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Our Courses

The program offers a number of forums in which students may improve their writing. Some students may want to develop their confidence across rhetorical contexts. These students may elect to take one of our introductory "Writing and Power" courses (WRPR 0100, WRPR 0101, or WRPR 0102) either concurrently with the First-Year Seminar or in the second semester. Others may want to develop their skills in a particular interdisciplinary area. They have the option of taking 200-level Writing Program courses, taught largely by Writing and Rhetoric Program Faculty. All Writing and Rhetoric Program courses provide opportunities for extensive work on students' writing both in the classroom and in one-on-one meetings with the professor.

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

WRPR 0100 - Writing and Power      

Writing and Power
Power: who has it, who doesn’t, and what does it have to do with your writing? This course both instructs students in how to access power in academic contexts and to critique power structures. We’ll learn how power connects to literacy, and how it's shaped through rhetorical contexts. Students will explore their own power as writers and thinkers while engaging in meaningful personal, reflective and argumentative writing. The professor will work with each student extensively on their writing process and development, and we'll create a writing community. This course bears elective credit but does not fulfill the college writing requirement. 3 hrs. lect/disc

Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

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WRPR 0101 - Writing Academic Contexts II      

A Writing in Academic Contexts II
Students in this class will continue building upon their identities as writers and thinkers, while engaging a complex, interdisciplinary theme, within a diverse and supportive classroom community. Class activities and assignments will focus on building rhetorical awareness, analyzing texts from a variety of sources, and conducting library research. Students will explore their voices and perspectives in class discussion and throughout all phases of the writing process, including planning, peer review, and revision. Each student will meet frequently with the instructor, and will have opportunities for growth in oral communication as well. This course does not fulfill the college writing requirement. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

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WRPR 0102 - English Lang in Global Context      

English Language in Global Context
In this course we will discuss and write about the dominance of English in the global landscape. Course readings and films offer an interdisciplinary approach to the topic. We will begin the course with a geographic and historical overview of World Englishes and then will examine the impact of English language dominance on individuals and societies, emphasizing themes such as migration, globalization, education, and identity. Throughout the course, we will explore the relevance of these issues to educators, linguists, and policy-makers around the world. CMP SOC

Spring 2018, Spring 2022

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WRPR 0110 - Eng Grammar:Concepts & Controv      

English Grammar: Concepts and Controversies
In this course we will study the structure of the English language, learning key terms and strategies for analyzing English syntax. We will explore English grammar from both prescriptive and descriptive perspectives and examine its relevance to language policy, linguistic prejudice, and English education. Readings will be drawn from a variety of texts, including Rhetorical Grammar (2009), Eats, Shoots & Leaves (2006), Language Myths (1999), and Origins of the Specious (2010). This course is relevant to students wanting to increase their own knowledge of the English language, as well as to those seeking tools for English teaching and/or research. SOC

Spring 2019

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WRPR 0172 - Writing Gender & Sexuality      

Writing Gender and Sexuality
In this course we will read, discuss, and write creative works that explore issues of gender and sexuality. Readings will include stories, poems, and essays by James Baldwin, Ana Castillo, Peggy Munson, Eli Claire, Alice Walker, Michelle Tea, Alison Bechdel, and others. The course will include writing workshops with peers and individual meetings with the instructor. Every student will revise a range of pieces across genres and produce a final portfolio. We will do some contemplative work and will engage with choreographer to explore movement in conversation with writing, gender, and sex. 3 hrs. lect. ART

Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

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WRPR 0202 - Writing To Heal      

This writing-intensive course examines writing as a catalyst for healing after loss or grief. In a workshop focused on student writing, we will analyze the fiction, drama, poetry and creative nonfiction of Arthur Miller, Jane Austen, Frank McCourt, C.S. Lewis, Sharon Olds, William Wordsworth, Christopher Noel, Madeleine Blais, Susan Minot. Reading James W. Pennebaker's Opening Up and Louise DeSalvo's Writing As A Way of Healing will create a theoretical underpinning for our discussions. Assignments for this course will include formal analytical essays, creative work (published online), as well as electronic journals and oral presentations. CW LIT

Spring 2018, Spring 2019

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WRPR 0203 - Media, Sports, & Identity      

Media, Sports, & Identity
In this course we will examine the relationship between media, sports, and the formulation of one’s identity. We will examine issues pertaining to gender identification, violence, and hero worship. Reading critical essays on the subject, studying media coverage of sporting events, and writing short analytical essays will enable us to determine key elements concerning how sports are contextualized in American culture. Student essays will form the basis of a more in-depth inquiry that each student will then present, using media, at the end of the course. (Not open to students who have taken WRPR 1002) AMR CW NOR SOC

