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3020 - Topics in Writing Course Descriptions

The following list is alphabetical, by course title. The course offerings below are for the Spring 2018 semester. Check the current Course Schedule.

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.

The American Road Trip possesses a duality of character: it is a venture predicated upon encounters with the unexpected, with people we may not meet in our everyday social spheres, and with moments of solitude and grandeur that cause us to reassess our existing perceptions. Yet, the American Road Trip is also tremendously iconic. We still stop to watch the most recent commercial of a sports car racing along a lonely desert highway. Historic roads – namely Route 66 and Highway 61 – attract as many tourists as other U.S. landmarks. News stations report gas prices for Memorial Day and Labor Day, reminding us that our summer should be bookended by road trips across the country. Indeed, road narratives are now a popular genre of their own. The American Road Trip, even with its celebrated freedoms, adheres to a form and discourse that tells us much about who exactly goes on the road and how road culture develops and circulates in the United States.

This course will explore how the American Road Trip went from a necessity for settlers, to a leisure pursuit for “motoring” enthusiasts, to an avenue for youthful rebellion, and finally to a mainstay in popular literature, music, and film. We will consider: How and when did the road trip become something in and of itself (and not just a means to travel between places)? What makes the American Road Trip so “American”? What patterns do road narratives follow? Are there limits to or problems with these texts? And what is the future of the American Road Trip? Combining the study of road culture, its representative authors and texts, and composition instruction, students will draft, edit, and revise several original essays throughout the semester.

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.
We will use current issues in biomedical ethics and public health policy to study the basic elements of an argument. The course will be structure around Beauchamp and Childress's Four Principles of Biomedical Ethics--a rubric commonly used by bioethicists to evaluate ethical dilemmas. Students will write number of brief responses to ethics scenarios and two major papers. The first paper will be prompt driven. It will encourage students to address a wide range of ethical questions relevant to clinical ethics, research ethics, health inequalities, the impact of technology on patient care, the nature of professional duty, and ethical theory in general. In the second, major term paper, students will identify a current issue in public health and then write a novel argument supported with secondary research. The themes covered in this course can help pre-med students with medical school interviews and with the Social Foundations section of the MCAT. This course is approved as an elective for CU's Public Health Certificate program.

In this class we will study comedy by creating comedy. The question that will guide us is simple: how does humor change minds? (Notice that this question assumes humor does indeed change minds. Feel free to question this assumption.) This means that we will be treating comedic or humorous writing as a persuasive technique, a rhetorical strategy that rhetors (writers or speakers) use toward specific ends. Of course, sometimes this strategy works well, and sometimes it backfires. Why it does either is a curiosity we will return to again and again.

We will devote much of our energy to analyzing comedic writing, figuring out how it works and why. But we must be careful. “Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog,” E. B. White once said. “Few people are interested and the frog dies of it.” My hope is that, when we are done with it, not only will the frog still be alive and leaping, but it will also be even more spirited and springy than it was when we got our hands on (and scalpels into) it.

Because a key component of comedy is performance, the assignments in this class will require you to perform in some way, be it through body language, vocal inflection, illustration, or otherwise. By practicing several kinds of performance, you will learn about your strengths as rhetors, strengths you will then put to use in your final projects.

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.

We tend to think of “the law” as something that happens far away, in great columned buildings filled with somber-looking people in black robes speaking words that sound like a foreign language. But the law happens all around us every day, in city council meetings where volunteers sit at folding tables, and in corporate conference rooms where teams of lawyers draft documents spilling over with fine print that may one day impact your life in a way you can’t anticipate. Did you read the Instagram “Terms and Conditions” before you signed up? Has anyone, ever? In this class, we will explore, through writing and discussion, such questions as: What is “the law”? Who creates law? What do we, as citizens, expect the law to do, and what are the limitations of our legal system? What kinds of disputes are our legal system ill-equipped to handle? What alternatives to litigation can we envision?

The major work of the semester will be to simulate the work of attorneys in the real world, investigating legal and ethical issues through fact patterns drawn from real cases. In this way, you will explore questions of law and public policy, research and write a legal memorandum discussing those questions, confront issues of legal ethics, and argue a case in our class moot court. In addition, you will sit on the bench as a moot court judge, presiding over a case argued by your classmates. Finally, after hearing the arguments, you will write your decision in the case.

