UW Course Descriptions

Visit the GW Office of the Registrar for the latest schedule of classes by semester. Learn more about UW 1020 requirements, exemptions and hybrid and service learning options. For a list of Writing in the Disciplines (WID) courses, visit the Undergraduate Advising website.

Summer 2022

UW 1020 Courses

Scientific writing about human variation has created and upheld racialized inequality for centuries. In particular, scientists have created race categories through the misuse of quantitative measures. However, quantitative techniques have also made it possible to establish that there are no biologically recognizable race categories in humans and to assess the impacts of racism on human wellbeing. In this course, we will critically read and write about the histories and futures of race and racism with scholarly and popular texts from the natural and social sciences, especially those that employ quantitative methods.

The quantification of race and racism in scientific disciplines offers many lessons for writing and research. Scientific, quantitative approaches to race and racism bring up challenging methodological and ethical questions, but have also shaped how we understand the roots of the urgent health issues facing much of the world today. This course — with its biocultural approach to a complex topic — offers students the opportunity to practice critically and ethically reading and writing about quantitative claims related to race and racism. Assignments include original research writing, responses to readings and peer writing, collaborative and independent revision, and graphical display of information. Students will rhetorically evaluate scientific arguments and respond to them in socially relevant ways for both expert and broader public audiences.

In this course, we will examine how authors include themselves in texts. When does the first-person point of view successfully contribute to an argument? How can drawing from our personal experience create an effective portrait of the author? What does storytelling afford our writing? How do we talk about ourselves? By considering the rhetorical implications of writers calling attention to their individuality, we will approach the topic of subjectivity as it relates to various academic disciplines. With this framework in mind, we will read and discuss texts in a variety of genres: documentary films, critical theory, peer-reviewed research, investigative journalism, poetry, and self-portraits. In each case, we will consider the presence or the absence of the author, how they establish authority and trust, and the roles that visual and linguistic rhetoric play in our response to argument and point of view. Among shorter writing exercises, you will have the opportunity to contribute to an existing body of scholarship in a research project that will include an exploration of the personal dimensions of thinking and writing within a discourse community. You will be encouraged to develop your own identity as a writer and consider how your lived experiences contribute to existing conversations.

When we hear the word grief, we assume someone has died, but grief can stem from a variety of traumatic places. When we think about trauma, we typically assume we have not been through a traumatic experience, or our first thought is of a friend or family member who has. The truth is most of us have been through at least three traumatic experiences that begin in early development. We assume if we have trauma, those traumas typically occur during our childhoods as determined through ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences). We experience trauma and grief throughout our lives and learn to coexist with both through coping mechanisms, therapy and support, and resilience.

The last two years have been an exercise in what a global traumatic experience looks like. We are all grieving the lives we once had that are still no longer the same. The pandemic has been difficult for all communities but especially for diverse and marginalized groups. Black populations were hugely affected by the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor as demonstrated by the powerful Black Lives Matter movement that flooded our streets and television screens for months during the time of quarantine. We all bore witness to their community and our nation being ravaged by what a trauma response can do when it pushes people to the brink and the rise of resilience that can come from such an enlightening and devastating movement. This is just one example of the trauma that is associated with this particular time in all our lives.

In this section of UW 1020, we will be delving deep into what trauma and grief are, the stages that can develop, and how we can transform ourselves to a place of resilience over time. This will be cultivated through considerable research, readings, and class discussions that will culminate into three essays: a media analysis, a research argument essay, and a think piece.

NOTE: This course will be taught via remote instruction. For more information, please contact the course instructor.

What is good writing? How does your culture and your community influence your writing? How should writing be taught? What roles should students play in shaping the nature of their education? What responsibilities should individuals feel toward communities?

In this class, we will ponder questions like these. Assignments will include determining and drawing on your own interests to create an annotated critical bibliography which will lead to a research project. The class will be taught remotely and will have both synchronous and asynchronous components. Students will have opportunities to work with nonprofits such as the Smithsonian and Free Minds.

UW 2020W Courses 

Note: This course will satisfy a WID requirement. This is a distance learning course. This class is cross-listed with CRN 21292 WGSS 2120W D.80.

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 asks: What is feminism? What role do gender, sexuality, and intersectionality play in terms of understanding the varieties of human experience? How are issues of femininity, masculinity, and sexuality constructed and defined? In order to answer those questions, we will interrogate our responses/relationships to various texts – including academic arguments, personal narratives, advertisements, films, YouTube videos, celebrities, consumer goods – as they are inflected by our evolving understanding of feminism and social justice.

Note: This course will satisfy a WID requirement. This is a distance learning course. This class is cross-listed with CRN 22769 CAH 2001W.80.

In this course, we will view, read, research, and write about the work of women artists whose creations can be found in the many museums located in Washington, D.C. We will consider the themes and techniques that various women artists employ. Each week, we will be working with a different area museum, visiting their collections and hearing from museum professionals about the type of writing they do in their everyday lives. Some of these museums may include The National Portrait Gallery, The Phillips Collection, and The Kreeger Museum. As writers, we will complete a variety of writing assignments similar to those done by artists and museum professionals. These assignments will include exhibition label writing, visual analysis, and exhibition review. Together, we will explore the vibrant arts community in Washington, DC and celebrate women artists whose work continues to be marginalized.

Note: This course will satisfy a WID requirement. This is a distance learning course. This class is cross-listed with CRN 21558 WGSS 2120W D.81.

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 asks: What is feminism? What role do gender, sexuality, and intersectionality play in terms of understanding the varieties of human experience? How are issues of femininity, masculinity, and sexuality constructed and defined? In order to answer those questions, we will interrogate our responses/relationships to various texts – including academic arguments, personal narratives, advertisements, films, YouTube videos, celebrities, consumer goods – as they are inflected by our evolving understanding of feminism and social justice.


Fall 2022

From Aristotle to the present, notions of mathematical infinity have been a major concern of mathematicians and philosophers of mathematics. What does it mean that there are infinitely many numbers? That a value can grow infinitely large, or infinitely close to zero? That a sequence can be infinitely long? That a process can be repeated infinitely many times? We will grapple with all of these issues.

In addition to covering the basics of polished academic writing such as precision, concision, coherence, and cohesiveness, this writing-intensive course will focus on what it means to analyze a text and to construct a convincing argument. By going through the processes of research and revision throughout the semester, students will hone their skills in critical thinking and effective written communication while developing a new appreciation for one of the key concepts of mathematics.

Note: Some of these courses are intended for WLP students only. Departmental approval required to register.

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.

Note: This course is intended for WLP students only. Departmental approval required to register.

This course examines graphic novels by women authors, focusing on the visual in literature and drawing out its aesthetic, political, and cultural implications. We’ll think about how words and pictures both elucidate and complicate meaning, and we’ll analyze how women have historically been depicted when visuals combine with text. As graphic novels gain increasing respectability in literary and artistic realms, we’ll also consider distinctions, legitimate or arbitrary, that are assigned to culture. 

Note: Some of these sections of UW 1020 will grant priority registration to students living in the Art + Design Living Learning Community. Departmental approval required to register.

Are images texts? Can images be “read?” What does it mean to “read” an image?

As individuals, we are confronted with, interpret, process and ignore a multitude of images every day. Via these images, visual narratives and arguments manifest across many spectrums, from business, advertising, and politics, to popular culture, art, and fashion, with each image vying for our attentions. In this course, we’ll intersect with the study of visual culture and visual rhetoric, considering the role images play in our culture(s), while exploring what it means to examine something as an "image" and investigating how visual narratives and arguments are formed, composed, and realized. To this end, we’ll also examine images alongside written texts, exploring the parallels between the two forms.

Our subject matter will include two graphic novels, visual art (specifically the collections at the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum) and iconic and cultural images, the latter of which will potentially comprise photographs, advertising, branding and marketing, iconic images, and much more. Assignments will include three essays of increasing length, each focusing on a particular image (or set of images) — a blog critique, an analysis of a visual argument and an argumentative research essay — as well as short visual projects and contributions to an online class discussion forum.

A girl tosses her friend’s beloved doll through a grate and into a cellar, where it can’t be retrieved. A wife’s head rolls off her body when her husband unties the ribbon around her neck. A young artist rides her motorcycle at record-breaking speeds—until she crashes.

With these snippets of plot, we glimpse fictional worlds created by 21st century women. Critic Parul Sehgal observed that: “The books steering literature in new directions — to new forms, new concerns — almost invariably have a woman at the helm, an Elena Ferrante, a Rachel Cusk, a Zadie Smith.” How can fiction, in Sehgal’s words, “suggest and embody unexplored possibilities in form, feeling and knowledge”? How do women “invent a language for their lives” in the 21st century (Sehgal)? In this class, we take as our starting point “The New Vanguard,” a collection of 15 works of fiction, assembled by three New York Times literary critics. The list ranges from Allison Bechdel’s The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For to Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Our project in this class is to develop our own writing skills by studying the work of radical fiction writers. Using a feminist lens, we consider what makes these works innovative—at the sentence level and through the arc of a whole narrative. We will read as writers, considering how groundbreaking fiction might inform—or even transform—our work as critics and academic writers. As the medium for developing our ideas, we will study and practice writing essays—a genre that blends personal experience, literary analysis, and research.

