This writing course focuses on the creation of complex, analytic, well-supported arguments that matter in academic contexts. You will work closely with your peers and instructor to develop your own written prose. Readings cover a variety of different genres and academic disciplines.
We will read and write about narratives in which, despite the ever-present threat of absolute annihilation, everyday people engage in counter-intuitive acts of self-sacrifice and love. Given this topic’s inherent complexity, and the skill good writers employ in constructing narratives about it, a serious consideration of this seeming paradox will help us to identify the kinds of arguments smart readers find compelling. By figuring out the internal grammar of good arguments, we will ourselves write smarter and more original academic prose. Towards these ends, we will dissect the rhetorical strategies and organizational structures of a variety of literary genres, and explore the literary and rhetorical possibilities of websites, movies, photographs, museum exhibits, advertisements and comic books.
By the end of the academic term, we will have successfully:
- sharpened our critical thinking skills
- learned what makes an argument persuasive
- increased our own ability to produce academic prose that is not only persuasive, but also elegant, confident and clear
Through close readings, whole-class and small-group workshops, class discussions, CTools postings and student- led presentations, we will pinpoint the most common challenges of academic writing, and identify ways to address them. In addition to these more informal writing tasks, each of you will produce between 25-30 pages of polished academic prose in the body of three essays, a midterm and a final. Our readings, workshops and other assignments will be organized around each of these five papers.
Required Texts: please buy the specified editions of the Graff and Wiesel
- Graff, Gerald and Cathy Birkenstein They Say, I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing (2nd Edition)
- Johnson, Mat. Incognegro
- McCarthy, Cormac. The Road
- Wiesel, Eli. Night (Hill and Wang 2006)