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.

Fall 2020 Sections - Enrollment ends at 4:00PM, Friday, Oct. 9

UCSC’s First Annual Conference on Climate Change

Take this course if you’re alarmed about climate change and want to do something about it.  In the class, material from multiple genres (book chapters, scientific articles, popular press articles, policy reviews, speeches, blogs, films) will help us  investigate the different “sides” of the debate and how -- sometimes -- emotional appeals can be stronger than facts. As in other W2 courses, you will learn to write in multiple genres for different audiences and strengthen your arguments, organization, research skills, and rhetorical techniques.  Several weeks of the class will be geared towards planning an actual conference (writing grant proposals, seeking funding, composing calls for papers and publicity campaigns), and several more to writing a research essay on some aspect of climate change for presentation at the conference itself hopefully next spring.

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

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

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Writing as a Revolutionary Act

This class is about the revolution that writing can create when we step out of our social and intellectual circle in the classroom to interact with an audience who is politically in charge of our country. Expect to write a lot, expect to write about national topics that are controversial NOW, expect to explore the meaning of protest art and to create multimodal texts. Expect to write to people outside our class, to interview people who oppose your points of view, and to step outside the class in order to convey your message to a real audience. Your main task for this class will be to create a dialogic between you and those who oppose your points of view so that logical, practical solutions can be created and social / political change can happen. To achieve this goal, you will use social media, write respectfully about other points of view, create fact sheets and posters, interview people, and organize multimodal presentations.

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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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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. And we must effectively practice writing everything from research papers to podcasts. In this asynchronous, online course you will learn the fundamental properties and systems that shape writing. 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.

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The Story

This course focuses on the theme of stories:  From narratives where what actually happened is questionable, to how we can think of intellectual writing as telling a story.  We will write a personal story, analyze long-form journalism—both print and audio—look at media coverage of current events in order to develop better media literacy, 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, On the Media and others.  This course prepares students to write across the disciplines.  Students can expect to learn about all steps of the writing process—planning, researching, drafting, revising and editing—to read, listen, and watch interesting texts, and to engage in lively discussion

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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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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 problem statement, critique, 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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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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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.

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Perspectives on Happiness and Well-Being

Does money make us happy?  Can meditation improve our state of mind?  Is nature essential to our well-being?  Questions about mental and physical well-being are important at any time; however, in this time of Covid-19, they are more important than ever before.  With this in mind, we will explore these questions and many others relating to the well-being of ourselves, others, and the larger world.  The readings for this course are drawn from a number of different disciplines and traditions, especially psychology, sociology, social criticism, self-help, and Buddhism.  Through a thoughtful engagement with these readings and your own research, you will be encouraged to think critically and write papers that you really care about.  All students will participate in class discussions, do collaborative group work, write compositions in different genres, submit some type of writing before most class sessions, and complete the course with a multi-stage research-based essay.  Please note that this class will be remote and synchronous, meaning that attendance at class sessions will be required.

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The Rhetoric of Place-Based Narratives

We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; we travel, next, to find ourselves,” Pico Iyer

How does travel make us more compassionate global citizens? In what ways is travel beneficial for the communities we visit? Or is travel another form of colonialism and planetary destruction? Can people mindful of our climate crisis continue traveling in these times? How has staying put changed us, and allowed us to refocus our traveler’s minds on our immediate surroundings? What are the ethics of being other, and writing about other cultures as a foreigner? This course journeys into these questions to understand the complexities of travel in the past, present and future. We will read travel narratives, conduct academic research, do fieldwork, and study influencer culture. Along the way, we will compose our own travel stories, explore the effects of travel on specific destinations, and journey into the ethics of writing about place. Throughout the quarter, students will engage in class discussions, work together to compose and revise essays, maintain a travel blog, complete a research project, and collaborate to publish a digital travel magazine.

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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; the class will be primarily asynchronous, but requires your participation in weekly writing community appointments via Zoom.

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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.

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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.