Cross-cultural writing is a section of WRTG 3020, 3030, and 3040 that is intended for non-native speakers of English who wish to enroll in an upper-division writing course. The course is taught as a rigorous writing workshop using advanced readings and materials, emphasizing critical thinking, analysis, and argumentative writing. Examples of assignments include daily writing activities used in scientific and technical communication such as memos, emails, wiki entries, resumes and cover letters. Course readings focus on cross-cultural communication in the arts, business, and scientific fields. Future work in these fields will require you to write and speak clearly to an inter-disciplinary audience; accordingly, coursework will include a formal oral presentation. Assignments will be tailored to meet the needs and interests of individual students.
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.
In this course, we will explore the connections between education, authority (particularly governmental), and our efforts to bring about a good society. Readings will include such works as Plato's Republic and Crito, Stanley Milgram's Obedience to Authority, Ivan Illich's Deschooling Society, and may include other writings such as those of Alfie Kohn, John Taylor Gatto, Harold Bloom, Adrienne Rich, and others. In personal research projects, students can explore current issues (e.g. No Child Left Behind, bi-lingual education, Ebonics, the role of religion in public education, current funding priorities) or more general concerns (e.g. the role of church and/or state in the formation of educational programs and curricula).
This interdisciplinary course teaches conventions of scientific research and writing by examining current domestic and global public and environmental health hazards—which challenge students to engage difficult texts in the health sciences, environmental policy, environmental law, and social justice. Some of the issue-areas we will explore include pesticides in foods, Bisphenol A (BPA) in plastics, growth hormones (rGBH) in dairy products, infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance, and leaking underground storage tanks. Through diverse course readings, independent research, and formative writing assignments, students will critically evaluate contemporary scholarship on these issue-areas in order to learn to identify, critique, and apply different conventions of research, analysis, and writing that define the scholarship in their particular majors. Finally, in having students apply lessons of rhetorical analysis learned in the classroom to real-world complex policy problems, this course strives to motivate students to think critically about the limitations of scientific research, the role that science should have in creating health policy, the influence of corporate special interests on the decision-making process, and the responsibilities we have to protect the public against potential environmental health hazards
ENVIRONMENTAL WRITING, Christina Eisert (Continuing Education)
Environmental Writing explores the history, trends, and philosophy of environmental thought, with a focus on developing written communication skills. Through sustained inquiry, students will practice advanced forms of academic writing. Emphasizes analysis, criticism, and argument. Taught in the form of a writing-workshop, the course addresses communication with professional and non-technical audiences, and places a premium on substantive, thoughtful revision. May be repeated up to 6 total credit hours. Department enforced prerequisite: WRTG 1150 or equivalent (completion of lower-division writing requirement).
Erwin Shrödinger was right about one thing. He said, “If you cannot tell the whole world what you are doing, it is as if your doing were in vain.” The importance of communicating intelligently about environmental and related social justice issues resonates with urgency in the current political climate. Yet if one does a Google search for “environmental storytelling,” one finds that the top hits feature video games. Where did the environment go? What works? What is green wash? What is sustainable, and for whom? This class will focus on examining current issues and their history, interrogating the rhetorical strategies used when writing about the environment, place, and sustainability, and creating impactful ways to inspire, inform, and engage the larger community in issues relating to the environment.
“Environment” and “sustainability” have become such loaded words in America today that getting at their meanings is a challenge—scientifically, economically, politically, and rhetorically. In this course, we’ll investigate how the environment is presented to us today: as a resource to be exploited, as a precious entity to be protected, as a practical matter of reality, as something far bigger than humanity yet something that nonetheless registers the effects of seven billion human beings. We’ll consider ourselves as consumers while trying to understand the many stakeholders and complexities that relate to the environment and how to live sustainably. To do all this, we’ll rhetorically analyze several film documentaries and numerous essays. We’ll also investigate the major sustainability issues of modern times: energy, from production to usage, and food production, from seed to table. Writing of these huge issues will help us make sense of them: we’ll do short summaries, close analyses, online journaling and blogging, and one longer paper. We’ll also incorporate an outdoor service learning element.

This course is designed to advance the skills you will need for successful academic and professional writing, and to help you use those skills to connect with and serve your individual interests and goals. We will do this through the lens of food studies, taking notions of what “good food” is, and exploring the assumptions and social norms created or disturbed by writings about them. Each module is built around the expression of this content through multiple rhetorical genres.

