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3020 - Topics in Writing Course Descriptions

The following list is alphabetical, by course title. The course offerings below are for the Spring 2016 semester. Check the current Course Schedule.

AFTER THE HOLOCAUST, Dr. Naomi Rachel
We will begin by reading both volumes of MAUS – the famous graphic memoir about the Holocaust by Art Spiegelman. We will explore (in news update and essays and narratives) the main themes including identification with the aggressor, the banality of evil and survivor guilt. Then we will explore why war is a force that gives us meaning by reading and writing about The Psychology of War by Dr. Leshan. Students will write three major papers and give two oral presentations. The course is discussion based and work is peer critiqued. We will also visit the amazing Holocaust collection at Special Collections in Norlin. This course is titled After The Holocaust because genocide is still a major problem today but what always survives is narrative and the subtitle for the course is “ The Survival of Narrative”.
ANIMALS IN AMERICAN INDIAN NARRATIVES, Dr. Catherine Kunce
TBA
ADVANCED CREATIVE NONFICTION, Dr. John-Michael Rivera
According to Carolyn Dunn and Carol Comfort in the introduction of Through the Eye of the Deer (San Francisco: aunt lute, 1999), in “traditional American Indian narratives…many early tribal societies looked to the animal world for guidance” (x). Dunn and Comfort further claim that “animals were often the teachers…and in the world of modern narratives [animals] appear as culture-bearers and messengers” (x). The idea of animals’ serving as “teachers” and “culture bearers” seems far from the notion that some hold today. Many believe that animals are to be exploited. Others believe that animals are to be pampered. While many agree that animals have the right to be protected from misuse, can we really accept that they can instruct humans? Might how a culture perceives animals relate to its belief about humans’ position on the planet? Are we actually superior to animals? Can our belief in animals’ placement on the earth relate to our beliefs about the supposed hierarchies among people? We will explore these questions by looking at the rhetoric in multiple sources and by examining the implications of species equality and how it might relate to the stewardship of the planet.
BEST AMERICAN ESSAY, Dr. Sigman Byrd
This class will explore what it means to say we have a self. We will ask questions about what constitutes a self and what it means to say we have an identity. We will also consider the relationship between the self and story and how the constructed narratives of our lives mirror, refract, and distort our self . Also, what role does rhetoric play in creating and maintaining personal and social identities? What does it mean to “reinvent” oneself? We all also consider the idea that the self is at best a temporal, impermanent, ever-shifting image. And what, finally, is behind that image, that intimate screen that means so much to us.
BIOMEDICAL ETHICS, Don Wilkerson, MA
We will use current issues in biomedical ethics and public health policy to study the basic elements of an argument. The course will be structure around Beauchamp and Childress's Four Principles of Biomedical Ethics--a rubric commonly used by bioethicists to evaluate ethical dilemmas. Students will write number of brief responses to ethics scenarios and two major papers. The first paper will be prompt driven. It will encourage students to address a wide range of ethical questions relevant to clinical ethics, research ethics, health inequalities, the impact of technology on patient care, the nature of professional duty, and ethical theory in general. In the second, major term paper, students will identify a current issue in public health and then write a novel argument supported with secondary research. The themes covered in this course can help pre-med students with medical school interviews and with the Social Foundations section of the MCAT. This course is approved as an elective for CU's Public Health Certificate program.
BIOMEDICAL ETHICS, Dr.Rachel Naomi

" The effective practice of medicine requires narrative competence, that is, the ability to acknowledge, absorb, interpret and act on stories and plights of others. Medicine practiced with narrative competence, called NARRATIVE MEDICINE, is a model for humane and effective medical practice" -- Dr. Rita Charon

