Program for Writing and Rhetoric, University of Colorado • fall 2016
This interdisciplinary course teaches principles of academic writing by examining a host of contemporary problems of international politics, which challenge students to engage difficult texts in normative political theory. Students will explore the rights of migrants and refugees, global poverty and theories of distributive justice, moral culpability for the effects of climate change, individual and collective responsibility for perpetuating structural injustices, and humanitarian intervention and the ethical duty to prevent genocidal violence. Through course readings, independent research, and formative writing assignments, students will critically evaluate diverse moral arguments in these different issue-areas and proposed solutions to these prevailing injustices.
Further, this service-learning course will involve community service and what has been termed “community-based writing.” Students will volunteer with Intercambio de Comunidades, a Boulder-based humanitarian organization with national renown, which helps local Latino/a immigrants integrate into their communities by providing various services, such as English language courses. In working closely with Latino/a community members, students will learn first-hand some the difficult challenges immigrants face—from language barriers to cultural stigmas to limited employment opportunities—as they work to establish a new life in a foreign community. This experience allows students to apply the theoretical concepts and problems of justice that the course explores, and lessons of rhetorical analysis learned in the classroom, to real world states of affairs, complex ethical problems, and their personal experience working with local immigrants and Intercambio staff. And in underscoring the practical relevance of this subject matter, this community engagement challenges students to think beyond themselves and their own interests, to appreciate the hardships others endure, and to develop a sense of civic responsibility to improve the welfare of underprivileged and marginalized groups.