ENGL493 - Advanced Writing Theory and Practice

Recommended: Satisfactory completion of professional writing requirement. Restriction: Must have earned a minimum of 60 credits.

Traditional and contemporary approaches to rhetoric and writing theory for advanced writing students who wish to develop their abilities to analyze and produce written texts in professional, public, digital, and/or advanced academic contexts.

This course is for students who take writing seriously. An understanding of what makes writing work in one context or another allows us to learn to write well in many situations. Our focus will be on developing an adaptable theory of writing, as well as a varied toolbox of writing practices, that will prepare you to understand new writing tasks as you encounter them in and beyond college. Over the semester, we will study theories and concepts from the field of rhetorical genre theory that will help you learn to write in new contexts with less guessing and quicker success. We will then apply this rhetorically-informed understanding of genre and writing to new writing tasks to practice observing and analyzing their unwritten purposes, motivations, and conventions. Within the context of these purposes, motivations, and conventions, we will practice writing in ways that both meet and challenge expectations. We will come to see genres as providing rules for play that both link us to social expectations and enable us to innovate. By the end of the course, you will be familiar with 1) the rhetorical concept of genre, 2) recent studies of genres that consider issues of identity, ideology, and social change, 3) analysis and composition of texts in the academic, professional, public, and/or new media genre of your choice. Our central aim will be to become more effective writers, more alert readers, and more acute observers of the social significance of textual production and circulation. Course workload includes regular readings and writing exercises, a brief theory essay, a small collaborative research study, a research study of a genre, and a portfolio of writing in a selected genre.
Must have earned a minimum of 60 credits.