Overview

As one of the undergraduate concentrations offered in this department, the Writing and Rhetoric Concentration allows students an opportunity to place writing at the center of their work in the English major. It encourages students to be reflective about their own composing practices/processes, and to explore a wide range of uses for their writing. Thus, students will be asked to write for many purposes, audiences, and contexts, and in many forms, genres and styles (including academic writing, professional writing, creative writing, personal writing, community writing and writing for remote audiences). Students will also study the writing of others in multiple contexts and forms, with particular attention to how rhetoric and literacy have been used by various people and groups to participate in public conversations. Students' work in the core writing courses will help them draw purposely on other courses in the major (in literature and theory for instance). In addition, as in all of the concentrations, students in the Writing and Rhetoric concentration will be able to draw on the resources of a subset of faculty. The Writing and Rhetoric faculty have demonstrated commitments to working closely with one another and with their students. Also, the concentration typically offers small classes, with many courses capped at 24. These small courses allow writing classes to enact workshop formats, maximizing teacher and peer response to each student’s work. They also allow students and teachers to form supportive and generative communities of writers.

While any 4 of the following courses (12 credit hours total) will fulfill the requirements of the Writing and Rhetoric concentration, students are encouraged (if possible) to choose 2 courses (6 credit hours) from each area of study (“Practice and Reflection” and “Practice as Action”). These two areas of study within Writing and Rhetoric build usefully on one another.

Practice and Reflection.

These courses place a primary emphasis on practice and also on developing a language with which to describe and explore the choices we make as writers. Because these are primarily practice-oriented courses, students will gain considerable experience with drafting, revising, responding to texts including workshopping drafts, and reflective writing.

254: Rhetorical Practice & Writing Communities
258B: Autobiographical Writing
354: Writing: Uses of Literacy*
357: Composition Theory and Practice^
377: Reading Theory and Practice^
454: Advanced Writing Projects*

Practice as Action.

These courses place primary emphasis on studying how writing, rhetoric and language are used to act on (and in) the world. In these courses, students expand their capacities for analyzing rhetorical choices and effects in others’ writing as well as their own. Many of these courses require students to write for audiences outside of the classroom and university (perhaps in the form of community learning projects or action research).

275: Introduction to Rhetorical Theory
322B: Linguistics and Society
376: Rhetoric: Argument and Society
420: Introduction to Linguistics
452A: Writing Literary Non-Fiction*
457A: Approaches to Composition and Rhetorical Theory
475: Rhetorical Theory
475A: Rhetoric of Women Writers
482: Literacy Issues and Community

*check Bulletin for course prerequisites
^courses require admission of College of Education and Human Sciences

Students completing this concentration will graduate with extended study and practice in writing for a variety of purposes and audiences. This concentration may prepare students careers that involve advanced writing and rhetorical skills (e.g., law, publishing, advocacy work, professional writing), literacy education, and for advanced study in professional or graduate schools.