The following list is alphabetical, by course title. Check the current Course Schedule.

ADVANCED CREATIVE NONFICTION, Dr. Eric Burger

This course, as an advanced creative nonfiction course, will not only ground you in common types (or subgenres) of creative nonfiction like memoir, the personal essay, the lyric essay, and literary journalism, it will challenge you with hybrid CNF forms. These are forms that foreground compositional practices common to two or more CNF types—and often incorporate elements from other arts, for instance from poetry, painting, and/or photography. Why hybrid forms in an advanced CNF course? Jacqueline Kolosov answers this well in one of our course texts, Family Resemblance: An Anthology and Exploration of 8 Hybrid Literary Genres: “Because [hybrid forms] resist the impulse to classify, bringing them into the classroom both challenges and enlarges ways of thinking about genre and can prompt analysis and interrogation of such aspects of literary art as syntax, setting, and character, as well as more philosophical questions surrounding the nature of truth, identity, and memory.” All of this—from enlarging our thinking about genre to interrogating craft decisions—is critical in an advanced writing class, but I especially love the end of this quotation. As writers, we have to ask big philosophical questions all the time—and in a CNF class, we especially have to ask what constitutes ethical truth telling (in our creative and nonfiction genre) and what the self really might be, so the personal in our writing can be as truthful as possible. And that’s what this course is about at the most basic level: truth-telling, finding a way to write honestly. In a complex world on the brink in so many ways, a world both enriched and threatened by the most perplexing animal we know of (yup, us), honest, gripping writing that doesn’t oversimplify about humanity and its doings is a must, and it’s rare. So, I look forward to a semester with you in which we will challenge our worldviews, our various senses of self, and our thinking about what honest, memorable, even life-changing representation in CNF might look like. I look forward to exploring with you the complexities, frustrations, and joys of writing creative nonfiction.

ANIMALS IN AMERICAN INDIAN NARRATIVES, Dr. Catherine Kunce

According to Carolyn Dunn and Carol Comfort in the introduction of Through the Eye of the Deer, 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 that animals might serve as “teachers” and “culture bearers” seems far from notions that some people 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? Is it possible that how a culture perceives animals relates to its belief about humans’ position on the planet? Are we actually superior to animals? Does 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 American Indian narratives in multiple sources and by examining the implications of species equality and how it might relate to the stewardship of the planet.

BODY, MIND, IDENTITY, Jamal Khlifat

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.

BODY, MIND, IDENTITY, Stephanie Couey, MFA

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.

COMICS AND THE GRAPHIC NOVEL, Dr. Sarah Barkin

In this course, we’ll look at a number of classic and contemporary comics and graphic narratives as well as scholarly and fan-based readings as we explore the relations between comics practices and (often radically) different national, historical, cultural, and political contexts. Because this is a writing course, we’ll also focus our attention on the rhetorical function of comics, a task that requires us to tackle the surprisingly difficult job of defining comics as a medium. Over the course of the semester we’ll explore the history of comics and examine the ways in which comics engage with issues of race, gender, and sexuality. In addition, we’ll discuss how different aesthetic forms and genres not only impact a reader’s understanding of what comics are, but also ask us to deeply consider what comics can do and say about the world we live in. To this end we’ll read a wide variety of texts including, but not limited to, web comics; book-length projects; superhero comics (like Black Panther and World of Wakanda); autographics (memoirs like Fun Home, A Game for Swallows, and March); graphic journalism (like Joe Sacco’s Safe Area Goražde); and a variety of adaptations (such as Kindred, Death Note, Luke Cage, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and Wonder Woman). Students can expect to investigate these texts and other topics through lively discussions and a variety of assignments, which including a formal analytical essay, exploring the world of comics through a researched project, and creating a comics project of their own. Each assignment will give students the opportunity to practice and develop their analytical skills through purposeful reading, critical thinking, and thoughtful writing as we delve into the complex, colorful, and fascinating world of comics.

CROSS-CULTURAL COMMUNICATION: INTERGENERATIONAL, Eric Klinger, M.A

In this class, we will investigate notions of the American Dream by considering how our identities interact with cultural mythologies that we live out across generations. Our class incorporates Boulder Community partners from the Baby Boomer (1946-64) and Silent Generations (1925-45) to facilitate a richer and more nuanced conversation between and among generations. We will read articles about the writing process and ways of using writing to interrogate, reflect upon, and communicate ideas. We’ll also read, discuss, and write about perceptions and realities of the American Dream as experienced by people from a wide range of identities. You will workshop each of the major writing assignments in class at least once. During workshops you’ll bring your draft to class and you and your classmates will respond with feedback and suggestions. I can’t emphasize enough how valuable workshops can be, and I urge you not to discount your classmates’ input just because they aren’t experts. For instance, I am not a director, nor have I even been to Hollywood, but I can thoroughly critique a movie or television show and offer valuable feedback to the creators. In the same way, readers can provide invaluable feedback for improving your ability to organize and articulate information meaningfully. We will also spend time in the library developing effective research and citation strategies— essential skills for your academic career. Written assignments in this class will require you to compose and present in a variety of formats about diverse topics directed at various audiences. This will best prepare you to meet future interdisciplinary challenges of writing in various academic fields.

DON'T FENCE ME IN, Dr. Jay Ellis

"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.

EUROPE IN CRISIS, Dr. Damian Doyle

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.

FEMINISM AND MOTHERHOOD, Nikki Barnett, Ph.D.