Every UW 1020 course requires ‘finished’ writing, developed in a rigorous composition process often consisting of pre-draft preparation, drafts, and revisions based on instructor’s advice and classmates’ comments. In this course, the series of tasks you will perform — including writing a research paper that integrates both primary and secondary sources — are designed both to help you become familiar with an array of research efforts as well as familiar with writing an authoritative study of your chosen topic. In this course, we analyze primary documents from the Shoah – photographs and oral histories, in particular. I ask that we engage with these materials because such research encourages us to value the research findings of others; to acquire research skills; to recognize the ways in which primary materials are central to both the research process and the conclusions one draws; and, perhaps most importantly, to realize our analysis allows us to make meaningful additions to the academic conversation about a given topic. The range of research topics is wide, from the role art played in the Holocaust to the workings of a particular concentration camp; or from the role liberators played (or failed to play) to what is known about the "bearers of secrets," the Sonderkommando, who were eyewitnesses to the Final Solution. While we may not be able to make amends for the Holocaust, I believe that through the careful study of the lives of those who perished and the words of those who survived, we become witnesses for the eyewitnesses, witnesses who are willing to be bearers of the stories and history of the Shoah.

Who are we without consciousness—the knowledge of existence? Throughout this course, students should expect to rely on their own knowledge of their existence to create a narrative voice that reflects their individual perspectives and lived experiences. While technical instruction is inherently a part of an introductory writing course, my concern and investment are primarily on the development of voice, storytelling, and argument making. How are you contributing to the discourses around you? 

In the time of “fake news” and political correctness, society has created a false dichotomy between right and wrong, where those on either side express their positionality through a handful of monolithic views rather than personally constructed arguments. Instead of perpetuating this constructed performance, society requires more minds who see beyond the surface and extract their perceptions from personal examination and research. Throughout the semester, we will be examining various texts that range from Ted Talks, YouTube videos, and songs, to book excerpts, short stories, and articles. In any text, there’s an argument. Our recurring task will be to discover what those arguments are. Using a scope of writing styles such as personal essays, film reviews, visual-text analyses, students will leave the course having written a body of expressive work that reflects their academic-driven opinions. Moreover, students will leave the course feeling more confident in the way they interpret the world around them.

In the post-modern age, numerous environmental scholars have argued that “Nature” no longer truly exists: every corner of the planet has been damaged by humans in the “anthropocene” and all places face endangerment on some level. In this course, we study how publics come to believe that places are contaminated, pristine, threatened, beautiful, dying, or valuable. What types of arguments best convince audiences that a place is worthy of being razed to the ground or “saved” in perpetuity?  What are some current practices for treating places sustainably – accounting for cultural, economic, and environmental sustainability? Together we will read about several cases of endangered landscapes, in texts that encompass fiction, literary nonfiction, academic research, journalism, and documentary film. Throughout the semester, you will have the opportunity to study the environmental threats facing a place that matters to you, whether it is a place you’re from or one that has captured your imagination. In your writing assignments, you will describe your place, analyze its visual and artistic representations, propose a research project related to it, and delve deep into source material to craft an argument about what should happen to this place next. This course is for you if you are passionate about geography, storytelling, Nature writing, traveling, public policy, photography, fine arts, social movements, political activism, or environmentalism and sustainability.

Beginning in the late 1940s, with the period known as La Violencia, Colombia experienced 75 years of continuous political unrest and violence. This combined with extreme forms of criminal violence associated with mass drug production and distribution, beginning in the 1970s. Today, a fragile peace agreement is being tested, not only by the previously existing political and social dynamics, but also by the profound economic and social consequences of the Coronavirus pandemic. We will partner, through online dialogues, with a class at Universidad del Rosario, in Bogota, the capital of Colombia, to explore the historic and contemporary dynamics at-play as Colombia seeks to maintain peace. And we will use this complex situation to explore the nature and diversity of academic disciplines and the different modes and methods of research and writing found in our own university. In addition, each student will engage, for our Hybrid online sessions, with the language learning app Duolingo (no previous language training is required for the course; each student will engage at their own level for these Hybrid day sessions, which will be evaluated primarily in terms of effort).

The National Museum of African American History and Culture opened just a few years ago on the Mall – the culmination of more than a century of advocacy for such an institution. But while the museum has enjoyed tremendous attention in its first several years, many other museums, memorials, and monuments already here in Washington have commemorated and narrated the American story, or stories, of race for generations. From the African American Civil War memorial to the National Museum of the American Indian, public spaces throughout the city depict the nation’s often tortured relationship with race. A few, of late, have even been taken down, and yet, generally, visitors of these spaces consider them reliable vehicles for telling history. How historically reliable are such public history accounts? What sorts of pressures do these institutions face in relating their interpretations? And, perhaps most importantly for a writing course, are there explicit rhetorical features that distinguish academic history and argument from popular ones found in museums, memorials, and monuments? In this class, students will analyze these carefully crafted, sometimes controversial places and spaces around Washington and how they narrate American history, particularly its racial history, including these sites’ physical locations, visual symbolism, and written interpretations – as much as the pandemic will allow us, at least. In the process, you will be asked to write your own argument-driven narratives, sharpening not just your ability to convey your thoughts on paper but also bolstering an array of academic skills, such as critical reading, argument development, substantive revision, and primary source analysis.

In recent years, conversations about what higher education is “for” have mostly addressed economic issues. And research shows that, yes, college graduates earn more over the course of a lifetime. Studies also show that the average American college graduate carries tens of thousands of dollars in student debt. With an emphasis on inquiry and critical thinking, we’ll grapple with this question of what—and who—college is “for.” Our inquiries will also address more nuanced concerns, like the following: What is the value of college, and how might we measure value beyond the financial? Are degrees in one discipline more worthy or valuable than others? Should everyone go to college? How does socio-economic status and family background play into higher education opportunities? Finally, does college prepare us for what comes next—particularly as writers? As we work to make sense of these complex issues, we’ll explore both scholarly articles across disciplines and popular media. We’ll develop our academic writing and research skills through a series of increasingly complex assignments, each one scaffolded with the support of substantial feedback from peers and your professor. As a writer, you’ll develop the skills necessary to consider, research, and express arguments clearly and effectively in a variety of written forms. Thematically, you’ll leave this course with a more nuanced perspective of why you’re here at the university and the complex factors surrounding everything it took for you to be here—from the personal to the political to the historical.

The theme of this writing course is learning. You will learn about writing as you learn what the fields of neuroscience, educational and cognitive psychology, and education have to tell us about how students learn. The theme of learning will anchor your research practices and help us select articles that we will read as a class to help inform your different writing activities. You will also use the theme as a springboard to develop your own individual lines of inquiry that you will follow and investigate throughout the semester, beginning with an assignment that asks you to investigate an issue/problem related to the theme of “learning,” then moving to a longer researched piece that more deeply explores one aspect of learning. We will conclude with an adaptation of your researched paper for a different audience and in a new form.

This class will focus on writing as a form of reasoning and knowledge production used in the university, at work, and in daily life, and it will explore how different writing situations and different audiences influence how we question, analyze, make claims, and present information and ideas. The course will explore critical writing skills which involve pre-writing, paraphrasing, summarizing, synthesizing, drafting, and revising. Particular (though not exclusive) emphasis will be placed on source-based writing as a means of acquiring, communicating, and transforming knowledge. Finally, special emphasis will be placed on peer review, in other words, on providing peers with useful, usable, and theoretically-informed feedback on writing (an essential skill with applications in academic, professional, and personal life).

You’ve probably never heard of the Intention Economy. That is because it doesn’t exist. At least not yet. What you probably have heard about is the Attention Economy, the array of applications and processes that tech companies use to make money by keeping us watching/listening/reading/clicking for as long as possible.

If technology users are honest with themselves, they will admit that their technology usage often feels out of their control. They are right. It is out of their control. Thanks to an increasing number of whistelblower accounts from inside the tech sector—Anna Wiener’s Uncanny Valley, Christopher Wylie’s Mindf*ck, and Mike Monteiro’s Ruined by Design, to name just a few—we now know that tech companies are actively leveraging the latest psychological research in order to patiently and deliberately design applications to get us hooked, and keep us hooked. Yet, like any addict deep into their denial, people will rationalize and defend to the death their lack of control over their own lives. Technology isn’t good or bad, they say. It is how you use it, they say.

We don’t have to live like this. But what alternatives are there? As we investigate modes of communicating and viewing the world that try to balance technology and lived experience, we will be actively exploring the ways in which different styles and genres of writing can open up new ways of looking at the world. In addition to a research topic of your choosing about some facet of the attention economy, we will also be looking at styles of writing that require us to pay close attention to the people and environments around us. This will be a challenging course. If you aren’t prepared to confront some uncomfortable truths about your own technology usage (and who is controlling that) then this may not be the course for you. If you don’t think you could last a day without your cellphone, this is definitely not the course for you (because that is something we will all attempt). But if you are open to a new way of thinking about the world, and are curious about what forces are shaping the technologies we are already taking for granted, then maybe as a group we can bring into being something that does not yet exist; the Intention Economy.

