Writing

Colleges: College of Arts & Sciences | College of Communication

Courses in: Academic Writing for ESL Students 2 (WR 112) | First-Year Writing Seminar (WR 120) | Writing, Research, & Inquiry (WR 150) | Writing, Research, & Inquiry with Oral and/or Signed Expression (WR 151) | Writing, Research, & Inquiry with Digital/Multimedia Expression (WR 152) | Creative Writing | College of Communication Writing Program

College of Arts & Sciences

College of Arts & Sciences Writing Program

The purpose of the CAS Writing Program is to help students read challenging works with critical discernment, to write with a refined sense of style, and to speak with appropriate eloquence. Although the topics of the seminars differ, all seminars are designed to foster lively discussions about works that serve as models for effective writing. Every writing seminar teaches grammatical correctness and stylistic versatility. All seminars lead students through a common assignment sequence that stresses the process of revision. Students enrolled in the College of Arts & Sciences are required to complete two courses of formal instruction in writing, reading, research, and speaking. The two-course sequence CAS WR 120 and either WR 150, WR 151, or WR 152 is the usual means of satisfying this requirement. WR 111 (not offered in summer) and WR 112 are reserved for ESL (English as a Second Language) students whose score on the Writing Placement Test indicates a need for preparatory work prior to enrolling in WR 120.

Current and incoming Boston University students who submitted English-language proficiency test scores, such as TOEFL scores, to Admissions are required to take the online Writing Placement Test before taking any WR courses if they have not taken it already. Students who have not tested yet should arrange a test before the start of Summer Term by using the Placement Test Help Form on the Writing Program website (www.bu.edu/writingprogram) under the Student Resources section.

Writing assistance is available to students enrolled in summer WR courses. To make an appointment with a writing consultant, please go to www.bu.edu/writingprogram/the-writing-center or call 617-358-1500.

Academic Writing for ESL Students 2 (WR 112)

Academic Writing for ESL Students 2

CAS WR 112

Prereq: (CAS WR 097 or CAS WR 111) or placement test results. Emphasis on critical reading and analytical writing in response to various theme-based texts. Review of grammar and mechanics in context. Intensive practice in the patterns of academic argumentation through multiple writing assignments of increasing complexity. Refinement of speaking skills through discussions and oral presentations. This course fulfills a single unit in the following BU Hub area: Global Citizenship and Intercultural Literacy. 4 cr. Tuition: $2800

Summer 1 (May 21-June 27)

Top

First-Year Writing Seminar (WR 120)

Prereq: CAS WR 098 or CAS WR 112 (if student required to take that course). Topic-based seminar in critical reading and writing. Engagement with a variety of sources and practice in writing in a range of genres with particular attention to argumentation, prose style, and revision, informed by reflection and feedback, including individual conferences. This course fulfills a single unit in the following BU Hub area: First-Year Writing Seminar.

First-Year Writing Seminar

CAS WR 120

Topic: Language and Technology. This course looks at how our use of language and the form of our language has changed because of technology. From the pen to the phone to the Internet, our use of language is influenced by the changes in technology around us. Through the production of verbal and non-verbal artifacts, students learn how to master a variety of discourse and research methods, how to read various cultural texts, and how to produce their own texts in response. Readings will include Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer and Alone Together – Why we expect more from Technology and Less from Each Other by Sherry Turkle. 4 cr. Tuition: $2800

Summer 1 (May 21-June 27)

Top

First-Year Writing Seminar

CAS WR 120

Topic: Ethical Missteps in Public Health. This course examines and reflects on the contemporary relevance of ethical questions that have arisen in the public health arena over the last hundred years. Topics include race medicine; the eugenics movement in the United States and the related 1927 Supreme Court case, Buck v. Bell; and the evolution of restrictions on interracial marriage, eventually overturned by the 1967 case Loving v. Virginia. These issues are discussed with an eye toward their relevance to contemporary debates about public health. 4 cr. Tuition: $2800

Summer 1 (May 21-June 27)

