This Advanced Expository Writing course will focus on writing about the environment. The course will be organized by three writing assignments. The first will use reviews of classic works on the environment (Rachel Carson, Edward Abbey, John McPhee) and use the works and the reviews to create a contemporary review of one of these works. What is the contemporary impact, importance, or lack of either in contemporary discussions about the environment? What counts as a book with continuing impact?
A second assignment has two parts. One part asks that you write thick descriptions of nature from either campus or the Arboretum, mirroring Carson, Abbey and McPhee. The second part is to revise the environmental impact statements written about the Arboretum and the SR 520 bridge or the light rail intersection with the UW campus. This part of the assignment asks that you revise a substantive section of the impact statement, making it accessible to ordinary people and non-environmental specialists, which, as you'll learn has little relationship to easy to understand reading.
The third assignment asks you to select and analyze a contemporary long form non-fiction book and compare this long form nonfiction with Jonathan Harr's A Civil Action. Our example of this type of writing will be Dan Fagin's Toms River and we will read this together as a class, along with Harr's A Civil Action. Harr's book appears as more literary reportage. For your final assignment, you will select a book from a range of full-length nonfiction books and then write about and address the characteristics of this type of writing in a long paper.
If you are thinking about including the Writing Minor in your program, this course would be an opportunity to study some alternative types of writing.