Note: Some of these sections of UW 1020 will grant priority registration to students living in the Art + Design Living Learning Community. Departmental approval required to register.

In the spring of 2020, with COVID-19 creating a global health crisis, the New York Times published a printable pattern for sewing a face mask, and people across the United States threaded needles and got to work. Some were sewing for their families, some for extended social networks, and some craft collectives used social media to form, organize, and produce thousands of masks in just a few weeks. COVID-19 may be new, but the intersection between hi-tech communication and old-timey craft traditions is not. Since the early 21st century, new platforms like Reddit and YouTube have provided resources for those interested in learning old skills and sharing new techniques. Even as craft-specific social networks like Ravelry have helped knitters connect and innovate, and banned knitting patterns that support white supremacy, crafters of color have used Instagram and Twitter to call out racism and exclusionary practices in predominantly white craft circles and “little yarn shops.” Craft and craft communities provide evidence scholars can use to answer myriad questions about culture, society, labor, and aesthetics. What has it historically meant to make something by hand in America, and what does it mean now? Why is it so surprising to see a man knit a sweater? Why are “crafts” treated as different from “art”? Why do scholars find craft blogs useful for understanding 21st century labor and economics, and community gardening useful for understanding principles of human-technology interface design? In this section of University Writing 1020 we will approach scholarship about American craftwork and crafters as a case study for learning about academic writing and research conventions. We will both become familiar with and practice some of the genres scholars use to write about craft and craft labor, developing sufficient expertise to provide each other with feedback on the writing we produce. This section of UW1020 also uses labor-based contract grading to support rigorous engagement with writing practice. This model is designed as an anti-racist teaching practice that supports every student's right to use their own written language to communicate. As part of this model you will learn new approaches to writing that you can rely on in future classes where traditional grading models are still in place.

In this course we will develop writing skills through careful observation and analysis of 17th Century Dutch painting. Each student will write 2 polished catalogue entries (2-3 pages each) of works from the National Gallery collection, a short exhibition review (3-5 pages), a short research paper (5-7 pages) and a larger research project (15-20 pages). Artists such as Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Frans Hals will be the central focus of class discussion, as well as various landscape and still life masters. We will explore issues of technique (i.e. materials and methods) and art historical interpretations. Why do we consider Rembrandt a "genius?" Did Vermeer use the camera obscura? How did the new wealthy middle class affect art patronage? Together we will read a selection of scholarly articles related to each subject, as well as visiting the museum collection firsthand. Through critical writing, class discussion, and individual research, each student will learn to see and appreciate the art of the Dutch Golden Age.

“Such was the very armour he had on.” “For the apparel oft proclaims the man.” “I have heard of your paintings too, well enough; God has given you one face, and you make yourselves another.” These three memorable quotations are examples of the importance of appearances in Shakespeare’s oeuvre. Horatio recognizes the king’s ghost by the armor he has on. Polonius gives his son Laertes fatherly advice on how to dress properly during his journey to France. Hamlet admonishes Ophelia for changing her face with cosmetics. Whether it was through armor, flashy clothing or make-up, this world of appearances described by Shakespeare was full of common cultural references which would have been easily understood by a contemporary audience in Shakespeare’s day. The visual world of art and culture in the Shakespearean Age was as rich and complex as Shakespeare’s own poetry and prose.

In this course, we will explore the visual arts created during the Shakespearean Age. From a rich array of mediums spanning Elizabethan and early Jacobean portraiture, book illustrations, tapestries, sculpture, clothing, jewelry, and armor, we will visually reconstruct the world that inspired Shakespeare’s oeuvre. During the first half of the semester, the class will read Shakespeare’s Restless World: A Portrait of an Era in Twenty Objects by Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum. Each student will then select an art object from Shakespeare’s time and write an additional chapter (~8-10 pages) to add to this book. During the latter half of the semester, students then will design in groups of four or five a museum exhibition based on a Shakespearean theme. Each student will select two objects to include in his or her group exhibition and will write a catalogue entry for each object (~2-3 pages each). Finally, each student will individually write an essay (~10 pages) on a topic related to the theme of his or her group exhibition.

This course examines the greatest surviving masterpieces of Greco-Roman sculpture and explores their enduring significance in western art from antiquity to the present day. From this essential canon of ancient sculpture, which includes the Doryphoros (Spear Bearer), the Laocoon, the Aphrodite of Knidos, the Spinario, and the Weary Hercules, we will analyze why these works have both inspired artists and stirred scholarly debate amongst ancient writers, art historians, archaeologists, Renaissance humanists, and Enlightenment philosophers. In this class, students will write art museum catalogue entries (~2 pages each) on related artworks and interdisciplinary research papers (~6-10 pages each)  on related topics concerning the continued presence of Greek art in the western world.

Note: This course is a service-learning course. Service-learning courses address a community need through direct or indirect service and community-based research. For more information, see the Honey W. Nashman Center website.

To what extent is your sense of self shaped by your culture, circumstances and location? How does where you are living and working influence what you dream? Does performing service, and writing about your experiences, change your ideas about who you are?

Such questions fall within the domain of consciousness studies, an interdisciplinary field which will be the subject of this class. Because consciousness studies in its present incarnation is a new and largely uncharted field, most questions its scholars are asking remain unanswered. This course, then, will be best suited for curious students eager to explore inner and outer space. Indeed, the course requires a willingness to leave the GW bubble, since students will be required to perform 20 hours of community service off campus, with a non-profit organization.

Assignments may include, but will not be limited to, collaborative projects, an annotated bibliography, a journal in which you engage in meta-cognitive writing, and a final paper combining research on service and consciousness. This is a hybrid class, and will include a significant amount of on-line instruction and discussion. Class texts will be drawn from several genres and will include academic essays, autobiographies and graphic narratives.

Reading the remains of the human past can help us chart a path into our future. However, the ways of knowing that have traditionally dominated archaeology have developed within researchers’ social and political contexts, as in other academic disciplines. In archaeology, this has sometimes reproduced white supremacist, orientalist, exoticizing, and primitivizing views of human societies. In this scientific and humanistic discipline, archaeologists should strive to incorporate pluralistic perspectives on the human experience, past and present, to mitigate assumptions and biases.

We will use the field of archaeology as a case study in knowledge production, as well as reflect on what this process means for us as researchers and writers. We will read and write about archaeology to examine how scientism and pseudoscience have impeded the endeavor of understanding human pasts. We will also focus on case studies of how archaeologists study racism in the past and how archaeologists are parlaying the tools of the discipline for a more just and equitable, anti-racist future. To communicate the human past to different audiences with a critical view of knowledge production, we will evaluate scientific evidence, write research proposals, respond to readings and peer writing, collaboratively and independently revise, and craft multi-modal writing on the human past. Students will rhetorically evaluate archaeological arguments and respond to them in socially relevant ways for both expert and broader public audiences.

NOTE: This course is a service learning course. For more information, see http://serve.gwu.edu/information-students.

Learning to “write well” means learning to wrestle with power. “Writing for Social Change” is a space where we will work with local DC nonprofits to confront social inequities, study how to use writing to build community, and convince people that a more just world is possible. We also will wrestle with the power of “writing well” at a more meta level: the rules for “good writing” are themselves tools that can include and exclude people from power. By the end of the semester, you will have your own toolbox for developing complex, meaningful writing projects and a philosophy of writing that reflects your personal values and engages diverse audiences.

Over the semester, you will build on the writing strategies you learned in high school to become stronger, more deliberate writers. I will challenge you to reflect on your own values and identity, so that you can connect with your readers. I will push you to think more fully about the sources you draw on, so that your essays are complex and compelling. I have high expectations, but you will have a great deal of support. The assignments are divided into manageable pieces and you will receive a lot of feedback along the way. If you do all the work, you will get a good grade.

When Darwin’s transformative On the Origin of Species was first published in 1859, people in England were deeply shaken.  The theory of natural selection challenged literalist Biblical interpretations about human origins and the age of the earth.  It took about forty years for the English to find a way to reconcile their religious beliefs and evolutionary theory.  Today, evolutionary theory is the foundation of research in the biological sciences, and yet, on our side of the Atlantic, many non-scientists feel that the conflict between religion and evolutionary science has never been resolved.  This has shown most clearly in our public school system, where a battle over the right to teach evolutionary theory, waged since the Scopes Trial of 1925, still lingers. 

In the last decade, other public debates over science have become more urgent than ever, including vaccines, climate, gun violence, and reproductive health.  In the unlikely event that you haven’t felt the effect of any of these debates yet, all of them are likely to shape your future experience of the world.  In all these cases, scientists with vital expertise to offer are being ignored, sidelined, or even demonized by special interests, politicians, and members of the public.  In all these cases, powerful rhetoric often outweighs reasoning based on solid scientific information.  Public disputes about science still carry the legacy of America’s long struggle with the idea of natural selection.

This semester, we will look at the players involved in these controversies, from scientists, teachers, students, and religious figures to politicians, policy wonks, lobbyists, and even some colorful crackpots.  We will start by studying the rhetoric of science communication and public distrust of science.  Later, you will choose a topic where science, controversy, and students intersect; you will research the best available information and draft policy options for American high schools, aimed toward improving science education or enhancing the safety and well-being of students.

