Summer 2019 Writing Courses

For class meeting times and room assignments, please see the Schedule of Classes.

Hybrid courses blend face-to-face classroom instruction with online learning to improve learning outcomes. Hybrid courses thus move a significant amount of course work to an online environment.

Service-learning courses address a community need through direct or indirect service and community-based research.

UW1020 Courses



UW2020W Courses



1020 Course Descriptions


Writing Science and Health: Women's Health as Point of Inquiry

Barlow, Jameta

The space that resides between STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and society is a precarious one. STEM thirsts for knowledge to expand and build while the public desires STEM for its application, utility and effect. The latter is most often discussed in public spheres. Yet, this co-dependent relationship has the potential to ignite innovation, question moral ethic and inherently prompt moments of resistance. This course will operate in this precarious space and interrogate its very nature, with specific focus on science and health and using women's health as a case study.
We begin the course practicing self-reflexivity and exploring the role of privilege and standpoint in the development of philosophies of science. We engage in critical perspectives and decolonizing methodologies to interrogate traditional approaches in science and health.We end the course with a focused application of these approaches and concepts. This writing intensive is an interdisciplinary study of women’s health from a holistic perspective that builds on socioeconomic, political and biological aspects of women’s health. It explores the relationships between health and gender under political, biological, economic, spiritual, cultural and/or socially constructed influences. Students will engage in a comprehensive overview of health literature in public health, feminist and cultural studies, psychology, sociology, anthropology, medicine, and popular literature and social media. Students will use lectures, class discussions, readings, popular culture analyses, journaling, peer-reviewed group work, and in-class activities to explore writing on and about science and health.

(De)Constructing the Non-Human

Bieda, Casey

With the vast proliferation and popularity of science fiction in video games, comic books, and popular literature at large, the actor of the “non-human” (or “other”) has cycled through a vast number of representations. These representations have long been the subjects of theological, political,  philosophical, sociological, and scientific debate. These debates have raised larger issues of “humanity”, creationist responsibility, animate/inanimate “life”, “animacy” hierarchy, anthropomorphism, and technological supremacy.  What is “human”? In this age of technology and exploration, how do we define ideas of “human”, “post-human”, and “non-human”? What happens when those definitions touch, blend, or oppose one another? What narratives do they create? Who gets to tell those narratives, and why are those narratives important in how we engage with our contemporary culture?

In this course, we will investigate points in literature, film, graphic narratives, and other media forms where the familiar and unfamiliar touch and analyze how humans both react and interact with these non-human entities. Through these points of contact we will grapple with larger discussions of scientific advancement, animal rights, and how the world expands (or contracts) when we consider life beyond the purely “human”. We will investigate, challenge, and report on several sources of interest ranging from Medieval poetry, to 1950’s science fiction, to contemporary podcasts and graphic narratives  through several concentrated writing assignments and classroom discussion. We will also write a final intensive research paper focused on one subject from/or based on our classroom material.


Cultures, Canons, Communities and Cognitions: Reflecting on Service Learning and Literacy

Presser, Pamela
NOTE: This is a service learning course.

What exactly is good writing? What set of ideas about writing should be developed in the classroom? What constitutes rigorous research? What do our ideas about writing enable or restrict? Questions like these, which we will discuss in this class, provoke heated debate in the academy.

This class will start with the assumption that classrooms are contested spaces because instructors don't agree how best to choose texts to teach, or how to study the texts once they are selected. These debates are often referred to as the "culture wars" and they are part of a long standing conversation about the nature of education. John Dewey, often considered the father of progressive education, believed that experiences which enable students to interact within communities, and critical reflection on such experiences, are essential to the learning process. Experiential educators, drawing upon Dewey's work, have established a body of theory which suggests that service learning is one of the best ways to achieve these goals. In this class, we will partner with community organizations, establishing a relationship of reciprocity which will allow you to contribute to their missions while gaining knowledge and expertise.


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Music as a Reaction to Societal Ills and as a Source of Community

Miller, Bruce
From homemade banjo-like stringed instruments employed by rural Malawians, Florida musician Moses Williams fashioning a one-stringed instrument out of a door, to Nigerian Afro beat pioneer Fela Kuti’s slogan that “music is a weapon”, various types of sound art have been used to stare down poverty, radicalize groups of people into a movement for social justice, or simply allow us all to recognize something about where we come from. In this course, we will survey writing, performance, video, documentary, and no doubt some deep listening. Along the way, we’ll take on everything from urban free jazz, rural folk and the complexities inherent in semi-known folk-pop hybrids from Mauritania to Thailand. We’ll not only learn of these styles, but we’ll also be offered a chance to study artists’ arguments rhetorically.
We will, over the course of the semester, craft three major papers that can trace anything from origins of a particular musical form and how it was shaped by environment to musical statements, both cultural and political, to various folk traditions, and how they are either preserved or threatened. There may also be a chance to write short reviews or other commentary on the importance of an artist or style. 
We will also engage in the crafting of complex thesis statements and dig deeper into source types as well as methods as we add to an ongoing scholarly conversation that merges art, culture, social justice, and politics into well-supported, thoughtfully organized, original work. Instead of echoing existing scholarship, our concerns come with re-examining it, questioning it, and therefore adding to it. Doing this allows us to analyze rhetorical situations, consider scholarship critically, and ultimately arrive at more polished writing.

