You are on page 1of 7

John Tiedemann

writ 1633

Office hours: TR: 2–4.
Office: AAC 380U
Book an appointment:

TR 10:00–11:50
Anderson Academic Commons 284

• writ 1633: Human Rights / Humans Write...

Historian Lynn Hunt argues that that the practice of literacy — i.e., of composing and interpreting
written, visual, or aural texts — is not only uniquely human; it is how we learn to be human. In this class,
we will examine literacy from a variety of angles — as expressed in art, as a local social practice, and
as a global political phenomenon — both to consider how reading, writing, and viewing define our
common humanity and to become more accomplished readers, writers, and researchers ourselves.
Much of our time will be spent discussing readings and viewings together as a class, but the majority
of our time will be devoted to four writing projects:

Essay 1: Writing Humanity: For this project, you’ll test Lynn Hunt’s thesis that literacy teaches us how
to be human by interpreting a cultural artifact.
Essay 2: Writing into History: This project asks you to explore the significance of an episode from
your own life or the life of someone close to you by placing it in historical context.
Essay 3: Writing the City: For this project, you’ll write an ethnographic study of an urban space.
Essay 4: Reflections on Writing: This project asks you to consolidate what you have learned this
term about writing, reading, and research by reflecting upon your own work.

Copies of (or links to) all other readings and viewings will be posted on Blackboard or on our course
Your own texts are also a central element of this class — so please bring your laptop to every class



In WRIT 1633, students practice academic research of various kinds; rhetorical strategies for different
academic and civic audiences and purposes; and critical reading and analytic skills. By the end,
students are expected to demonstrate, through their writing, a practical knowledge of multiple
academic research traditions, the rhetorical/conventional differences among them, and the
rhetorical differences between writing for academic audiences and writing for popular audiences.
Students are also expected to demonstrate proficiency in finding, evaluating, synthesizing, critiquing,
and documenting published sources in ways appropriate to given rhetorical situations. Students will
receive sustained practice in writing, with systematic instructor feedback, resulting in at least 20
pages of revised and polished writing, in multiple assignments, as well as numerous additional
exercises, in projects requiring library-based research as well as other types.

Class-time and homework

Some of our time will be spent discussing assigned readings and viewings, but most of our time will be
spent drafting and revising various pieces of writing, as well as providing feedback to each other.
You can also expect to spend approximately four hours each week working at home, perhaps more.
Finally, because a quality piece of writing results from many revisions, you will write each of your
papers in stages and revise, with guidance from me and your classmates.


Each of you will meet with me individually for two required conferences, where we’ll discuss strategies
for revising your work. I’ll send around a sign-up sheet the week before the conferences take place.
These conferences are required and you’ll receive a grade for the preparation you do beforehand.
Each conference is worth 25 points toward your final grade.
Apart from the required conferences, I’m also available to meet by appointment between 2:00 p.m.
and 4:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. (I can usually find time to meet on Fridays, too.) The best
way to make an appointment to meet with me on a Tuesday or Thursday is to schedule it online.
Please go to and follow the instructions. If Tuesday and
Thursday don’t work and you’d like to meet on a Friday, then please send me an email
( letting me know all the times you’re free that day.



For each class meeting, you will receive up to five points toward your final grade: up to 2 for the
writing assignment you complete at home up to three for your participation in class discussion. All
Ø Homework: All writing assignments are to be posted on Google Drive and shared with me by the
start of class on the day they are due. A student will receive 2 points for posting a complete and
manifestly thoughtful draft of their response to the assignment. (By “manifestly thoughtful” I mean
clear, coherent, and on topic.) S/he will receive 1 point for posting a draft that is either
incomplete and/or sloppily composed. A student will receive no points should s/he fail to post
and share his or her assignment when it is due.
Ø Class discussion: A student will receive 3 points for the day when s/he makes more than one
meaningful contribution to that day’s discussion. (By a “meaningful contribution” I mean a
contribution that’s thoughtful and fully elaborated, thus moving the conversation forward and
contributing to our collective understanding of the topic under discussion). S/he will receive 2
points when s/he contributes only once or when his/her contributions aren’t fully formed. S/he will
receive one point if she attends class without speaking up. A student will receive no points if s/he
fails to attend class, if s/he distracts his or her classmates, or if s/he wastes valuable class time by
checking email, facebook, etc., or otherwise disengaging from class.