Girl meets boy. It’s the simple plotline of the incredibly popular genre known as the romantic comedy. While admittedly rom coms are entertaining, these “fluffy,” “feel good” films also contain strong messaging about American ideals and values — particularly regarding gender, race, sexuality, and class.

In this class, we will watch and discuss romantic comedies, focusing on the ways in which this genre treats identity politics. Who do we see in these films? Who don’t we see? What roles are men supposed to play in these films? What roles do women play in these films? And, why do we often see a surge of interest in the genre during particularly distressing times in American culture. (This remains true in the age of COVID-19 as films such as Jennifer Lopez’s upcoming Marry Me, series such as Mindy Kaling’s Never Have I Ever, and upcoming adaptations such as Camille Perri’s When Katie Met Cassidy have been popping up.)

We will also read and write about these films. Rom coms provide us with a clear example of the concept of genre and prepare us as we read different genres. We will discuss how audiences have different expectations depending on genre (for instance, we probably don’t want to see a protagonist die at the end of a rom com) and how various genres require different “writerly” expectations (for instance, when reading a scholarly article about a film, the writer would probably not use slang). Students will produce writing assignments in a variety of genres, including an independent research project on the topic of their choice. The skills we will work on in this introductory course will prepare students for other academic challenges throughout the remainder of their college career.

We like to believe we can be perfectly rational. Consequently, when others disagree with us when we think we are being rational, we also like to believe our opponents are being completely irrational. Sadly, both beliefs are almost certainly false, especially when it comes to politics. Our political convictions have psychological underpinnings. But, we must hasten to add, our psychological analyses of politics can also be prompted by political motivations.

In “The Political Brain,” we will examine models of cognitive psychology, media biases and effects, moral psychology, neuro-politics, and popular culture to see what they can tell us about contemporary American politics.

In this section of UW 1020, you can join the ever-increasing number of media analysts, political scientists, psychologists, sociologists, and, yes, voters, who are trying to understand the dysfunctional state of American politics. Through a carefully selected set of readings, you will participate in a broad interdisciplinary conversation. And through the critical thinking, creative research, and reflective writing you will practice in the assignments for this course, you will be able to make an original contribution to this ongoing discussion.

While satire has a long history of exposing social/political excess and human folly, never has it been so prevalent as in our current cultural moment. From Last Week Tonight and Full Frontal to Squid Game to the mockumentaries of Sasha Baron Cohen to the films Sorry to Bother You and Don’t Look Up, satire is a potent tool for illuminating the absurdities of extremist views, economic injustice, and partisan propaganda. This course starts with the question of why satire has become such a pervasive phenomenon and then moves towards an exploration of the value of, and potential problems with, satire as a rhetorical lens of social criticism.

This course will include assignments like a self-written and performed satire that critiques a relevant current issue, a critical reading of a satirical film or novel, and a capstone research project which will give students a chance to explore in depth an example of satire and/or comedy in contemporary culture. In all, this course will make the larger points that the language of satire and irony is our language and that laughter and seriousness are not mutually exclusive.

Today we are in the United States’s second Culture War” a struggle in which people deploy the rhetoric of personal and collective identity in a political battle over control of American culture and the American state. College campuses are often the front lines, with debates over civil rights, diversity and inclusion, cancel culture, safe spaces, and free speech. In this course, you will explore the first Culture War of the 1980s and 90s on the GW campus by digging into the University Archives and analyzing and interpreting primary sources. While the 1960s was dominated by anti-war protest, it also saw the birth of the Black People’s Union (now the Black Student Union), and out of both of those movements, in the 1970s came Women’s Liberation (the movement and the student organization), GW Pride (under various names), the Jewish Activist Front, and the mobilization of Middle Eastern and Arabic speaking students in the International Student Organization. Meanwhile, members of Young Americans for Freedom, a long-standing conservative organization, continued to debate and counter-protest their GW peers. Through the 1980s and 1990s, students organized around divestment from South Africa, questions of hate speech, fraternity culture, LGBTQ rights, non-discrimination language, and more. In the 1990s, Latinx students began organizing as well, carving out new cultural and rhetorical spaces on campus. In this course, you’ll explore archival documents, including news and opinions in the Hatchet; visual representation in the Cherry Tree; and miscellaneous student org flyers, brochures, and other ephemera documenting student events and initiatives. The course guides you through the writing process: engaging with prior scholarship, framing a research question, archival note-taking, summary/description, interpretation, narrative-building, drafting/revision, and peer review to help you craft your own original interpretation of GW’s First Culture War of the 1970s-90s.

From Disney villains, blind superheroes, and YA romances with cancer storylines, to sports injuries and Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for disabled students, we see social dynamics of disability. According to the philosopher Susan Wendell, “the oppression of disabled people is the oppression of everyone’s real bodies” — and, we should add, our minds and emotions. If you care about social justice, this class will interest you, even if you have never thought much about disability before. What do disability perspectives reveal about what is considered normal and why “normalcy” seems to matter so much? What do they reveal about the effects of labeling and stigmatizing people’s identities? How does disability intersect with race, sexual identity, socioeconomic class, and gender? 

And what do the words “out and proud” mean to you? For some disabled activists identifying as “crip,” these words convey resistance to demands for conformity. Some “crip” activists, writers, and artists are LGBTQAI+ activists identifying as “queer,” or inspired by queer activism and culture. Together we’ll explore how the language we use to talk about disability and the stories we tell might shift perspectives. For the major research project, students collaborate, interviewing people you know and composing narratives, then putting these stories in conversation with published scholarship in order to highlight, understand, and critique social dynamics of disability.

This course uses the theme of law and its role in progressive social movements to introduce students to university-level research and writing. Understanding that law is an important means by which we structure social relations consistent with shared values, this course will examine historical and contemporary social movements that have used the language of rights and turned to legal systems for solutions. We will explore how advocates for social change — in the streets, in courtrooms, and in academic journals — have challenged and redefined foundational concepts, invoking history and law in order to challenge the status quo. Throughout all of this, we consider how to evaluate arguments, what makes for effective advocacy, and the ways in which thoughtful analysis contributes to our understanding of contentious social issues.

Each student’s own research and reflection will form a major part of this course, particularly in the final weeks. This course culminates in a research paper on a subject for which advocates today employ law to advance their cause. Within those general parameters, the specific topic is selected by each student, so this course will reflect intense research on a variety of subjects. While finalizing the research paper, each student will contribute to the others’ understanding of their respective topics through participation in an in-class conference.

Check the pulse. Record the numbers. Diagnose, close the chart, and move on. The work of medicine often concentrates on clinical action, but the world of the medical humanities has drawn our attention closer to the human inhabiting the body at study. How we reckon with life, death, and everything in between invites in equal parts science and art; to divorce the two is to create a false dichotomy that works against real-life standards of care.

Involving disciplines as wide-ranging as visual art and film, philosophy and bioethics, the social sciences, law, literature, and technology, the interdisciplinary field of the medical humanities recognizes that with each big innovation in health sciences come new critical questions about what it means to be human. Narrative science, a division in the field, increasingly examines the rhetoric of those stories in connection to scientific knowledge, not just as explanation but as active argument towards discovery. Research, critical listening and analysis, evaluating and interpreting evidence, coming to new understandings: the very talents needed for innovative practices in health and medicine are, in fact, present values shared with the academic writer. Rafael Campo, a physician and a poet himself, argues that “the work of doctors will always necessarily take place at the intersection of science and language.” Projects for this course, then, focus on that intersection, first studying texts from writers who bring together diverse perspectives on medicine and science and then creating our own research that argues for new, collaborative understandings of body and mind.

Note: Course admission by invitation only (see application process at GW Writing Center: https://writingcenter.gwu.edu/work-us).

Students are invited to this class because they demonstrate the potential to be an excellent Writing Center consultant. In the course, we will build on what you already know, so that you are prepared to support writers and writing projects from a broad range of linguistic, cultural, and disciplinary backgrounds.  Over the semester, you will reflect on your own writing habits and expertise, observe and practice different approaches to writing and consulting, and develop your personal philosophy for consulting.


Spring 2022

In the aftermath of 9/11, New Orientalist stereotypes emerged wherein Muslims were perceived as individuals consumed by religious fervor and proponents of terrorism. This New Orientalist approach did not pertain solely to Western audiences but also within the Muslim communities. In this course, students will question what makes a nation. A common language, ethnicity, or religion? What role does gender play in a conservative society? How the different identities one holds within these communities can exclude one from being part of a country, an ethnic group or gender, regardless of where that individual resides—the West or the East.