Writing 3020: Topics in Writing 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 gained in WRTG 1150 and will help students to improve their writing by introducing 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. Students will further their understanding of rhetorical concepts through the reading and analysis of various texts related to feminism and motherhood. The course will begin by exploring students’ own relationships with feminism and motherhood. Next, students will demonstrate their understanding of the discourse around feminism and motherhood by producing their own written texts on the subject. The course explores texts of various kinds, including personal essays, nonfiction essays, academic arguments, podcasts, and literature. Thus, in this class students will get the opportunity to produce each of these genre forms.

Throughout the class, special attention will be paid to the different rhetorical strategies–e.g. audience, voice, genre–that we highlight in our course materials. Are there certain images of mothers that recur? How do authors use their chosen genres to explore the concepts of mothers and feminism, and to what effect? How do authors tailor their messages or ideas to their chosen audience? What do global representations and discussions of motherhood have in common? What differences can we identify? What historical changes are evident in representations of mothers and feminism? Finally, what does ethical rhetoric about feminism and motherhood mean, and what does it look like?

GENDER AND SEXUALITY: QUEER LIVES IN MEDIA, Riley Bartlett

In the last few years, queer and trans people have gained new representation in media. In this class, we will examine queer lives through depictions of community and intimacy, both during and after the AIDs epidemic. Through documentaries, television series, and literature, we will explore how portrayals of queer representation has changed over time.

LANGUAGE OF WAR, David Chu, MA

Men are haunted by the vastness of eternity. And so we ask ourselves: Will our actions echo across the centuries? Will strangers hear our names long after we are gone, and wonder who we were, how bravely we fought, how fiercely we loved?

            —Troy (Warner Bros., 2004)

War was a defining part of the ancient world; it comes as little surprise, then, that warfare also featured prominently in Greek and Roman literature, art, and theater. This course will explore ancient Greek and Roman warfare through the lens of rhetoric: how did the ancient authors write about war? How did they record and memorialize the great battles of their past and present? How did they manipulate these accounts of battles, soldiers, and heroes for their own ends?

In this course, we will explore the language of war through a variety of texts, genres, and eras. Our course will span from the Greek Dark Ages and the epic poetry of Homer; to the height of the Athenian Empire and the works of Aristophanes and Thucydides; to the military machine of Rome and the writings of Caesar and Livy. Through it, we will gain an understanding of the rhetorical styles and techniques that were employed by Greek and Roman authors, as well as a deeper appreciation for these ancient cultures and the texts they produced.

All readings will be in English. No knowledge of Greek or Latin is necessary, nor is prior experience with the ancient world (though students with a background in Classics are welcomed!).

MOUNTAIN PEOPLE / MOUNTAIN PLACES, Dr. Scott Holman

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. You will further your understanding of rhetorical concepts through the reading and analysis of various discourses related to the study of mountain geographies and cultures. We will begin by exploring our own individual relationship with landscape, particularly mountain landscapes. You will then demonstrate your understanding of the genre and discourse of nature writing by producing your own descriptive essay that particularly seeks to establish a sense of place. The course the explore narratives that discuss our personal interaction with mountains, particularly as a site for growth and survival.  This exploration will lead to the writing of a personal narrative that takes into account your own personal interaction with mountains, mountain places, and mountain people.  We will then explore the rhetoric of mountains and mountain adventure.  In this section of class, you will be introduced to the concepts of rhetorical analysis and will demonstrate your mastery of these concepts through an essay that analyzes the visual, aural, and verbal rhetoric of the film The Art of Flight. In preparing for and writing the these three essays, we will see how certain themes, such as mountains as a site for change and mountain life as an internal and external challenge, surface and resurface.  Having identified these themes, we will read Jack Kerouac’s Dharma Bums and see how these themes come into play.  Students will then be required to write a literary analysis of this book, which will require researching and gathering outside sources that will serve to defend your argument.  In addition to these four core essays, students will also engage with in-class writings focused on individual themes regarding mountain people and mountain places.  Finally, you will choose a particular aspect of the mountains or mountain culture to research and explore in-depth within your major discipline and give a digital presentation to the class regarding your research. 

MULTICULTURAL RHETORICS, Dr. Andrea Feldman

This course will ask students to write analyses and arguments based on readings that reflect our multicultural heritage.  In responding to texts that represent cultural diversity, students will evaluate issues and relate them to their own multicultural experiences.  Through these readings as well as class discussion of written assignments, students will learn to make reasoned arguments in defense of their own opinions.  By examining diverse voices, this course helps students meet the challenges of academic writing.  This course will extend your ability to adapt rhetorical strategies and arguments on multiculturalism to address the needs of a range of different audiences and stakeholders.

NARRATIVE AND THE SELF, Dr. Sigman Byrd

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?

NEW MEDIA AND CIVIC ENGAGEMENT, Paula Wenger, M.A.

The most powerful force in social change is now digital media. But the driver is still rhetoric.

WRTG 3020 New Media and Civic Engagement is grounded in the academic field of rhetoric. The technology driving digital media changes rapidly, with new media emerging every day. A rhetorical approach to creating digital media material accelerates your ability to work in new forms as the emerge. 

The rhetorical concepts we'll apply to creating digital media include:

  • Information literacy--elevating your ethos through credibility and ethics
  • Genre analysis--identifying the elements of rapidly changing media in order to shape them
  • Rhetorical analysis—understanding audience, purpose, and contexts, for targeting messages
  • Modes of rhetoric--selecting linguistic, visual, and aural elements for higher impact
  • Design choices--applying time-tested design principles for aesthetics and persuasion
  • Narrative--capturing the power of storytelling
  • Messaging-- crafting messages that stick
  • Circulation and virality--investigating the mysteries of going viral

For your generation, technology has sped up your intake of media to a degree that can make it difficult to understand why it impacts you--and others--the way it does. In this course, you will slow down, analyze, and explore so that you can create informed, well-crafted, high-impact work.

