undergraduate section

Seminar in Composition: Topics in Diversity

ENGCMP 0212 Seminar in Composition: Topics in Diversity

Seminar in Composition is a course taken by almost all undergraduates at the University of Pittsburgh. Its goals are to help you engage in writing as a creative, disciplined form of critical inquiry; compose thoughtfully crafted essays that position your ideas among other views; write with precision, nuance, and awareness of textual conventions; and revise your writing by rethinking the assumptions, aims, and effects of prior drafts. This seminar will include readings and writing activities that explore concepts and practices relating to diversity and its established and emerging definitions. Your section may address, for example, issues like race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, religious difference, differences in abilities, and economic disparities. You can expect to identify and analyze assumptions about difference, study how texts can generate and perpetuate such assumptions, and explore the consequences of such assumptions. You will also learn how to research and compose with attention to difference.

We will read a challenging set of essays to frame our work in the course, but the key texts will be your own writings and those of your classmates. Your focus on student writing will be detailed: you will work closely with the papers that you and your fellow classmates have written, trying to think of ways to make them more precise, interesting, organized, complex, and reflexive. This course is an opportunity to learn how to use reading (published texts, the papers of your classmates, and readers’ comments) to help you work on your writing and how to use writing to help you strengthen ways of reading and thinking.

Like other seminars in composition, this introductory course offers students opportunities to improve as writers by developing their understanding of how they and others use writing to interpret and share experience, affect behavior, and position themselves in the world. This seminar will include readings and writing activities that explore concepts and practices relating to diversity and its established and emerging definitions. Your section may address, for example, issues like race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, religious difference, differences in abilities, and economic disparities. You can expect to identify and analyze assumptions about difference, study how texts can generate and perpetuate such assumptions, and explore the consequences of such assumptions. You will also learn how to research and compose with attention to difference.