My goal for this course is to enable students to read analytically and to write with clarity and focus. This class will teach you to write well in a variety of styles and to state and defend an argumentative thesis. An educated person must be able to read with in-depth comprehension and to be able to communicate complex medical and ethical ideas in economical and elegant prose. The skills learned will help students with the MCAT and other graduate level exams and job applications. The main text is “Case Studies in Biomedical Research Ethics” By Dr. Timothy Murphy. We will also read, write about and discuss works by Dr. Atul Gawande, Dr. Oliver Sacks, Richard Preston and others. Students will give News Update on biomedical issues . This class is taught as a writing workshop with peer critiques, revisions, and presentations. Participation is an important part of the class experience. Students will write a minimum of five papers totaling 50 pages and give two presentations.
COMICS AND THE GRAPHIC NOVEL, Jaime Kirtz, J.D., M.A.
Graphic novels have been increasingly popular over the past several decades as the topics addressed reflect changing values in society, such as immigration, gender identity, war, mental illness and societal structure. This course examines the genre of graphic novels critically, while exposing students to various forms of writing. By including criticism of graphic novels, as well as literary theory and visual cultural studies, students will learn to approach texts analytically, thus learning how to 'read' as well as 'write' thoughtfully. The course seeks to understand the media climate in which these novels are produced, circulated and interpreted, while also building skills such as digital literacy, visual rhetoric and critical analysis. Each graphic novel read will have accompanying scholarly work in order for students to practice reading skills and providing examples of academic writing. Thus, our discussion is not one of merely interpreting the texts but their secondary writing and subsequently global conversation about the key role these texts play in many people's lives. Further students will have the opportunity to combine scholarly writing with creative projects.
CHANGING DIGITAL COMMUNITIES, Dr. Seth Myers
This course will ask students to devise and then implement an Action Research Inquiry Project in collaboration with an online community of which they consider themselves a part. Action Research (AR) is less a specific social science research methodology, than a perspective with which traditional methodologies are critiqued and re-purposed for ethical, collaborative action toward community generated objectives. Most often associated with critical sociology, anthropology, and education, the fundamental value of AR is inquiry, a value shared by the field of rhetoric and composition. In this course, students will explore their communities and the rhetorical features of these communities. Students will then apply their analysis as they begin to identify an objective or set of objectives important to this community. Next, students will interrogate the method and theory of AR as they develop a plan for collaborative action. This plan will be “tested” before it is publicized in a library-researched essay. As a result of these research findings, students will revise and then implement their AR plans. Finally, students will assess their own projects with qualitative research methods.
CONVERSATIONS ON THE LAW, Gail Georgeson, J.D., M.A.
This upper division elective explores cutting edge legal issues, challenges students to think critically about the arguments for each side, and to formulate and write persuasive arguments. Students participate in Moot Courts where they role play lawyer and judge roles, conduct research, write briefs, present oral arguments and render opinions on simulated cases that mirror what is happening in courtrooms today. Past Moot Court issues include Affirmative Action, Gun Control, Defamation, Employment Discrimination and Religious Freedom. There is no textbook; we will base our discussions and writings on articles, court cases, and legal debates in the media. Assignments include group work and individual writing assignments.
CROSS-CULTURAL WRITING AND INTEGRATIONAL COMMUNICATION, DR. Sarah Massey–Warren
Regardless of age, a mutual question lingers: Does life really get better? There is no institution that hasn’t disappointed us. In this course, we will break new ground in fostering communication between age-differentiated cultures in order to understand and identify key social issues. Through mutual mentorship, university students and nontraditional “saging” students will explore provocative readings, conduct interviews, and create innovative written and multi-media products that will widen the possibilities for discovering what different generations can teach each other, and how that will dissolve the boxed stereotypes surrounding “Millennials” and “Seniors.” The class will discover and honor voices not usually heard in order to write new chapters for 21st century discourse, and engage the broader Boulder community in that discourse.
CROSS-CULTURAL WRITING AND FILM, Samira Rajabi, MA
TBA
CROSS-CULTURAL WRITING FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS, Dr. Andrea Feldman
Cross-Cultural Writing for International Students is a section of WRTG 3020, 3030, and 3040 that is intended for non-native speakers of English who wish to enroll in an upper-division writing course. The course is taught as a rigorous writing workshop using advanced readings and materials, emphasizing critical thinking, analysis, and argumentative writing. Course readings focus on cross-cultural communication in the arts, business, and scientific fields. Assignments will be tailored to meet the needs and interests of individual students.
EDUCATION, AUTHORITY, AND THE GOOD STATE, Tim Lyons, MA
Through the centuries, writers as diverse as Jonathan Swift, Plato, Stanley Milgram, E.D. Hirsch, Ivan Illich, and Noam Chomsky have concerned themselves with questions about authority systems, education, and the ongoing efforts of human beings to develop and maintain modes of living that enhance people’s lives. In this course, you will consider some of the conundrums that arise in these areas. You will begin by writing refutations and short critiques of others’ arguments about questions related to education and/or authority; later in the term, you will write your own arguments as you contribute to ongoing discussions of these important matters. You will also write a researched essay in which you engage an educational issue of current concern. The course will emphasize critical reading, clear thinking, and the relationship between sentence-structure and nuanced argument. Throughout, you will have to take a creative approach to policy making as you work with tools relevant to academic writing and civic engagement.
FOOD & CULTURE, Dr. Dawn Colley
“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone's house and eat with him... the people who give you their food give you their heart. —Cesar Chavez

