The following list is by Term. The course offerings below are for the Summer 2024 semester. Check the current Course Schedule.


This course focuses on role of the European Union in Europe and how it has informed the geopolitical, economic, social and cultural landscape of our contemporary world. We will examine the overarching theme of the integration of the European Union using writings that illuminate its history, institutions, policies, politics and culture. Europe is in crisis: it has not experienced such refugees numbers since World War II; it’s monetary system is being stretched to its limits with the bailout of Greece; its immigrant populations are changing the cultural landscape and many countries are experience a pushback from ultra-nationalists groups. Europe is the United States main trading partner and in that context, is it important and expedient for us to understand the history and complexity of this relationship. The course readings consist of writings that appeal to several different discourse communities examining the emergence of the European Union, and in working with them we learn how writers adapt content and style conventions, such as tone, genre, vocabulary, and organization to respond to multiple audiences and different rhetorical situations. By reading and analyzing different types of texts---including required course readings, texts you discover through research and peer essays—you will learn more sophisticated ways of communicating knowledge, particularly how audience, purpose, and context (rhetorical situation) in a text intersect with one another to make meaning. This writing course is designed to develop your critical thinking and analytical skills, increase your awareness of the relationship between writing and how knowledge is disseminated, better understand how rhetoric works in our lives and using research to draw connections between your ideas and those of others—both scholarly and non scholarly.

In this class, we will study an array of nonfiction genres including vignettes/shorts, autobiographical poetry, radio essays, humorous and satirical essays, lyric essays, graphic memoir and other types of work by nonfiction writers known for risk-taking and originality in content and form. We will consider and practice the techniques nonfictionists use to suit different purposes and appeal to various audiences. We will also discuss the philosophical questions raised by the acts of nonfiction writing and reading. While most of the focus will be on contemporary nonfiction writers, we will reflect on the genre as part of a diverse, evolving, long-standing literary tradition. Like professional writers, you will develop strategies for brainstorming ideas 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 practice conducting research within the CU Library system and beyond.

This course will examine the ethics and rhetorics at play in historical and contemporary

arguments about space exploration. From survival of the human species to mining for commercial benefit, arguments for space exploration are always motivated by various political, social, and economic interests. This class will examine such motivations from a rhetorical perspective in order to help you develop a critical eye about the space industry’s ethical, political, economic, and cultural dimensions. As a writing course, this class also aims to help you use such critical awareness to craft your own well-researched, persuasive arguments 

about a space exploration topic of interest to you. Whether you choose to write about issues such as terraformation, space waste, contamination, or space tourism, your goal will be to write a compelling argument that confronts the complexities of space exploration in the 21st century. 

We’ll approach The New York Times from two broad perspectives. First, as an encyclopedia of genres in journalism. In WRTG 3020, students will write editorials, short and long forms of journalism (from news analysis and music reviews to scientific journalism and narrative nonfiction), and finally – in line with our era of digitality and visuality – multimodal compositions based on the NYT’s Daily podcast or its Op-Doc series.

Secondly, we’ll conceive of the NYT as an occasion for staging an ethical relation to ourselves as producers and consumers of information. To this end, we’ll treat the NYT as a technology for:

  • sharpening the quality of our attention
  • maintaining a critical “mood” toward the media
  • charting our relation to time, history, and long-term problem-solving
  • and, finally, establishing bonds in a community of fellow writers and readers of the news.

To that end, we’ll practice various modalities of information literacy: annotation, lateral reading, fact checking, information timelines, and cross-media comparisons.

Bringing these strands together, we might say that the highest form of ethics today is an ethics of information – ethical both in our wariness toward ideological abuses of the media and in our ability, through writing, to hold ourselves and others accountable to the democratic order of society.

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.

"To “be” a body suggests that you are only a body. You are meat and some blood. You are hard bones and flexing cartilage. You are tangled veins and skin. Is that all, though? ― Roxane Gay In this course, we will explore how the body is both rhetorical and persuasive. Some of the questions that drive this course are: What does it mean for the body to be a tool of argumentation? How do bodies persuade? How are bodies persuaded? How do the means of embodied persuasion vary across genres? How can the body, as argued by Elizabeth Grosz, “be understood as the very ‘stuff’ of subjectivity?” And what does such an understanding mean in the context of embodied rhetoric and argumentation? Through critical writing, reading, thinking, and discussion, we will examine the ways that the body is all at once a material, social, political, and rhetorical entity. Our inquiries will lean heavily on feminist scholarship that refutes the longstanding idea that the body is separate from—and beneath—the mind. We will instead collectively unpack how bodies make, retain, and transmit varying forms of knowledge and ways of knowing, and apply these understandings to multiple forms of textual, visual, and auditory media, and to our own embodied experiences. Alongside its theoretical aims, this course emphasizes writing clear, effective, and well-researched arguments across academic and popular genres. The nature of this class is deeply collaborative and process-oriented, centering discussion, peer-review, and extensive revision. Students will build upon concepts learned in lower-level courses to elevate their efficacy and confidence in writing toward varying audiences within and beyond the institution. In addition, students will be asked to do the reflective, often vulnerable, and rewarding work of developing their own styles and voices as writers."