Top

First-Year Writing Seminar

CAS WR 120

Topic: Short Fiction. Muriel Ruykeyser once said, “The world is made of stories, not of atoms.” This seminar takes Rukeyser’s quote as a guide and examines the world through the lens of short fiction. Does literature reflect or direct society? What insights can we glean about a culture or period from reading? What choices do writers make and what is the effect of different styles or techniques of writing? We look to the answer these questions through several great American short stories including Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants,” Flannery O’Conner’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” and Truman Capote’s “Miriam.” 4 cr. Tuition: $2800

Summer 1 (May 21-June 27)

Top

First-Year Writing Seminar

CAS WR 120

Topic: Twentieth-Century Poetry. The twentieth century witnessed drastic changes in politics, culture, science, and technology, as well as global-scale wars. This course examines how poets represent and react to such tumultuous times. It looks at some of the major events that shape the century and considers how poets of the period represent gender, ethnicity, culture, politics, and art. The course explores questions that seem particularly relevant to our own time: How do we define and represent gender? How do ethnic minorities live in hostile communities? What is the relationship between art and politics? Includes poems by Stein, Loy, Millay, Pound, Stevens, Auden, Owen, Yeats, Hughes, McKay, Cullen, and Dunbar, as well as selected poems in translation. 4 cr. Tuition: $2800

Summer 1 (May 21-June 27)

Top

First-Year Writing Seminar

CAS WR 120

Topic: Inventing the American Individualist. “Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.” So wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson, expressing a sentiment that seems native to the American character. From mountain men to entrepreneurs, from pioneers to beatniks, from suffragettes to senators, Americans have identified with roles that are individualistic, independent, and self-reliant. This seminar investigates the degree to which this attitude is rooted and reflected in our literary tradition. Readings will include Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience,” Ginsburg’s “Howl,” and Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. 4 cr. Tuition: $2800

Summer 1 (May 21-June 27)

Top

First-Year Writing Seminar

CAS WR 120

Topic: The Graphic Self. This seminar examines the construction of the self in graphic memoirs. It explores this visual-textual form of autobiographical writing and engages in important conversations about the blurry boundary between truth and fiction, past and present, public and private. The course also analyzes how graphic choices contribute to the evolving construction of the author’s identity. Exposure to graphic self-writing in print and online allows students to consider how form and style impact both the author’s voice and the reader’s experience. Students also have the opportunity to develop their own “graphic self” through regular drawing and reading response exercises, which culminate in the creation of short graphic memoirs. Readings may include Art Spiegelman’s Maus, Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, David Small’s Stitches, and Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half, along with supplementary scholarly articles and theoretical texts. 4 cr. Tuition: $2800

Summer 2 (July 1-August 8)

Top

First-Year Writing Seminar

CAS WR 120

Topic: Boston Jazz Now. This course examines jazz music, with a focus on Boston as a leading center for jazz in the US. Topics include the evolution and history of jazz; its spread to different regions of the country; its major genres or movements; great jazz musicians, bandleaders, and critics; connections between jazz and other musical genres; and the development of jazz in Boston, with special attention to Boston’s musicians, musical styles, schools, and clubs, both past and present. Course materials are drawn from a variety of genres and modes, including concerts, concert reviews, video and audio recordings, historical accounts, and scholarly articles. 4 cr. Tuition: $2800

Summer 2 (July 1-August 8)

Top

Writing, Research, & Inquiry (WR 150)

Prereq: CAS WR 100 or CAS WR 120. Topic-based seminar in critical reading, research, and writing. Practice in sustained inquiry, including scholarly research and communication of findings to different audiences. Attention to argumentation, prose style, and revision, informed by reflection and feedback, including individual conferences. This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Writing, Research, and Inquiry; and Research and Information Literacy.