Food is both a necessity and a statement: of identity, of belonging, of belief. It is also, according to Chavez, an extension of the self. This course will explore the relationship between a variety of issues—food and social relations, ethics of farming and food production, and the evolution of sustainable foodscapes—in an effort to understand the role of food in the invention and shaping of American culture. Further, it will consider the notion that while food and food production create culture, the connection to food remains intimate, complicated, and individual. Potential topics for investigation include cannibalism and food taboos, self and the senses, race and ethnicity, factory farming versus local food movements and sustainable agriculture, and gender, sexuality, and kinship. Students will be asked to write a short essay, a longer, persuasive essay, and short weekly responses. In addition, students will also analyze a documentary about food and culture and complete a final multimodal assignment.

DON'T FENCE ME IN, Dr. Jay Ellis
This course conducts disciplinary (literary studies) and interdisciplinary inquiry into a range of ideas and feelings. How is it that so many Americans feel entitled to open spaces? How can it also be the case that we often seem so determined to avoid social contact, that we seek out privacy in wilderness? Our inquiry may range as widely as considerations of public policy, the bloody history of manifest destiny, readings in gender studies, and criticism on literature and film. Individual essays, though, may pursue questions as confined as how one character, or poem, exhibits ambivalence about space. Essays will ultimately display a similar variety in topics: literary studies, civic rhetoric, political science, philosophy, and many other disciplines may provide scholarship for this course. In genre, successful writing for this course must at times employ advanced scholarship and diligent close reading where appropriate, but may also include Creative Nonfiction techniques and other modes of expressive evidence. Our work will follow this feeling of simultaneous desire for, and fear of, space without limits. We will consider the ambivalent feelings Americans have for towns and other urban spaces, and that many people have for domestic enclosure and the promised safety within civilized spaces. Ultimately, however, this remains a writing workshop; ideas need not conform to the course’s regular consideration of “space” in any sense of that word; any idea successfully argued and expressed may succeed here.
GENDER, SEXUALITY, & NEW MEDIA, Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum, MFA
In this class we will
  1. examine why we think what we think about gender and sexuality,
  2. question and challenge those “whys,”
  3. and explore, practice, and apply the rhetorical practices of those writing and thinking about gender and sexuality through a number of traditional essays and new media projects, i.e. podcasts, TedTalks, videocasts, PowerPoints, etc... Why papers? Duh. You know how to write, and writing is one of the best ways to explore, learn about, and make compelling arguments regarding our culture and ourselves. Why new media? Why podcasts and TedTalks and all this new-fangled technology? Coral Herrera’s Diverse Weddings and Queer Loves, argues that "Traditional media is still stuck in traditional patterns and in a worldview that is patriarchal and capitalist. It still sells U.S. hegemonic ideology in the form of entertainment...Thanks to new media…we are all transmitting content. [This makes us] less vulnerable to the construction of reality to the one imposed on us, because we can refute their affirmations, because we can make visible all those things that are kept hidden so that everything can stay the way it is. New media allows us, the general population, to speak, not just those in control of traditional media."
GENDER, SEXUALITY, & NEW MEDIA, Dr. Rachel Hawley
This course explores contemporary discourses of gender and sexuality with a particular interest in how these discourses are shaped by and mobilized in new media contexts. We’ll read and write in multiple genres, from blogs to formal academic essays, which will sharpen your abilities to communicate with multiple audiences in diverse contexts about issues that (should) matter to everyone. Over the course of this semester, we will question and complicate concepts that are often taken for granted—“gender” and “sexuality” are terms that will provide us with a point of entry into a discursive universe in which our multiple, intersecting identities are constructed and contested. Through critical thinking, reading, and writing, we will work to better understand the ways in which gender and sexuality are produced, negotiated, embodied, and transformed.
HEROISM, Chris Ostro, MA
We often see words like “hero” and “heroic” thrown around pretty liberally. The vagueness that surrounds this term can have real political consequences, such as when Donald Trump questioned whether or not John McCain should be considered a hero (July 18th, 2015). Regardless of your political leanings, Trump was underlining something obviously true: the word “hero” is way more complex than we give it credit for. So… what’s a “hero?” What makes an action “heroic?” In this course we’re going to explore exactly this question. To this end, we will be looking at literature that claims to know something about “heroism” throughout the ages. This course will examine a variety of sources (Classical Epic, Medieval Epic, Graphic Novels, War films) so as to learn more about the topic at hand.
GLOBAL JUSTICE, Lev Szentkirályi, MA
