students writing

Writing Courses Fall 2021 – Winter 2022

Our WRIT courses are small classes mostly run as workshops. All WRIT courses at the 1000 and 2000 level are capped at 25 students; LIBR 2100 at 30 students. 3000 and 4000-level courses have no more than 20 students. These small classes let your professors give you individual attention and plenty of feedback on your writing.

Writ 1120 students (1)

WRIT 1120: The Writing Process: Theory and Practice / half unit

Half (0.5) unit — Fall or Winter term

In this course, you will approach writing from a rhetorical perspective: that is, writing is not just a matter of following a series of rules or applying a set of templates. Instead, writing involves making choices that are appropriate to the situation. Assignments will include, but also extend beyond, traditional academic writing. You will get practice in drafting and substantial revision as well as editing and polishing. Issues of academic integrity and accurate citation will be addressed in the process of developing research-informed papers.

This course is the foundation of the Writing Minor; it is recommended that you take 1120 before you attempt any other WRIT or WRIT/ENGL courses.

In WRIT 1120, you will be challenged and assisted to develop new strengths, whether or not you consider yourself to be a “good writer “already. This course is not “remedial;” it is university-level. There is a firm exit standard: all students must demonstrate the same minimum competence in university-level writing in order to pass the course. To help you and your professor understand the challenges ahead, you will be asked to write in the very first class, for an entry benchmark. That is the purpose of the Calendar note which reads “A writing exercise will be assigned in the first class. Students whose performance is judged inadequate will be strongly recommended to withdraw from the course.”



01F   MW 9:00 – 10:15 TBA

02F   MW 1:30 – 2:45 TBA

03F   MW 4:30 – 5:45 TBA

04F   TTh 10:30 – 11:45  Dr. Nathaniel Street

05F   TTh 4:30 – 5:45 TBA

18F Synchronous Online: Th, 6:00 – 7:15 TBA



06W MW 9:00 – 10:15 TBA

07W MW 1:30 – 2:45 TBA

09W TTh 9:00 – 10:15 TBA

10W TTh 10:30 – 11:45 TBA

19W Synchronous Online: Th, 6:00 – 7:15 TBA

28W Synchronous Online: MW, 4:30 – 5:45 TBA


ENGL/WRIT 2220 Writing to Influence: Introduction to Rhetorical Persuasion / half unit

Winter term
Tuesday and Thursday 10:30-11:45
Dr. Nathaniel Street

Fall term 18F
Tuesday 6:00 – 7:15.
Synchronous online.

Pre-requisite: WRIT 1120 or five units of university study.

If you are taking this course in the Writing Minor, you are recommended to complete WRIT 1120 first.

This class will take Aristotle’s definition of rhetoric as “an ability, in each case, to see the available means of persuasion” as a starting point for theorizing and practicing the persuasive power of writing. We will study rhetorical concepts and techniques — such as invention, kairos, ethos, stasis, and topoi — for discovering, creating, and analyzing rhetorical argument. Students will do this by learning the theory and history of these concepts, practice using them to analyze the rhetorical power of example texts, and mobilize them in their own writing. This work will culminate in a semester-long research project written for a popular audience in the spirit of essays written for publications like The Walrus, The Atlantic, or The New Yorker.

ENGL/WRIT 2221 Introduction to Creative Writing/ half unit

Fall term
Tuesday and Thursday 4:30 – 5:45.
Instructor: TBA

Pre-requisite: 0.5 unit of English at the 1000 level or permission of the instructor.

If you are taking this course in the Writing Minor, you are recommended to complete WRIT 1120 first.

A study and practice of creative writing, including poetry, fiction, and/or creative non-fiction, in a workshop environment driven by writing exercise and peer review. Instruction will be grounded in contemporary creative writing from peer reviewed journals. Additionally, the course may be supplemented by visits from or to creative writers.

WRIT 2222 Introduction to Editing/half unit

Winter term
Tuesday and Thursday 4:30 – 5:45

A practical and historical study of text editing. Particular attention will be paid to practices of manuscript analysis, substantive editing, copy editing, and proofreading, using standard practices set by the Editors’ Association of Canada. Students will practice editing texts from a range of genres: literature, scientific and humanist scholarship, and popular writing. Students will have access to a number of professional resources, including processional editors

Pre-requisite: WRIT 1120 and ENGL/WRIT 2220 or permission of the instructor.