“How Science Persuades” is a rhetorically based WRTG 3030 Writing Seminar that examines the relationship between science & society in shaping our contemporary world.  The discipline of Rhetoric and Composition is particularly well suited for this inquiry in that it gives students the sophisticated rhetorical perspectives that will allow them to utilize a toolkit of strategies for the purpose of creating persuasive scientific writing for a range of important contemporary audiences.

This course is a rhetorically informed introduction to science writing that hones communication skills as we examine the relationships among science, engineering, and society, and the manner in which scientific and technical information moves across different rhetorical contexts and becomes relevant to a variety of audiences. The course is intended for upper-division students in Engineering and for students in Arts and Sciences majoring in the sciences. Taught as a writing seminar emphasizing critical thinking, revision, and oral presentation skills, the course focuses on helping students draw on their technical expertise while engaging audiences beyond their own disciplines. The course draws on broad rhetorical principles for cogent writing and speaking and applies them to the demands of communicating in the fields of science and engineering and in the work environments of organizations.

Welcome! We're living in an interesting historical moment in which pseudo-science is readily accepted and actual science is often dismissed or viewed with great skepticism. As you are about to become scientists and engineers, it is critical that you understand what's happening in the public sphere that has created an atmosphere of distrust for actual science and of credulous approval of pseudo-science. This course, therefore, asks the questions: How is science communicated in the public sphere, how is it used rhetorically in discussions about environmental, social, economic, and political issues, and why is proven science being discredited within the public domain? To answer these questions, we’ll focus on representations of science in news media, in public policy, and in industry. 

Because the ways we perceive and choose to interpret science significantly shapes our understanding of our world and how it works, the work of this course will better prepare you to be more savvy, more informed, and more intentional readers and writers so that you can engage in the important political, environmental, economic, and social challenges of our time. 


Rhetorically informed introduction to college writing. Focuses on critical analysis, argument, inquiry, and information literacy. Taught as a writing workshop, the course places a premium on invention, drafting, and thoughtful revision. For placement criteria, see the Arts and Sciences advising office. Meets MAPS requirement for English. Approved for Arts and Sciences core curriculum: written communication.




From Instagram and Facebook to Big Data and the Internet, the role of social media in the shaping of identity, of relationships, and of our minds is not only fascinating but also troubling: these media are rhetorically constructed, and users who don’t understand this fact are vulnerable to the potential for their lives to be shaped, in profound ways, by the entities (government, companies, and corporations, to name a few) who produce social media content. Of course, these entities are not working alone—they are connected not only to an individual user but also to most, if not all, of that user’s social network, which means that the user is less likely to evaluate content in their feed and more likely to accept it as truth. In a moment when “alternative facts” are offered and accepted as readily as the intake of a breath, this lack of critical engagement is a problem.

In this course, we will explore the connections between social media and our lives, the ways in which our understanding of who we is shaped by such media, and the extent to which rhetorical knowledge can allow us to begin to make choices about how we want to respond to ourselves and to the world around us. We will explore topics such as how identity is rhetorically constructed, in what ways identity is a form of power, whose identity matters, how social media influences our minds, and how this knowledge can prepare us to curate the “mind” that we want. To this end, we’ll look at a variety of “texts,” from analytical writing to calls-to-action to digital stories, and students can expect to encounter a wide range of written and creative assignments, including journaling, creative nonfiction, petition writing, and digital storytelling.  

In this course, we’ll explore the protean, creative form of the essay and its Internet version, the blog, using a selection of essays drawn from a number of sources, including The Next American Essay, by John D’Agata and other readings that will be on D2L and online. What is an essay or a blog? How do current events, locations, politics, ethnicity, other genres, cultural psychology, economics, and so forth affect the form and narrative of the essay? In this class, we will extract the essay from its academic box and understand what a rich poetic, political, and cultural heritage it has. We will investigate the essay’s vital role in social, political, physical, and emotional exploration into what it means to be human on this planet. We will query how the narrator’s position in relation to audience, use of rhetorical devices and poetics, publication medium, and real world context affect the essay. An understanding of the work of essayists and bloggers can influence your own forays into critical and creative writing and thinking. You will write a series of essays (including a blog) of different lengths to experiment with different kinds of essays for different audiences. Your essays will constitute a substantial part of class reading.