Winter 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2021

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WRPR 0204 - Narratives on Rivers & Ecology      

Narratives on Rivers, Nature, and Ecology
In this course we will travel to Acadia National Park in Maine for several days for place-based experiential learning and writing. The remaining time will be spent on campus in Middlebury. We will practice non-fiction story telling with a focus on narrative essay-writing about rivers and water as places that are ecologically, emotionally, imaginatively, and spiritually significant.  We will also explore other forms of narratives, including story-telling through combination of image and word. Students should be prepared to travel off-campus for four days and three-nights and to spend time outdoors traipsing through woods along rivers and streams. Travel costs are covered. Registration is by approval only from the instructor. Questions about travel and financial or time implications of missed work or practice should also be directed to the instructor, Prof. Matthew Dickerson. (Approval Only) CW WTR

Winter 2019

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WRPR 0205 - Race, Rhetoric, and Protest      

Race, Rhetoric, and Protest
In this course we will study the theoretical and rhetorical underpinnings of racial protest in America. We will begin by studying movements from the 1950s and 1960s, moving from bus boycotts to Black Power protests, and will build to analyzing recent protests in Ferguson, Dallas, and New York. Readings will include texts from Charles E. Morris III, Aja Martinez, Shon Meckfessel, Gwendolyn Pough, and various articles and op-eds. Students will write analyses of historical and contemporary protest, op-eds about the local culture, and syntheses on the course readings. 3 hrs. Lect AMR CW NOR SOC

Spring 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Spring 2021

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WRPR 0206 - Narratives in News Media      

Narratives in News Media
In this course we will consider questions such as: What linguistic strategies do the news media use to craft compelling stories? What are the dominant narratives at play about national and global social issues, and how are some journalists working to counter those narratives? We will employ Critical Discourse Analysis as a central framework, reading theoretical and empirical work by linguists such as Teun van Dijk, as well as from sociologists and political scientists. We will engage with “On the Media” and other podcasts, TED talks, documentaries such as Outfoxed (2004), and online magazines. Students will write for a variety of audiences. 3 hrs. lect./disc. CW SOC

Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2022

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WRPR 0207 - Intercultural Rhetoric Lab      

Intercultural Rhetoric Lab
What are the tensions inherent in intercultural communication, and what happens when intercultural interactions involve persuasion and influence? In this course connecting Middlebury College and MIIS students, we will create an inquiry space to investigate, and develop the practice of, intercultural listening and speaking. Class sessions will introduce rhetorical and multimodal techniques designed to help students negotiate power differences, deliberate collaboratively, and observe and question empathetically. Students will work together to create digital artifacts and live events that demonstrate their developing capacities as ethical communicators and agents of change. 3 hrs. lect. CMP SOC

Spring 2018

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WRPR 0208 - Cultural Rhetorics      

Cultural Rhetorics
In this course we will focus on the budding field of cultural rhetorics—a set of practices and methodologies that help us understand the way different groups of people make meaning and interact. We will study Latinx, Black, Asian, Native, feminist, LGBTQ+, and public memory rhetorics, focusing on the language and persuasion practices these groups use in their discourses. In this class students will write comparative analyses of cultural rhetorics, compose their own cultural literacy narratives, construct arguments about culture, and build multimodal projects. Students will leave the class with an understanding of the various cultural practices of rhetoric in the United States. 3 hrs. lect. AMR CMP CW NOR SOC

Fall 2018

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WRPR 0210 - Social Class & the Environment      

Social Class and the Environment
In this course we will explore the consequence of growth, technological development, and the evolution of ecological sacrifice zones. Texts will serve as the theoretical framework for in-the-field investigations, classroom work, and real-world experience. The Struggle for Environmental Justice outlines resistance models; Shadow Cities provides lessons from the squatters movement; Ben Hewitt's The Town that Food Saved describes economy of scale solutions, and David Owen's The Conundrum challenges environmentalism. Texts will guide discussions, serve as lenses for in-the-field investigations, and the basis for writing. We will also travel to Hardwick and Putney, Vermont, to explore new economic-environmental models. (Not open to students who have taken ENVS/WRPR 1014) AMR NOR SOC

Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

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WRPR 0211 - Trickery, Bodies: Rhetoric      

Trickery, Bodies, and Resistance: The Tradition(s) of Rhetoric
How do female identifying subjects position themselves (and their bodies) rhetorically in a male-dominated society? How do Black and Latinx rhetorical traditions of call-and-response and code-switching connect with and resist classical traditions of oration and stylistics? In this course we will study the tradition(s) of rhetoric by moving from the trickery of sophists to budding works in feminist rhetorics and cultural rhetorics. Students in this class will learn to synthesize the various traditions of rhetoric in historical and contemporary terms and to critically understand cultural customs that exist outside the white, heteronormative Greco-Roman tradition. 3 hrs. lect. AMR CMP CW SOC

Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020

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WRPR 0212 - Issues&Methods Tutor Writing      

Issues and Methods in Tutoring Writing: A Practicum Course
This course will prepare students to work with writers from diverse backgrounds and disciplines and to develop their own writing practices and habits. We will learn about composition theory and writing pedagogy, tutoring strategies, and current topics in writing center studies, such as linguistic justice, anti-racism, wellness and care, and inclusion. After completing ethics training, we will conduct ethnographic research using the Middlebury Writing Center as our research site. Upon successful completion of the course, students will be invited to work as paid tutors in the Writing Center. In addition to Writing Center activities, students will complete a semester-long research project that positively impacts the Middlebury Writing Center. 3 hrs. lect. CW SOC

Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

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WRPR 0225 - Feminist Blogging      

Feminist Blogging
Blogging is a genre that lends itself to both feminist theory and practice because it involves writing from a particular place and a particular embodiment, about how power operates in our social worlds. Feminist theory demands intersectionality: an ability to weave race, class, gender, sexuality and other forms of power into a single theoretical approach. Feminist blogging transforms intersectionality into a single narrative arc. In this course we will think about blogging as a genre and how feminist theory can infuse that genre into a more vibrant, complex, and even transformative site. Throughout the course we will read feminist theory, analyze feminist blogs, and produce our own feminist blogs. 3 hrs. lect. AMR CMP CW LIT NOR SOC

Fall 2019

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WRPR 0255 - Reporting and Writing the News      

Reporting and Writing the News
Students in this introductory journalism class will learn how to conceive, report, write, edit, and publish a variety of stories, including hard news, features, and op-eds. They will develop story ideas, conduct interviews, and write balanced, engaging articles on deadline for our class blog, which will cover the campus and local community. Like professional journalists, they will practice crafting clear, accurate, and fair stories. They will follow the news daily, and read a wide range of exemplary pieces. We will also explore the evolution of digital and social media, and discuss the key ethical and legal issues facing reporters today (Not open to students who have taken CRWR 1002) 3 hrs. lect. CW

Fall 2018, Fall 2019

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WRPR 0288 - Writing Race and Class      

Writing Race and Class
In this course we will take a literary and intersectional approach to topics of race and class. Readings include stories, essays, poems and videos by writers such as James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Gloria Anzaldúa and Kelly Tsai. Students will respond to critical and creative writing prompts, conduct fieldwork, and design two writing projects of their own. The class format will include conversations with guest writers, writing workshops, contemplative activities, and individual conferences with the instructor. Students will preferably have prior experience in discussing issues of race and class, although introductory theories will be made available to provide frameworks for discussion. CW LIT SOC

Winter 2020, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

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WRPR 0303 - Outlaw Women      

Outlaw Women
In this course we will read and discuss literary texts that feature women who defy social norms: daring survivors, scholars, “whores,” queers, artists, servants, revolutionaries. Texts include Powell’s The Pagoda, Duras’s The Lover, Lorde’s Zami, and Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran. The course will take postcolonial and global approaches to desire and difference and to narratives of resistance, rescue and freedom. We will discuss rhetorical practices, such as écriture féminine, and readerships, such as women’s book groups, through a transnational lense. Students will develop their critical imaginations through discussion, contemplation, research, and analytical and creative writing. 3 hrs. lect. CMP CW LIT SOC

Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020

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WRPR 0333 - Writing on Contemporary Issues      

Writing On Contemporary Issues: Writing, Editing, and Publishing Online
This course is an introduction to writing prose for a public audience. Students will create both critical and personal essays that feature strong ideas and perspectives. The readings and writing will focus on American popular culture, broadly defined. Essays will critically engage elements of contemporary American popular culture via a vivid personal voice and presence. Readings will address current issues in popular culture – Gladwell, “Brain Candy,” Klosterman, “Campus Confidential,” for instance. ReMix: Reading in Contemporary Culture is the central text. The end result will be a new online magazine of writings on American popular culture 3 hrs. lect. AMR ART CW NOR SOC

Spring 2018, Fall 2020

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WRPR 0334 - Writing and Experience      

