The Craft of Writing – Spirituality, Politics, and the Care of the Self
R1A 004 | CCN: 24469
Spirituality, Politics, and the Care of the Self
Instructor: Richard Anthony Grijalva
Location: Dwinelle 209
Date / Time: Mo/We/Fr 12:00pm - 12:59pm
The terms “spirituality” and “spiritual” circulate widely in our discourses in a variety of contexts, among them are the religious, moral, philosophical, psychological, political, and wellness/self-help spaces. This extensive plurality of usage risks making the conceptual content of these terms less precise: everything can be spiritual, nothing can, or could be merely subjective. In turn, either an uncritical over-investment or a cynical dismissal of spirituality can separate us from critically understanding the conditions from which spiritual practices emerge, the kinds of material effects those kinds of practices anticipate, and the stakes these practices have for individuals and social groups alike. This course will explore and theorize spirituality from several angles: the emergence of rhetoric and philosophy as forms of spiritual practice in Antiquity, the spiritual practices of Roman Stoicism and its transformations in Christianity, of spiritual activity as a ground from which peoples and cultures develop, and more contemporary accounts of spirituality that touch upon more familiar political contexts. The discourses, venues, and practices of spirituality are ripe for investigating them from several disciplinary perspectives, among them, history, religious studies, philosophy, critical theory, political theory, and anthropology. This course will draw on the resources of rhetorical theory and analysis to read and write across these perspectives. We will engage in interdisciplinary scholarship to become familiar with techniques of critical inquiry and writing that we can adapt in other compositional contexts.
This Reading and Composition course is designed for you to learn the skills you need to master scholarly research and writing at the university-level. By the end of the semester, you will be able to:
analyze and interpret texts for their topics and meanings, using writing to think;
understand what an argument is and recognize its elements;
develop reasoned topics from observations and analyses to support inquiry;
make planning, drafting, revising, and proofreading central to your writing process;
produce independently reasoned arguments with discernible and supported claims;
identify and use stylistic conventions informing well-crafted writing;
write prose that considers readers and reflects a control of characters, actions, coherence, cohesion, emphasis, motivation, shape, and elegance.