When we think about the self, typically we think about beliefs we have, certain physical traits and psychological attributes that define us. We think of an identity with which we wake up each morning and go about our day. Perhaps we look in the mirror and recognize ourselves, and other people, by looking at us and interacting with us, come to know us, too. In time, we become conscious of the narrative form our lives take, the rhetorical structure that provides us with a purpose and meaning.  We become familiar with the “story of our lives.” But how real is this self and how true are these stories? Is the identity we construct for ourselves reliable and stable? And what is the connection between this self and these stories? 



Eco-Socialism, also known as green socialism or socialist ecology, is an ideology merging aspects of socialism with that of green politics, ecology, and alter-globalization or anti-globalization. Eco-socialists generally believe that the expansion of the capitalist system is the cause of social exclusion, poverty, war, and environmental degradation through globalization and imperialism under the supervision of repressive states and transnational structures. It is also a branch of scientific understanding and writing delegated to fringe elements of the academic and political community. In this course, students will develop their skills as scientific thinkers and writers through furthering their understanding of eco-socialism and how eco-socialism is portrayed in the news media. Projects include a position statement, rhetorical analysis, and action plan. 


Rhetorically informed introduction to college writing. Focuses on critical analysis, argument, inquiry, and information literacy. Taught as a writing workshop, the course places a premium on invention, drafting, and thoughtful revision. For placement criteria, see the Arts and Sciences advising office. Meets MAPS requirement for English. Approved for Arts and Sciences core curriculum: written communication.




"In The Body: A Guide for Occupants, Bill Bryson argues that “You are in the most literal sense cosmic,” and Carl Sagan often stated that “We are star stuff,” a fact that science has just proven: 97% of the body is composed of elements from the stars. The human body is a fascinating, mind-boggling machine that we tend to ignore, unless something feels amiss. In this class, we will embark upon a quest to understand what it means to be “a body,” to be “embodied,” and to have a body labeled, categorized, commodified, and destroyed. We will consider, from a rhetorical perspective, whose body matters and to whom; how bodies are used by individuals, corporations, and governments; and how bodies are controlled, interconnected, and transformed. WRTG 3020 is designed to provide students with an opportunity to strengthen their rhetorical communication and critical-thinking skills. The course focuses on analysis, engagement, and argument, with special attention to rhetorical technique; it reinforces, deepens, and extends the content of the lower division writing courses. By reading and analyzing different types of texts—including required readings, your own research, and peer essays—you will learn to hone your understanding of rhetoric to improve the effectiveness of your writing. Within the realm of understanding effective rhetoric do lie both: the global level of the writing process (clarity, cohesion, concision, precision, and revision) and the formal level of the writing process (grammar, punctuation, and writing conventions). Students will be able to reinforce these skills by practicing them via peer-review, which includes receiving and providing feedback with their classmates on these skills. The overarching goal of this course is to help you gain the tools with which to recognize habits that weaken your work, to develop new habits of engagement, and to realize your potential in writing; in other words, you will learn how to represent yourself effectively through language. Though this process is sometimes difficult, students who participate eagerly and openly will learn how to translate this information beyond the classroom setting."

In this class, we will remain steadily focused on our central investigative question: “Is a dystopia actually a utopia?” By this, I mean that many so-called “bad places” (dystopias) can in fact easily be viewed as “good places” (utopias), primarily because they create environments where humans are incapable of actually knowing they exist in a dystopia. The “bad place” is the “good place.” Such blurring of the line between dystopias and utopias stems largely from 2 primary sources. These are pleasure and fear. That is, people do not know they live in a dystopia when kept in a pleasure induced state of bliss, while fear can have the ability to create a warped sense of reality where falsehood becomes great and beautiful “truth.” We will explore these fascinating ideas through texts taken from both the pleasure and fear sides of dystopias. These will primarily include, Yevgeny Zamiatin’s We, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and George Orwell’s 1984. Other texts will include writings by Samuel Butler, H.G. Wells, and further shorter pieces by Huxley, among others.

