University Writing and Critical Reading:
Nature and the Environment

Course Syllabus
Course Weblogs
Discussion Question Schedule

On Our Theme:

ENGC 1013 is a composition course with an emphasis on nature and the environment. In this course, we will read a variety of works of literature (essays, fiction, poetry, etc.) which touch on perceptions of and arguments about nature and the environment. We will begin by considering why, and in what ways, the natural world is a social concern. We will explore the relationship between nature and society, as well as the relationship between nature and the self. We will consider the kinds of relationships humans have with nature, and what impact rethinking our relationship to nature might have on our thoughts concerning society and the self. Though we will spend some time discussing issues such as conservation, sustainability, natural resources, global warming, and other current environmental topics, this course focuses primarily on the philosophical implications of the intersection of nature and culture, and on how we think of and through nature. One significant goal of this course is to “denaturalize” our thinking about nature; to that end, much of our reading takes us behind the contemporary debates over nature and the environment. Our approach does not argue against the discussion of important contemporary issues; rather, it argues for a particular frame for our discussion.

Writing Assignments:

Paper #1
Paper #2
Paper #3
Paper #4

Research Proposal
Self Evaluation Revision Memo

Required Reading:

In addition to the material in the course packet and the essays available through WebCT, the following selections are also required:

Suggested Reading:

You may want to take a look at this collection of Web Links on Nature Writing. The following links might prove particularly useful:
Course Resources:

The following links may prove useful in furthering your understanding of the course readings:

Literary Links:
Environmental Sites: Composition and Writing Resources:

The websites linked to below provide useful tools for fine-tuning your reading and writing. We'll be referring to many of these sites in class, but please feel free to visit them on your own as well.

Close Reading:

Critical Thinking:


Discourse Communities: Ethos/Pathos/Logos:

Arguments and Claims:

Introductions, Conclusions, Paragraph Development:

Topic Sentences:

Organization:  Sentence Structure and Transitions: Integration of Cited Material Intertextuality:

Quotation Analysis:

Quotation Format:

Paper Topics:


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