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Margueritte Murphy, Chair
Cheryl Forbes, Professor
Neeta Bhasin, Assistant Professor
Hannah Dickinson, Assistant Professor
Margaret Werner, Assistant Professor
Sean Conrey, Visiting Assistant Professor
Benjamin Ristow, Visiting Assistant Professor
Geoffrey Babbitt, Visiting Assistant Professor
Samuel Cappiello, ASL Instructor
Alexandria Janney, ESOL Instructor
The primary purpose of the Writing and Rhetoric Program is to offer rigorous courses at all levels that integrate the study of writing and the study of rhetoric. The courses help students across the Colleges strengthen their abilities to express themselves effectively in written discourse. They help students meet the challenges of the community curriculum, which puts effective written discourse at its center. Writing is both a way to learn course content and a result of learning: the mark of a liberally educated person.
Writing across the curriculum is also a central component of program offerings through the Writing Colleagues Program. This program prepares student mentors to help with the teaching of writing and reading through the program’s work in first-year seminars and other courses and supports faculty members' use of writing in their courses.
Finally, for students interested in a concentrated study of writing and rhetoric, the program offers a disciplinary major and minor, which require students to complete foundational courses in grammar and style, discourse analysis, and rhetorical analysis. Elective courses are offered at all levels. In addition, majors will select a concentration—Theories of Writing and Rhetoric, Language and Social Action, or Journalism and Professional Writing—to focus and extend the work of the foundational courses, electives, and a capstone seminar.
Requirements for the Major (B.A.) disciplinary, 12 courses
One introductory courses from among WRRH 100, 105, 106, and 200; three core courses 201, 250, and 312; a group of four courses in concentration (journalism and professional writing, language as social action, or theories of writing and rhetoric); one course in each remaining concentration; one additional elective; and the capstone (WRRH 420).
Requirements for the Minor disciplinary, 7 courses
One introductory courses from among WRRH 100, 105, 106, and 200; three core courses, WRRH 201, 250, and 312; two electives; and capstone (WRRH 420).
COURSE CONCENTRATIONS FOR MAJORS
Note: Some courses serve more than one concentration. It is the students’ responsibility to discuss their plans for completing a concentration with their advisor. The introductory courses and the capstone do not count toward concentration.
Journalism and Professional Writing
This concentration focuses on the craft of writing for the public sphere. Students analyze and write in a variety of professional writing genres: science writing, memoir, investigative journalism, new media composition, travel writing, magazine features, and creative non-fiction. Students also engage with the theories and methods of interviewing, research, ethics, editing, and design.
This concentration prepares students for careers in journalism, publishing, editing, advertising, marketing, and public relations, though students interested in public policy, business, and the law also gain practical writing experience with this concentration. This concentration also prepares students for future graduate work in journalism, media studies, communication, technical writing, and the essay.
202: Going Places: Travel Writing
205: Rhetorical Bytes: Digital Rhetorics & Writing with New Technology
275: Getting Dressed: Discourses of Fashion
300: Writers World of Discourse: Issues and Practice of American Journalism
302: Op-Ed: Writing Political & Cultural Commentary
303: The Art and the Business of Ideas: An Introduction to Publishing
308: Reporting Online
322: Adolescent Literature
351: Science Beat
352: Writing in the Professional Workplace
499: Internship in Writing & Rhetoric
Theories of Writing and Rhetoric
This concentration focuses on the theories that inform the study of writing and rhetoric. Students are exposed to the histories, research methodologies, and pedagogies that inform the field of rhetoric and composition specifically and theories of language and power more broadly. Students study diverse rhetorical traditions, exploring and articulating their own theories of how writing and rhetoric are culturally, ecologically and politically situated.
Students in this concentration gain exposure to academic conversations about language, literacy, and culture, preparing them for a range of careers including law, politics, business, public advocacy, and education or for further academic study in rhetorical theory, composition studies, literacy studies, and communication studies.