NEW YORKER/NON-FICTION, Dr. Anthony Abiragi

Working with major pieces from The New Yorker, this writing course will train students in the analysis and composition of diverse modes of nonfiction: personal narrative, extended profiles, historical nonfiction, and explanatory narratives. We’ll examine short genres as well: the anecdote and the vignette, for example. Throughout, we’ll pay special attention to narrative structure, engage with various philosophies of narrative (notably, those of Paul Ricœur), and complete various forms of narrative analysis. Finally, we’ll perform basic research practices such as annotation, library searches, and practices related to information literacy. 

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE: RHETORICAL ATMOSPHERES, Dr. John Ackerman

We approach environmental justice by pressing upon the relationship between atmosphere and violence.  We look to scientific metrics from atmospheric and ocean studies to reconsider thresholds of harm.  For example, air and water identify as “polluted” by way of science and policy when their PPMs reach an “assimilated capacity” or an arbitrary threshold set by scientists, taken as policy for what counts as harm.  We then turn to BIPOC scholars who turn to “residence time” as another biological metric for the time it takes for an entity (a think, a person) to reach a point of equilibrium.  Those scholars turn to science to image an ecological “ossuary” or holding place for lost lives and fractured ways of being.  We in class will employ “rhetorical content analysis” to parse scientific (and other) academic texts for these kinds of ideas, and to speculate on “otherwise worlds” and by composing “anagrammatical” (beyond normal syntax) stories and “phantasmic” (beyond normalized data) interpretations.  We seek a wise, public-facing reconciliation among inclusive gestures, poetic expression, and science account during these, our challenging times. 

QUEER RHETORICS, Dr. Tracy Ferrell

Queer Rhetorics will examine the ways in which the decentering of cis gender, heteronormative gender/sexuality destabilizes mainstream discourses. We will study both the history of queer genders and sexuality as well as current socio-political issues around queerness. Students will read seminal texts of queer theory, watch documentaries, and read various popular media accounts of queer issues.  This course will particularly focus on the ways in which gender fluidity destabilizes normative discourses.  We will look at drag as rhetoric of resistance and examine why trans identities are so threatening to traditional societal norms.  Student writing will include rhetorical analysis of both text and visual arguments along with research-based arguments.  All students will have the opportunity to research and write about queer issues of their particular interests.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE MIND, Michelle Albert, MFA

The smartphone as we know it was first introduced into our world in 2007; along with the device came the burgeoning popularity of social media. Also in that same time frame, researchers and journalists have reported a sharp rise in the rates of anxiety and depression among people in their teens and 20s. So, what does this mean? What is the relationship between smartphones / social media and well-being, especially among the generation that has been using these technologies since childhood? Clearly the ubiquitous presence of smartphones affects a lot about the way we live, including how we relate to others and to ourselves; how we communicate; how we spend our time; how we think; and how we receive, share, and understand information. We’ll explore these themes through reading, writing, research, and discussion. This course is taught as a writing workshop and is designed to help you hone your writing, research, and critical thinking skills.

STORIES IN AMERICAN CULTURE, Tobin von der Nuell, M.A

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). 

TRAVEL WRITING, Ginger Knowlton, Ph.D.

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, 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 concepts such as the tourist gaze and the sublime as we analyze a variety of travel narratives. Since this is a course in writing, you will be asked to try different drafting and revision techniques designed to help you write more quickly as you discover the complex ideas that lurk beneath your initial impressions. In addition to rhetorical analyses of language and visuals, you will craft a literary journalism project on a topic of your choice that combines creative nonfiction techniques, research, and personal experience. Please enroll in this class only if you are willing to engage, discuss, ponder, read, write, revise, share and laugh. You need not have traveled extensively to take this course. 

U.S. RESISTANCE MOVEMENTS, Dr. Elia Newsom

In WRTG 3020: The Rhetoric & Writing of Socialism, students will explore the history and evolution of socialism in the United States, focusing on the rhetoric and writing that has shaped and reflected the movement over time. Students will analyze various forms of socialist writing, including speeches, manifestos, essays, and first-hand accounts from people involved in the socialist movement, and consider how these texts function within their historical and cultural contexts. Through close reading, critical analysis, writing exercises, and learning by doing, students will develop their own rhetorical skills and deepen their understanding of the role of language in shaping social and political movements.

WAYS OF TELLING THE STORY, Michelle Gurule, MFA

In this class, we will study an array of nonfiction genres including literary journalism, memoir, vignettes/shorts, radio essays, journalism, and satirical essays, peer reviewed journals, infographics and other types of work by nonfiction writers. We will focus on how narrative and research tell different stories, how the two components complement one another, and why narrative and facts impact us differently as readers. We will consider and practice the techniques nonfictionists use to suit different purposes and appeal to various audiences. You will practice critiquing your own work, the work of your classmates and the work of published writers. You will also conduct research within the CU Library system and beyond. 

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.

