English | Advanced Expository Writing
W350 | 12806 | Tarez Graban

Tarez Graban

PREREQUISITE:  Completion of the English Composition requirement.

12806 - 9:30a-10:45a TR (25 students) 3 cr., IW

TOPIC:  "Sustainable Public Discourse"

In your lifetime, you have probably encountered public writing that
you thought was inspiring, technically sound, emotionally charged,
or powerful. You have probably also encountered public writing that
you thought was biased, boring, unbelievable, or wildly ineffective.
But how do you determine when something is well argued or well done?
How can you tell when a piece of writing has done what it is
supposed to do? This semester, we will try to answer those questions
by focusing on the literal and figurative dimensions of
sustainability in public discourse. Literally speaking, we will
examine academic and real-world genres that advocate for
sustainability and analyze the principles underlying their
construction. Figuratively speaking, we will consider specific
paradigms in written communication that perpetuate, devolve, or
recycle themselves over time.

Course readings will challenge us to think deeply about writing
instruction and writing in the public sphere alongside one another,
seeing, for example, the interplay between models of civic discourse
and the stases or arrangement patterns that guide logical papers, or
noting how theories of rhetorical invention can influence the genres
we read. Course assignments will challenge us to apply these
theories of rhetoric and writing to contemporary problems,
demonstrating our more nuanced understanding of how writers use
language to communicate with diverse audiences for specific purposes
and needs.

We will focus our study in three different spheres—scientific and
technical writing, political rhetoric and public policy, and daily
persuasion and propaganda. This means that we will be reading
scientific papers, feature articles, literary essays, landmark
speeches, open letters, and public documents, among other things. As
we analyze what we read and consider the principles underlying them,
you will employ those same principles critically and thoughtfully in
the genres in which you write.

Required course texts include a coursepack of articles and the
following two books: Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace, 3rd Ed.
(2008, Joseph Williams); and Rewriting: How to Do Things with Texts
(2006, Joseph Harris). Additionally, there will be one scheduled
screening of The 11th Hour movie.

Major assignments include three analytical essays, a group
presentation, a proposal, and a two-part final project involving the
reconstruction of a researched issue into a sustainable real-world

This course is linked to the Fall 2010 Themester.