Writing and Experience: Exploring Self in Society
The reading and online writing for this course will focus on what it means to construct a sense of self in relation to the larger social world of family and friends, education, media, work, and community. Readings will include nonfiction and fiction works by authors such as Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Andre Dubus, Tim O'Brien, Flannery O'Connor, Amy Tan, Tobias Wolff, and Alice Walker. Students will explore the craft of storytelling and the multiple ways in which one can employ the tools of fiction in crafting creative nonfiction and fiction narratives for a new online magazine on American popular culture. This magazine will have been created by students in Writing on Contemporary Issues. Narratives about self and society will therefore lean towards aspects of American popular culture. 3 hrs sem. AMR CW LIT NOR SOC

Fall 2018, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

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WRPR 0354 - Rhetoric of Public Memory      

The Rhetoric of Public Memory
This course focuses on public memory and the various statues, memorials, sites, and spaces that construct public memory in contemporary U.S. society. In this course, we will study local Middlebury and Vermont public memories, Civil War and Confederate memories, and spaces of contention and controversy, while visiting nearby memorials and museums. Students in this class will compose analyses on these public memories and create arguments on the viability of memories in different shapes and forms. Overall, students will leave this class with a stronger understanding of not only public memory rhetoric but the various components that keep these memories alive. 3 hrs. lect. AMR CW HIS NOR SOC

Spring 2019, Fall 2020

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WRPR 0363 - Science Writing for the Public      

Science Writing for the Public
This class is an introduction to writing about science–including nature, medicine, and technology–for general readers and for online publication. Students will publish in our online magazine (constructed Spring 2017). In our reading and writing we explore the craft of making scientific concepts, and the work of scientists, accessible to the public through news articles and essays. The chief work of the class is students' writing. Students will also learn to manipulate images and how to use digital storytelling. As part of our exploration of the craft of science writing, we will read essays and articles by writers such as David Quammen, Atul Gawande, Michael Pollan, and Elizabeth Kolbert; we will also read from The Best Science and Nature Writing (Amy Stewart, ed, 2016). 3 hrs. Sem. AMR CW LIT NOR

Fall 2018, Fall 2019

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WRPR 0500 - Independent Research      

Independent Research
(Approval Required)

Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022

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WRPR 1005 - Healing Through Writing      

Healing Through Writing
In this writing-intensive course we will examine how the writing process can serve as a healing tool for adversity and trauma. Using Louise De Salvo’s Writing as a Way of Healing as our theoretical base, we will analyze poems, essays, and book excerpts that demonstrate the transformative power of personal narrative. Students will write and revise their own personal narratives in a workshop setting. CW LIT WTR

Winter 2018, Winter 2019

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WRPR 1006 - Opinion Writing      

Your Voice Matters: Opinion Writing for Maximum Impact
Students in this course will learn to write a variety of persuasive opinion pieces, including op-eds, critical reviews, reported personal essays, and letters. We will work on developing critical thinking, research skills, and fact-based arguments, as well as lively, eloquent, and sensitive prose. We will read a wide range of exemplary op-eds and columns and examine how opinion writing shapes social change. Students will be encouraged to publish their work for public consumption on campus or beyond. Because this course may address issues that students find difficult, upsetting, or offensive, those who enroll must have an open mind and a willingness to engage with opposing viewpoints. CW WTR

Winter 2018, Winter 2019, Winter 2020

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WRPR 1008 - Art & Science of the Interview      

The Art and Science of the Interview
Interviews are everywhere, from celebrity “freak-outs” to NPR’s StoryCorps to applying to your first job. We will use rhetorical and generic approaches to better understand the purpose and structure of the interview as it arises in different public and professional contexts. We will learn how to become better and more ethical interviewers, and we will conduct interviews on subjects that interest us. Along the way, we will write and reflect on the ethics, purposes, techniques, and psychosocial effects of interviewing. This course prepares students for the social-cultural and contextual nuances of conducting academic, activist, and personal interviews. This course is part of the Public Humanities Labs Initiative administered by the Axinn Center for the Humanities.* CW WTR

Winter 2022

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WRPR 1225 - Public Science Communication      

Telling Science Stories: Science Communication for the Public
In this course we will engage with theories and practices for communicating science to public audiences. Through learning about audience, visual design, and storytelling, we will improve our ability to communicate science to non-specialists. Museum studies will be used as the focal paradigm for communicating STEM themes. Drawing on examples from Radio Lab and popular science writers, we will create a final project modeled after the “Flame Challenge”—an international competition in which scientists make their work accessible to non-specialists. Students will work in teams to create a multimodal story about scientific discoveries. (not open to students how have taken FYSE 1588) WTR

Winter 2020, Winter 2022

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Writing and Rhetoric Program

Catharine Wright, Director
Chellis House, 201

Tiffany Wilbur, Coordinator
Mahaney Arts Center, 202