 

ADVANCED CREATIVE NONFICTION, Dr. Eric Burger

This course, as an advanced creative nonfiction course, will not only ground you in common types (or subgenres) of creative nonfiction like memoir, the personal essay, the lyric essay, and literary journalism, it will challenge you with hybrid CNF forms. These are forms that foreground compositional practices common to two or more CNF types—and often incorporate elements from other arts, for instance from poetry, painting, and/or photography. Why hybrid forms in an advanced CNF course? Jacqueline Kolosov answers this well in one of our course texts, Family Resemblance: An Anthology and Exploration of 8 Hybrid Literary Genres: “Because [hybrid forms] resist the impulse to classify, bringing them into the classroom both challenges and enlarges ways of thinking about genre and can prompt analysis and interrogation of such aspects of literary art as syntax, setting, and character, as well as more philosophical questions surrounding the nature of truth, identity, and memory.” All of this—from enlarging our thinking about genre to interrogating craft decisions—is critical in an advanced writing class, but I especially love the end of this quotation. As writers, we have to ask big philosophical questions all the time—and in a CNF class, we especially have to ask what constitutes ethical truth telling (in our creative and nonfiction genre) and what the self really might be, so the personal in our writing can be as truthful as possible. And that’s what this course is about at the most basic level: truth-telling, finding a way to write honestly. In a complex world on the brink in so many ways, a world both enriched and threatened by the most perplexing animal we know of (yup, us), honest, gripping writing that doesn’t oversimplify about humanity and its doings is a must, and it’s rare. So, I look forward to a semester with you in which we will challenge our worldviews, our various senses of self, and our thinking about what honest, memorable, even life-changing representation in CNF might look like. I look forward to exploring with you the complexities, frustrations, and joys of writing creative nonfiction.

AFTER THE HOLOCAUST, Dr. Sarah Barkin

How do we, or can we—as individuals and as a society—talk about traumatic events like genocide and their impact on our society? How do the generations who come “after” grapple with the “inherited” or “received” memories and histories of others’ traumatic pasts? As the title for “WRTG 3020: After the Holocaust” suggests, we’ll be using the Holocaust as a starting point for our conversations about the representation and legacies of trauma, history, and memory. Over the course of the semester we’ll also explore how the representation of the Holocaust has influenced the way we relate to other genocidal moments in history. Because this is a writing course, we’ll pay particular attention to the roles that genre and medium/form can play in influencing our knowledge and memory of these events. To this end we’ll look at a wide variety of texts, including short stories, poetry, newspaper articles, historical narratives, memoirs, feature films, art and museum exhibits, and graphic narratives/comics. Students can expect to encounter a range of written/creative assignments, including an analytical paper, a researched project on a relevant topic of their choice, and a videographic essay that asks them to explore the rhetorical power of images (e.g. photographs, films, etc.) in a more poetic and evocative way. Moreover, in our discussions and written assignments, we’ll continue to develop and use our skills of purposeful reading, critical thinking, and thoughtful writing as we take on the task of trying to understand events that many argue are impossible to comprehend.

AMERICAN ROAD TRIPS, Dr. Jarad Krywicki

America’s collective imaginings of the road have transformed as often as the nation’s roads themselves. Across these transformations—perhaps because of them—the American road has remained iconic, central to our evolving understanding of individualism, nation, and progress. For many Americans, such iconic status often serves as motivation to go “on the road” and, like Walt Whitman or Jack Kerouac, to celebrate these travels through literary expression. As such road texts illustrate, however, the American road also reflects problematic contradictions inherent to U.S. conceptions of self and society. Thus, the road simultaneously represents a rite of passage and a desperate escape, a path to adventure and a confinement of the wild, a wellspring of spiritual energy and a hollowed space of U.S. consumerism, an atmosphere of transgressive freedom and an inescapable imprint of social engineering, and a story waiting to be told and a line already written. Together, we will follow the winding trope of the American Road Trip, mapping its development through influential historical periods and geographic spaces. Through a close look at representative road narratives, blues and folk songs, films, and poetry, we will see the road trip evolve from an avenue of romantic possibility, to a space of leisure for motorists, to a conduit for rebellion and transgression, and finally to its current incarnations. We will use these texts as inspiration and models for our own writing as we consider the rhetorical dimensions of the road narrative and the past, present, and future of the American road trip.

ANIMALS IN AMERICAN INDIAN NARRATIVES, Dr. Catherine Kunce

According to Carolyn Dunn and Carol Comfort in the introduction of Through the Eye of the Deer, 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 that animals might serve as “teachers” and “culture bearers” seems far from notions that some people 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? Is it possible that how a culture perceives animals relates to its belief about humans’ position on the planet? Are we actually superior to animals? Does 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 American Indian narratives in multiple sources and by examining the implications of species equality and how it might relate to the stewardship of the planet.

COMICS AND THE GRAPHIC NOVEL, Dr. Sarah Barkin

In this course, we’ll look at a number of classic and contemporary comics and graphic narratives as well as scholarly and fan-based readings as we explore the relations between comics practices and (often radically) different national, historical, cultural, and political contexts. Because this is a writing course, we’ll also focus our attention on the rhetorical function of comics, a task that requires us to tackle the surprisingly difficult job of defining comics as a medium. Over the course of the semester we’ll explore the history of comics and examine the ways in which comics engage with issues of race, gender, and sexuality. In addition, we’ll discuss how different aesthetic forms and genres not only impact a reader’s understanding of what comics are, but also ask us to deeply consider what comics can do and say about the world we live in. To this end we’ll read a wide variety of texts including, but not limited to, web comics; book-length projects; superhero comics (like Black Panther and World of Wakanda); autographics (memoirs like Fun Home, A Game for Swallows, and March); graphic journalism (like Joe Sacco’s Safe Area Goražde); and a variety of adaptations (such as Kindred, Death Note, Luke Cage, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and Wonder Woman). Students can expect to investigate these texts and other topics through lively discussions and a variety of assignments, which including a formal analytical essay, exploring the world of comics through a researched project, and creating a comics project of their own. Each assignment will give students the opportunity to practice and develop their analytical skills through purposeful reading, critical thinking, and thoughtful writing as we delve into the complex, colorful, and fascinating world of comics.