We will work with a range of concepts, themes and forms: concepts such as knowledge, power, discourse, positionality, sovereignty; themes such as health, hunger, bodies, environment, and sensory experience; forms that include memoir, reportage, humor, research, literature, visual rhetoric such as food marketing, and creative pieces (poetry, film, visual arts, etc.). You will practice questioning and investigating common tropes in food writing; making a clear argument and supporting it with evidence; and applying curiosity and passion to whatever aspects of food writing are important to you. You’ll explore your own “voice” as a writer – your unique style and tone – and practice letting it shine through even when you are following guidelines for a particular genre.

Most people care deeply about some aspect(s) of food beyond basic survival. In Western public arenas and academia, certain tropes, norms and expectations have attached to various forms of writing about food, and can perpetuate injustice as well as help to address it. For better or for worse, effective reading, writing, and argument confer power; thus, being able to decode, analyze and respond to these forms will help you participate in networks of power around food (and other issues) in ethical ways. Come join the discussion!

The question isn’t, “What do we eat?” The question is, “Who do we eat?” This course takes seriously the tumultuous relationship between human and nonhuman animals—hereafter, just animals—over the past ten thousand years. It interrogates how humans have defined themselves as separate from and thus better than animals, an act of communication/composition that has given rise to the domestication and desecration of so-called “farm animals.” In particular, it considers the ethics and impacts of the global slaughter of more than fifty billion farm animals, a phenomenon that results in the entangled oppression of all sentient life regardless of species. This course engages this topic to help students better understand how and to what effect governments, corporations, and activists disseminate information about food and its connection with culture—all of which are rhetorical in nature. Importantly, as an outcome of this course, students will learn how to think critically about the messages they themselves craft and share about food. In an age characterized by nearly unfettered access to social media, most of us find ourselves writing about food. Hence, it is meaningful to take seriously the writing process as a tool to compose messages that reduce rather than amplify human violence against the more-than-human world.
FOOD & CULTURE: From Industrial to Local (community engaged), Dr. Veronica House

As a class, we are going to study the rhetoric surrounding the food movement in the United States and relate it to current issues of sustainability, access, and resilience in Boulder County. To do so, we will consider the rise of agribusiness, large-scale monoculture, and factory farms, counter-movements such as the organic and local movements, and social issues such as food security and food literacy. We will consider who has access to what kinds of food, the socio-economic consequences of our current food system, the role of government subsidies, and how organic, beyond-organic, and local food movements have responded to the current food climate.

For the community-engaged portion of the course, we will work as a class to understand the current food culture and politics in Boulder County. Specifically, we will investigate through community-based research how language and rhetoric work in relation to these issues. You will hear from some of our local leaders in the food movement, and your final project will be a public writing project for one of our community partners.

Assignments may include a comparative rhetorical analysis, an inquiry research paper, a discourse analysis, a community-based research project, and an oral presentation. Our course readings, discussions, writing assignments, and community-based work will center on the intersections of food, sustainability, and rhetoric. We will read Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation and excerpts from Michael Pollan, Barbara Kingsolver, and others. We also will analyze documentaries about the local food initiatives springing up around the country.