2020W Course Descriptions


Intro to Digital Humanities

Azar, Tawnya
Note: This course will satisfy a WID requirement. This is a distance learning course.

What does it mean to take a digital approach to the study of the humanities? What do the humanities have to offer to the digital world? This course is both an introduction to the growing interdisciplinary field of digital humanities and a critical evaluation of the projects, methodologies, and debates within that field. From visualizing social networks in ancient history and big data analysis of archaeological finds to mapping endangered languages and decolonizing literary archives, the digital humanities are facilitating significant knowledge development in the study of the humanities. In addition to examining existing digital humanities projects, we will explore what it means to write, develop, and share digital projects.


Intro to Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies

Gamber, Cayo
Note: This course will satisfy a WID requirement. This is a distance learning course.

The course is designed to give students with diverse backgrounds and disciplines a basic understanding of the debates and perspectives discussed in the field of WGSS as well as the larger theoretical scope of feminism. The course will ask questions such as: What is gender? What is sexuality? What is feminism and is it still relevant today? What role do gender, sexuality, and intersectionality (as informed by class, race, biology, ethnicity/nationality, ability and disability, education, appearance, age, and others) play in terms of understanding the varieties of human experience? How are issues of femininity, masculinity, and sexuality constructed and defined differently according to various texts within popular media (e.g., advertisements, children's toys, popular films)? What are the various types of feminist perspectives and praxis that can be used to create equality for all women and men in contemporary society?


Internships & Workplace Writing

McCaughey, Jessica
NOTE: This course will satisfy a WID requirement. This is a distance learning course. Students must be simultaneously working in a summer internship to take the course. Limited to 15 students. This is a Writing in the Disciplines (WID) course. You must have successfully completed UW1020 to receive WID credit for this course.

Memos, mission-statements, whitepapers, tweets: how does the writing within a workplace reflect the culture of that organization? Designed for students working in summer internships, this online course guides students to analyze their own experiences using language in a new setting. Building from highly relevant readings about organizational culture, the comparative philosophies of non-profit, for-profit and government institutions, and rhetorical theories of professional writing, students will study the rhetoric of their organizations and their roles as interns. This is a fast-paced course with a substantial workload of reading, daily online discussions, and three main writing projects.

This online course is organized into three units. At the end of each unit, students will submit a writing assignment reflecting on their experiences as an intern. Leading up to each assignment, the class will have extensive discussions of course readings, reflections about how the readings relate to these experiences, analysis of the workplace site, and a draft workshop. The course is designed to be very interactive. As students will be in different types of internships, working for different organizations and within different workplace philosophies, the comparison across experiences will be a substantive part of the course. Therefore, students must participate regularly and fully. Through the course readings, research, and writing about individual experiences, students will gain a rich understanding about organizational culture, socialization, and the particular role that writing plays in signaling and sustaining cultural norms.


Time And Space In Science Fiction

McReynolds, Leigha
Note: This course will satisfy a WID requirement.

We move through time and space every day. But do we live in them or do they exist because we live? In this course we’ll read and watch science-fiction that re-imagines our relationship to time and space. We’ll explore how changing these familiar dimensions might change what it means to see, to know, and to, in fact, be human.


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Amsterdam: City As Museum

Troutman, Phillip
Note: This is a short-term abroad course. Overseas course component in the Netherlands from July 28 - August 10, 2019. Course will meet online from July 1 - July 27, 2019. Students must contact the Office for Study Abroad to register.

This is a course in the art of looking:  What does it mean to see Amsterdam as one grand museum? How do architecture and urban design shape urban life, from 16th century canal houses to 21st century mod condos? How do residents and outsiders engage with art & design? How do museums interpret Amsterdam’s conflicted history, from Golden Age cosmopolitanism and colonialism to 20th century Nazi collaboration and decolonization? How do city-dwellers today--including immigrants and their descendants from north Africa and the former Dutch colonies-- interact and claim city space and culture? We’ll read, discuss, and write online (weeks 1-4) then roam Amsterdam & write a group travel blog (weeks 5-6). We’ll visit the Van Gogh Museum, Rembrandt House, Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank House, Stedelijk Museum of modern design, VanMoof Bicycles, Red Light District, ARCAM Architecture Center, and Marken village, plus take architecture tours and attend an Ajax soccer match and the Roots music festival. Satisfies WID credit.

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