DYSTOPIAS, Dr. Matthew Henningsen

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.

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE: RHETORICAL ATMOSPHERES, Dr. John Ackerman

We approach environmental justice by pressing upon the relationship between atmosphere and violence.  We look to scientific metrics from atmospheric and ocean studies to reconsider thresholds of harm.  For example, air and water identify as “polluted” by way of science and policy when their PPMs reach an “assimilated capacity” or an arbitrary threshold set by scientists, taken as policy for what counts as harm.  We then turn to BIPOC scholars who turn to “residence time” as another biological metric for the time it takes for an entity (a think, a person) to reach a point of equilibrium.  Those scholars turn to science to image an ecological “ossuary” or holding place for lost lives and fractured ways of being.  We in class will employ “rhetorical content analysis” to parse scientific (and other) academic texts for these kinds of ideas, and to speculate on “otherwise worlds” and by composing “anagrammatical” (beyond normal syntax) stories and “phantasmic” (beyond normalized data) interpretations.  We seek a wise, public-facing reconciliation among inclusive gestures, poetic expression, and science account during these, our challenging times.

WRITING ON NATURE, Dr. Kurtis Hessel

"Repealing Large Codes of Fraud and Woe” – Writing Nature, Rewriting Society

Looking upon the majesty of Mont Blanc in the Alps, the radical English poet Percy Shelley writes, “Thou has a voice, great Mountain, to repeal / Large codes of fraud and woe; not understood / By all, but which the wise, the great, and good / Interpret, or make felt, or deeply feel.” Confronted with the mountain’s sublimity, its longevity and overwhelming size, Shelley deems it an appropriate symbol for the deep capacity of nature to resist, refuse, and evade any restraints humans might try to put on it. He posits that a devoted cadre of “the wise, the great and good” can hear the voice of nature and can translate that voice for the benefit of humankind. A long tradition of nature writers has echoed similar sentiments, looking to the natural world as a place for recovery, a place of instruction, and a place from which to begin anew. Writers from the English poet William Wordsworth to the American transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau have found in nature inspiration to treat their fellow humans better, even if it required “civil disobedience.” Naturalists like Aldo Leopold and Rachel Carson have gleaned from nature guidance about how humans can live in greater harmony with the other living beings on the planet. And those of us caught in the busy commerce of everyday life have read study after study that shows how returning to nature promises respite, fulfillment, and the promise of self-discovery. 

Nature offers up such lessons because it is inscrutable, but we can glean patterns in its dynamic arrangements that help us better to understand ourselves. From its quietness and complexity, humanity has drawn an endless stock of metaphors for sober personal reflection, poetry, and narrative. Most often, the lessons we take from nature are products of an exchange with it: we observe with our senses, reflect, and craft stories and meanings upon what we have seen. The fieldmouse gathering seeds for the winter becomes a symbol for foresight and industry. The lion on the savannah signifies the ruling priority of might and ferocity. It is through the medium of language, though, that we construct these life lessons and guiding narratives. And if nature’s sublimity offers us a vantage from which to “repeal / Large codes of fraud and woe,” unjust laws and social conventions, it does so because the natural world has long served as the empirical grounds, the bedrock and base, for all of our stories. If we could strip away all our social scripts, habits, and hierarchies and were left only with nature, what new world might we build from that second beginning? 

In this class, we will explore the close link between nature and language by reading a variety of essays, book excerpts, and poems that fall broadly under the heading of “nature writing” and by doing some composing of our own. In particular, we will hone our skills at description, because it is through the careful arrangement of details that nature writers invite audiences to share their views of natural phenomena and accept that their lessons and edicts arise from close empirical observation of the natural world. We will identify and understand the tactics of figurative language that writers use to “animate” nature, to invest it with spirit and a “voice” capable of speaking profound truths, and we’ll catalog the ways of conceptualizing the relationship between humans and their environments that result from these symbolic superstructures. Finally, we’ll close the course by considering the rhetorical tactics authors use to frame nature as a space apart from society, from which to mount criticisms of the status quo, ultimately blurring the boundary between nature and culture.

ESSAY TO BLOG, Dr. Sarah Massey-Warren

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.

FOOD AND CULTURE, Stephanie Couey

“Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es.” // “Tell me what you eat, and I shall tell you what you are.” – Jean Anthem Brillat-Savarin

Throughout this semester, we will compose several compositional works across academic and non-academic genres. Our task at hand is to strengthen our writing and rhetorical skills while unpacking how we write and think about food (glorious food!), culture, and cultural identity. Underpinning this course is the argument that food is far more than just sustenance, but is the very stuff of culture and cultural identity. We will thus center food—and all of its cultural, physiological, and affective significances—throughout our ongoing processes of composition, creation, and revision. We will unpack how food itself is a rhetorical tool, used to make and support varied arguments pertaining to culture. To assist our written inquiries, we will engage with works that, through varying genres and rhetorical modes, speak to the many ways food is not just a part of culture, but foundational to it.

