W350 Advanced Expository Writing
Section 16579; BH 246, TR 9:30 to 10:45 a.m.
Topic: Going Public: Writing Health and Health Care in the United States
Instructor: Joan Linton
N.B.: This IW course requires students to perform community service (total of 20 hours minimum)
Going Public aims to help students develop as public communicators through a holistic approach to health in the community and a systemic understanding of healthcare in the United States. It invites students to practice and expand the critical skills of synthesis and analysis and rhetorical skills of persuasion through their service, writing, and research in the community. In going beyond the classroom, students will develop the knowledge and understanding needed to address issues of health and healthcare, and find their own voice in communicating this knowledge to public audiences—the very people whose lives are affected by these issues. They will come to understand both the power of language in creating and transforming publics, and the responsibility that comes with any attempt to manage and disseminate information. The long-term goal is to help seed the kind of collective action that will enable individuals and families to co-produce their health within their communities, local and extended, as a key component to improving health and healthcare in the United States.
Readings, discussions, and reflections will emphasize the following areas:
(1) holistic approach to health: not just sickness care but being healthy and staying healthy; not just physical health but also mental, social, behavioral, and environmental wellbeing;
(2) cultural literacy in relocating the self in the community: exploring shared goals, assessing community needs and strengths, building trust and reciprocity, perspective taking
(3) critical literacy: skills of research and analysis and a “systems thinking” approach that takes into account the broader cultural and economic contexts shaping health and care and their local and personal effects
(4) civic engagement: understanding public health as a “commons,” locating collective action in the co-production of health in the community within a democratic process of “polycentric governance”
(5) rhetorical skills and strategies for narrating public stories:
These readings will provide a framework for class discussions and reflections on service-related activities, with a view of creating meaningful and sustainable change within communities.
In addition to performing service, students will collaborate on 3 sets of presentations. In writing assignments, students will: reflect on their service experience in light of ideas from readings and presentations; develop one or more focused messages for their community organization for distribution to targeted audiences; and develop and write up a research project. They will document their journey of going public in stories of self, us, and now. Since this is an Intensive Writing course, peer reviews and revisions will be built into the sequence of assignments. Throughout the semester, students will be assembling their portfolio of writings to be submitted along with the research paper.