As the above indicates, there are no “excused” absences from class. If you miss class, you will not
receive credit for class discussion for that day (though you can still receive credit for the day’s
homework by posting it on time).

Late Work

Assignments are due when they are due. Assignments that come in late, that aren’t shared correctly,
or that are incorrectly labeled will not receive credit or feedback from me. To receive feedback on a
late draft, you will need to make an appointment to see me during office hours.

Civility and Tolerance

The Writing Program affirms DU’s Code of Student Conduct (,
which in part “expects students to recognize the strength of personal differences while respecting
institutional values.” Because writing courses rely heavily on interactions between all members of the
class, students and faculty must act in a manner respectful of different positions and perspectives. A
student who behaves in an uncivil or intolerant manner will be asked to stop and/or formally reprimanded and/or subject to action by the Office of Citizenship and Community Standards.
Becoming educated requires encountering new ideas and information, some of which may conflict
with an individual’s existing knowledge or perspectives. I expect students to engage such materials
thoughtfully, in ways that reflect the values and mission of the University of Denver.


The Writing Program follows the Council of Writing Program Administrators policy “Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism,” which states, “In an instructional setting, plagiarism occurs when a writer deliberately
uses someone else’s language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without
acknowledging its source” ( DU’s Honor Code also maintains that all
members of the University must responsibly use the work of others. Students who have plagiarized a
project will receive an F on that project, and the professor will inform the Director of Writing and the
Office of Community and Citizenship Standards, which may take further action. Any documented
acts of plagiarism after the first may be subject to more severe actions.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

The Writing Program will provide reasonable accommodations to every student who has a disability
that has been documented by The University of Denver Disability Services Program
( or 303.871.2455).


I usually respond to email within a day or two during the week, less often on weekends.

I’ll give you suggestions for revision and a provisional grade on each fully drafted essay. Those grades
will rise, fall, or stay the same depending upon how effectively you revise it. All final drafts of all six
revised exercises are due to me via Google Docs by noon on Tuesday, March 14.
In addition to the grades you receive for your essays, you will also receive a grade for your final
reflective essay, for class participation, for the work you do to prepare for required conferences with
me, and for your responses to classmates’ work. Here’s the breakdown:
Essay 1:
Essay 2:
Essay 3:
Reflective essay:
Class participation: 5 points per class
Conference prep: 20 points per conference x
Peer responses;
20 points per response

200 points
200 points
200 points
200 points
20 = 100 points
2 = 40 points
3 = 60 points
1000 points

Here’s the scale I’ll use to calculate your final grade for the course:


T Jan. 3
R Jan. 5

Applying a concept and generating a thesis: Lynn Hunt, Inventing Human Rights.

T Jan. 10
R Jan. 12

Supporting and developing a thesis through analysis. (Hunt, cont’d.)
Making an argument flow. (Hunt, cont’d.)

T Jan. 17
R Jan. 19

Telling a true story: Taylor Branch, At Canaan’s Edge, “Memphis.”
• Full draft of Essay 1 due on Google Drive.
Putting a story in context: Selected student writing.

T Jan. 24
R Jan. 26

Unfolding a story’s theme: selected student writing.
Revising for style.

T Jan. 31

Class canceled for conferences.
• Full draft of Essay 2 due on Google Drive.
Class canceled for conferences.

R Feb. 2
T Feb. 7
R Feb. 9

Creating a conversation: Lewis Mumford, “What Is a City?” and Sharon Zukin, “Whose
Culture? Whose City?”
Generating a question. (Mumford and Zukin, cont’d.)

T Feb. 14
R Feb. 16

Conducting an interview.
Observation and participation.

T Feb. 21
R Feb. 23

Writing an ethnography: selected student writing.
Writing an ethnography: selected student writing.

T Feb. 28
R March 2

Class canceled for conferences.
• Full draft of Essay 3 due on Google Drive.
Class canceled for conferences.

T March 7
T March 9