Some critical topics, as they relate to food, that we will unpack through writing, critical reading, and engaged discussion include:

1.     culture and cultural identity

2.     race, gender, sexuality, class, (dis)ability, and intersections of identity

3.     human bodies, animal bodies, and agency

4.     the environment and agriculture

5.     cooking and domesticity

6.     national identity and nationalism

7.     food as symbol or metaphor

8.     globalization and globalism

Our goals for the semester are to produce persuasive works of food-centered rhetoric across academic and popular genres, to better understand our own relationships to food and culture, and to continuously challenge ourselves as writers, thinkers, and communicators. The nature of this class is deeply collaborative and process-oriented, centering discussion, peer-review, and extensive revision. We will build upon concepts learned in lower level courses to elevate our efficacy and confidence in writing toward varying audiences within and beyond the institution. Finally, we will engage in the reflective, rewarding, and often vulnerable work of developing our own styles and voices as writers.

GENDER AND SEXUALITY: QUEER LIVES IN MEDIA, Riley Bartlett

In the last few years, queer and trans people have gained new representation in media. In this class, we will examine queer lives through depictions of community and intimacy, both during and after the AIDs epidemic. Through documentaries, television series, and literature, we will explore how portrayals of queer representation has changed over time.

LANGUAGE OF WAR, David Chu, MA

Men are haunted by the vastness of eternity. And so we ask ourselves: Will our actions echo across the centuries? Will strangers hear our names long after we are gone, and wonder who we were, how bravely we fought, how fiercely we loved?

            —Troy (Warner Bros., 2004)

War was a defining part of the ancient world; it comes as little surprise, then, that warfare also featured prominently in Greek and Roman literature, art, and theater. This course will explore ancient Greek and Roman warfare through the lens of rhetoric: how did the ancient authors write about war? How did they record and memorialize the great battles of their past and present? How did they manipulate these accounts of battles, soldiers, and heroes for their own ends?

In this course, we will explore the language of war through a variety of texts, genres, and eras. Our course will span from the Greek Dark Ages and the epic poetry of Homer; to the height of the Athenian Empire and the works of Aristophanes and Thucydides; to the military machine of Rome and the writings of Caesar and Livy. Through it, we will gain an understanding of the rhetorical styles and techniques that were employed by Greek and Roman authors, as well as a deeper appreciation for these ancient cultures and the texts they produced.

All readings will be in English. No knowledge of Greek or Latin is necessary, nor is prior experience with the ancient world (though students with a background in Classics are welcomed!).

MEDICAL DISCOURSES, Dr. Lonni Pearce

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.

MOUNTAIN PEOPLE / MOUNTAIN PLACES, Dr. Scott Holman

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. You will further your understanding of rhetorical concepts through the reading and analysis of various discourses related to the study of mountain geographies and cultures. We will begin by exploring our own individual relationship with landscape, particularly mountain landscapes. You will then demonstrate your understanding of the genre and discourse of nature writing by producing your own descriptive essay that particularly seeks to establish a sense of place. The course the explore narratives that discuss our personal interaction with mountains, particularly as a site for growth and survival.  This exploration will lead to the writing of a personal narrative that takes into account your own personal interaction with mountains, mountain places, and mountain people.  We will then explore the rhetoric of mountains and mountain adventure.  In this section of class, you will be introduced to the concepts of rhetorical analysis and will demonstrate your mastery of these concepts through an essay that analyzes the visual, aural, and verbal rhetoric of the film The Art of Flight. In preparing for and writing the these three essays, we will see how certain themes, such as mountains as a site for change and mountain life as an internal and external challenge, surface and resurface.  Having identified these themes, we will read Jack Kerouac’s Dharma Bums and see how these themes come into play.  Students will then be required to write a literary analysis of this book, which will require researching and gathering outside sources that will serve to defend your argument.  In addition to these four core essays, students will also engage with in-class writings focused on individual themes regarding mountain people and mountain places.  Finally, you will choose a particular aspect of the mountains or mountain culture to research and explore in-depth within your major discipline and give a digital presentation to the class regarding your research.

MULTICULTURAL RHETORICS, Dr. Gabrielle Ríos

Kendall Leon has articulated "Chicana" as a rhetorical term: "Chicana/o/[x] people created 'Chicano' identity to speak to the experiences of living in the United States with a connection to a Latino/a/[x] background, and for most, recognizing an indigenous connection as well (which terms like Hispanic and Latin American erase)." In other words, while identities like Hispanic and Latino were created for census data, identities like Chicana are intentional and were created from within the community to account for the breadth of Chicana lived experience. 

Chicana rhetorics, then, are the rhetorical strategies and concepts that communities who identify as Chicana use to create community identity as well as to cultivate social and political change. In this course, we will primarily (though not exclusively) trace Chicana rhetorics through the history of radio/podcasting forms of public engagement, and the final (group) project for the class will be to create a podcast. Ultimately, our goal will be to better understand how Chicanas have contributed to larger social and political movements into the present day.

NARRATIVE AND THE SELF, Dr. Sigman Byrd

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?

NARRATIVE AND THE SELF, Dr. Andrew Wilson

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?

NEW MEDIA AND CIVIC ENGAGEMENT, Paula Wenger, M.A.

The most powerful force in social change is now digital media. But the driver is still rhetoric.

WRTG 3020 New Media and Civic Engagement is grounded in the academic field of rhetoric. The technology driving digital media changes rapidly, with new media emerging every day. A rhetorical approach to creating digital media material accelerates your ability to work in new forms as the emerge. 