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#Trending: Exploring Viral Stories

In this class, we will explore contemporary culture as both consumers and creators.  Our discussions will be driven by the following questions: What stories go viral online? How and why do they do so? Whose voices are amplified and/or silenced through them? You will answer these questions by unpacking one viral story that piques your curiosity, and over the course of the quarter, examine it through a variety of lenses and for differing purposes. For instance, we will analyze our viral stories rhetorically to consider how they make meaning and why they matter; tease out their facts and possible fictions through research, digging deeper into their social, cultural, political, or historical layers; and produce our own creative multimodal projects through which we advance conversations on these stories or shift their narratives.  We will thus engage with texts of different genres, conduct research by employing a range of strategies to deepen and refine our searches, learn how to productively use public and university-based 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 precisely, ethically, and impactful.

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Writing the Future

In this course, we will explore the human tendency to shape futures that benefit ourselves in the short-term only.  In the context of Moore’s law, and a climate changing more rapidly than predicted, we are all now living inside the cliche: the future is now.  How can we make future-focused decisions around technological developments that outpace our ethical and political frameworks for responding to them?  How can we not only write the future, but right the future? In Civilization and its Discontents, Freud explored the tension between individuals’ desire for freedom and society’s need for conformity. Our climate crisis clearly reflects this tension. We will analyze the need for energy and emissions regulation in the context of deregulated capitalism. We will also explore the possibilities and discontents of digital connectivity, and the triumphs and trials of transhumanism.  Robots and digital mind clones sound exciting, but what about the effects of automation upon our jobs or the environment?  All these explorations are focused on the development of college-level writing practices. From invention, to research, to analysis, to argument, we will learn to make rhetorical choices appropriate to the genres we are writing. From scholarly articles, to magazine articles, to science fiction, the genres we read will influence the genres we write. 

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Fun, Food and Fantasy: Contemporary Narratives of Health and Well Being

How do culture and mass media shape 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 two of the questions we will consider as we negotiate several genres of criticism about how culture and politics advance and avert 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 culture.  Assignments will include class discussions, peer group workshops, several analytical writing assignments, and a research essay.

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Writing Journalism

In this class we will study the practice of writing through a focus on journalism, taking up the present moment as a shared site of investigation and critical inquiry. Throughout the course we will read about and write in a variety of genres (both journalistic and academic), and also draw important connections between journalistic methods of investigation and scholarly research.

This is a project-based course in which students work in groups to create their own print publication by the end of the quarter. These projects will feature multiple writings from each student in the group, and also reflect a collaborative process of research, drafting, revision, copyediting, and creative design. By the end of the quarter, each student will submit an individual portfolio alongside their group publication project.

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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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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.

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#StraightOutOfATelenovela: Studying Rhetoric through Jane the Virgin 

 CW television show Jane the Virgin (2014-2019) combines humor and heart as it recounts the twists and turns of the life of Jane Gloriana Villanueva, an aspiring writer in her early twenties who, through a series of extraordinary events, suddenly finds herself a pregnant virgin after being accidentally artificially inseminated. As the witty and anonymous “Latin Lover” narrator repeatedly tells the audience, the fantastical events of the show are like something “straight out of a telenovela,” a genre which this television show pays homage to as well as parodies and expands into a type of political and social commentary on intersections of race, class, and gender. 

The narrator’s commentary points to another key aspect of this show—that Jane the Virgin is a metanarrative—a story about telling a story. Through its witty narration and key focus on Jane as writer, the show explores the brave act of writing, an act filled with both possibilities and problematics. Our course will focus on what Jane the Virgin teaches us about the act of writing—both writing strategies (such as metacommentary and trajectory development) as well as the necessity of critical reflection about rhetorical choices. As a student in this class, you will be tasked with exploring your own rhetorical choices and constraints when writing in various forms (from research genres to pop culture genres such as hashtags and Instagram posts) and critically reflecting about the ethical and social impact of your choices.  

While asynchronous, as a student you will be required to meet weekly in virtual small groups to discuss the course content and receive feedback on your thinking and writing. There will be various time slots available (TBD) from which you may select.  

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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.

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Rhetoric and Inquiry

Our work in this course will be motivated by several concepts that are fundamental to understanding how to write effectively: genre, audience, and style. By studying these concepts alongside a consideration of how to use source material, you will gain conceptual knowledge about writing that will help you to become a more confident and informed writer. Major course projects will be interconnected and invite you to sustain inquiry on a topic of your choosing.