FROM 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.
From Instagram and Facebook to Big Data and the Internet, the role of new media in the shaping of culture cannot be overestimated. This course will explore the relationship between new media and the rhetoric of gender and sexuality in society and, by extension, the ways in which gender and sexuality are constrained, expanded, accepted, and rejected through language. Further, it will consider the ways in which we can use rhetoric to create intentional spaces of inclusivity, to shape our culture in ways that promote acceptance, and to advocate for causes that matter to you. In addition to short response papers, projects will include a rhetorical analysis, a research review, two letters, a petition, and a multimodal composition.
This interdisciplinary course teaches principles of academic writing by examining a host of contemporary problems of international politics, which challenge students to engage difficult texts in normative political theory. Students will explore the rights of migrants and refugees, global poverty and theories of distributive justice, moral culpability for the effects of climate change, public health risks and environmental racism, individual and collective responsibility for perpetuating structural injustices, principles of just war and the moral consequences of waging unjust wars, humanitarian intervention and the ethical duty to prevent genocidal violence, the moral impermissibility of terrorist violence and the permissibility of insurgent violence, and the extent to which democratic governance can safeguard against injustice. Through course readings, independent research, and various writing assignments, students will critically evaluate diverse moral arguments in these different issue-areas, and will appraise proposed solutions to these prevailing injustices. In having students apply lessons of rhetorical analysis learned in the classroom to real world states of affairs and complex ethical problems, this course strives to motivate students to think beyond themselves and their own interests, to appreciate the hardships others endure, and to develop a sense of civic responsibility toward victims of injustice.
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.
The purpose of this course is to understand how individuals and communities use rhetoric to construct meaning. Specifically, we’ll examine strategies for analyzing and composing texts that address issues of race and racism. We'll pay particular attention to how race and rhetoric are mutually constitutive constructs (How do we “write” race? And does race determine the conditions for writing?) And we’ll investigate how race is represented, performed, remembered in contemporary contexts. In doing so, we take seriously the idea that rhetoric can have material effects, that it can participate in systems of structural inequality, and that it can also be a means of action for social change. The course will address topics such as immigration rhetorics, indigenous rhetorics, social movements, cross-cultural communication, and popular culture and media representations, among other issues. Student projects will include a research project on local communities and a multi-genre project for a public audience. In the end, students will leave the course with an increased understanding of how cultural concerns shape the conditions for writing, and therefore be able to employ a variety of rhetorical tools to write more effectively in diverse environments.
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.
“On the Border: Mexico and the U.S.” examines the border both in its physical form and as a border between cultures and languages. The class begins with a discussion of the meaning of “borders” and with a look at the history of the U.S./Mexico border both as a physical and metaphorical space. The course then examines the discourse of immigration through the novel Tortilla Curtain, in various articles, videos and news reports, through class speakers and through discussions of student work in the volunteer community. Finally, the class examines other political issues of the physical border between the two countries such as drug trafficking, maquiladoras and “the wall.” For this course, students complete a minimum of 16 hours of volunteer work with the local Mexican immigrant community. Students can choose to volunteer with one of the following six organizations: Youth Services Initiative (Boulder Parks and Open Space), the Family Learning Center, Arapahoe Ridge Campus, Casa de la Esperanza, SWAP or the Parenting Place. Volunteer opportunities include teaching English to adult immigrants, working in after school recreation programs, tutoring students from K-12, daycare for pre-school children and more. Volunteer work is integrated throughout the semester, and the students’ final project involves identifying a need of their volunteer organization and then writing a proposal to attempt to meet that need.

The doubled valence of the term “queer” finds itself manifested in one of two ways: queer either negatively signifies a pejorative (e.g. “Hey queer!”), or it resists this negativity by serving as an affirmative umbrella term for a range of non-normative gender identities, sexualities, and political priorities. Similarly, “rhetoric” also commonly means in two different ways: rhetoric may negatively signify deceitful discourse spewed by politicians with ulterior motives, or it represents an umbrella term for scholars and students concerned with the art of producing better communicators and thinkers. In this course, we will consider these opposing meanings of both queer and rhetoric, so as to more complexly interrogate what queer rhetorics are and their potential as modes of written and spoken communication. Thus, the question becomes not just “What is queer rhetoric?” but also, “What does queer rhetoric do?”

An embodied, multi-modal, effervescent, contradictory, and all too easily misunderstood terrain of study and artistic cultural production, queer rhetorics direct our attention to how communicators challenge the status quo and creatively imagine its alternatives. In this course, students will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a semester-long investigation in queer rhetorics by engaging readings from the fields of feminist, queer, transgender, critical race, disability, and animal studies, as well as complementary perspectives from rhetorical, performance, and cultural studies. Additionally, the course challenges students to practice what we will call “queer writing” as a mode of queer rhetorical invention. As we will quickly discover, queer writing requires a willingness to challenge the conventions of traditional academic composition through rigorous critical thinking and research. However, students do not need any formal experience with either queer or rhetoric, nor must students identify as queer to be successful in this course. First-year writing credits and a genuine sense of curiosity are the only required pre-requisites.

Batter up!: this section of WRTG 3020 will emphasize what may be called practical rhetoric in continually probing what sort of compositional decisions will be effective in a variety of situations. Although our assignments will center on our subject, our readings will raise larger questions about logic and, ultimately, citizenship. This larger perspective will take us to the discussions about what is summarized as "advanced rhetorical knowledge" and centered in the field of Rhetoric/Composition. In the end, all students will have the opportunity to leave this course with a rhetorically oriented understanding of the writing process that they can use for any occasion in pursuing their professional careers.
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, Dr. Christine Macdonald
“Wherever you go, there you are.” This cliché implies that people cannot change themselves or their perspective by changing their location. In this course we will explore the potential and limitations of travel as a means to facilitate different types of journeys: physical, cultural and psychological. We will study theories of “place,” and the interplay between the viewpoints of traveler, “native,” writer, and reader. In addition to writing critical analyses of the readings, students will write their own travel narratives. You need not have traveled extensively to take this course. Readings may include works by Jon Krakauer, Herman Melville, Annie Dillard, Bill Bryson, Paul Theroux, and others.
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, Jennifer Campbell, MA

“A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us”(Steinbeck, Travels with Charley).