This interdisciplinary course teaches principles of academic writing by examining a host of contemporary problems of international politics, which challenge students to engage difficult texts in normative political theory. Students will explore the rights of migrants and refugees, global poverty and theories of distributive justice, moral culpability for the effects of climate change, public health risks and environmental racism, individual and collective responsibility for perpetuating structural injustices, principles of just war and the moral consequences of waging unjust wars, humanitarian intervention and the ethical duty to prevent genocidal violence, the moral impermissibility of terrorist violence and the permissibility of insurgent violence, and the extent to which democratic governance can safeguard against injustice. Through course readings, independent research, and various writing assignments, students will critically evaluate diverse moral arguments in these different issue-areas, and will appraise proposed solutions to these prevailing injustices. In having students apply lessons of rhetorical analysis learned in the classroom to real world states of affairs and complex ethical problems, this course strives to motivate students to think beyond themselves and their own interests, to appreciate the hardships others endure, and to develop a sense of civic responsibility toward victims of injustice.
GRAPHIC MEMOIR AND NONFICTION, Dr. Olivia Miller
It’s clear that comics can incite riots, inspire movements and garner expansive audiences. As diverse as the nonfiction genre is, graphic narratives allows the writer/artist to tell a tale in three written dimensions: typography, narrative and image. This genre invites writers to explore difficult topics traversing race, class, gender, geography and other radical narratives that don’t neatly fit in a written text. In this upper-division writing course we will analyze classic and contemporary graphic nonfiction in order to create our own. We will consider the diversity of the genre that includes graphic memoir, nonfiction and historical works. As we deepen our understanding of the genre we will craft a treatment, script and storyboards for your graphic nonfiction project. While the emphasis will be on writing, the course will explore the connection of writing to illustrating, how one can enhance the other, page and panel composition, and typography. This course is both craft and critical as you can’t do one without the other. We will read and analyze the most important contemporary and classic graphic narratives today. While an interest in the subject is critical, a visual artistic ability is not! As you will see, some of the most poignant texts are drawn in MS Draw or with simple stick-like figures.
INK SLINGERS AND WORDSMITHS, Dr.Olivia Miller
This interdisciplinary course teaches principles of academic writing by examining a host of contemporary problems of international politics, which challenge students to engage difficult texts in normative political theory. Students will explore the rights of migrants and refugees, global poverty and theories of distributive justice, moral culpability for the effects of climate change, public health risks and environmental racism, individual and collective responsibility for perpetuating structural injustices, principles of just war and the moral consequences of waging unjust wars, humanitarian intervention and the ethical duty to prevent genocidal violence, the moral impermissibility of terrorist violence and the permissibility of insurgent violence, and the extent to which democratic governance can safeguard against injustice. Through course readings, independent research, and various writing assignments, students will critically evaluate diverse moral arguments in these different issue-areas, and will appraise proposed solutions to these prevailing injustices. In having students apply lessons of rhetorical analysis learned in the classroom to real world states of affairs and complex ethical problems, this course strives to motivate students to think beyond themselves and their own interests, to appreciate the hardships others endure, and to develop a sense of civic responsibility toward victims of injustice.
THE POLITICS OF DRUGS, Dr. Tracy Ferrell
Through selected readings, videos and research we will look at the history of drugs (both worldwide and in the U.S), the politics of the drug war and its propaganda, as well as related issues such marijuana legalization in Colorado, the pharmaceutical industry, and more. The class will ask such questions as: What is a drug? Why are some drugs illegal and others accepted and legal? Is there a basic human need for drugs? What is the relationship between the war on drugs and other U.S. policy (both domestic and international)? In writing assignments, each student will also be able to explore areas of his or her own interest such as drugs and music, addiction, caffeine as drug, prescription drug abuse, etc.
MULTI-CULTURAL RHETORICS, Dr. Andrea Feldman

This course asks students to write analyses and arguments based on readings that reflect cultural diversity. Students will evaluate issues and relate them to their own multicultural experiences. By examining diverse voices, this course helps students meet the challenges of academic writing. This course will extend the ability to adapt rhetorical strategies and arguments on multiculturalism to address the needs of a range of different audiences and stakeholders. In this course, we will connect students to real audiences and have them present their research, receive feedback on their writing and speeches, and learn about others through real-time dialogues and blogging. One of the aims of this course is to center multi-lingual experience by exposing students to multiple literacies and asking them to include their own voice in this global conversation.