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Onward We Go

After teaching remotely in Spring 2020, I am taking some time to rethink my Writing 2 and how it can work best in a dual Zoom and asynchronous context. As such, my course description is in-progress, though I can provide some important details:

  • This writing course will be held synchronously on Zoom one day a week and asynchronously online, with activities in Canvas (discussions, submissions) and in Google Drive (where you’ll collaborate with others). If you cannot be available for our class meeting times, this class won’t work well for you.
  • This course will consist of three major projects, supported by a variety of smaller assignments. One of the assignments will primarily focus on argument, one on research, and one on creative nonfiction. Each project builds on the skills from the previous unit, while at the same time allowing you to do something “new.”
  • For each project, you will have a chance to select topics, questions, and themes that are interesting to you. While it won’t be a free-for-all (there will be clear assignments, shared readings, and the like), you’ll have room to bring in your ideas and interests. 
  • While the “theme” of the course is to-be-determined, the theme of any writing course I teach is always writing. That means that while we’ll likely talk about a variety of things (including current events), our conversations, readings, and assignments will pertain to how and why we write, with attention to issues of equity, discrimination, and inclusion. 
  • At each step, you will reflect on what you are learning and why, as research reveals that such reflection increases student learning. 
  • Everyone is encouraged to be in touch about their specific learning needs, including disability accommodations. 

More to come. 

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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?

Write to Change the World

This November, the most important presidential election in history will determine the future of our fragile, precious American democracy. Looming over this election is the coronavirus crisis, the economic meltdown, extreme inequality, and the long-term threat of catastrophic climate change. How we perceive and react to all of these crises is determined to a large extent by the words written about them. In this composition course, we will closely read and respond to contemporary texts in diverse genres from campaign speeches to documentaries to peer-reviewed research. The 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 writing in multiple styles 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.  


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. Using several episodes of ‘Black Mirror’ (as well as key writings from a variety of genres) as objects of analysis and inquiry, this writing course will reflect deeply on the questions raised by our reliance on technology and the consequences that may have for the future of humanity. In this course, students will continue to build their academic writing skills by focusing specifically on writing in multiple contexts, for disparate audiences, and with distinct rhetorical purposes; as the mastery of these concepts will help students write more effectively and persuasively throughout their respective academic disciplines and beyond. Through several assignments (reflection papers, annotated bibliography, research paper, and a final multimodal project), students will pursue more in-depth research proficiency and writing agility. Finally, in this course, we will think profoundly about a variety of technology-related themes and question whether we consider these advances for the detriment or betterment of humanity


Viral Vampires: Multimodality in Dracula

In Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel, Dracula, a group of adventurers utilize technologies new and old

in order to defeat the titular vampire. This course examines the various denotations of ‘viral’ in

Dracula; we examine “viral” as contagious disease, masculine strength, and technological boom,

while focusing our attention on the latter. We take for our focus modern technologies of literacy

featured in Dracula in order to cultivate an understanding of literacy technologies. We will use

the contemporary technological equivalents to different literacy technologies used within the

novel to gain a greater critical understanding of genres, their conventions, and their functions.

Our course is an exploration of nineteenth- to twenty-first-century literacy technologies ranging

from the art of letter writing to email, telegraph to tweet, phonograph recording to podcast, and

textual to cinematic adaptation. Students will develop writing skills by studying the rhetorical

utility of these forms. For instance, students will compare the nineteenth-century phonograph

recording used in Dracula to the twenty-first-century podcast, cultivating the art of oral

presentation to create their own podcast. Students will reproduce these genres as a part of their

homework assignments, designed to help them develop their research topic, the topic they will

choose by week three of class and spend the rest of the term studying. Over the course of the

class, students will produce tweets, letters, a podcast, and, finally, their final research project. For

their final project, students will create either an expository essay or a longer podcast based on

their research theme, which will be related to some aspect of literacy in Dracula. I encourage

students to use this final project as a research opportunity to delve into their major.