To prepare you for rigorous academic writing across the range of disciplines offered at GW, the course strives to develop or extend student writers’ capacity for critical reading and analytic thinking; your ability to explore information resources; your grasp of rhetorical principles; your ability to frame sound questions or hypotheses keeping your audience and purpose in mind; and your ability to edit and proofread carefully. Prescribed texts such as I Am Malala, The Kite Runner, and independent readings will serve as an entry point to examine the larger issues of marginalization and stereotyping by not only Westerners but by members of the communities themselves. You will explore topics and critically analyze what it means to be a girl/woman in a conservative society; to be condemned because of a person’s ethnicity or religious beliefs; to be part of an ethnic diaspora or a subjugated class within a nation. Furthermore, you will have the opportunity to write a total of three short papers, thereby developing your rhetorical and research skills. You will, moreover, be given the opportunity to formulate thoughtful questions to explore a point of interest in the texts. The final assignment for this course will be a researched position paper on an overarching topic covering a major theme across the texts, or a researched position paper that focuses on an aspect of a particular text that has engaged you. You will support your research questions using credible sources such as scholarly articles and reputed journalism, guided by your instructor and partner librarian, subsequently entering the conversation as junior scholars.

This course will explore the role that diversity and inclusion play in the unprecedented global events that occurred in 2020-2021, such as the novel Covid-19 as well as the #BlackLivesMatter protest in response to the ongoing routine of African Americans losing their lives during a time in which W.E.B. Du Bois declared, “the problem of the twentieth century is the color line.” In response, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ New York Times best-selling book, Between The World and Me and Dr. Ibram Kendi’s How To Be Antiracist will be required reading for students’ theme based English Composition course regarding “Cultivating Diversity and Inclusion Through Literature During #BlackLivesMatter, Covid-19 Pandemic, and Beyond.” Students will further have open discussions regarding both books in conversation with the ongoing debates today in diversity and inclusion from both theoretical and practical components through multimodal projects, which would include an argumentative research paper, rhetorical analyses, reader response journal entries, and a digital presentation on research findings— through responses to the literature. In addition, students will also discuss the complexities regarding the politics of diversity, inclusion, and critical race theory in conversation with Stanley Fish, who contends in his controversial book, Save The World On Your Own Time, “It is a question finally of what business we are in, and we are in the education business, not the democracy business” in comparison to bell hooks suggestion in her work, Teaching To Transgress, “...To dispel the notion that the college writing class “should always be a safe, harmonious space.” Indeed, this course will cultivate students’ critical thinking, writing, research, diversity, inclusion, oral communication skills, and rhetorical strategies involving complex subject matters. Finally, students will also explore and share findings individually and collectively from descriptive research through cross-sectional studies regarding how this class can be instrumental towards future careers in a more diverse and inclusive world.

This course will consider the complicated factors involved in reviewing claims for religious exemption from vaccine mandates in places like academic institutions, states like New York and California, and organizations like the NBA. The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States has met considerable skepticism from large segments of the population. Antivaxxers around the country have turned to a variety of ways they might avoid vaccine requirements with one option standing out as official among others: religious exemption. The case for religious exemption will soon require courts to determine the authenticity and validity of religious claims presented before them. Those courts will wade into previous decisions that have defined religion in the US as an individual matter of sincerely held belief and attempt to adjudicate over the authenticity of each claimant. In addition, the conclusions they reach will continue to shape the way we think about religion as a legal and social category in America today.

However, no definition provided will represent a neutral or objective description of religion. The ways in which we conceptualize religion and “the religious” result from a lengthy history of production in which imperial actors and legal representatives have both observed and constructed the category of religion vis-à-vis the “Other.” This course will encourage students to think about the history of this term and the complex ways that the taxonomy of religion operates as a means of privileging some people/traditions over others. In other words, we will ask questions about how the category of religion operates in matters such as exemption. What do we mean by the term religion? What sorts of claims count as religious? How do we measure sincerity? The answer to these questions bear directly on the application of the first amendment as it pertains to a diverse American population. In sum, this class will introduce students to the complex history of religion and how it applies to the case of exemption from legal mandates.

In this course, we will examine how authors include themselves in texts. When does the first-person point of view successfully contribute to an argument? How can drawing from our personal experience create an effective portrait of the author? What does storytelling afford our writing? How do we talk about ourselves? By considering the rhetorical implications of writers calling attention to their individuality, we will approach the topic of subjectivity as it relates to various academic disciplines. With this framework in mind, we will read and discuss texts in a variety of genres: documentary films, critical theory, peer-reviewed research, investigative journalism, poetry, and self-portraits. In each case, we will consider the presence or the absence of the author, how they establish authority and trust, and the roles that visual and linguistic rhetoric play in our response to argument and point of view. Among shorter writing exercises, you will have the opportunity to contribute to an existing body of scholarship in a research project that will include an exploration of the personal dimensions of thinking and writing within a discourse community. You will be encouraged to develop your own identity as a writer and consider how your lived experiences contribute to existing conversations.

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.

How do our intersecting identities shape our perspective of the world? What identities are most salient to us and why? This course will explore the complexities of racial identity using the required text, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum to guide our research on the racial identity development stages that Janet Helms writes about in Black and White Racial development: Theory, Research, and Practice.

Students will be challenged to explore and write about their personal identity development process, research identity development models, develop a research question, and engage in critical conversations about race, identity and intersectionality. Additional texts include Alex Haley’s “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”, Black Feminist Thought by Patricia Hill Collins, and College Students’ Sense of Belonging: A Key to Educational Success for All Students by Terrell Strayhorn.

Furthermore, we will explore how the development and theory of race, class, sex, and diversity emerge in these texts and our lives. We will cultivate a safe place of learning and growing as we learn about the different stages of identity and share and write about our personal experiences as they relate to the topic. By the end of the course, students will produce an autobiography outlining their development using critical reading of the text, research, discussion, and exploration.

Once we start paying attention, we find apologies everywhere – they are issued in press briefings from local government officials, folded into a national spending bill, posted on a celebrity’s Instagram, enacted through material reparations, recited on the floor of a nation’s parliament, sung in the lyrics of a song, inscribed in a memorial, spoken during a news conference or an interview on Oprah, or written in a personal letter.

Studying the amorphous genre of apology not only forefronts rhetorical principles but invites us into the fields of philosophy, political science, art and criticism, law, social work, communications, and more. In this course we will first examine and attempt to define the genre and subgenres of apology. We will then analyze various cases to study the rhetorical devices applied and identify the strategies and appeals the apologizer uses and assess their effectiveness (first discussing possible definitions of “effective”). Students are also invited to question – is an apology an argument? What are the limits of an apology? Are rhetorical frameworks helping in understanding apologies? What do apologies teach us about the workings of language in relation to our social values? Are apologies always helpful? We will explore these and other questions through writing, research, and discussion. We will practice writing as an extension of our private thought process, as well as towards a clearly defined purpose, including a researched argument at the end of the course.

Some students have reported that this course equips them with a practical knowledge of apologies and strategies they might apply, while others approach the course with greater interest in how to analyze, rather than how to make an apology. Through reflective writing, research, and discussions, I hope you are able to clarify and distill some of your thoughts. However, I’ll know I did my job well if you leave the course with more questions than answers.

From federal and state laws to school and workforce rules and codes of conduct, systems have historically placed barriers to people’s freedoms and access to opportunities on the basis of race.

Additionally, these institutionalized drivers of inequity are often embedded into society’s culture, where they are far more subtle but equally as unjust. Scholars have used critical responses to identify and address instances of these occurrences.

In this course students will learn the tenets of critical race theory, highlight examples of institutionalized racism in a wide variety of readings, and demonstrate applications of systemic inequity to real-life occurrences. Students will be tasked with reading a variety of sources, including legislative proposals, existing laws, opinion pieces, social media posts, historical texts, and media coverage of current events. Through each assigned reading, learners will explore the various ways that inequity is related to its messaging.

Students will use critical analysis to provide written responses to the readings that will communicate how the content of readings can have an impact on disadvantaged groups. The responses will examine the broader issues of systemic oppression and implicit bias beyond the primary message of the reading.

This course examines the idea of conflict rhetoric as strategic performance art. Students will be introduced to the novel frameworks of kayfabe and ur-conflict in order to examine several political conflicts, including ongoing disputes in the United States and internationally. We will familiarize ourselves with the jargon and narrative structure of professional wrestling, using its terms as lenses to examine Congress, Israel and Palestine, and any other conflicts that may be of interest. We will come to see how all political conflicts operate at three levels: That which is shown, that which is hidden, and that which goes unnoticed.

Along the way, students will read from masters of political commentary, narrative, and analysis, including Joan Didion, Colum McCann, Mark Leibovich, and Deborah Stone. Students will learn how to spot the “inside baseball” played by media figures, allowing them to differentiate analysis from promotion, narrative from fact, and theater from strategy.

“Conflict, Kayfabe, and Information Literacy” will include a comprehensive annotated bibliography, research paper, argumentative essay, and a narrative argument. While the course will revolve around comparing and understanding conflicts both real and imagined, students will select conflicts outside the readings for their research. Students will take part in interdisciplinary conversation, critical thinking, and self-reflection. Creative thinking and approaches will be key.

Academic writing is often perceived as belonging to a different continuum than writing for pleasure; there is a perceived gulf between, say, a one-act play and a researched essay.  This course aims to narrow that divide by asking students to consider writing not just as an exchange of information but of aesthetics and connections; they will engage with writing as an embodied, visceral action with the power to generate mental, emotional, and even physical events between writer, text, and audience.