The rhetorical concepts we'll apply to creating digital media include:

  • Information literacy--elevating your ethos through credibility and ethics
  • Genre analysis--identifying the elements of rapidly changing media in order to shape them
  • Rhetorical analysis—understanding audience, purpose, and contexts, for targeting messages
  • Modes of rhetoric--selecting linguistic, visual, and aural elements for higher impact
  • Design choices--applying time-tested design principles for aesthetics and persuasion
  • Narrative--capturing the power of storytelling
  • Messaging-- crafting messages that stick
  • Circulation and virality--investigating the mysteries of going viral

For your generation, technology has sped up your intake of media to a degree that can make it difficult to understand why it impacts you--and others--the way it does. In this course, you will slow down, analyze, and explore so that you can create informed, well-crafted, high-impact work.

NEW MEDIA AND CIVIC ENGAGEMENT, Dr. Laurie Gries

This course explores how multimodal communication and new media design are central to democratic action. Because this semester falls within a presidential election season, we will develop a theoretical and practical understanding of how to compose multimedia artifacts for political campaigns intended to garner support for or opposition a particular candidate. We will explore not only how multimodal designs can be distributed in physical spaces to increase chances for broad circulation but also learn how social networking sites such as Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter can be used to accelerate circulation of campaign messaging. Putting this knowledge into practice, you will work collaboratively on a small team to produce your own visual media campaign (related to the current presidential election) and attempt to make it go “viral” on the CU-­‐Boulder Campus. Through such studies and activities, you can expect to become a more critically informed designer, producer, and distributor of multimodal persuasion—three skills essential for effective new media communication and civic engagement in the digital age.

NEW YOR TIMES, Dr. Anthony Abiragi

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.

NEW YORK TIMES, Orly Hersh

Through sustained inquiry into the many genres and topics featured in the New York Times, students will work on advanced writing skills. Students will compare journalistic genres, practice writing arguments in a number of styles and for different purposes, and explore a wide variety of current events as they are reflected in the pages of the Times. The course emphasizes analysis, criticism and argument. Taught as a writing workshop, this course places a premium on group discussion, workshopping, and substantive, thoughtful revision.

POLITICS OF DRUGS, Dr. Tracy Ferrell 

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.

PRIVACY AND DIGITAL SURVEILLANCE IN THE 21ST CENTURY, Dr. Adam Padgett

In an information economy, attention and engagement become the currency that keeps a wide variety of free digital services running. However, what is our role in this information economy? We take pictures of each other and post them online. Our personal data is collected, sold, and tracked for corporate profit. So, are we the customers? Are we the product? Something else entirely?

Technology mediates how we interact, how we communicate, and even how we think. In this class, we will consider how digital composing tools (social media, camera phones, predictive analytic algorithms, etc.) have facilitated rhetorics of watching. We will analyze how economies of watching have turned privacy into a commodity. It seems that there is no “going online” anymore. We are always online. We are always public.

In this topics course, we will read and understand some of the basic arguments and perspectives in contemporary surveillance studies to better understand the current state of privacy in a digital culture. We will also read a few theoretical pieces about how societal and institutional watching shapes our behaviors and our very subjectivities.

Through this work, students will develop a rhetorical literacy as we write and analyze arguments embedded in the digital tools and infrastructures we use every day. We will also consider rhetoric as an ambient force. That is, because surveillance is often in the background, rarely noticed, it can serve as an ideological, persuasive force that we are subject to and may not even be aware of.

In this class, students will develop primary research methods to study the ways humans are surveilled online. Students will also create writing projects that engage multiple modes of communication to convey their findings to non-expert audiences who may be unaware of the potential risks and ethics of surveillance.

Some critical questions we’ll attempt to answer include: What is the difference between public and private life? Is privacy overrated? What even is privacy?

RACE, CLASS, GENDER, Dr. Nisha Shanmugaraj

Race. Class. Gender. Sex. Sexual Orientation. Ability. Age. Nationality. Ethnicity. Religion. Geography. The list of identity categories goes on. In recent years there has been an explosion of what some call “wokeness” but what we might call critical identity discourses that interrogate how various identities carry privilege and/or inequality and shape lived experiences. In this class, we will enter these conversations, gaining exposure to canonical theory and current-day commentary about social identity categories, focusing on race and its intersections with class and gender. Using diverse texts including online magazines, podcasts, academic articles and books, entertainment media, and more, we will examine the common themes and rhetorical strategies of critical identity discourse. We will interrogate questions such as: What are common themes in this discourse around race, class, and gender? How do authors define and construct the social weight of these intersecting identity categories? How do they create community – and division – based on these categories? Moreover, we will take a rhetorical lens to understand how authors can use various discursive strategies to enact social change through critical identity discourse. You will hone your own writing process, deconstructing any friction in those processes, by communicating within a variety of academic and public-facing genres. Ultimately, you will contribute to these ongoing conversations by writing a research paper and creating your own personal/political text. This seminar-style course is centered around open-minded class discussion, writing workshops, and critical reflection of our own established beliefs.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE MIND, Michelle Albert, MFA

The smartphone as we know it was first introduced into our world in 2007; along with the device came the burgeoning popularity of social media. Also in that same time frame, researchers and journalists have reported a sharp rise in the rates of anxiety and depression among people in their teens and 20s. So, what does this mean? What is the relationship between smartphones / social media and well-being, especially among the generation that has been using these technologies since childhood? Clearly the ubiquitous presence of smartphones affects a lot about the way we live, including how we relate to others and to ourselves; how we communicate; how we spend our time; how we think; and how we receive, share, and understand information. We’ll explore these themes through reading, writing, research, and discussion. This course is taught as a writing workshop and is designed to help you hone your writing, research, and critical thinking skills.

