Rhetoric and Inquiry

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

Grading Policy and Rubric

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

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).

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.

Women's Ways of Writing

In this course we’ll be reading texts written by women that span several centuries. We’ll be looking at these texts as models for our own writing. We’ll do multiple kinds of writing: traditional research and argumentative pieces, but also more personal forms, such as letters and journals. Authors we will read may include: Elizabeth I, Charlotte Brönte, Gloria Anzaldúa, Virginia Woolf, Lady Gaga, Rebecca Solnit, and Alice Walker.

Climate Change, Biodiversity, and the Environment

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

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 report. 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.