“We murder to dissect.”
— William Wordsworth
The practice of academic writing can feel like murder. Scientific, cultural and textual analyses all present their own “dissections,” taking things apart in the attempt to understand the function of a whole. In this course, we will work on producing thoughtful, convincing academic writing that engages in analytic work without “murder” — that is, without becoming reductive, one-sided, or dull. The goal of this course is to develop critical writing skills that will prepare you for success both as a student at the University of Michigan and as a citizen in a larger community. In the essays we will craft in this course, we will practice different modes of writing through definition, analysis, argument, comparison, and research. We will think particularly about the ways in which different academic disciplines approach their own dissections and deconstructions, and will be encouraged to both use and challenge these models as we write in a variety of genres. As the title of this course suggests, we will frame these approaches by thinking broadly about “bodies” — not only the physical body, but the body politic, the corporate body, bodies of evidence, and bodies of work.