Writing, Research, & Inquiry

CAS WR 150

Topic: Wordless Texts. Focusing on critical and scholarly readings of twentieth- and twenty-first-century wordless visual literature intended for children, this course explores not only the ways in which such literature functions as both a visual and literary work of art, but also how the form captures and constructs the experience of being a child. By reading a number of critical works, we also examine the conversations that are taking place about this literary genre’s treatment of innocence, imagination, knowledge, and nostalgia. Readings include works by scholars such as Molly Bang and Jane Doonan. 4 cr. Tuition: $2800

Summer 1 (May 21-June 27)

Top

Writing, Research, & Inquiry

CAS WR 150

Topic: The Memoir. The memoir is usually viewed as a private genre of personal recollection. Yet many important writers have used the form to explore larger questions of historical, economic, political, and religious significance. This course focuses on writers of memoir who have examined their lives and the lives of their families through lenses wider than the personal. Readings include Nick Flynn's The Ticking is the Bomb, Kathryn Harrison’s The Kiss, Lauren Slater's Lying, and Thomas Lynch's The Undertaking. 4 cr. Tuition: $2800

Summer 1 (May 21-June 27)

Top

Writing, Research, & Inquiry

CAS WR 150

Topic: Dystopian Fiction and Film. Considering the popular and critical success of works such as The Hunger Games and Handmaid's Tale, why have dystopian fictions, film, and video games become one of the most celebrated artistic genres of the last decade? What do dystopian worlds have to teach us about the world in which we live today, and to what extent do they serve as warnings about the world to come? This seminar considers how dystopian literature and film both consciously and unconsciously reflect social and cultural anxieties about issues such as bioethics, technological advancement, socioeconomic disparity, and governmental control. We examine underlying assumptions about human nature versus the nature of human institutions and the dystopian genre as a vehicle of social and political critique. 4 cr. Tuition: $2800

Summer 1 (May 21-June 27)

Top

Writing, Research, & Inquiry

CAS WR 150

Topic: Anthropology Through Science Fiction. Anthropology is a discipline studying human beings from a holistic and cross-cultural perspective; science fiction is a genre exploring facets of human behavior in imaginary settings. Both deal with a combination of the foreign and the familiar, and together anthropology and science fiction offer an ideal opportunity to explore a variety of interesting topics: politics, cross-cultural communication, religion, evolution, socialization, identity, gender, war, government, dreams, and others. Readings include short stories, novels, and essays by authors such as Ursula Le Guin, Octavia Butler, Isaac Asimov, and Chad Oliver. 4 cr. Tuition: $2800

Summer 2 (July 1-August 8)

Top

Writing, Research, & Inquiry

CAS WR 150

Topic: Marijuana in American History. In this course, students write about marijuana’s polarizing influence in recent American history. Marijuana prohibition in America has evolved to reflect political, social, economic, and scientific trends in twentieth-century US history. This course questions the role of science and morality in drug enforcement policy and evaluates the recent push for decriminalization during three periods: the prohibition years in the first half of the century; the countercultural period after the 1950s and the backlash it created; and the medicinal marijuana era that followed the 1980s. Sources for this course include Martin Lee’s Smoke Signals, Richard Nixon’s presidential recordings, and Dorm Room Dealer: Drugs and the Privileges of Race and Class by Mohamed and Fritsvold, as well as examples of popular culture from Reefer Madness to Cheech and Chong. 4 cr. Tuition: $2800

Summer 2 (July 1-August 8)

Top

Writing, Research, & Inquiry with Oral and/or Signed Expression (WR 151)

Prereq: CAS WR 100 or CAS WR 120. Topic-based seminar in critical reading, research, writing, and oral communication. Practice in sustained inquiry, including scholarly research and communication of findings to different audiences. Attention to argumentation, public speaking, prose style, and revision, informed by reflection and feedback, including individual conferences. This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Writing, Research, and Inquiry, Oral and/or Signed Communication, Research and Information Literacy.