We plan for a trip, we pack a bag, we leave home, and…for what? Maybe, we hope to discover profound insights about a city, a culture, or a worldview. Maybe, we want to gain a sense of wonder and appreciate home more. When we wander a small local museum or backpack with friends through Europe, we find no adventures are exactly the same. In this class, we will use our own experiences to write in a wide variety of genres and modes common in the travel writing profession including journals, creative non-fiction, research-based essays, humor reviews, podcasts, and more. Students will take small trips on campus or around town to frame “How to...” and “Review” articles and use their previous travels to write longer narratives and essays. Students will practice composing for real audiences of magazines, radio broadcasts and blogs. Through readings, analysis, and class discussions, we will discover how the ancient art of rhetoric influences our current writing choices to best reach audiences and to find publishers for our musings.

“U.S. Resistance Movements” will examine the rhetorics of and discourses surrounding various resistance movements in the U.S., including the labor/workers’ rights movement, civil rights, feminism, the LBGTQ movement, the Chicano movement, and environmentalism. By examining the rhetorical strategies used by the various factions of these movements, as well as the way in which they are reflected in the media and understood by the public, students will gain not only an understanding of resistance movements, but also an understanding of the workings of rhetoric in the public sphere and in influencing politics. Additionally, they will practice crafting their own persuasive arguments towards political change. The course will ask students to analyze the rhetoric in various types of discourses which may include civil disobedience (“Letter from Birmingham Jail’), radical resistance (Malcolm X speeches), art (the Guerrilla Girls), music (Pussy Riot), and/or direct action (Earth First!). The course will also examine the history of activism locally here in Boulder/CU, such as the divestment movement and “Los Seis de Boulder,” in order to understand how these discourses play themselves out in our local community.
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.
WORD & IMAGE, Ellie Cook, MFA
In this interdisciplinary course, students will engage with the fields of art and creative nonfiction. In an effort to marry creative play and intellectual rigor, the class will read both creative nonfiction and demanding philosophical texts, making connections between the implicit and explicit values of both genres. While crystallizing their own ideas of how art and writing make meaning, students will adopt multiple roles (scholar, critic, writer, and creator). As scholars and critics, students will research a work of art in its historical,cultural, and academic contexts. As writers and creators, students will transform their research findings into a multigenre project of their own design, showcasing their creative independence and staking a claim in the world of art and writing.

This course provides an overview of the spread of English as a global language and of the development of local, nativized varieties of English. We will discuss various ways in which people use and appropriate English for their own purposes in their own contexts and analyze the diverse beliefs and ideologies that people hold about English as a lingua franca. By examining the rapidly changing realities of the English language, you will become more aware of the multilingual and multicultural ideologies in which the varieties of Englishes have evolved. You will be guided to reflect on the essentialist and ethnocentric assumptions of the notion of the native speaker of English, the ownership of English, and the Standard English. Readings for this course cover a wide spectrum of topics, including the history of the English language, language ideology, language socialization, second language writing, intercultural literacy, and contrastive rhetoric.

This course will provide you with a great opportunity to write to a real audience with a real purpose. As part of your research project, you will choose your own audience based on the specific purpose of your project. You will develop writing proficiency in adapting writing styles to specific audiences, which will help you understand academic writing as a rhetorical activity. You will refine your academic writing ability by drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading your own work and by reading and commenting on the work of others. You will develop a better understanding of both your own writing and, as a reader, your expectations of other texts by participating in hands-on writing workshops. There will be a series of readings, short writing assignments, class workshops, and a final project, all of which you are required to complete in order to pass this course.

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.
WRITING AND MONEY, Dr. Eileen Lagman
The purpose of this course is to understand the intersections of writing and money—or more specifically how writing systems and economic systems work together in everyday life. We’ll examine both how writing and writers have participated in systems of commercial exchange as well as how money shapes the value, contexts, and exigencies for writing. If we accept the narrative that modern society has moved from an industrial economy to an information economy, what does that mean for writers? What is writing for? How is it valued? How do economics systems determine what is “good” writing? What writing skills are needed for economic success? And what does it mean to write for money? We'll read texts from across different disciplines, including economics, literacy studies, rhetorical theory, and political science, and address issues such as: authorship and ownership, open source writing, writing as labor, and media peer production and information sharing. Student projects will include an analysis essay, a local research project, and a multi-genre project on "writing for money."
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.