NATIVE AMERICAN TOPICS, Dr. Catherine Kunce
Zitkala-Sa published a series of articles that helped her become the 'darling' of Boston literati for a short time. But one critic claimed that Zitkala-Sa "injures herself and harms...the race from which she spring." By analyzing Zitkala-Sa's collected writings and by dissecting her critic's charge, we will attempt to discover why her stories repelled some and charmed others. We will then explore some contemporary American Indian works to see if we can discern similar patterns of accommodation and rupture of audience expectations.
ON THE BORDER: U.S. AND MEXICO, Dr. Tracy Ferrell
“On the Border: Mexico and the U.S.” examines the border both in its physical form and as a border between cultures and languages. The class begins with a discussion of the meaning of “borders” and with a look at the history of the U.S./Mexico border both as a physical and metaphorical space. The course then examines the discourse of immigration through the novel Tortilla Curtain, in various articles, videos and news reports, through class speakers and through discussions of student work in the volunteer community. Finally, the class examines other political issues of the physical border between the two countries such as drug trafficking, maquiladoras and “the wall”.

For this course, students complete a minimum of 16 hours of volunteer work with the local Mexican immigrant community. Students can choose to volunteer with one of the following six organizations: Youth Services Initiative (Boulder Parks and Open Space), the Family Learning Center, Arapahoe Ridge Campus, Casa de la Esperanza, SWAP or the Parenting Place. Volunteer opportunities include teaching English to adult immigrants, working in after school recreation programs, tutoring students from K-12, daycare for pre-school children and more. Volunteer work is integrated throughout the semester, and the students’ final project involves identifying a need of their volunteer organization and then writing a proposal to attempt to meet that need.

ON THE BORDER: U.S. AND MEXICO, Raúl Melgoza, MA
This course examines the ways in which the U.S.-Mexico border acts as a rhetorical site through which racialized, gendered, sexualized, and classed notions of citizenship and national belonging are socially constructed. In doing so, the class will address the history of the border in regards to colonialism, white supremacy, heteronormativity, and notions of illegality. Through class discussions, writing assignments, and an engagement with scholarly readings, students will come to see how the border travels across bodies, locations, and contemporary discourses as they learn to rhetorically engage with and write on the ways border rhetorics are constructed, endured, contested, and refashioned.
THE POLITICS OF DRUGS, Dr. Tracy Ferrell
Through selected readings, videos and research we will look at the history of drugs (both worldwide and in the U.S), the politics of the drug war and its propaganda, as well as related issues such marijuana legalization in Colorado, the pharmaceutical industry, and more. The class will ask such questions as: What is a drug? Why are some drugs illegal and others accepted and legal? Is there a basic human need for drugs? What is the relationship between the war on drugs and other U.S. policy (both domestic and international)? In writing assignments, each student will also be able to explore areas of his or her own interest such as drugs and music, addiction, caffeine as drug, prescription drug abuse, etc.
POLIICS OF DRUGS, Dr.Tracey Ferrell
This course conducts disciplinary (literary studies) and interdisciplinary inquiry into a range of ideas and feelings. How is it that so many Americans feel entitled to open spaces? How can it also be the case that we often seem so determined to avoid social contact, that we seek out privacy in wilderness? Our inquiry may range as widely as considerations of public policy, the bloody history of manifest destiny, readings in gender studies, and criticism on literature and film. Individual essays, though, may pursue questions as confined as how one character, or poem, exhibits ambivalence about space. Essays will ultimately display a similar variety in topics: literary studies, civic rhetoric, political science, philosophy, and many other disciplines may provide scholarship for this course. In genre, successful writing for this course must at times employ advanced scholarship and diligent close reading where appropriate, but may also include Creative Nonfiction techniques and other modes of expressive evidence. Our work will follow this feeling of simultaneous desire for, and fear of, space without limits. We will consider the ambivalent feelings Americans have for towns and other urban spaces, and that many people have for domestic enclosure and the promised safety within civilized spaces. Ultimately, however, this remains a writing workshop; ideas need not conform to the course’s regular consideration of “space” in any sense of that word; any idea successfully argued and expressed may succeed here.
POLIICS OF DRUGS, Dr.Alexander Fobes
Through selected readings, videos and research we will look at the history of drugs (both worldwide and in the U.S), the politics of the drug war and its propaganda, as well as related issues such marijuana legalization in Colorado, the pharmaceutical industry, and more. The class will ask such questions as: What is a drug? Why are some drugs illegal and others accepted and legal? Is there a basic human need for drugs? What is the relationship between the war on drugs and other U.S. policy (both domestic and international)? In writing assignments, each student will also be able to explore areas of his or her own interest such as drugs and music, addiction, caffeine as drug, prescription drug abuse, etc.
RACE, CLASS, GENDER, Jennifer Cullison, MA
This course explores contemporary discourses of race, class, and gender with a particular interest in how these concepts have been socially constructed and contested over time and through various contexts including but not limited to politics, policy, advertising, and film. Over the course of the semester, we will familiarize ourselves with these concepts such that we more easily perceive their daily production, negotiation, embodiment and changing meaning. We will then critically engage with ideas of race, class, and gender across various genres including autoethnography, memoirs, feature films, news media, and traditional academic writing. You will write several short analytical papers in response to readings and documentaries that introduce and critically engage with these concepts. You will also complete a course project in which you will use your new critical understanding of these issues to develop and defend a sustained academic critique of modern manifestations of these discourses, using your own interviews, existing oral histories, and/or (possibly) service learning engagement as a means of adding new data and perspectives to the table. Various homework assignments and in-class activities will provide opportunities for you to improve the skills you need to successfully complete these assignments.
STORIES IN AMERICAN CULTURE, Tobin von der Nuell, MA
Students will read a number of story texts, both print and visual, which one might categorize as having something to say about “gender, race, class, and the American family.” In our efforts to critically analyze these texts, and then frame and defend arguments found within them, students will read supplemental materials on narratology, story structure, intertextuality, pattern recognition, text/subtext, image systems, visual rhetoric, mise en scene, and rhetoric and argumentation. Students will write within specific genres and to specific audiences, and their assignments will include a literary analysis as a paper text for an academic journal and a film analysis as a multimodal essay for a film-critique website. We will end the semester by having students apply what they’ve learned about story texts as they compose their own digital “American” narrative (and accompanying rhetorical analysis).
STRANGERS IN A STRANGE LAND, Dr. Olivia Miller

