Spring 2014 CBL Courses, WR 13200

Please note: WR 13100: Writing and Rhetoric course descriptions are available here. Also, WR 13300: Multimedia Writing and Rhetoric course descriptions are available here.

"Behind the Walls: Criminal Justice and Social Justice"
Prof. Damian Zurro
WR 13200-01 / TR 11:00-12:15

This course employs the rich resources of Catholic Social Teaching to focus on how these resources relate to the larger issues of social justice with a particular emphasis on criminal justice. Through reading, discussion, and writing, students will understand more deeply many of the topics connected to the twenty-first century American criminal justice system including but not limited to mass incarceration, the War on Drugs, the court system, prisons and prison reform, the death penalty, and re-entry into society of people formerly convicted of crimes. Outside of class, students can choose to serve at either the Juvenile Justice Center, working with incarcerated youths, or Dismas House, a venue committed to helping formerly incarcerated people re-enter society. As a Writing and Rhetoric class, students will learn to write argumentative essays that employ all of the conventions of good rhetoric to persuade an audience. These essays train students in successful college-level writing. In addition, students will write critical reflections on their service experience. Students will also write a research paper related to one of these broad topics in Catholic Social Teaching and/or criminal justice. If you are interested in this aspect of American society beyond what you may see on TV or in movies, I encourage you to take this class.

"Places Matter: Rhetoric, Civic Engagement, and the Urban Landscape"
Prof. Stuart Greene
WR 13200-02 / TR 3:30-4:45

This particular First Year Writing and Rhetoric class has been designated as Community-Based Learning (CBL). We will partner with The Neighborhood Resource Corporation (NRC) in South Bend. You will spend about 10 hours outside of class meetings with leaders in the community, tour different neighborhoods, and visit the Center for History, the South Bend Public Library, and the South Bend Civil Rights Heritage Center. The writing assignments in the course will provide you with opportunities to reflect on the relationship between identity and place, create a visual and verbal map of a neighborhood, and give voice to the experiences of people who have lived and worked in the local community. You will also write a researched argument that focuses on a political, economic, or social concern that the NRC has sought to address. The goal in much of your writing will be to develop materials that the NRC could use on their website or incorporate in a grant proposal. In the end, I hope that we will all learn together about how an organization such as the NRC can help community members develop a strong voice through speaking, writing, telling stories, and using civil and deliberative discourse to achieve power. This is not power over others as much as it is the power to create positive change as participants in a democracy. There is a great deal at stake in our study of urban development at a time when private interests often determine how to use public spaces.