208: The Other Englishes
221: He Says, She Says: Language and Gender
224: Writing and the Culture of Reading
304: Hidden Writing: Journals, Notebooks, and Diaries as Creative Discourse
305: The Writing Colleagues Seminar
309: Talk and Text II: Language in Action
311: Rhetorics of Feminist Activism
322: Adolescent Literature
325: Rhetoric of Place
499: Internship in Writing & Rhetoric
Language as Social Action
This concentration explores language as a form of action through which social relations, cultural forms, hierarchies, ideologies, and identities are mediated and constituted. Students are exposed to theories and methods that examine the politics of language with a particular emphasis on Discourse Studies, ethnography, and Intercultural Rhetoric and Communication. Students investigate discourse across genres, cultural contexts, modalities, and historical junctures and use these investigations to foster social action.
Students in this concentration acquire a theory-informed understanding of how to interpret, conceptualize and engage communicative and rhetorical interactions among different groups, fields and formations. Such grounding prepares students for further graduate work in rhetoric, intercultural communication, sociolinguistics, cultural studies, or for a professional career involving international communication, activism, education, or business, among others.
150: American Sign Language I
206: Immigrant Experience: Voices and Discourses
208: The Other Englishes
220: Breadwinners and Losers: The Rhetoric of Work
221: He Says, She Says: Language and Gender
223: American Sign Language II
251: Black Talk, White Talk
252: An Anatomy of American Class: Realities, Myths, Rhetorics
301: Discourses of Rape in Contemporary Culture
309: Talk and Text II: Language in Action
311: Rhetorics of Feminist Activism
499: Internship in Writing & Rhetoric
100 Writer’s Seminar This course is for students who wish to improve their ability to express their own ideas, positions, and interpretations. It emphasizes developing the writer’s “voice” because much of what one is asked to write in college requires the writer to express his or her own ideas in a convincing, credible manner. The course considers what it means to be a writer—what habits of mind and work lead to an effective essay—and stresses focus, cohesion, and organization. Course times and themes vary with instructor. (Repeatable) (Staff, offered each semester)
105 English for Speakers of other Languages This introductory English for Speakers of other Languages course provides students with the opportunity to develop a foundational level of English literacy and communication skills. This course is designed around students' acculturation to life at HWS and in the United States and uses students' experiences within a new culture as fodder for writing and developing basic English communication skills. Students will look at American English and culture from multiple perspective and ethnicities, practice formal and informal ways of spoken and written English, strengthen their understanding of, fluency in, and comfort with American English, and experience new aspects of American and College culture and put these experiences into writing. The time and theme of the course may vary with the instructor and semester. (Janney, Fall, offered annually)
106 English for Speakers of other Languages II This intermediate English for Speakers of other Languages course provides students with the opportunity to build upon the English literacy and communication skills they acquired in WRRH 105. Through an emphasis on more advanced grammatical skills and academic communication skills, such as analysis, synthesis, and critical thinking, students will become increasingly familiar with using the English Language for effective communication in academia. Students will improve their English through weekly writing responses to readings, essays written in multiple genres, a presentation on a grammatical or mechanical feature of the English language, and acting as a discussion leader in class once per semester to improve verbal communication skills. The time and theme of the course may vary with the instructor and semester. (Janney, Spring, offered annually)
150 American Sign Language I Students will develop the communication skills required to participate in the Deaf community. Students will also examine cultural expectations and influences for the Deaf and hearing. They will also experience firsthand community events and develop skills of critical reflection and analysis of cultural differences and will develop beginning level proficiency use of ASL. A few key questions that will be addressed during the course are; "How does culture influence language?" "How can society communicate effectively both verbally and in American Sign Language?" In addition to the texts directly related to the language, students will also develop an understanding of the culture and history through various readings and videos such as (but not limited to) No Pity, by Joseph Shaperio; Deaf World, A Historical Reader and Primary Sourcebook; and the documentary, "Hear and Now," the real life story of a local deaf couple and their decision to receive cochlear implants. (Cappiello, offered each semester)
200 Writer’s Seminar II This intermediate writing course offers students the chance to develop writing and research skills through reading and writing processes introduced in WRRH 100, with an emphasis on increased responsibility for engaging in critical analysis and argument and for developing research projects. Students become more familiar with academic standards and conventions, particularly with the ever-widening variety of research tools available to them. Invention strategies, multiple drafts and revision, peer responses, and editing are stressed. Texts are variable depending on faculty preference. (Staff, offered each semester)