In a recent essay, Wole Soyinka writes, “Is there a moment when you know intuitively and accept that you have now truly arrived in exile?” With just a quick glance through history, one can see the connection between writers and exile is vast. There are many famous exiles: Dante, Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein, Salman Rushdie, Pablo Neruda, Dalai Lama, and millions more. The list extends to American soil in subversive ways with deep connections to gender, race, class and sexuality. How is it then that exile has produced so many famous writers? In this course we will read and analyze essays from authors about their experiences in exile in order to understand the deep human connection between home and the unheimlich and the loss of a homeland in order to understand how we speak about displacement around the world and in America. Specifically, we will focus on the current state of the refugee in the world with a keen eye to Syria and Tibet. We will engage in the discourse through studying graphic non-fiction, creating digital stories and analyzing the media.

SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES, Catherine Lasswell,MEd, R.S.A. Dip.
In this course we will read and write about current environmental issues as we cultivate our awareness of writing as engaged environmental action. We will investigate the interface of the environment, society, the economy, and social justice in today’s context of climate change, energy use, and industrialized food production. Of critical focus will be the specific ways environmental issues are discussed rhetorically. To this end, we will study works by leading environmental writers Bill McKibben, Barbara Kingsolver, Michael Pollen, E. O. Wilson, and others. Our understanding of sustainability and rhetoric will draw upon your own area of expertise and culminate in a scholarly research project that can effect a positive change on the environment and society. As we explore texts and write our own, we will seek ways to de-politicize environmental writing and to carve out rhetorical spaces of shared values in order to reach wider audiences. In the end, we will explore our own human connections to nature to find our own “place in the family of things.” The course will include a half-day outdoor project working on forested lands, enabling us to see the ways that local public and private entities are minimizing the effects of climate change on Colorado’s Front Range.
TECHNOLOGY AND AMERICAN CULTURE, Justin Gautreau, MFA
Since its inception, Hollywood cinema has worked to conceal its technological infrastructure for a more immersive movie-going experience. Similar to the conventions of persuasive writing, popular film functions most powerfully when audiences lose themselves in its “natural” spectacle, not distracted by the many technologies that go into its production. This course explores the invisible rhetorical devices of popular film—from the star system to 3D—that aim to immerse audiences and, ultimately, ensure profit for the industry. How do the physical technologies and what John Belton calls the “mental machinery” of cinema work in tandem? Why do big-budget Hollywood films sometimes fail financially at the box office? How does film influence the way we understand ourselves? To explore such questions, students will engage in rigorous writing, research, and revision across a variety of genres.
TRAVEL WRITING, Dr. Christine Macdonald
“Wherever you go, there you are.” This cliché implies that people cannot change themselves or their perspective by changing their location. In this course we will explore the potential and limitations of travel as a means to facilitate different types of journeys: physical, cultural and psychological. We will study theories of “place,” and the interplay between the viewpoints of traveler, “native,” writer, and reader. In addition to writing critical analyses of the readings, students will write their own travel narratives. You need not have traveled extensively to take this course. Readings may include works by John Steinbeck, Annie Dillard, Bill Bryson, Paul Theroux, Rory Stewart, Alexandra Fuller, Eula Biss, and others.
TRAVEL WRITING, Dr. Eileen Lagman
This course explores the rhetorics of travel and travel writing. Travel writing is a longstanding and popular genre of writing. But what draws readers to travel writing? How does it “move” people? And what are the possibilities and limitations of travel itself for understanding self and others? In this course, we’ll read different types of travel writing as well as analyze what travel writing reveals about how and why people move in the world. Students will produce several kinds of writing in this course—travel narratives, critical analysis of travel writing, and ethnographic research on a place. We’ll also study theories of place, mobility and displacement to help us think through the rhetoric of travel.
