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): C.)

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

Winter 2019 Sections - Enrollments end at 4:00pm, Friday, Jan. 11 


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 (critical analysis, literature review, discussion/future work, problem statement, abstract) 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.

The Environment, Human Rights, and Social Justice

This writing class will explore environmental issues from the perspective of human rights and social justice. We will begin with two fundamental premises: All individuals and communities have the right to a clean, healthy environment, and there is a connection between environmental exploitation, human exploitation, and social justice. We will ask important questions including: What is environmental justice? Why and how are some people denied the basic right to a healthy environment? And, most importantly, what can be done to correct the inequities? Students will choose an environmental justice conflict, then complete several writing assignments that navigate the process of writing a research essay on their conflict. Each student will follow the same process as a scientist or policy analyst reviewing the current state of knowledge about the conflict. Research and writing assignments will be fast and frequent, with all individual writing assignments revised and then incorporated into the final research essay.

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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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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 sources. 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.

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Writing and the Critique of Everyday Life

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

The course begins with a brief study of the figure of the writer and the history of writing, posing questions about what motivates the writing process, who gets to be a ‘writer,’ how to define writing as a practice, and how to understand of ourselves as writers. Our readings take up the concept of writing as a practice of everyday life through a variety of genres, ranging from essays, journalism, critical theory and scholarly research to memoirs, diaries, poems and manifestoes. Moving forward, students investigate aspects of daily life, develop research skills, and design projects through stages of inquiry, drafting, and revision. This project culminates in a presentation and final portfolio submission at the end of the quarter.

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Visualizing Research, Arguing Image

This course will focus on meaningful inquiry and research, argumentation, and the visualization of ideas. We’ll begin by asking what it means to make visual arguments and critiques, then develop research questions that are fleshed out in thoughtful bibliographies on topics of your choosing. You’ll then transform your research into data visualizations (infographics, maps, flowcharts, and more). Along the way, we’ll wonder at visual strategies that tell stories (like comics) and those that refuse to die (like PowerPoint templates). We’ll end by determining how we can transcribe our visualizations back into text.

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Do Facts Matter?

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

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Rhetoric and Inquiry

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

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Conveying Meaning:  Ethics, Responsibility, and Identity in Writing

Whether we are aware of it or not, writing is a powerful tool that, along with our diverse experiences, values, and beliefs, helps to shape our identities--including how others perceive us and how we perceive ourselves. As such, writing is both an expression of identity and a dynamic device that can generate thought and emotion (happiness, anger, love, contempt, etc) in others. Hence, the decisions we make when writing--word choice, tone, genre--carries with it a responsibility to convey meaning with authority in order to avoid the unintended consequence of misunderstanding.

In this course, we will explore the relationship between writers and audiences through a variety of genres and rhetorical situations. We will approach writing as a social activity that connects us to others and, through several assignments (an abstraction, research paper, and final multimodal project), we will ask ourselves what is the ethical obligation we have to our audience and how can we use writing to express ourselves conscientiously.


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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. 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 some non-written material such as videos, art, speeches, and multi-modal material. Writing assignments will emphasize critical thinking, intellectual empathy, and the reflective writing process. In this course, you have the freedom to choose your own research topics, but may choose from a list of suggested topics if you prefer to. Ultimately there is no one right way to write, because different situations call for different kinds of writing.  Learning to identify these situations and how to write across and within them is a lifelong process. Writing 2 is certainly not the end of this journey, but by its completion, you will be equipped with tools to tackle college level writing assignments as well as a multitude of writing situations beyond the classroom.

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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. Students will be introduced to rhetorical concepts through reading and analyzing texts from multiple genres, including news, popular, and scholarly sources. 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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Communication and Action through Writing

In this class, students will learn to become more powerful communicators through action in real world contexts.  Students will learn to recognize the unique demands of various writing situations by engaging in actual communication with peers in class, the larger university community, and the real world beyond the university.  Together the class will choose a problem or issue to address through the Class Communication Project that will take the entire quarter. Throughout this process, students will create and revise proposals, pitches, posts, papers, and posters; conduct and share research with audiences that need to know; and also reflect on the writing process and themselves as writers.  This will involve a variety of shorter individual writing assignments, a group research paper, and one longer analytic essay at the end of the quarter. Students will leave this class with an understanding of how to write more effectively in future situations, in school and beyond, as well as with a sense of writing as an unfolding adventure.

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Language and Education

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

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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, informal writing exercises that help you develop confidence in your own writing, to research-based writing in both academic and non-academic genres. You will leave this course with a range of tools you can use to write confidently in future university courses and beyond.

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Plagiarize, Plunder, and Sample

This course requires students to ask the questions: What is knowledge? What is original? What is authentic? In this course, we will study the topics of collective knowledge and discourse communities through the lens of the sharing (or stealing) of intellectual property. Students will be asked to participate in “mashing-up” knowledge, remixing the writing of others, and will use quotation and juxtaposition as a creative tool to explore how writing and rhetoric create meaning in a social context.

We will explore topics including sampling and the ethics of DJ culture, open source collective software development, and appropriation art. Throughout the course, students will complete four major assignments: a description of their own ethical stance of plagiarism and stealing, an analytical essay using juxtaposition as a creative tool, a research paper to dig into historical issues of appropriation, and a transformation of their research into a new genre of their choosing

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Language, Identity, and Power

How do words (written and oral) form our identities? How does the language that we use impact what others think of us? How do we use language to understand, negotiate, and (re)construct ourselves and the world around us?

In this course, we will interrogate our language use in- and outside of school as it relates to positionality and identity. We will build an introductory framework to talk about some aspects of language (e.g. discourse v. Discourse; “Standard English” v. nonstandard dialects), investigate the ways that language works in the real world, and independently research a phenomenon within the course theme. Throughout the quarter, we will critically engage in the composing process (brainstorming, drafting, writing, revising, peer reviewing, editing, publishing), explore genre conventions, and foster constructive classroom discussion.

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