201 Grammar and Style Understanding grammar is important for writers because grammatical choices affect style; stylistic choices have grammatical implications. Yet grammar is often given last place in writing classes or made a mere matter of mechanics—correcting a comma splice, changing a relative pronoun. This course is designed for all writers and would be writers who want to understand the rhetorical power of grammar. It is designed for anyone who wants to understand what stylistic choices writers have available. It is not, therefore, a course in grammar or a course in style, but a course on the relationship between them. Students improve their grammar through working on style; they improve their style by working on grammar, sentence diagramming, weekly grammatical excursions, required weekly quizzes, and a final project. (Forbes, Werner, Fall, offered annually)
202 Going Places: Travel Writing “Journeys,” writes Susan Orlean, “are the essential text of the human experience.” That experience is at the heart of this course. As Orlean says, though, a journey need not be to an exotic place, though she has been to many such places. But a piece about a journey—a piece of travel writing—can come from somewhere just around the corner, down the street, up a flight of stairs, any “there-and-back-again” that you might take. The only requirement is that the writer—the traveler first, then the writer—pay attention. Students read exemplary travel writers, write their own travel pieces, keep a reading journal and observation notes to prepare for their formal essays. A field trip is required. (Forbes, Spring, offered alternate years)
205 Rhetorical Bytes: Digital Rhetorics & Writing with New Technology Digital Rhetorics addresses the rhetorical aspects of a variety of new media forms, from Facebook, to mp3 players, to wikis, to online videos. While instructions on how to use digital technologies are important aspects of some classes, we focus on the kinds of arguments made on and by these technologies. We study the impact of different interfaces on writing and persuasion, and create compositions using a variety of media. Students have the opportunity to develop skills in analyzing new technology, composing in a variety of media, understanding writing about digital technologies, and considering the broader cultural impact of digital rhetorics. Along with writing skills, students work on design strategies, visual compositions, and audio compositions for a variety of audiences. Students analyze and write for both expert and non-expert audiences. Average writing requirement: 4-6 pages per week, plus design and other visual composition work. (Staff, offered every other year)
206 Immigrant Experiences: Voices and Discourses This intermediate writing course studies immigrant experiences in their local, national, and global contexts with a particular focus on discourses surrounding immigrant lives. The course examines the historical, political and linguistic aspects of immigration, such as ethnicity, culture, and cross-cultural divides. Students will complete rhetorical and linguistic analyses of immigration policies, immigrant discourses, and produce their own writing. (Bhasin, offered alternate years)
208 The Other Englishes: Global Flows and Local Complexities The purpose of this course is to investigate the spread of English as an international language: its historical development, socio-cultural diversity and linguistic variation. This course will provide an overview of the theories and principles on the development and structure of World Englishes, a controversial current issue in TESOL (teaching English for speakers of other languages) and applied linguistics. The general causes and effects of the global spread of English, including its current relationship with global media and the Internet will be examined, and the students will assess the notions of linguistic imperialism, linguistic genocide, and the maintenance of global inequality. Furthermore, English in context and the implications of English having become both a global and a local language in many parts of the world will be explored. In addition to considering the contemporary roles, status, forms and implications of native and non-native varieties of Englishes which can be found throughout the world (e.g. Indian English, Singaporian English, Chicano English, various pidgins and creoles, etc.), topics related to educational linguistics within a World Englishes background will also be addressed in order to better understand pedagogical problems and concerns related to the English language teaching profession. (Bhasin, offered alternate year)
220 Breadwinners and Losers: The Rhetoric of Work How do we talk about work in our society? How do we decide what work to do? How does work affect identity and what life means? Is work valuable in and of itself, or is work only a means to an end? What are the rhetorical requirements of various workplaces? What issues of gender, class, and equity are raised by workplace rhetoric? This course seeks to address these and other questions about a fundamental aspect of every person’s life. It explores the issue of work in school and after school through readings and discussions. Topics vary. (Staff, offered alternate years)