TRAVEL WRITING, Dr. Ginger Knowlton
In this course, we will practice and study the craft of writing and engage the philosophic questions and concepts posed by (and/or undermined through) travel. We’ll read and respond to the work of many different writers in this class, examining how travel narratives in varied genres are held together, and you will learn to critique not only the work of published writers, but also to critique your own compositions and those of your classmates. You’ll create several types of writing in this class. We will pay particular attention to the ontological-ecological and moral-sociological questions surrounding travel and we will examine the conventions of the scholarly discourse inspired by travel writing. We will make good use of the library and you’ll learn to conduct nuanced research. You’ll compose your own travel narratives (adhering to Bill Bryson’s assertion that as soon as one sets foot through the front door, one begins traveling – in other words, you needn’t have traveled farther than campus to take this course).
TRAVEL WRITING, Dr. Lisa Donovan
Students will gain introductory knowledge of the genre of Travel Literature. Sometimes over simplified to mean writing about travel, this course will take on that definition and interrogate the difficult themes often encountered in the genre, including those related to social, cultural and ethical issues. Students will read many mainstream travel writing authors by way of anthology before delving into a primary text. The course will critically consider the rhetorical situation in which travel narratives are written. Students will also practice their own skills as travel writers, composing short travel narratives appropriate for a magazine, forming a travel based research driven documentary project, and finally writing an editorial piece on the genre. Other writing will be required, including critical reflections on all readings. The revision process will be emphasized, as will peer review and small group workshop participation. Underlying this course will be the importance of critical inquiry and discussion.
Students are welcome to join the course regardless of how much they have traveled.
TRAVEL WRITING, Daniel Levine, MFA

Travel is a process of exploration, expansion, calculated risk, and self-discovery. It is about seeing the world, but more importantly it’s about seeing the world— and your place in it—with fresh eyes. The “world” in this context could be a faraway locale, but it could also be someplace close to home. What matters is that the trip forces you to confront your beliefs and expectations, to press against the boundary of your comfort zone.

Whenever you travel and write about the experience, you engage with rhetoric: you are trying to win readers over with your story, and to convince readers to see the world through your perspective. In translating your travels into a written story, you begin to grapple with some essential tricky questions. What are your motives for the journey? How are you perceived by the people you meet? What is your impact on the culture/environment you are visiting? How much danger and discomfort are you willing to endure for the sake of the adventure and the tale you’ll be able to tell afterward? How does your journey, and the act of writing it down, change your view of “home” upon your return?

We will attempt to answer these questions by reading and writing a variety of travel essays, and learning how to analyze the mechanics and effect of each story. You don’t need to have traveled extensively—or at all—to write the essays in this class, for we will be studying skills and techniques which can be applied to more “ordinary” experiences. Each student will share his/her writing assignments in progress with the group, and together we will respectfully discuss the work and help the writer grow.

TRAVEL WRITING, Kerry Reilly, MFA
In this class, we will study the craft of travel writing and we will also consider the moral and philosophical questions raised by the acts of travel and exploration. What makes successful travel writing? What are the struggles and ethical dilemmas the responsible travel writer faces? We will write different types of academic and civic-oriented essays about what we read and discuss and we will also practice crafting our own magazine-style travel narratives. (Look to The Best American Travel Writing series for examples of the latter.) We will read the work of many different types of writers and we’ll analyze the ways each uses argumentative strategies and conventions, such as genre, form, syntax and voice to suit different purposes and appeal to various audiences. We will also study the work of several documentary-makers. This class will help you to examine your own assumptions and to practice critical and open-minded questioning and reasoning.