Writing, Research, & Inquiry with Oral and/or Signed Expression

CAS WR 151

Topic: Albums Now. In this course, students look at and listen to a number of albums by critically acclaimed singer-songwriters, with an emphasis on the song lyrics and the ways in which individual songs work together to produce a cohesive album. We analyze albums by contemporary songwriters chosen by the class and make use of up-to-date resources like the Tiny Desk Concert series from NPR's All Songs Considered. Additionally, the course compares and contrasts recent releases with some classic albums from the past, including Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks and Joni Mitchell's Blue. 4 cr. Tuition: $2800

Summer 1 (May 21-June 27)

Top

Writing, Research, & Inquiry with Oral and/or Signed Expression

CAS WR 151

Topic: Great Speeches in Fact and Film. Great speeches inspire and challenge us. Oratory is, in fact, a central component of democracy and democratic culture. This course studies great speeches live, on the page, and in films. What makes a great speech? Are the great speeches of the past still relevant today? Students explore these and other questions by speaking, writing, and researching about famous speeches, orators, oratorical occasions, and theories of public speaking. Works include speeches by Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Martin Luther King, as well as film adaptations of great speeches and other fictional orations. 4 cr. Tuition: $2800

Summer 1 (May 21-June 27)

Top

Writing, Research, & Inquiry with Oral and/or Signed Expression

CAS WR 151

Topic: Literature on Film: From Shakespeare to Harry Potter. Why do we adapt books into movies? How does the experience of a story we first encounter as a text change when we see it on screen? Are filmmakers obligated to be “faithful” to their sources, or do they have artistic license to innovate? Is literature an inherently “higher” form of art than movies? This course considers these and other questions about the nature of literature on film and develops students' skills as critical film readers and as proficient writers and communicators. We analyze the practice of cinematic adaptation by speaking and writing about key examples such as Shakespeare’s Macbeth, August Wilson’s Fences, and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The goal is to produce well-researched, clear, and persuasive communication about the difference that form makes in our encounters with art. 4 cr. Tuition: $2800

Summer 2 (July 1-August 8)

Top

Writing, Research, & Inquiry with Digital/Multimedia Expression (WR 152)

Prereq: CAS WR 100 or CAS WR 120. Topic-based seminar in critical reading, research, writing, and digital/multimedia communication. Practice in sustained inquiry, including scholarly research and communication of findings to different audiences. Attention to argumentation, prose style, digital/multimedia design and communication, and revision, informed by reflection and feedback, including individual conferences. This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Digital/Multimedia Expression, Writing, Research, and Inquiry, Research and Information Literacy.

Writing, Research, & Inquiry with Digital/Multimedia Expression

CAS WR 152

Topic: BU and the Culture of College. Higher education is at a moment of cultural crisis, as stakeholders from parents to politicians question the goals, strategies, and experiences of college. This seminar invites the student, as principal stakeholder, to weigh in on this debate. What is it like to be a college student today? What are the challenges, both visible and hidden? What are the overlooked rewards? This seminar explores questions about the culture of college as reflected through students' experience at Boston University. Students draw on a range of research methods to investigate aspects of their BU experience, from what they study to what they eat. Texts include scholarly articles by writers such as Peter Arnett, Jean Twenge, and Pierre Bourdieu; contemporary journalism; and primary sources that students produce, including photos and surveys. 4 cr. Tuition: $2800

Summer 1 (May 21-June 27)

Top

Writing, Research, & Inquiry with Digital/Multimedia Expression

CAS WR 152

Topic: Interrogating Race in Contemporary America. Despite claims that we live in a “post-racial” time, the idea of race has undeniable consequences for American citizens and institutions alike. This seminar examines the ways in which the lived experiences of Americans of various backgrounds are represented in contemporary literature and media. What do specific representations reveal about race- and ethnicity-based stereotypes? How do specific representations reflect or counter typical narratives about the conditions of life for people of color in America? How do these representations minimize or celebrate the complexities of experience? Students have the opportunity to consider these questions as they undertake their own research on a particular representation of race/ethnicity in America. Texts may include Vanessa Hua's Deceit and Other Possibilities, Claudia Rankine's poetry and essays, and Aziz Ansari's Master of None. 4 cr. Tuition: $2800