221 He Says, She Says: Language and Gender Relations Awareness of gender difference often constitutes a significant barrier both to effective self expression and interpersonal communication, becoming for both men and women a source of either self censorship or an (often unconscious) silencing of others. Is there a value to having a sense of otherness based upon one’s gender roles? Are there ways to bridge the gender gap in order to communicate effectively and without diminishing one’s sense of self? If one takes the problem as an opportunity for serious study, one is confronted with fundamental questions about how language links individual identity with socially defined gender roles. Students encounter the potential for discovering new opportunities for personal expression and communication with others. (Bhasin, offered alternate years)
223 American Sign Language II Students will explore more in-depth implications of being in a minority culture within the majority culture. How does that influence the Deaf? Their feelings of oppression, Deaf perspective versus hearing perspective of meetings/conflicts, etc. The goal will deepen the students understanding of the language and the culture and to physically participate in Deaf cultural events. In addition to the texts directly related to the language, students will also develop an understanding of the culture and history through various readings and videos such as (but not limited to) People of the Eye, Inside Deaf Culture, A Journey into the Deaf World. (Cappiello, Spring, offered annually)
224 Writing and the Culture of Reading Academic, intellectual culture is a culture of the word, of reading and writing, of print. This course explores the dynamics of this culture through a close interrogation of the writing and reading practices of intellectuals, ourselves included. Through the course of the semester students keep a reading journal, write several critical essays, and complete a final project. (Forbes, offered alternate years)
250 Talk and Text: An Introduction to Discourse Analysis This course investigates one of the fundamental theoretical ways language is studied today. Students study the theories of discourse analysis and practice those theories by analyzing spoken and written texts. Analysis of the various kinds of texts in our culture—from billboards to novels, from political speeches and academic lectures to radio and TV talk shows—leads into discussions of conversational style, gender, linguistic stereotypes, and problems in intracultural communication. (Bhasin, Fall, offered annually)
251 Black Talk, White Talk What is BEV or Ebonics? Is it a language or a dialect? This course studies Black English Vernacular, also called Ebonics or Black street speech or Black talk (depending on the linguist): its sounds, structure, semantics, and history. It investigates the differences between black and white spoken discourse styles, which lead to tension and misunderstanding. It looks at written texts for the ways in which they reveal particular styles of spoken discourse. And it investigates the educational public policy issues surrounding Black English Vernacular. (Forbes, Bhasin, offered alternate years)
252 An Anatomy of American Class: Realities, Myths, Rhetorics Visit any American high school and find most students dressed in trendy sneakers and jeans, a good representation of the hidden discourse of class since these same students originate from different social and economic backgrounds. This course interrogates American class—how is it defined?
Who gets to define it? How is it represented in written and spoken discourse? What are its costs and hidden injuries? How does class shape and predict? What is the connection between race, ethnicity, and class? What is the language of class? Students think, read, and write analytically about their own experiences as well as develop critical interpretations about the cultural discourse of class. (Staff, offered alternate years)
275 Getting Dressed: Discourses of Fashion The discourses of fashion are more and more a central, yet unexamined, fact to the life of HWS students and of America in general. This course takes a critical look at that discourse, using the sociolinguistic theories of James Paul Gee in his discussion of big D Discourses, Big C Conversations, and Figured Worlds. Added to this is the cultural analysis of Roland Bathes I essays and a book. We consider the social, economic, and political ramifications of style. (Forbes, Spring, offered alternate years)
300 Writers World of Discourse: Issues and Practice of American Journalism This course introduces print journalism. It focuses on the basics of reporting and feature writing (business, sports, local government, and the law). Participants should expect to produce several pages of accurate, detailed, and well written copy a week and be prepared for extensive and numerous revisions. Students also work on typography and layout. As the major project for the semester, students in teams write, edit, design, and typeset a newspaper. (Forbes, offered alternate years)
301 Writers World of Discourse: The Discourses of Rape in Contemporary Culture An examination of the many ways our culture talks about rape, from political rape to date rape; the changing definitions of rape; rape as metaphor; and the social, political, and ethical implications of such discourses. How does the news media cover rape? How does the entertainment industry portray rape? Issues of power and powerlessness, victims and victimization, and privacy and the public good emerge. (Forbes, offered alternate years)
