Writing and Rhetoric Program

Director of the Allan K. Smith Center for Writing and Rhetoric O’Donnell; Principal Lecturers Papoulis, and Peltier; Lecturer Tarsa; Visiting Lecturers Budd, Davis, and Wettersten

The Program in Writing and Rhetoric courses offer students the opportunity to develop expertise in writing for academic, professional, community, and personal purposes. The course work provides practice in writing in a range of genres, editing and style, and digital media. Courses also investigate rhetoric, information technology, the politics of language use, and language and identity. For the minor in Writing, Rhetoric, and Media Arts, please see p. 226 under Interdisciplinary Minors.

Fall Term

101. Writing— An introduction to the art of expository writing, with attention to analytical reading and critical thinking in courses across the college curriculum. Assignments offer students opportunities to read and write about culture, politics, literature, science, and other subjects. Emphasis is placed on helping students to develop their individual skills. (Enrollment limited) –Budd, Davis, Dion, Papoulis, Peltier, Tarsa, Wettersten

103. Special Topics: Writing Outside the Classroom— This course invites connections between academic writing and writing outside of the classroom. The course is designed to help students think critically about writing and the workplace and other public writing contexts that they might someday participate in. Students will learn how academic writing skills can be used to create user-centered documents through a series of writing projects that will teach students how to effectively collect, analyze, summarize, interpret, and translate materials from one context to another. (WEA) (Enrollment limited) –Tarsa

[103. Special Writing Topics: Language and Photography]— Emphasizing instruction and practice in writing, this course will explore the relationship between language and photography. Students will write extensively as they study photographic images and read works by John Berger, Susan Sontag, and others. The course will culminate with the publication of a collection of student photographic essays. This course is not open to seniors. (WEA) (Enrollment limited)

[208. Argument and Research Writing]— A writing workshop emphasizing the development of argumentation and research skills. Students learn how to read and evaluate logical arguments, formulate research questions, explore print and electronic resources, and frame persuasive arguments in papers of substantial length. Frequent practice in writing and revising. (WEA2) (Enrollment limited)

225. Writing Broad Street Stories— This course combines community learning and writing as a means of discovering how we define others and ourselves through journals, diaries, essays, and stories. Students explore Broad Street as a social and cultural metaphor, with a wide variety of readings depicting “the other” and reflecting the voices of members of underprivileged and privileged classes throughout history. Students perform community service as a part of course activities. (WEA2) (Enrollment limited) –Peltier

[226. The Spirit of Place]— In this course we will write about “place,” and explore how writers render ideas of location, nature, and the environment, ranging from wilderness to city streets. We will move from simple descriptions to an exploration of the larger issues that arise in the interactions between people and places. Readings will include Gretel Ehrlich and Barry Lopez, among others, who have artfully evoked the spirit of place. (WEA2) (Enrollment limited)

300. The Art of the Essay— An advanced writing workshop intended to help students find their own subjects and styles as essayists. We will read and write personal essays that express authors’ unique responses to ideas and experiences in deeply reflective ways. Our study will include essays by Seneca, Montaigne, Woolf, Dillard, and others from various historical periods that have explored their responses to the world in engaging and complex detail. (HUM) (Enrollment limited) –Papoulis

302. Writing Theory and Practice— A study of the art of discourse, with special emphasis on the dynamics of contemporary composition and argumentation. This course examines rhetorical theory from the Classical period to the New Rhetoric, as well as provides students with frequent practice in varied techniques of composing and evaluating expository prose. A wide selection of primary readings across the curriculum will include some controversial ideas about writing from Plato’s Phaedrus, the heart of Aristotle’s Rhetoric, and examples of the best writing in the arts and sciences. By invitation only. For students admitted to the Writing Associates Program. (HUM) (Enrollment limited) –O’Donnell

399. Independent Study— Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and Writing Center director are required for enrollment. (0.5 - 1 course credit) –Staff

466. Teaching Assistant— Students may assist professors as teaching assistants, performing a variety of duties usually involving assisting students in conceiving or revising papers; reading and helping to evaluate papers, quizzes, and exams; and other duties as determined by the student and instructor. See instructor of specific course for more information. Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office and the approval of the instructor and chairperson are required for enrollment. (0.5 - 1 course credit) –Staff

Spring Term

101. Writing— An introduction to the art of expository writing, with attention to analytical reading and critical thinking in courses across the college curriculum. Assignments offer students opportunities to read and write about culture, politics, literature, science, and other subjects. Emphasis is placed on helping students to develop their individual skills. (Enrollment limited) –O’Donnell

103. Special Writing Topics: Autobiography and Activism— A writing workshop focusing on autobiographical writing that is informed by an interest in the world at-large. We will read various writers who combine their personal stories with their political, environmental, and social activism, such as Terry Tempest Williams, Bill McKibben, and Angela Davis. Students will write their own reflective autobiographical essays. (WEA) (Enrollment limited) –Papoulis

[103. Special Writing Topics: Forms of Creative Nonfiction]— In this class we will study two forms of creative nonfiction: the personal essay and the lyric essay. Our readings, springboards for initial writing exercises, will enhance our understanding of how such essays are constructed. in full-class writing workshops, which are central to the course, you will learn how to transform personal experience into art throught the use of poetic and fictional techniques.