Summer 1 (May 21-June 27)

Top

Writing, Research, & Inquiry with Digital/Multimedia Expression

CAS WR 152

Topic: Twenty-First-Century Terrors. In the sixties and seventies, Vietnam and civil unrest gave birth to a golden age of horror movies. In our new century, we have been forced to confront tragedy and trauma on an even greater scale, from 9/11 to ISIS attacks in Western Europe to threats from the Korean Peninsula. This course examines the horror genre in both film and television as a powerful meditation on the fears and anxieties of a new and uncertain century, including terrorism, chemical and biological warfare, disease pandemic, authoritarianism, and nuclear attack. Examples of horror from America, Europe, and Southeast Asia, including 28 Days Later, Pan’s Labyrinth, and Cloverfield, invite us to consider the problem in a global, cross-cultural context. 4 cr. Tuition: $2800

Summer 2 (July 1-August 8)

Top

Creative Writing

Introduction to Creative Writing

CAS EN 202

An exploration of creative writing: fiction, poetry, and possibly creative non-fiction and/or playwriting. Students learn to read like writers (that is, with an eye towards how writers write) and write and revise their own original stories and poems. This class is run as a workshop, so students will share and critique each others' work. Does not give concentration credit. 4 cr. Tuition: $2800

Summer 1 (May 21-June 27)

Summer 2 (July 1-August 8)

Top

Writing Nonfiction: True Stories Well Told

CAS EN 301

Students write nonfiction pieces for critique and learn principles of narrative through readings. Focus is on writing about people, place, events, one's personal history, among other subjects. Individual conferences with the instructor. For writers of all experience levels. 4 cr. Tuition: $2800

Summer 2 (July 2-August 8)

Top

Writing of Poetry

CAS EN 304

An in-depth exploration of writing poetry. Students learn to read poems closely (that is, with an eye towards learning how a poem is made) and write and revise their own original poetry. This class is run as a workshop, so students will share and critique each others' poems. Note that for this summer offering, CAS EN 304 does NOT require a writing sample or permission of the instructor. 4 cr. Tuition: $2800

Summer 1 (May 22-June 26)

Top

Writing of Fiction

CAS EN 305

An in-depth exploration of fiction writing. Students learn to read like writers (that is, with an eye towards how writers write) and write and revise their own original stories. This class is run as a workshop, so students will share and critique each others' work. 4 cr. Tuition: $2800

Summer 2 (July 2-August 8)

Top

College of Communication

College of Communication Writing Program

The College of Communication Writing Center, located in Room B27A at the College of Communication, is available to students who would like help with their writing. Writing fellows staff the Writing Center four hours a day, Monday through Thursday. Students may sign up for an appointment online at bu.mywconline.com. Call 617-353-6632 for further information.

College of Communication Writing Program

Introduction to Communication Writing

COM CO 201

Prereq: (CAS WR 100 or WR 120) or equivalent. The College of Communication's core undergraduate writing course. Students refresh their grammatical and stylistic skills and apply those skills to professional writing assignments. Prepares students to write with clarity, conciseness, precision, and accuracy for the communication fields. This course fulfills a single unit in each of the following BU Hub areas: Writing-Intensive Course, Oral and/or Signed Communication, Research and Information Literacy. 4 cr. Tuition: $2800

Summer 1 (May 21-June 27)

Summer 2 (July 1-August 8)

Top

Writing for Communication

COM CM 331

Prereq: (COM CO 201) and First-Year Writing Seminar (e.g. CAS WR 100 or WR 120). Intensive exposure to some of the basic writing formats in the communications profession: news releases, letters, features, and profiles. Lead writing, editing, and techniques of interviewing. Extensive writing and rewriting. Develops basic writing skills for different audiences. This course fulfills a single unit in the following BU Hub area: Writing- intensive Course. 4 cr. Tuition: $2800

Summer 1 (May 21-June 27)

Summer 2 (July 2-August 8)

Top

Courses of Related Interest