Through engagement with theatrical texts, poetry, and some particularly aesthetically powerful academic writing, we will begin to perceive how words can become tools of embodied connection.  Students will play with page space to develop a theatrical stage where ideas interact as characters, enlivening traditional methods of research and argumentation with an eye toward the creative, the engaging, and the meaningfully interconnected.

NOTE: This course will be taught via remote instruction.

Media portrayals of social science research, such as a Time Magazine report on “how laughter can boost one’s attractiveness,” often result in sensational claims made in limited contexts, which some scholars say devalues the important work being done in fields such as sociology, psychology, and education. How is social science research relevant to our daily lives? What ethical implications accompany such research? How do disciplinary conventions function in social science disciplines, and how do these differ from those with which we are more accustomed?

In this course, we will seek to better understand how knowledge is constructed in the social sciences, explore how this knowledge is communicated rhetorically, and consider how tenets of social science research and writing can inform our own work in other areas and disciplines. Assignments will include three papers of increasing length — a genre analysis, a rhetorical analysis, and an argumentative research paper on a current issue in a social science discipline — as well as short projects, a poster presentation, and contributions to an online class discussion forum.

Who are you as a writer? What experiences have shaped your relationship to writing? How do your ideas about writing help or hinder you when facing a new writing challenge? This course begins by inviting you to reflect on your past experiences of writing, both in and out of school. We go on to study key texts and concepts in writing studies: the field of scholarship that seeks to understand the social forces and technologies that shape us as writers, how people learn to overcome blocks and write effectively, and how writers transfer knowledge from one context to another. The premise of this course is that by studying writing itself, you can become a more effective writer in any context—academic, professional, or social.

For the major project of the semester, you will choose an issue related to student writing, for example: writing in STEM fields, being a multilingual writer, or the challenges of writing during Covid. Working in research teams, you will gather survey data from your peers about this issue, and write a research report to present to your team and perhaps to share more widely. By conducting your own research on writing, building on other scholars’ research, you can become a more skilled, self-aware, and flexible writer. You may even, as Jesmyn Ward asserts, come to feel that you have more power over your own life: “I believe there is power in words, power in asserting our existence, our experience, our lives, through words.”

Every UW 1020 course requires ‘finished’ writing, developed in a rigorous composition process often consisting of pre-draft preparation, drafts, and revisions based on instructor’s advice and classmates’ comments. In this course, the series of tasks you will perform — including writing a research paper that integrates both primary and secondary sources — are designed both to help you become familiar with an array of research efforts as well as familiar with writing an authoritative study of your chosen topic. In this course, we analyze primary documents from the Shoah — photographs and oral histories, in particular. I ask that we engage with these materials because such research encourages us to value the research findings of others; to acquire research skills; to recognize the ways in which primary materials are central to both the research process and the conclusions one draws; and, perhaps most importantly, to realize our analysis allows us to make meaningful additions to the academic conversation about a given topic. The range of research topics is wide, from the role art played in the Holocaust to the workings of a particular concentration camp; or from the role liberators played (or failed to play) to what is known about the "bearers of secrets," the Sonderkommando, who were eyewitnesses to the Final Solution. While we may not be able to make amends for the Holocaust, I believe that through the careful study of the lives of those who perished and the words of those who survived, we become witnesses for the eyewitnesses, witnesses who are willing to be bearers of the stories and history of the Shoah.

Who are we without consciousness—the knowledge of existence? Throughout this course, students should expect to rely on their own knowledge of their existence to create a narrative voice that reflects their individual perspectives and lived experiences. While technical instruction is inherently a part of an introductory writing course, my concern and investment are primarily on the development of voice, storytelling, and argument making. How are you contributing to the discourses around you? 

In the time of “fake news” and political correctness, society has created a false dichotomy between right and wrong, where those on either side express their positionality through a handful of monolithic views rather than personally constructed arguments. Instead of perpetuating this constructed performance, society requires more minds who see beyond the surface and extract their perceptions from personal examination and research. Throughout the semester, we will be examining various texts that range from Ted Talks, YouTube videos, and songs, to book excerpts, short stories, and articles. In any text, there’s an argument. Our recurring task will be to discover what those arguments are. Using a scope of writing styles such as personal essays, film reviews, visual-text analyses, students will leave the course having written a body of expressive work that reflects their academic-driven opinions. Moreover, students will leave the course feeling more confident in the way they interpret the world around them.

Few philosophical movements have sparked the popular imagination as vividly as existentialism. But what precisely was (is?) existentialism? Was it merely what we call “emo” in embryo, or was there something of more substance underneath all those black turtlenecks and angsty bumper stickers? In this course, we’ll explore rhetoric and writing by examining a host of existential concepts, such as despair, angst, authenticity, freedom, and mass-man (aka “sheeple”). In particular, we’ll take a close look at the various rhetorical stages that existentialists choose to audition their ideas—be they parables, dramas, aphorisms, or analytic essays—and how such genres entail specific appeals and strategies. Throughout the semester, students will engage in a variety of writing projects, including a research-based essay in which students will take a specific concept from existentialism and use it as a tool to explore and re-think an issue in our own culture.

As often as food brings people together, it also has the power to erect divisions. From debates around what constitutes authentic food (does ‘real’ chili have beans in it?), from geographical discrepancies (New York vs. Chicago style pizza), to cultural (appropriate versus appreciation), ethical (eating meat and dairy) and economic concerns (labeling of non-dairy milks), to combinations of all of the above (how much to tip a delivery driver?). 

This course will examine the multitude of ways that food binds us in glutenous strands or divides us like oil and water. We will do this through a variety of approaches resembling a potluck, including reading a variety of texts including articles, restaurant reviews, and recipes, as well as listening to podcasts, watching videos, and engaging in the gustatory pleasure of food. While doing this we will engage in the writing process to generate work. Throughout the course, we will develop your skills in writing, reading, critical thinking, research, collaboration, and technology.

This course aims to push the boundaries of what you may consider ‘typical’ of writing, and the most successful students are ones who approach with an open mind and are able to think of new ways to conduct research and engage in writing as a collaborative process. To grow these skills, we will produce three essays: an personal essay, an opinion piece, and a radical revision based on the previous two, turning your essay into a new form of media. To prepare for these projects, we will write weekly responses to readings to facilitate a fruitful class discussion.

Snacks are encouraged.

Canoes blocking giant coal ships. Bodies lying, as if dead, at a global summit. Children in the streets shouting for intergenerational justice. Young political upstarts proposing a Green New Deal. Black, brown, and white protestors linking arms to halt a pipeline’s progress. These are snapshots from the climate justice movement, in which power, progress, and possibilities for action are wide open for debate. In this course, we will explore climate change discourse through the lens of environmental justice, to learn how this increasingly visible branch of the movement is pushing the global political conversation. While the dominant voices of the mainstream climate change movement – from scientists like James Hansen to political figures like Al Gore – tend to focus their communication strategies on scientific fact-finding and high-level technological and market fixes, the climate justice movement centers voices from non-dominant cultures and genders, who raise new questions and propose alternative solutions while engaging a wider variety of communication strategies that intersect with progressive movements for women and children, black and brown lives, and labor and civil rights. The climate justice movement’s unique and evolving uses of audiences, images, symbols, narratives, and local resources make it rife with opportunities to generate original knowledge and learn about the power and uses of writing. Together we will expand our understanding of climate communication by analyzing films, photography, social media, journalism, poetry, and other texts of your choosing, and individually you will develop habits of mind and a practical toolkit that will support your academic work. Assignments include a communications analysis, a research-driven project, and a presentation. This class is for you if you are interested in communication, climate change, sustainability, race and class, global politics, activism, journalism, film studies, and the arts.

In recent years, conversations about what higher education is “for” have mostly addressed economic issues. And research shows that, yes, college graduates earn more over the course of a lifetime. Studies also show that the average American college graduate carries tens of thousands of dollars in student debt. With an emphasis on inquiry and critical thinking, we’ll grapple with this question of what—and who—college is “for.” Our inquiries will also address more nuanced concerns, like the following: What is the value of college, and how might we measure value beyond the financial? Are degrees in one discipline more worthy or valuable than others? Should everyone go to college? How does socio-economic status and family background play into higher education opportunities? Finally, does college prepare us for what comes next—particularly as writers? As we work to make sense of these complex issues, we’ll explore both scholarly articles across disciplines and popular media. We’ll develop our academic writing and research skills through a series of increasingly complex assignments, each one scaffolded with the support of substantial feedback from peers and your professor. As a writer, you’ll develop the skills necessary to consider, research, and express arguments clearly and effectively in a variety of written forms. Thematically, you’ll leave this course with a more nuanced perspective of why you’re here at the university and the complex factors surrounding everything it took for you to be here—from the personal to the political to the historical.

The theme of this writing course is learning. You will learn about writing as you learn what the fields of neuroscience, educational and cognitive psychology, and education have to tell us about how students learn. The theme of learning will anchor your research practices and help us select articles that we will read as a class to help inform your different writing activities. You will also use the theme as a springboard to develop your own individual lines of inquiry that you will follow and investigate throughout the semester, beginning with an assignment that asks you to investigate an issue/problem related to the theme of “learning,” then moving to a longer researched piece that more deeply explores one aspect of learning. We will conclude with an adaptation of your researched paper for a different audience and in a new form.

