English | Advanced Expository Writing
W350 | 9329 | Tarez Graban

Tarez Graban

PREREQUISITE:  Completion of the English Composition requirement.

1:00p-2:15p TR (25 students) 3 cr. IW.

TOPIC:  “Public Discourse”

In your lifetime, you have probably encountered pieces of public
writing that you thought were inspiring, technically sound,
emotionally charged, or powerful. You have probably also encountered
pieces of writing that you thought were biased, boring,
unbelievable, or wildly ineffective. But how do you negotiate your
own ideas of “good public writing” with those of your teachers,
friends, family, and other readers? How do you determine when
something is well argued or well done? This semester, we will try to
answer that question by looking more closely at the kinds of public
discourse that affect us as students, workers, and citizens. We will
use several questions to frame our study: What role does rhetoric
play in the formation of public discourse? What are the principles
that continue to shape it in academic and other contexts? Who
determines what makes public discourse “good” and when does it
become “public”? How can we tell when a piece of writing (or
speaking) has done what it is supposed to do?

We will focus our study in three different spheres—scientific and
technical discourse, political rhetoric and public policy, and daily
persuasion and propaganda. That means we’ll be reading scientific
papers, news and feature articles, landmark speeches, campaign
letters, public documents, and literary essays. We’ll also delve
into some theory about rhetoric, writing, and language to try and
understand their roles in shaping public discourse, and how it, in
turn, shapes us. This course is reading-heavy; major assignments
will include three analytical essays, a group presentation, a
research proposal, and a two-part final project.