Whether we are aware of it or not, all of us intuitively use argumentation to justify our acts and beliefs to ourselves and to those around us. Simply put, argumentation is the study of communication that seeks to persuade others. This introductory course will begin by establishing and examining the claim as the most basic element of argument before moving into a study of its more sophisticated and complex components. Students should expect to study both formal and informal argumentation in relation to rhetoric, logic, and dialectic—all of which will be examined in their classical context.

The goal of this course is to open students’ minds to the possibility of the essay as a form of writing by first stripping away the conventions of the genre and exploring the essay for what it really is: a thought experiment. In this course, students will be introduced to some of the greatest essayists of the ages, from Michel de Montaigne to Mary McCarthy. Students should expect to study some of the very best examples of a wide range of essay types—personal, public, argumentative, lyrical, historical, etc. The objective is for students to take away from this course a newfound appreciation for the essay’s flexibility and arability, as well as the confidence to use this genre to their own creative advantage.

Great writing starts with great sentences. In order to help students learn how to write great sentences, this course will begin by exploring the rudimentary principles that guide their construction before moving into an in-depth study of the broad range of both the basic and advanced moves and strategies that writers use to craft these most important building blocks of prose. The ultimate goal of this course is not just to help students become comfortable and confident with writing, but also to excite and inspire them to write well.   

The goal of this course is to introduce students in a fun, explorative, and memorable way to both well-known and lesser-known rules of grammar usage by first examining their histories and origins. This course is designed not just to help students achieve mastery over the English language as speakers and as writers but also to give them a sense of authority in making their own deliberate, effective decisions on if and how to innovate and push the boundaries of language conventions.