Course Information

Day & Time: MWR 10:30 AM - 11:20 AM
Instructor: Gregory Palermo
Student Drop-in Hours: W 11:45 AM - 1:30 PM

Course Description

ENGW 3315: Interdisciplinary Advanced Writing

ENGW 3315 provides writing instruction for students interested in interdisciplinary study or who wish to explore multiple disciplines. Students practice and reflect on writing in professional, public, and academic genres relevant to their individual experiences and goals. In a workshop setting, students evaluate a wide variety of sources and develop expertise in audience analysis, critical research, peer review, and revision.

This Version of ENGW 3315

We come together, for this honors section of ENGW 3315, to learn in a hybrid space provided by our University. At this moment when the institutions that structure our classes, jobs, and technologies extend their reaches increasingly into our living spaces, we may find ourselves unsettled by an erosion of boundaries: between the infrastructures maintained by others and the spaces we claim and maintain for ourselves. In this course, I’d like us to examine this same territorial impulse in the metaphorical spaces that we inhabit as learners. Spatial metaphors structure much of how academics describe disciplinary knowledge, whether we’re talking about our “fields” of study, “networking” with members of our communities, mentally “mapping” ideas or concepts, or being “native” to a set of perspectives or technologies. The Honors Program you are enrolled in describes itself as an education “without boundaries and without barriers.” As our world’s most pressing problems demand that we collaborate with one another, we might ask, when can disciplinary boundaries be crossed or redrawn, and how? When might it be useful to hold ground? We will attend, in particular, to the conventional metaphors and methods that we use to survey the academic “landscape,” how we regard expertise and who lays claim to it, and how we communicate knowledge that’s specific to a field beyond its “borders.” We will read and discuss texts that historicize and critique certain models for thinking about how knowledge is organized, as well as the language we are given to describe the spaces where we read and write. Moreover, we will critically engage in writing activities that vary significantly with discipline — such as citing, annotation, and peer-review — while reflecting on their usefulness in maintaining space for ourselves.

Learning Goals

In addition to meeting the Writing Program Learning Goals, this course will teach you to:

  • Analyze the conceptual metaphors (e.g, academic “fields”) and institutions (e.g., course credit hours, peer review) that structure knowledge-making activities and confer expertise, especially in the communities you are part of, or entering;
  • Critique rhetorically-situated representations of what it means to make knowledge, as well as attempts to redefine them;
  • Build your critical vocabulary for describing writers’ practices, across academic disciplines, while reading to identify a writers’ purposes and terms;
  • Trace the disciplinary conversations you encounter using methods like citation analysis and annotation, re-contextualizing them for your own purposes, and for audiences who may not otherwise be part of the same conversations you are;
  • Confront situations where disciplinary, and especially Western, understandings of knowledge and expertise may be limiting.


This course’s design and policies are informed by a number of reflections on teaching during a pandemic, especially by Jeffrey Moro, Ryan Cordell, Drew Loewe, Jesse Stommel, Lauren E. Cagle, and Roopika Risam. A few of the course’s core readings come from PhD Comprehensive Examination reading lists I built with Ellen Cushman on “Rhetorics of Disciplinarity” and Neal Lerner on “Citation and Citation Analysis.” The course’s assignments and activities draw inspiration from materials by friends and colleagues including Nicole Aljoe, Nicole Infanta Keller, William Bond, Mya Poe, and Danica Savonick.