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PWR 1KAA: Forward Momentum: Writing About Movement

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Catalog Number: PWR 1KAA

Instructor: Kath Rothschild

Units: 4

Grade option: Letter (ABCD/NP)

Prerequisite: None

Course Feature: WR-1 requirement


As Einstein said: “Nothing happens until something moves.” Today, Nike’s Alphafly running shoe is said to increase any runner’s speed while Japan’s bullet trains became speedier through biometrics—the study of how animals move, in this case, the kingfisher bird. From People Movers and SpaceX rockets to distance running and dance, humans are constantly evolving our physical world and ourselves. 

In this class, we’ll study the rhetoric of movement—and write and research about movement across contexts. This class might be an opportunity to write about the social response to sports or to physiological innovation, or to research the ways that artistic movement has evolved to include and exclude, or to analyze how technology could improve our physical experience of the world. It might also be an opportunity to study social and linguistic movement. We will explore movement as situated within a focus of your choice—perhaps technology, sports and outdoors, linguistics, social justice, fitness and well-being, or art forms.

Examples of Research Topics

Projects for this class might include a study of the impact of natural spaces on movement, an analysis of post-human sports design like LZR swim suits and the Alphafly Nike running shoe, the potential for gaming to include advanced haptics or stronger physical elements, differently-abled dance companies, such as AXIS Dance, or the advancement of artificial limbs, wheelchairs, or implants. Stanford’s recent study on the impact of nature walks on mental health is an example we might follow.

PWR 1 Assignment Sequence

Rhetorical Analysis

(1500-1800 words; 5-6 pages) For this assignment, you will choose from a variety of genres of communication on your topic (Tweets, letters, audio interviews, academic articles, interactive media) to analyze how a particular text functions rhetorically. You’ll look for social expectations, shifts, and ideas as you study this work.

Texts in Conversation Essay

(1800-2400 words; 6-8 pages) The texts in conversation essay will allow you to write a research proposal putting various scholarly texts into conversation in order to develop an informed research question on your topic. That research question will become the focus of your Research-Based Argument. This assignment will also allow you to understand your chosen topic as socially situated and influenced by financial, social, norming, and psychological factors.

Research-Based Argument

(3600-4500 words; 12-15 pages) You are invited to conduct analytic research to arrive at a stance in relation to the same topic you explored in the TIC essay. You will then compose an academic research-based argument to support that stance. This will be the culmination of your gathered knowledge on your topic as well as of the rhetorical factors contributing to the benefits or drawbacks related to that topic. The argument should demonstrate an understanding of the influence of social or political systems on your topic.