As a term, creative nonfiction implies that it is doing something atypical or unconventional with writing—adding to nonfiction an inventive or imaginative quality that it normally lacks. Nonfiction—as a stand-alone concept—indeed often comes with unfair associations of dullness, or of staidness, but, even still, creative nonfiction could be considered a different beast altogether, employing narrative and stylistic techniques from fiction (and sometimes poetry) to tell true stories or recount real events. Creative nonfiction can, accordingly, encompass a variety of writing modes, including memoir, personal essays, travel narratives, and investigative reporting, and we will explore these forms in weekly writing workshops and readings. Rounding out the course will be a focused study of the genre of creative nonfiction itself—including its practice by others and the theories that ground it. At base, this is a course motivated by imaginative and personal storytelling that uses the essay form to engage its audience.


As a future professional in the sciences or engineering, you will be expected to write and speak clearly and convincingly to audiences not only in but also, and especially, outside your field. The purpose of this course is to provide you the opportunity to practice techniques for communicating analytically and persuasively, to further develop your creative- and critical thinking skills, and to consider how your field relates to other fields and to the civic arena. One way you will pursue these objectives is through a service-learning project, for which you will tutor local high school students for a total of eight hours in math, the sciences, or a variety of other subjects. You will use this experience to examine the relationship among doing, teaching, and learning a field; the sociological, political, and institutional factors shaping education in math and the sciences; and the various rhetorical norms involved in scientific pedagogy and practice. Of course, you will do more than the service-learning project this semester. Most of the material you will work with in class will be produced by you, discipuliextraordinaria. You will collaborate with one another, write with one another, teach one another. Count on staying busy each and every class period. Together, we will analyze the characteristics of persuasive writing about and in the sciences and education. The course will include brief units on logic and visual rhetoric. At various points in the semester we will discuss the craft of writing—e.g., writing strong, beautiful sentences that capture audiences, filling them with awe and admiration and wonder. You will complete a number of informal writing assignments. You will write two professional career documents: a personal statement and an exit message, both addressed to your service-learning partners. In groups you will write children’s books for local first graders, fallacious dialogues, and posters that teach the CU campus community about Shakespearean-era science. And you will put together an annotated bibliography that will prepare you for your final project: a piece of writing that uses book arts to share research in math or the sciences with a public audience.


Rhetorically informed introduction to college writing. Focuses on critical analysis, argument, inquiry, and information literacy. Taught as a writing workshop, the course places a premium on invention, drafting, and thoughtful revision. For placement criteria, see the Arts and Sciences advising office. Meets MAPS requirement for English. Approved for Arts and Sciences core curriculum: written communication.




Writing 3020 satisfies upper-division core requirements in the College of Arts & Sciences by extending student rhetorical knowledge and writing skills, engaging theoretical perspectives and addressing specialized disciplinary communities. This course is meant to build upon the knowledge you gained in WRTG 1150 and will help you to improve your writing by introducing you to more complex analytical reading skills as well as a variety of rhetorical strategies. Readings and in-class discussions are meant to arouse curiosity and allow for the practice of critical thinking and analysis. In order to have a common area of reading, discussion and research, I have selected the theme of the "politics of drugs" for our focus this semester. Through selected readings, videos and research we will look at the history of drugs (both worldwide and in the U.S), the debate over marijuana legalization and the politics of the drug war both domestically and internationally. 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)? For the final paper, you will be able to research and explore areas of your own interest such as: drugs and music, addiction, caffeine as a drug, prescription drug abuse, law enforcement, etc.

Why do conversations around health, medicine, and science often reveal contradictory ideas about what it means to be “healthy”? This course is designed primarily for students interested in health professions who want to examine ways language shapes our perceptions of health, medicine, expertise, and science. We’ll analyze various rhetorical practices by looking at public conversations and common health professions genres, and you’ll conduct a project that examines rhetorical practices for a health-related topic of your choice.

"I don't know what happens to country." — John Grady Cole in All the Pretty Horses. How is it that Americans feel entitled to open spaces, with privacy somehow included? This course studies the aesthetics of, ambivalence about, and violence in American spaces (real and imagined) to provide students with a field of inquiry for writing well researched and radically revised academic essays. We will range widely from poetry and fiction through spatial theory in two progressions. Progression I, Dimensional American Fictions, leads through brief exercises to a revised close reading essay on literature or film. Progression II, Histories and Theories of Space, explores the violence that tensions over space elicit in art and life; students weave extensive research through several revisions of an interdisciplinary essay. Readings may include poetry from Emily Dickinson to Walt Whitman; fiction from Chester Himes to Flannery O'Connor and Cormac McCarthy; and brief selections of non-fiction from F. J. Turner to Michel de Certeau and contemporary journalists. We will study one film, such as Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven . All students are welcome: close reading skills, advanced research, attention to the writing process, and stylistic prowess are goals of—not prerequisites to—this.