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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Katrina M. Harack
B CUSP 134
Bothell Campus

Interdisciplinary Writing

Offers an interdisciplinary approach to composition, including generating a compelling topic; the articulation of a thesis; the development of supporting evidence; the ability to draw conclusions from the evidence, clear organization of the essay, correct mechanics; awareness of audience, and knowledge of resources for research. Prerequisite: may not be taken for credit if previously earned a minimum grade of 2.0 B CUSP 101, B CUSP 114, or ENGL 131. Offered: AWSp.

Class description

Spring 2014: Welcome to Interdisciplinary Writing! The theme for this section is "Encountering the Unknown." Together, we will explore the use of rhetoric across different disciplines, which is the art of effective communication. As James A. Herrick writes in The History and Theory of Rhetoric: An Introduction, “Because speaking and writing are forms of action, and because symbols shape thought and action, rhetoric as the study of how symbols are used effectively is itself a source of power” (19). Understanding how people communicate is empowering to both readers and creators of texts. In this class, we will examine the ways in which others communicate and will critically analyze the methods they use so we can judge the effectiveness of their arguments. As you learn what works and what doesn’t work in creating an effective argument, you will focus on apply the lessons these texts teach into your own writing so that you may become an effective producer of writing for different purposes. Our theme this quarter encompasses many aspects of the unknown: the unknown within the self, unknown others, scientific ethics and exploring the unknown, encountering other cultures or beliefs, re-examining one’s own culture and society, and the “big questions” of life. The readings and discussions will cover different disciplines and genres, including New Journalism pieces, sociology, media analysis, literature, documentaries, travel writing, and even some poetry. In addition, we will be reading the CUSP common text, and engaging in conversations that will relate to those carried out in other sections of BCUSP 134. By the end of this course, you will have gained strong analytical and writing skills that you can apply to your future studies at UW Bothell!

Student learning goals

1) read texts critically and analyze the varied situations that motivate writers, the choices that writers make, and the effects of those choices on readers

2) analyze how writers employ content, structure, style, tone, and conventions appropriate to the demands of a particular audience, purpose, context, or culture

3) write persuasive arguments that articulate a clear, thoughtful position, deploy support and evidence appropriate to audience and purpose, and consider counterclaims and multiple points of view, including international and intercultural perspectives

4) respond constructively to drafts-in-progress, applying rhetorical concepts to revisions of your own and peers’ writing

5) analyze multiple modes of communication and the ways in which a wide range of rhetorical elements (both written and visual) and cultural elements operate in the act of persuasion

6) evaluate sources and integrate the ideas of others into your own writing (through paraphrase, summary, analysis, and evaluation)

General method of instruction

Classes will involve active discussion of readings, group work, various writing activities, and writing workshops.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Assignments will include four papers of increasing complexity, in-class peer feedback and evaluation, and active participation that includes a short presentation, in-class writing, and brief homework assignments. Some extra credit assignments are also available.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Katrina M. Harack
Date: 01/17/2014