This class will focus on writing as a form of reasoning and knowledge production used in the university, at work, and in daily life, and it will explore how different writing situations and different audiences influence how we question, analyze, make claims, and present information and ideas. The course will explore critical writing skills which involve pre-writing, paraphrasing, summarizing, synthesizing, drafting, and revising. Particular (though not exclusive) emphasis will be placed on source-based writing as a means of acquiring, communicating, and transforming knowledge. Finally, special emphasis will be placed on peer review, in other words, on providing peers with useful, usable, and theoretically-informed feedback on writing (an essential skill with applications in academic, professional, and personal life).

In the spring of 2020, with COVID-19 creating a global health crisis, the New York Times published a printable pattern for sewing a face mask, and people across the United States threaded needles and got to work. Some were sewing for their families, some for extended social networks, and some craft collectives used social media to form, organize, and produce thousands of masks in just a few weeks. COVID-19 may be new, but the intersection between hi-tech communication and old-timey craft traditions is not. Since the early 21st century, new platforms like Reddit and YouTube have provided resources for those interested in learning old skills and sharing new techniques. Even as craft-specific social networks like Ravelry have helped knitters connect and innovate, and banned knitting patterns that support white supremacy, crafters of color have used Instagram and Twitter to call out racism and exclusionary practices in predominantly white craft circles and “little yarn shops.” Craft and craft communities provide evidence scholars can use to answer myriad questions about culture, society, labor, and aesthetics. What has it historically meant to make something by hand in America, and what does it mean now? Why is it so surprising to see a man knit a sweater? Why are “crafts” treated as different from “art”? Why do scholars find craft blogs useful for understanding 21st century labor and economics, and community gardening useful for understanding principles of human-technology interface design? In this section of University Writing 1020 we will approach scholarship about American craftwork and crafters as a case study for learning about academic writing and research conventions. We will both become familiar with and practice some of the genres scholars use to write about craft and craft labor, developing sufficient expertise to provide each other with feedback on the writing we produce. This section of UW1020 also uses labor-based contract grading to support rigorous engagement with writing practice. This model is designed as an anti-racist teaching practice that supports every student's right to use their own written language to communicate. As part of this model you will learn new approaches to writing that you can rely on in future classes where traditional grading models are still in place.

When we hear the word grief, we assume someone has died, but grief can stem from a variety of traumatic places. When we think about trauma, we typically assume we have not been through a traumatic experience, or our first thought is of a friend or family member who has. The truth is most of us have been through at least three traumatic experiences that begin in early development. We assume if we have trauma, those traumas typically occur during our childhoods as determined through ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences). We experience trauma and grief throughout our lives and learn to coexist with both through coping mechanisms, therapy and support, and resilience.

The last two years have been an exercise in what a global traumatic experience looks like. We are all grieving the lives we once had that are still no longer the same. The pandemic has been difficult for all communities but especially for diverse and marginalized groups. Black populations were hugely affected by the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor as demonstrated by the powerful Black Lives Matter movement that flooded our streets and television screens for months during the time of quarantine. We all bore witness to their community and our nation being ravaged by what a trauma response can do when it pushes people to the brink and the rise of resilience that can come from such an enlightening and devastating movement. This is just one example of the trauma that is associated with this particular time in all our lives.

In this section of UW 1020, we will be delving deep into what trauma and grief are, the stages that can develop, and how we can transform ourselves to a place of resilience over time. This will be cultivated through considerable research, readings, and class discussions that will culminate into three essays: a media analysis, a research argument essay, and a think piece.

If you've listened to podcasts, read narrative journalism, or watched any amount of television over the last few years, chances are you've consumed true crime. The genre has been around for many years across media, but has hit mainstream ubiquity over the past decade due to the success of podcasts like Serial and documentary TV shows like The Making of a Murderer. True crime satisfies many of our most primal needs: to solve a puzzle, to feel some control over the terrifying randomness of violence, and to consider and confront evil. 

But true crime entertainment has some highly negative aspects as well. Its focus on white, attractive, female victims, when the bulk of murder victims are African-American men, as well as its often heroic treatment of law enforcement officials, seem to exacerbate problematic tendencies in how many Americans view crime and punishment. Given how overwhelmingly female the true crime audience is, many have asked whether the genre is exploiting its readers and viewers by playing on their worst fears. Meanwhile, the true crime podcast world has sustained recent controversies over its lack of ethical standards. And the related growth of an enormous community of online amateur detectives has been, in some high-profile instances, both a boon and a frustration for law enforcement and victims' families. 

This class will look at a number of different examples of true crime, from Truman Capote's In Cold Blood to the podcast My Favorite Murder to the meta-true crime show Only Murders in the Building. In all instances, we'll be exploring how the book, article, podcast, or TV show negotiates ethics around race, policing, gender, investigative techniques, and privacy. Students will also write several papers defining a code of ethics for true crime and seeking to understand why and how different work deviates from it. Finally, students will complete a research project focusing on multiple works that cover a single real-life crime, comparing and contrasting different approaches. 

In this course we will develop writing skills through careful observation and analysis of 17th Century Dutch painting at the National Gallery of Art. Each student will write 2 polished catalogue entries (2-3 pages each) of works from the National Gallery collection, a short exhibition review (3-5 pages), a short research paper (5-7 pages) and a larger research project (15-20 pages). Artists such as Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Frans Hals will be the central focus of class discussion, as well as various landscape and still life masters. We will explore issues of technique (i.e. materials and methods) and art historical interpretations. Why do we consider Rembrandt a "genius?" Did Vermeer use the camera obscura? How did the new wealthy middle class affect art patronage? Together we will read a selection of scholarly articles related to each subject, as well as visiting the museum collection firsthand. Through critical writing, class discussion, and individual research, each student will learn to see and appreciate the art of the Dutch Golden Age.

Lonely Trekkies in Vulcan ears, hysterical Twilight fans weeping at the sight of Robert Pattinson, basement dwellers, pale in the glow of a computer screen. These are our stereotypes of media fans. They make us laugh, they make us nervous, they are objects of derision, but who are they really?

A better question might be who we are — since we are all fans of something &me. How do we talk back to it, reshape it, pull it to pieces and then put it back together? The answers to these questions have the potential to offer insight into what we value (or devalue) as a culture and why. What captures our imaginations? Why do we love Sherlock or Doctor Who or Mass Attack or One Direction? Why do others look down on us for loving them? If we all consume so much media why do we have such a problem with fans?

This writing and research intensive course will begin with an examination of the current research on fans and fan communities. We will then look closely at fan practices in online fan communities and analyze a range of fan generated media, especially fan fiction. Student research will involve close examination of an online fan community.

In this course you will investigate speculative and real-world questions of common instances of social injustice: racial discrimination, economic judgement, and homophobia. As you shadow causes and possible solutions for these problems, you will learn and understand how they are perpetuated, as well as how you and everyone in society is affected by each—whether it is positively or negatively.
 
This course not only explores but also engages you in the action of writing for social justice. Throughout the semester, you will critique society while you work to answer in reflective writing the following questions: How have you personally been impacted by your own racial barriers, implicit biases, and others’ writing? How might your writing impact yourself, others, and larger institutions? How is writing involved in social justice work? What genres of writing are associated with movements for and thinking about social injustice? How do we understand central concepts of (in)equity, (in)justice, agency, power, and rights? How might we, as communicators, use writing to intervene into injustice and to bring about a more socially just world?

NOTE: This is a service learning course. Learn more about service learning courses.

NOTE: This course will be taught via remote instruction.

To what extent is your sense of self shaped by your culture, circumstances and location? How does where you are living and working influence what you dream? Does performing service, and writing about your experiences, change your ideas about who you are?

Such questions fall within the domain of consciousness studies, an interdisciplinary field which will be the subject of this class. Because consciousness studies in its present incarnation is a new and largely uncharted field, most questions its scholars are asking remain unanswered. This course, then, will be best suited for curious students eager to explore inner and outer space. Indeed, the course requires a willingness to leave the GW bubble, since students will be required to perform 20 hours of community service off campus, with a non-profit organization.

Assignments may include, but will not be limited to, collaborative projects, an annotated bibliography, a journal in which you engage in meta-cognitive writing, and a final paper combining research on service and consciousness. This is a hybrid class, and will include a significant amount of on-line instruction and discussion. Class texts will be drawn from several genres and will include academic essays, autobiographies, and graphic narratives.

Scientific writing about human variation has created and upheld racialized inequality for centuries. In particular, scientists have created race categories through the misuse of quantitative measures. However, quantitative techniques have also made it possible to establish that there are no biologically recognizable race categories in humans and to assess the impacts of racism on human wellbeing. In this course, we will critically read and write about the histories and futures of race and racism with scholarly and popular texts from the natural and social sciences, especially those that employ quantitative methods.

The quantification of race and racism in scientific disciplines offers many lessons for writing and research. Scientific, quantitative approaches to race and racism bring up challenging methodological and ethical questions, but have also shaped how we understand the roots of the urgent health issues facing much of the world today. This course — with its biocultural approach to a complex topic — offers students the opportunity to practice critically and ethically reading and writing about quantitative claims related to race and racism. Assignments include original research writing, responses to readings and peer writing, collaborative and independent revision, and graphical display of information (tables, charts, and infographics). Students will rhetorically evaluate scientific arguments and respond to them in socially relevant ways for both expert and broader public audiences.

