central questions as departure points for our most engaging writing projects. Students will practice the art of posing a rich central question for research and discovery, engage in a reflective process to come to ideas, purposes, and arguments of their own, and write in order to acquire knowledge as well as to share it with audiences. Come ready to read, write, talk, and think about what matters most!

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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 and critical 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 new 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 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 choices 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!

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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 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 (even fearlessly!) in future university courses and beyond.

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Writing for Community; Writing as Community

In this course, we will explore the relationship between writing and community-building by collectively selecting, investigating, and writing on a pertinent issue in the UC Santa Cruz community. Working both independently and in small research and writing clusters, we will practice and interrogate the value of writing for diverse audiences and across multiple academic and non-academic genres. The course culminates in a class presentation of our research to the UCSC and Santa Cruz communities. Beyond the scope of the class project, we will examine the interrelationships between rhetoric, identity and power. Guiding questions include: “in what ways do our positionalities as researchers and writers inform the way we write”?  “How might we, through our writing practices, create, foster, or perhaps even inhibit community”? “How might we participate in communities of the past, present and future through the activity of writing”?

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What’s in the New Yorker This Week? 

What makes writing interesting? To examine what makes a good discussion of something, students in this class will read and write about The New Yorker, the national magazine most noted for its peerless writing and cartoons. What do you find interesting? What is the role of surprise? How can surprise lead to analysis? How can you use writing as a tool for both analysis of a topic and expression to an audience? These and other questions will spur your own writing. There will be frequent writing assignments, formal and informal, in class and out, drawing on what you learn about good writing from reading it every week. Required texts for this course include They Say I Say Third Edition by Gerald Graff and Birkenstein; Writing Analytically (7th edition) by  David Rosenwasser and Jill Stephen, and a subscription to The New Yorker magazine. You can see the current issue at www.newyorker.com.

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Utopia or Dystopia? ‘Black Mirror’, Technology, and Writing about the Future. 

 “I like technology, but 'Black Mirror' is more [about] what the consequences are and it doesn't tend to be about technology itself: it tends to be how we use or misuse it. We've not really thought through the consequences of it.”  
-‘Black Mirror’ creator Charlie Brooker

Technology permeates so many aspects of our daily lives (our homes, our workplace, our bodies, etc) that it is difficult to imagine an area that remains untouched by it.  But what impact does our use and reliance on technology have on modern society? What effect does it have on our own psyche and well-being? What does it say about our tendencies (both good and bad) as humans? Charlie Brooker’s anthology series ‘Black Mirror’ often depicts a troubled future where technological advances bring out the ugly side of humanity, yet sometimes it demonstrates that hope and love can overcome some difficult obstacles. 

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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 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.