ENGL /WRIT 2223-18W: History of Writing, Reading, and the Book / half unit

Fall term
Wednesday 6:00 – 7:15. Synchronous online
Instructor: Dr. Anna Smol

Book history is an interdisciplinary field that opens up many avenues of study. In this course our topics will range from literary and rhetorical analysis to historical and cultural research. We will study the book as a material object, from scroll to codex to digital text, as we review the development of various writing systems in manuscript and print culture from antiquity to the contemporary era, setting Western developments in a global context. We will discuss the social, political, and economic factors at play in constituting readers, authors, patrons, scribes, libraries, and publishers in different eras, including contemporary developments in digital writing and publishing. We’ll examine the book’s relation to power in discussions of censorship, sacred texts, and the revolutionary power of books. We’ll consider the nature of oral traditions and their interaction with written literacies. Course readings will alternate between non-fiction (in theoretical and historical articles) and fiction (People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks, short stories by Thomas King, and Fangirl, a young adult novel by Rainbow Rowell). The course will offer options for creative projects and exercises. This course schedules discussion forum posts, a Collaborate session, and individual written responses as a regular part of the coursework each week on Moodle. For more details about the course, see

This course may also count as a 0.5 elective in the Cultural Studies program.


ENGL / WRIT/ PHIL 2225: Tricksters, Liars, and Sophists: The History of Rhetoric /half unit

Fall term
Tuesday and Thursday 1:30 – 2:45
Instructor: Dr. Nathaniel Street

This course focuses on the history of the rhetorical tradition in the West from ancient Greece through the Renaissance. We will survey major and marginalized works on rhetoric from a variety of perspectives, including some that are (ostensibly) hostile to rhetoric. The class will study rhetoric as a historical phenomenon that gives insight into its contemporary place and read course texts as live interlocutors that may change and/or enrich how we theorize and practice rhetoric in the present. Additionally, the course will offer counter-histories of more established traditions that emphasize the role of women in rhetorical scholarship and practice, question the supposed “disappearance” of rhetoric after the fall of the Roman republic, and interrogate the ever-change relationship between rhetoric and the practice of invention.

ENGL/WRIT 3221: Creative Non-Fiction Writing / half unit

Winter term
Tuesday and Thursday 1:30 – 2:45
Instructor:  Dr. Nathaniel Street

The ancient Greeks commonly combined rhetorical instruction with athletic and musical training (the aulus and lyre players would keep a beat so that students could literally stay in rhythm with each other). This educational strategy deliberately weaves bodily movement, sensation, voice, and mind. This may seem strange to us today because the Greeks, unlike us moderns, were hesitant to make any strong division between the mind and the body. It made sense for them to train the brain like it was a muscle and the body like it had an intellect. For these reasons, ancient rhetorical training was primarily driven by exercises, especially imitation, repetition, and adaptation. When written, these exercises were called the progymnasmata, which included fables, maxims, ekphrasis (vivid descriptions that entice the senses), encomiums and invectives (speeches of praise and blame), and personification. The purpose of these exercises wasn’t so much to teach these specific genres of writing, but to train aspiring rhetors in a wide range of rhetorical moves and techniques (in the same way one would teach bodily moves and techniques); and, more importantly, to develop an agility in using those moves so that students would be comfortable mobilizing them when the situation called for them.

In keeping with, and relying on, the tradition of the progymnasmata, this course is aimed at developing your rhetorical facility with creative nonfiction writing, especially in the areas of style, invention, and arrangement. The course will be driven by workshops and, especially, writing exercises that will help you learn how to make a wide range of stylistic moves and train you to adapt those moves based on the specific needs of your writing situation. This will involve a lot of writing; but we will practice writing as an embodied and spatial act. We’ll write in response to objects, visual-art, and music. We’ll not only write a variety of genres, but mediums as well. Assignments will be of two kinds: 1) a series of classic progymnasmata assignments that will be drafted and refined for submission and 2) a series of short, generally in-class, writing exercises. Taking this class will help you cultivate habits of writing that will carry over to all arenas of life where writing is important, including academic, personal, and professional arenas.


LIBR 2100 Introduction to Research in the Information Age / half unit

Prerequisite: recommended that students have completed one term of study
An introduction to research including frameworks for the organization of information in print and online; critical strategies for acquiring, evaluating and communicating information; and ethical and legal (intellectual property, copyright, plagiarism) obligations of using information. Information sources across various disciplines, formats and media will be considered.

PLEASE NOTE: This course is taught by Library faculty. Look under “Library” (LIBR) and not WRIT in order to register for the course.