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WRIT 1370/80

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The Writing Workshop offers an alternative route First-Year Writing Seminar, WRIT 1370 (Fall) and WRIT 1380 (Spring) titled "Elements of Academic Writing." This course is designed for students who did not have formal writing instruction in high school, are unfamiliar with academic writing, have serious difficulty with writing assignments, or feel a general lack of confidence about their writing. Some sections of these First-Year Writing Seminars are designed for international students and multilingual writers and include special instruction on developing fluency in academic English and navigating new cultures of writing. As of Fall 2019, WRIT 1370/80 will adopt a modified grading system using Letter Grades. 

COURSE DESCRIPTION for WRIT 1370/80: Elements of Academic Writing

The Writing 1370/80 classroom is a dynamic workspace where students assemble the scholarly tools necessary to explore complex, interdisciplinary questions. Because Writing 1370/80 is designed as a workshop, students develop the analytic and argumentative skills fundamental to interdisciplinary reading, research, and writing by collaborating with peers to pose questions, examine ideas, and share drafts. With small class sizes and two 50-minute class sessions and a student/teacher conference each week, Writing 1370/80 is an alternative route FWS that provides an individualized setting for students to learn flexible and sustainable strategies for studying the essential elements of academic writing and for producing clear, precise academic prose that can address a variety of audiences and meet diverse rhetorical aims.


  • The Sociology of Sustainability (Andrews) How can we lead more environmentally sustainable lives? What sort of political change is necessary to reverse widespread environmental degradation? In this course, we will seek to understand how our individual choices affect the environment and the broader cultural, social, and economic structures that shape those choices.
  • Food for Thought (Carrick) How does the food on your table tell a story about you, your family, your community, your nation? How do we make food choices, and how are these choices complicated by the cultural, socio-economic, and political forces that both create and combat widespread international hunger and food insecurity? 
  • Short Stories --Writing the Self (Dani) There is no exact definition of a short story: writers have wrestled with its brevity and, in doing so, they have often crafted some of the most luminous examples of storytelling. While reading modern and contemporary examples of this genre, we will learn how to conduct literary analysis and borrow some of the tools employed by fiction (rhythm, irony, style) to enhance our own writing. For multilingual writers and international students.
  • Cinema and Power (Dani) As the most popular and accessible of art forms, cinema maintains a close relationship with the cultural, social, and political tensions of its time. While reaching masses of spectators, films become formidable means to propagate or defy systems of power. Through a cluster of themes (i.e., gender, class, race) we will think about cinema as a tool of persuasion or, conversely, as an awakening experience that inspires the audience to fight back against injustice and subjugation.
  • Connecting Cultures (Evans) What is culture? How does culture set standards for our behavior?  How do we negotiate the intersections between cultures?  How do the processes of culture determine the politics of assimilation, the power of language, and the spaces we inhabit?  Particularly in writing, how does culture help us determine strategies appropriate for convincing a variety of distinct audiences and purposes? 
  • Bridging Differences (Navickas) In a world increasingly divided along lines of identity, language, politics, and religion, how do we enact change? How do we talk across our differences when we cannot even agree on what count as facts? In this studio-style writing course, we’ll read broadly about a variety of divisive topics and potential solutions related to the course theme of “Bridging Differences.”
  • Language, Identity & Power (Navickas) How does language shape our world and our sense of who we are? How do identity factors like gender, sexuality, race, class, culture, and nationality influence our meaning-making practices? How do labels and names construct meaning and carry power? What languages and language practices do we associate with power and why?
  • Writing Back to the News (King-O'Brien) Students will ensconce themselves in debates raging within the contemporary news media—such as politics, conflicts within higher education, gender equality, international crises, American popular culture—and will write about contemporary controversies to different audiences in a variety of mediums, such as argumentative essays, investigative pieces, and blog posts. 
  • Human Health & the Environment (Sands) How do environmental exposures effect our health? Chemical and ecological changes in the environment impact individual health as well as large-scale medical practices and public policy. In this class we will delve into research in order to think and write about problematic, positive, and innovative relationships between human health and the environment. For multilingual writers and international students.
  • Environmental Problems and Solutions (Sands) Human activities have ever-more serious impacts on our local regions and the planet. How can we think and write about improving public understanding of climate change, water scarcity, environmental health and agriculture and wildlife sustainability? For multilingual writers and international students.
  • Theories of Happiness (Sands) What makes you happy? And how does happiness differ between different people? How do complex factors like genetics, culture, family, education, socio-economic background, and gender determine how happy we are, and how do our life choices can contribute to our own and others’ happiness? For multilingual writers and international students.
  • The Many Lives of Cities (Sorrell) How do our own experiences shape the stories we tell about the cities— both large and small—where we live? By learning about the many different lives people lead in cities we can explore connections between social and environmental issues, and learn about the political and economic stakes of urban life today.
  • Metaphor in Art, Science and Culture (Zukovic) Metaphor is the essence of human creativity—a form of thought, desire and the language of the unconscious mind. How does metaphor operate in literature, pop culture, politics, and the thought of theoretical scientists such as Einstein and Richard Feynman? Can we improve our capacity to think metaphorically? 

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