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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Alice L Pedersen
B CUSP 135
Bothell Campus

Research Writing

Strengthens performance of college-level argumentative writing and scholarly research, critical reading and thinking, and the critique and the creation of print and new media texts. Prerequisite: either B CUSP 101, B CUSP 114, or B CUSP 134. Offered: AWSp.

Class description

This is a research writing class, which means that our focus is on how to ask really good questions. We'll develop high-stakes questions, analyze them through inquiry and evidence, and learn how to develop claims that matter. In this class, you will write several shorter papers that develop your questions, analyze evidence, and form a line of inquiry. Your final research paper will emerge from that line of inquiry to ask - and answer - a question that matters.

In late August 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in the city of New Orleans. Over the next few days, the rest of the country watched in horror as the city was submerged by the waters of Lake Pontchartrain, people were stranded on their roofs and in hospitals, and rumors of chaos, crime, and lawlessness ran through the media. Since 2005, the question of what happened in NOLA - how it occurred, how it was broadcast, and what it all signifies - has been at the heart of many artistic, journalistic, and political endeavors. In this class, we will examine several of these representations - from the literary to the journalistic to the musical - to explore what Katrina's devastation meant to the individuals involved and to US society in general. Our inquiry will lead us to issues of race, class, the history of slavery and the US, and how people use difference forms of artistic representation to comment on these issues. Your writing will engage both the historical events of 2005, as well as the art and arguments that people have created since.

Student learning goals

Critical Reading & Thinking

Information Literacy & Research Methodology

Developing a Line of Inquiry & Making High-Stakes Claims

Collaboration & Participation

General method of instruction

Class is primarily run as a seminar, which means that students are expected to contribute and guide the course discussion. Short lectures supplement discussions. Students will work in small groups every course period, and we will regularly workshop/peer review our written work.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


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 Alice L Pedersen
Date: 10/27/2013