SPORTS IN AMERICAN CULTURE, Dr. Peter Kratzke

This particular section of WRTG 3020, titled "Sports in American Culture," attends very carefully to the merger of critical thinking and literacy underlying one, all-encompassing genre: formal argumentation. By doing so, the course's overall aim centers on what is known in the field of Rhetoric/Composition as "transfer" (or "transference"), which means that you be able to take what you learn and then adjust to, and succeed in, any writing occasion that you encounter along life's path. The world of sports provides a ready example of this goal, for it is a place where one sometimes finds athletes who are good in a variety of sports: give such people a ball (as it were), and they can do what needs doing. Similarly, this course is designed so that you achieve the best kind of "jack-of-all-trades" competency, whether writing a successful cover letter one moment, a poem the next, or a stock analysis the next. 

The course is composed of four units. The first unit is a "learning to write" progression of shorter assignments, the whole of which emphasizing a rigorous sense of craft. The second unit centers on the first of the course's three major writing assignments and explores in an expository fashion categories ("creating a box," such may be called in an image). Through it, you will apply in a fairly static way the information from Unit One. The third unit moves to contextual analysis ("creating a box and putting something in it," to continue the image). You will thus move to a more dynamic practice of ideas in action. Finally, the fourth unit culminates the course in the time-honored social goal of argumentation ("creating a box, putting something in it, and judging the whole," to conclude the image).

TRAVEL WRITING, Ginger Knowlton, Ph.D.

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).

TV AND AMERICAN CULTURE, Marisa Tirado

In this course, students will utilize television for tracking various societal discourses. We will examine TV’s impact on ourselves, as well as what power we hold to influence TV back. From The Sopranos to Squid Games, students will examine portrayals of romance, community, friendship, capitalism, and other spheres. Large assignments include multi-genre projects like op-eds and original series pitches. Class participation and discussion will be a large portion of the course grade. Shows we will cover may include and are not limited to: HBO Girls, I May Destroy You, Insecure, Fleabag, Veep, Jane the Virgin, BoJack Horseman, Big Mouth, The Handmaid’s Tale, On My Block, Reservation Dogs, Succession, and SNL, among others.

WAYS OF TELLING THE STORY, Bret Strauch, Ph.D.

Sound moves not just through our ears, but through our bodies. Loud sounds can be sensed on our skin, in our bones. It is hard to escape sound. When you watch a horror movie, you can cover your eyes from the horror, but the sound of the knife’s slash, the sound of sloshing of organs, and the eventual thud of the body are much harder to hide from. 

Even though visual storytelling has occupied a place of dominance in our culture, we have seen an emergence of new stories being created in aural forms, i.e.: podcasts. Podcasts and sound writing are having an increasingly larger cultural impact. And it is becoming more important as writers and content creators that we can write, compose, and edit in sound.

Our course will cultivate your ability to write for and in sound. You will gain a blend of practical and theoretical work in writing with sound. You will research discourse communities and analyze genres that have resulted from the emerging podcast environment. Additionally, you will learn how to write for a variety of audio genres as well as learn how to edit, revise, and publish for audio. We will examine the rhetorical effect of sound as a medium for discourse and storytelling.

Throughout the course we will listen to and analyze a number of audio stories and sound-based texts. We will think deeply about issues of audiences, ethics, information literacy, and narrative storytelling.

WRITING ON MUSIC, Dr. Steve Lamos

This course asks you to write about your embodied experiences with musical genres, live musical performances, and music scenes.  Using rhetorical work from Hawk, Ceraso, Massumi, Eidsheim, Eshun, and others rooted in affect theory, resonance theory, and theories of vibrational ontology, it requires that you write clear, well-researched arguments for both academic and popular audiences.  It also highlights effective grammatical and stylistic choice-making.

WRITING ROME, Dr. Matthew Henningsen

Our course together is an exciting Global Intensive offering through the Program for Writing and Rhetoric (PWR). This means that we will remain on the CU-Boulder campus during our 15-week semester, and then take what we have learned to Rome at the end of the term to see and investigate more deeply our course content. Our Rome portion of the class will span 11 days. 

More specifically, and with this Global Intensive framework of the course understood, Writing Rome uses the city as a true springboard for composition. We will use the unique history and locations of Rome to inspire our writing projects. Such projects span from ancient Rome, to religious Rome, before ending with modern takes on the city. Unit 1 on ancient Rome will introduce us both to rhetoric, and to Rome’s unique contributions to rhetoric. We will read a series of ancient texts and speeches before composing a rhetorical analysis of one of them. When we get to Rome, we will then visit the sights in the city linked to its ancient rhetorical heritage.

Next, unit 2 investigates religious Rome, or all the unique churches and art that make Rome such a magical place to visit. We will learn about visual rhetoric during this unit, and will ultimately compose a visual rhetoric analysis paper on a work of art in Rome that each student selects. Once we visit the city, we will stand in the very churches and museums we studied. Vatican City will be a true highlight. Finally, Unit 3 will conclude the course with a digital storytelling project. Each student will develop a video project based upon their experiences within the city. It will serve as a type of travel journal, and memento from the trip, and be completed while we are in Rome.   

For more information on this course, please visit: 

https://abroad.colorado.edu/index.cfm?FuseAction=Programs.ViewProgramAngular&id=10320