The essay has been called a "default" or "catchall" genre, the one we most associate with the kind of writing done in school. In this course, we will examine what it means to write an effective essay and will develop strategies for producing complex,well-supported, arguments that matter in an academic context. In so doing, we will cultivate an awareness of genre, the writing process, rhetorical situation, and matters of style — including the question of how we might break the "rules" of an essay and what makes an essay "literary." We will pay close attention to the rhetorical choices that writers make, by reading, discussing, and writing about essays by well-known writers and scholars of genre. Writers will work with their peers and their instructor to set goals and revise their own essays, which will range from short reflective pieces to longer analytical works.