302 Op Ed: Writing Political and Cultural Commentary This course explores the roll of the columnist, the editorial writer whose columns appear opposite the editorial page in newspapers. Each week students write a column, making an argument about current issues related to politics, society, or the environment, to name a few. The course requires a great deal of independent research. The course is conducted as a workshop, in which each week three students volunteer to read their column aloud and have the whole class discuss it—raising questions, issues, looking at strong and weak points in the argument. Attendance is mandatory and students are expected to rewrite their columns as they prepare to turn in a mid-term and then a final portfolio. Course readings include a variety of editorial columns, especially those in The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. (Forbes, offered alternate years)
303 The Art and the Business of Ideas: Introduction to Publishing This course focuses on the principles and practices of magazine and book publishing. It explores the way rhetoric functions in publishing and how “gate keeping” functions in this industry of ideas and cultural influence: who decides what and who gets heard. The issues of gender, race, and class are central. Students study general interest and special interest magazine publishing; general trade book, academic or special interest book publishing; and the history of American publishing from the colonial era. Participants keep a reading journal; write several critical essays about the major issues in magazine and book publishing today; and complete a major semester-long project, individually or in teams (for instance, editing a book-length manuscript or producing a magazine). Two fieldtrips are planned: a local trip to visit a printer; a trip to New York City to visit a book and a magazine publisher. (Forbes, offered alternate years)
304 Hidden Writing: Journals, Diaries, and Notebooks as Creative Discourse Creative ideas for writers often begin with jottings that remain out of sight when final artistic creations are unveiled. Journals, diaries, and notebooks are usually private but normally pivotal to the creative process. This course explores the connection between private and public texts and the value of private writing as a creative activity. How does the language of privacy prefigure or help shape public creations? Can private writing be considered an art form? Students investigate such questions while examining private writings of published authors. They also engage in their own hidden writing, making connections between their experiences, authors studied, and the discourse of hidden writing. (Staff, offered alternate years)
305 Writing Colleagues Seminar: The Teaching of Writing and Reading This intensive course is designed for students who would like to work in the Writing Colleagues program, or study the current theories of the teaching of writing and reading at the college level. Students investigate the theories of writing as a process and the ways that reading is a critical and interdependent part of that process; engage in frequent critical reading, writing, and discussion; and, under the supervision of the instructor, work with at least one student during a five-week practicum to help her or him improve critical reading and writing abilities. In addition, students solidify and hone their grammatical skills. Prerequisites: Must be completing sophomore year although exceptional first-years are accepted; submission of portfolio; interview; and faculty recommendation. (Forbes, Dickinson, offered each semester)
306 New Media Writing: Theory & Production New media technologies are currently exploding writing possibilities in thrilling multimodal, multimedia, and multidisciplinary ways. this course will explore new media writing through theory, literature, journalism, and practice. Throughout the semester we will build a firm theoretical foundation in theories of new media and technology (through writers such as Heidegger, Baudrillard, and Haraway). to complement our theoretical inquiry, we will study new media works in genres such as journalism, literature, and art (including work by Nieman, Strickland, and Goldsmith), as well as some criticism responding to those works and their methods. Major assignments will include academic blogs responding to assigned materials, a video essay, an audio collage, a multimedia online document, and the curation of a creative tumbler series. Students will respond critically to each other's new media projects in regularly held workshops.
307 Literary Journalism : The Art of Reporting and Nonfiction Narrative Literary journalism blends factual reporting with narrative and stylistic strategies common in literature. Literary journalists are bound by many of the same standards as other reporters, but they have the additional goal, as Ben Yagoda puts it, of "making facts dance." The literary journalist might, therefore, suppress direct quotation-a staple of traditional journalism-in favor of scene and dialogue. Or, rather than withdrawing the writer's point of view to achieve objectivity, the story might foreground the reporter's voice and experiences.
This course will explore specific ways in which journalism benefits from literary techniques. Our approach will be twofold: we will examine the genre historically, and we will critique student work during regular workshops. Although we will begin by identifying the genre's roots in the 18th and 19th centuries (including works by Defoe, Boswell, Dickens), we will spend the bulk of the semester steeped in 20th century and present-day practices. "New Journalism" ( including works by Capote, Mailer, Didion, Thompson, Wolfe) will be a cornerstone of our study, as will today's cutting-edge practitioners ( such as Lewis, Galdwell, Wallace). Students will both emulate and resist these writers in their own work.