Like professional writers, you will develop strategies for brainstorming ideas, crafting arguments, and for writing, revising and editing drafts. You will practice critiquing your own work, the work of your classmates and the work of published writers. You will also get a lot of practice conducting research within the CU Library system and beyond.

You need not have traveled extensively to take this course. Some of you may be writing about road trips to Kansas and others may have just come back from a study abroad program in Italy or even had experiences camping in Madagascar.

WHAT'S A WORDVIEW?, Dr. Gary Hink
Belief, Proof, Experience. Story, Information, Aesthetics. Group, Mind, Network. Orality, Literacy, Electracy. Whatís a Worldview?

Less a study of various "worldviews," we will examine how these distinct forms of knowing are conveyed, particularly by exploring highly familiar topics in ways less familiar. This is the key distinction from a study of epistemology in a philosophy course, for instance; while ours will be a philosophical approach and perspective, as a writing & rhetoric course our primary interest is less about "what we (can) know" and more about "how we know": how forms of knowledge are created and conveyed ó oral, written, image/media, quantified, non-linguistic, sensory.

Our course involves several learning strategies and outcomes, asking you to study, analyze, discuss topics in new ways plus apply conventions in respective forms of composing. Rather than "arguing about (or against) worldviews, we will instead demonstrate the critical perspective of rhetorical understanding, specifically by conveying insights through the form/genre conventions of our object of study. This approach generates new and further understanding in reflective ways, both about the content studied as well as the writing and rhetoric involved ó across spheres personal, public, academic, professional, and hybrid.

Ultimately, we will develop and enhance an understanding of the conventions respective to (and exemplified by) certain worldviews, as well as the composition forms employed by each to create and convey knowledge. Our experiential and experimental learning will generate both "worldview insights" (topically) and sharpened specialized discourse ó particularly ways of describing how we think, perceive, behave, decide, understand, experience, communicate, express. By applying critical perspectives and composing strategies, students will come away with rhetorical awareness, writing skills, and critical thinking enhanced and transferable. For more details: http://bit.ly/1OaThOW

WRITING AND MONEY, Dr. Eileen Lagman
The purpose of this course is to understand the intersections of writing and money--how writing works within economic systems and how writing creates economic systems. We often think of writing as a fundamentally artistic and expressive enterprise, separate from the everyday world of money and financial transactions. In fact writers, writing, and the systems that depend on them have long been implicated in commercial exchange. This course will explore how everyday writing has been implicated in global economic trends in historical and contemporary life. Over the course of the semester, students will read writing studies theory that teases out writing’s relationship to economics. Readings will be organized around the themes of: writing as commercial exchange, writing as labor, writing as capital, writing as an economic system, writing and ownership/property, and writing and national development. Through these readings, students will understand how economic systems and economic imperatives shape the contexts for writing—they will explore how economic systems determine the value of writing, the purpose of writing, and the exigency for writing.
WRITING IN THE AMERICAN WEST, Elizabeth Koebele, MS
What is the American West? At first, it may seem simple to answer this question, citing geographic boundaries or cultural notions that characterize the region in our collective imagination. On second thought, even these things are debatable. In other words, a diversity of often-contradictory narratives about the West make answering the question “What is the American West?” more complex than it seems at first blush. Is the West a land without its own story, “fundamentally apart” from everything and begging for the imprint of new meaning? Or, have we worked to erase some of its preexisting historical narratives in order to better fit our own familiar, modern conceptions of what the West should be? Is the West we imagine reflective of reality? And whose reality counts in shaping, defining, and making decisions about the West, its people, and its resources? By exploring and interrogating the rhetoric that others have used to express their thoughts, feelings, and perspectives about American West in genres ranging from traditional academic writing, to creative nonfiction, travel writing, and memoir, we can work to answer these questions for ourselves while simultaneously honing our own written and oral communication, critical thinking, and research skills.
WRITING ON MUSIC, Dr. Alexander Fobes
What is the relation between music and language? What does it mean to approach music, not just lyrics, as a text—one that is authored, conveys a message, and one whose message is in part constructed by its audience and context? This course invites you to explore music as a way of knowing and communicating. Drawing on listenings and readings from a broad range of musical and literary genres, students will analyze, share, critique, and create musical texts, select and pursue lines of inquiry related to their areas of interest, and apply their round knowledge of sound, sense, form, and perspective to refine their communicative skills and style.