Be prepared to write a lot. The difference between an amateur writer and a professional writer is revision, and you’ll be expected to do a lot of that as well. (WEA) (Enrollment limited)

[103. Special Writing Topics: Telling Stories in the Postmodern World]— A writing workshop on storytelling, with an emphasis on naratives that cut across cultures to see how people in different places construct their realities from their everyday lives, imagined lives and the presumed lives of others. We will write our own narratives and analyze them to see how we create our reality from the essentially chaotic matter of everyday life. Readings will include prison diaries, war journals, film and television scripts, and hypertexts. (WEA) (Enrollment limited)

103. Special Writing Topics: Telling Stories in the Postmodern World— In this course, we will look at the rhetoric of narrative, with an emphasis on narratives that cut across cultures to see how people in different places use narrative structures to construct their realities from their everyday lives, imagined lives, and the presumed lives of others. We will write our own narratives and analyze them to see how we create our reality from the essentially chaotic matter of everyday life. Readings will include prison diaries, war journals, film and television scripts, and hypertexts. (WEA) (Enrollment limited) –Peltier

103. Special Writing Topics: Analytical Thinking and Writing— This writing workshop is designed for students who would like to improve their ability to read texts in many disciplines actively and critically and to write strong, thoughtful analytical papers. Students will focus on developing strategies for discovering meaning, identifying analytical elements, and evaluating claims and evidence. Writing assignments will allow students to practice these strategies by writing critical analyses and responses to texts, current events, lectures, and films. (WEA) (Enrollment limited) –Tarsa

202. Expository Writing Workshop— This intermediate workshop is designed for students who have achieved mastery in introductory-level college writing and who want to refine their writing abilities. Students will focus on developing stylistic strategies and techniques when writing for numerous purposes and audiences. Students will choose from these writing forms: interview, travel article, op-ed piece, memoir, sports article, criticism, humor, and science and technology article. (WEA2) (Enrollment limited) –Tarsa

208. Argument and Research Writing— A writing workshop emphasizing the development of argumentation and research skills. Students learn how to read and evaluate logical arguments, formulate research questions, explore print and electronic resources, and frame persuasive arguments in papers of substantial length. Frequent practice in writing and revising. (WEA2) (Enrollment limited) –Peltier

226. The Spirit of Place— In this course we will write about “place,” and explore how writers render ideas of location, nature, and the environment, ranging from wilderness to city streets. We will move from simple descriptions to an exploration of the larger issues that arise in the interactions between people and places. Readings will include Gretel Ehrlich and Barry Lopez, among others, who have artfully evoked the spirit of place. (WEA2) (Enrollment limited) –Papoulis

[297. Writing the Public Sphere: Theory and Practice]— This course will examine the way written language works in the public sphere. Students will read and write about the following sorts of questions: In what ways can writing best promote public dialogue and deliberation? How is the digital landscape changing our conception of writing? Is the opinion essay as a form dying? As books evolve, what happens to the habits of contemplation and reflection fostered by the sustained, quiet reading of traditional texts? How do the changing ways that people acquire news affect the process by which public opinion is formed? In addition to a focus on theories of the public sphere, the class will also be a workshop for student writing. Students will write, revise, and engage with classmates’ writing in various genres aimed at asserting their views on public issues, from traditional essays and op-eds to blogs and multimedia forms. (WEA2) (Enrollment limited)

399. Independent Study— Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and Writing Center director are required for enrollment. (0.5 - 1 course credit) –Staff

406. Composition Pedagogy— Language and literacy have always served as lightning rods for social and political issues, as well as for conflicts of theory and practice in education. This course will explore the contemporary teaching of writing, with attention to the range of current pedagogies in US colleges. We will examine influences of 20th-century revival of rhetoric, process and post-process writing, cultural and feminist studies, cognitive theory, the digital revolution, and the implications of “the global turn” for 21st-century students and teachers of writing. For undergraduate English majors, this course counts as an elective. (Enrollment limited) –O’Donnell

466. Teaching Assistant— Students may assist professors as teaching assistants, performing a variety of duties usually involving assisting students in conceiving or revising papers; reading and helping to evaluate papers, quizzes, and exams; and other duties as determined by the student and instructor. See instructor of specific course for more information. Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office and the approval of the instructor and chairperson are required for enrollment. (0.5 - 1 course credit) –Staff

[601. Writing the Nature and Origins of Self]— A unit focused on writing that takes as its subject the psychological models that propose that the self is not a single entity but is rather composed of multiple “sub-selves” and that these make up our identity. (1.5 course credits)

Courses Originating in Other Departments

[English 402. Theories & Methods of Rhetoric & Media Arts]— View course description in department listing on p. 443.