308 Reporting Online This course is designed as a stand-alone or a follow-up to WRRH 300, the introduction to print journalism. Students read two online newspapers daily, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, write and rewrite at least one story a week, learn the principles of writing for an internet audience, and design and publish their own blogs and online newspapers. There is a fee for this course. (Forbes, offered alternate years)
309 Talk and Text II: Language in Action This course seeks to develop an understanding of what language can do socially and communicatively, and how writing helps us make such negotiations as performing actions, asserting, persuading, telling stories, expressing individual identities and social affiliations by choosing among various ways of talking. This course engages students with the multiple concepts of linguistic practice, to explore the connections between human language and human life through readings, lectures, films, and discussions. (Bhasin, Spring, offered alternate years)
312 Power and Persuasion: Readings in Rhetoric, Ancient to Modern In this course, students read and respond to texts of rhetorical theory, practice the art of detailed rhetorical analysis, and apply rhetorical theory to their own persuasive texts. They also focus on suasive rhetoric as exemplified in contemporary social and political movements and non-profit organizations. Students learn methods for assessing what makes one text more persuasive than another and in turn, how to better assess the effectiveness of their own writing. (Werner, Spring, offered annually)
322 Adolescent Literature This course, run as a workshop and complement to EDUC 320 Children’s Literature, considers contemporary works that represent the main forms of literature for early and late adolescence: science fiction, fantasy, realistic and “problems” novels, and historical novels. Students write young adult fiction, as well as read and discuss young adult novels—their rhetoric, style, and issues. Participants form reading partnerships with local middle and high school students to discuss the books they are reading and the stories they are writing. There is a lab with this course. (Forbes, Staff, offered alternate years)
325 Rhetoric of Place How does the language we use affect the way we experience a place? What role does language playas a part of our environment? Rhetoricians often speak of language being situated (from the Latin in situ: "in position"); philosophers and theologians have spent millennia discussing the primordial role that language plays in where we live ("In the beginning was The Word"); literary scholars talk about every text having a context; urban planners write codes that directly affect how a town gets built and its sense of place. We can even see evidence of language's role in our environment by the fact that a "topic" of discussion takes its meaning from the word topos, which means "place" in Greek. Developing critical thinking skills while we learn, this class will work through ancient, modern and contemporary texts to reveal place as a vital concept in philosophy and rhetoric. Tracing the neglect of the concept of place throughout the modern period and examining recent attempts to reinvigorate it in architectural, rhetorical and philosophical circles, students will create projects that explore how these concepts are enacted in theory as well as in everyday practice. Intended to fulfill Environmental Studies Humanities Core requirement. (Conrey, offered every year)
351 The Science Beat This course is designed for students interested in writing about science, in science journalism, or in strengthening their research and writing skills. Students produce weekly articles, read and discuss articles by major science writers, and read and discuss each other’s articles in a workshop. (Forbes, offered alternate years)
352 Writing in the Professional Workplace Preparing students for the principles and practices of professional writing in nonacademic settings is the focus of this course. It explores the way rhetoric functions in professional cultures and, more broadly, within a high-tech “information society.” Issues of gender relations and multiculturalism in the workplace are also addressed. Students investigate, read, and write about professional writing, as well as practice its numerous forms, including (but not limited to) job application materials, letters and memos, reports and proposals, oral presentations, and electronic communications. (Staff, offered alternate years)
360 Writing Colleagues Field Placement Writing Colleagues must enroll in WRRH 360 every semester they are in a placement. In addition to attending their placements, helping professors develop writing assignments and activities, reading student essays, and working one-on-one with writers, Writing Colleagues enrolled in WRRH 360 must also attend monthly professional development meetings, meet bi-weekly with the WC Coordinator, submit a weekly WC journal, and contribute to the community’s writing culture through blogs, op-eds, or newspaper articles. These activities are designed to support Writing Colleagues as they continue to strengthen their own reading and writing skills and develop as Writing Colleagues. (Dickinson & Janney, offered each semester)
420 The Writer’s Guild The goal of the course is to write a collection of essays. This capstone workshop for Writing and Rhetoric majors or serious writers meets once a week in extended session during which students read and critique each other’s work. Students should be prepared to write an essay a week, with extensive revisions, read professional examples on the theme for the semester, which varies from year to year, submit an essay for publication, and give a public reading as the final examination. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor based on a writing sample. (Repeatable) (Forbes, Staff, offered alternate years)
450 Independent Study