NOTE: This course is a service learning course. For more information, see http://serve.gwu.edu/information-students.

Learning to “write well” means learning to wrestle with power. “Writing for Social Change” is a space where we will work (virtually) with local DC nonprofits to confront social inequities, study how to use writing to build community, and convince people that a more just world is possible. We also will wrestle with the power of “writing well” at a more meta level: the rules for “good writing” are themselves tools that can include and exclude people from power. By the end of the semester, you will have your own toolbox for developing complex, meaningful writing projects and a philosophy of writing that reflects your personal values and engages diverse audiences.

Over the semester, you will build on the writing strategies you learned in high school to become stronger, more deliberate writers. I will challenge you to reflect on your own values and identity, so that you can connect with your readers. I will push you to think more fully about the sources you draw on, so that your essays are complex and compelling. I have high expectations, but you will have a great deal of support. The assignments are divided into manageable pieces and you will receive a lot of feedback along the way. If you do all the work, you will get a good grade.

In the era of incels, swiping left & #metoo, we might be forgiven for thinking that romantic love is in the midst of a terrible crisis. Critics worry that this new environment will ruin sex, or that it frames everyone as either a victim or a villain. Some conservative pundits are still panicking over same-sex and interracial marriages, which they see as the threat to the very existence of the family. What we’re witnessing is a historic, complex transformation in how Americans understand their intimate relationships. Many of these changes are being driven by young people. Our cultural representations of love reflect these shifts, with popular romance novels, rom-coms, songs, comics, computer games, and so forth, exploring new protagonists, new scenarios, and even new subgenres.

How will modern love reshape our culture? What changes should we foster, and which should we resist? This course will explore the issue by studying the perspectives of romance novelists, scholars, intellectuals, and other experts, as well as some novels and films. As this is a hybrid class, you will regularly participate in online discussions about our course reading. Your big writing project will invite you to formulate and systematically investigate some key research question about a specific issue related to our changing cultural understanding of romance, love, or relationships.

Girl meets boy. It’s the simple plotline of the incredibly popular genre known as the romantic comedy. While admittedly rom coms are entertaining, these “fluffy,” “feel good” films also contain strong messaging about American ideals and values — particularly regarding gender, race, sexuality, and class.

In this class, we will watch and discuss romantic comedies, focusing on the ways in which this genre treats identity politics. Who do we see in these films? Who don’t we see? What roles are men supposed to play in these films? What roles do women play in these films? And, why do we often see a surge of interest in the genre during particularly distressing times in American culture. (This remains true in the age of COVID-19 as films such as Jennifer Lopez’s upcoming Marry Me, series such as Mindy Kaling’s Never Have I Ever, and upcoming adaptations such as Camille Perri’s When Katie Met Cassidy have been popping up.)

We will also read and write about these films. Rom coms provide us with a clear example of the concept of genre and prepare us as we read different genres. We will discuss how audiences have different expectations depending on genre (for instance, we probably don’t want to see a protagonist die at the end of a rom com) and how various genres require different “writerly” expectations (for instance, when reading a scholarly article about a film, the writer would probably not use slang). Students will produce writing assignments in a variety of genres, including an independent research project on the topic of their choice. The skills we will work on in this introductory course will prepare students for other academic challenges throughout the remainder of their college career.

The 2020-2021 Pandemic has had an impact on every facet of life, including the ways in which we produce, distribute, obtain, and prepare food. It has also led to increased levels of food insecurity and hunger in the United States, which are bound up with issues of class, race, gender, and life stage. This course will enable students to explore people's activities, thoughts, and feelings around the shifting food situation in the U.S. during the pandemic. A variety of topics will be explored in the course, including essential workers, local food, home cooking, and waste. Using food experiences as a lens, the course will focus on examining and analyzing different primary and secondary source material such as newspapers, blogs, podcasts, and documentaries. Emphasis will be placed on analyzing and utilizing personal testimony (written and spoken) in academic research. The central assignment for the course will be an oral history research project. For this project, students will conduct interviews with community members about their food experiences during the pandemic, analyze these primary sources and integrate their findings into a research paper. Through the project, students will contribute to the scholastic study of the pandemic’s ongoing effect on people’s everyday lives.

We like to believe we can be perfectly rational. Consequently, when others disagree with us, we also like to believe our opponents are being completely irrational. Sadly, both beliefs are almost certainly false. Our social and political convictions have psychological underpinnings. But, we must hasten to add, our psychological analyses of politics can also be prompted by political motivations.

In “American Politics and Global Climate Change,” we will examine models of cognitive psychology, media biases and effects, moral psychology, neuro-politics, and popular culture to see what they can tell us about how and why Americans have chosen to act—or not act—on climate change.

Whatever discipline you plan to pursue at GW, you will face the challenges of living in a changing climate. You can prepare for these challenges with the critical thinking, creative research, and reflective writing you will practice in this section of UW 1020. But success will require that you also learn how to disagree agreeably—an ability you can then carry into your personal and professional lives after college. I invite you to join me in taking on these challenges.

While satire has a long history of exposing social/political excess and human folly, never has it been so prevalent as in our current cultural moment. From The Daily Show and The Colbert Report to The Simpsons to the mockumentaries of Sasha Baron Cohen to the controversial Jutland Post Muhammad cartoons, satire is a potent and sometimes dangerous rhetorical tool for illuminating the absurdities of extremist views and partisan propaganda. This course starts with the question of why satire has become such a pervasive phenomenon and then moves towards an exploration of the value of, and potential problems with, satire as a rhetorical lens of social criticism.

This course will include assignments like a self-written and performed satire that critiques a relevant current issue, a rhetorical analysis of a scholarly article on satire, a critical reading of a satirical film or novel, and a capstone research project which will give students a chance to explore in depth a particular example of satire in contemporary culture. In all, this course will make the larger points that the language of satire and irony is our language and that laughter and seriousness are not mutually exclusive.

From Disney villains, blind superheroes, and YA romances with cancer storylines, to sports injuries and Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for disabled students, we see social dynamics of disability. According to the philosopher Susan Wendell, “the oppression of disabled people is the oppression of everyone’s real bodies” — and, we should add, our minds and emotions. If you care about social justice, this class will interest you, even if you have never thought much about disability before. What do disability perspectives reveal about what is considered normal and why “normalcy” seems to matter so much? What do they reveal about the effects of labeling and stigmatizing people’s identities? How does disability intersect with race, sexual identity, socioeconomic class, and gender?

And what do the words “out and proud” mean to you? For some disabled activists identifying as “crip,” these words convey resistance to demands for conformity. Some “crip” activists, writers, and artists are LGBTQAI+ activists identifying as “queer,” or inspired by queer activism and culture. Together we’ll explore how the language we use to talk about disability and the stories we tell might shift perspectives. For the major research project, students collaborate, interviewing people you know and composing narratives, then putting these stories in conversation with published scholarship in order to highlight, understand, and critique social dynamics of disability.

This course uses the theme of law and its role in progressive social movements to introduce students to university-level research and writing. Understanding that law is an important means by which we structure social relations consistent with shared values, this course will examine historical and contemporary social movements that have used the language of rights and turned to legal systems for solutions. We will explore how advocates for social change — in the streets, in courtrooms, and in academic journals — have challenged and redefined foundational concepts, invoking history and law in order to challenge the status quo. Throughout all of this, we consider how to evaluate arguments, what makes for effective advocacy, and the ways in which thoughtful analysis contributes to our understanding of contentious social issues. Each student’s own research and reflection will form a major part of this course, particularly in the final weeks. This course culminates in a research paper on a subject for which advocates today employ law to advance their cause. Within those general parameters, the specific topic is selected by each student, so this course will reflect intense research on a variety of subjects. While finalizing the research paper, each student will contribute to the others’ understanding of their respective topics through participation in an in-class conference.

Check the pulse. Record the numbers. Diagnose, close the chart, and move on. The work of medicine often concentrates on clinical action, but the world of the medical humanities has drawn our attention closer to the human inhabiting the body at study. How we reckon with life, death, and everything in between invites in equal parts science and art; to divorce the two is to create a false dichotomy that works against real-life standards of care.

Involving disciplines as wide-ranging as visual art and film, philosophy and bioethics, the social sciences, law, literature, and technology, the interdisciplinary field of the medical humanities recognizes that with each big innovation in health sciences come new critical questions about what it means to be human. Narrative science, a division in the field, increasingly examines the rhetoric of those stories in connection to scientific knowledge, not just as explanation but as active argument towards discovery. Research, critical listening and analysis, evaluating and interpreting evidence, coming to new understandings: the very talents needed for innovative practices in health and medicine are, in fact, present values shared with the academic writer. Rafael Campo, a physician and a poet himself, argues that “the work of doctors will always necessarily take place at the intersection of science and language.” Projects for this course, then, focus on that intersection, first studying texts from writers who bring together diverse perspectives on medicine and science and then creating our own research that argues for new, collaborative understandings of body and mind.