All Courses

CW R1A - Accelerated Reading and Composition

Fall 2018

This intensive, accelerated course satisfies concurrently the UC Entry Level Writing Requirement and the first half (Part A) of the Reading & Composition Requirement. It offers students structured, sustained, and highly articulated practice in the recursive processes entailed in reading, critical analysis, and composing. Readings include imaginative, expository, and argumentative texts comparable in complexity to those encountered in the lower-division curriculum. Texts are chosen to represent views and perspectives of authors from diverse social and cultural backgrounds. Students read five thematically related book-length texts, or the equivalent, drawn from a range of genres, in addition to non-print sources. In response to these materials, they craft numerous short pieces leading up to three to five essays—works that include elements of narration, exposition, and argument. Students write a minimum of 40 pages of prose during this semester and they compose an annotated portfolio that showcases their best work.

Note: Specialized sections are available for multilingual student writers. These sections are marked (MSW) below.

Available in 
Fall and Spring
Placement by the Analytical Writing Placement Examination
Units and Format 
6 units – Six hours of lecture/discussion per week
Grading Option 
Must be taken for a letter grade for R&C credit
Reading & Composition: 1st half (Part A)





Class Number: 20964
Meeting time @ place:
MWF 8:00am - 10:00am @ 78 Barrows Hall
Section Theme: The Iceberg of Culture: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Section Description:

With the rise of neo-nationalism, seen the world over in Brexit and in other movements as well as in America’s 2016 election, cross-cultural understanding is more important than ever. Plus, it’s fascinating! We’ll explore the free CultureGPS smart phone app and ask what social psychologist Geert Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions Theory can teach us about cultures that differ from our own. We'll increase our CQ (Cultural Intelligence) by reading and discussing Andy Molinsky’s Global Dexterity (Harvard Business Review Press) and viewing associated videos. We’ll also read amazing nonfiction that can help us “overcome identity politics,” as novelist Elif Shafak observes, and we’ll watch TED talks and riveting documentaries that can help us see where our own cultural biases lie. In short, we’ll expand our worlds as we write excellent papers, too. 

Book List:

The Distance Between Us (Reyna Grande); Global Dexterity: How to Adapt Your Behavior across Cultures without Losing Yourself in the Process (Andy Molinsky); Online Reader of essays, articles, and excerpts from books; CultureGPS Lite (Geert Hofstede and itim International’s free smartphone app); The Joy Luck Club (film, directed by Wayne Wang); Other online resources (documentaries, TED talks).

Class Number: 20967
Meeting time @ place:
MWF 10:00am - 12:00pm @ 100 Wheeler Hall (ALC)
Section Theme: Answer: "What is the Post-Human?"
Instructor: Belinda Kremer
Section Description:

What is it to be human, and what defines “the human” in 2018?  What is “the post-human,” and how do humanity, “the human,” and ”the “post-human” relate to the bodies—our own and others’—through which we understand and frame the past, engage the present, and look to the future? How are machines, machine-human interfaces, “mind uploading,” artificial intelligences, and our evolving relationships with technology shaping our understanding of what it is to be human, and our experiences of living as humans?

We will explore these and other questions through a weekly podcast that explores our personal and social relationships with technology; documentary films on problems of your choosing; a hybrid memoir/history/critical examination/philosophy that reports in the first person on the lived experience of the black male body; a volume of poems that considers life on Earth from a future perspective; and many other texts from wide ranges of both genre and medium. We will explore intersections among experience, meaning-making, and self; intelligences natural and artificial; the body, speciesism, & the “performance” of being human; and technologies, justice, and social justice. You will compose smaller informal texts and larger formal texts including an exposition, a film analysis, a persuasive text, & a multimedia project, developing a range of rhetorical strategies as you explore deeply the questions of the human. 

Book List:

Texts To Purchase: 

Ta-Nehisi CoatesBetween the World and Me. Spiegel & Grau, 2015.
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-0812993547  OR   Paperback ISBN-13: 978-1925240702  OR  e-book: Kindle

Tracy K. Smith.  Life on Mars: Poems. Graywolf Press, 2011.     Paperback: ISBN-13: 978-1555975845  OR  e-book: Kindle

 John ChaffeeCritical Thinking, Thoughtful Writing. 6th ed. Cengage Learning, 2015. 
Paperback  ISBN-13: 978-1285443034  OR  e-textbook, Kindle Edition (note: check device compatibility)

Digital Texts: The 2 sites below will be primary to the course, and we will access them at no cost

Note to Self  podcast

Kanopy  streaming (videos/films)


Class Number: 20968
Meeting time @ place:
MWF 10:00am - 12:00pm @ 134 Dwinelle Hall
Section Theme: The "Mad Scientist"
Instructor: Kim Freeman
Section Description:

The crash of thunder. The flash of lightening. The call “It’s alive.” Crazy hair. Thick glasses. Intense eyes. Scientists in popular culture are often portrayed as “mad.” Think Victor Frankenstien. Dr. Moreau, and Doc Brown in Back to the Future. This R1A section will focus on popular images of science and scientists in literature, film, as well as in other media. In addition to interrogating these images, we’ll also consider the role of science in our wider culture. In addition to being portrayed as “mad,” scientists are sometimes portrayed as elitist or isolated in their ivory towers. We’ll also consider the ethics of research and ideas of objectivity and subjectivity. Texts likely to include Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein and Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, among others.


Book List:

Mary Shelley Frankenstein

Rebecca Skloot The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Victor LaValle Destroyer

Class Number: 20969
Meeting time @ place:
MWF 10:00am - 12:00pm @ 50 Barrows Hall
Section Theme: Gender Beneath the Surface
Instructor: Caroline M. Cole
Section Description:

We often divide gender into two neat categories—male and female—and ignore many questions. Is gender constant or fluid? Is it biologically determined, socially constructed, or both? If gender is at least partially constructed, who or what constructs and maintains the categories, and how fluid or fixed are those categories? What are the advantages and disadvantages of being perceived as male or female, masculine or feminine? And, what happens when people explicitly or implicitly blur the boundaries?

The readings in this section of College Writing R1A examine ways gender has and continues to plays out in different contexts, such as biology, language, current events, advertising, novels and more. Yet, while these reading will give students an opportunity to think about the way gender impacts our understanding of ourselves, others, and our world, the primary focus of this course will be identifying, learning about, and practicing a range of rhetorical strategies that can help students write in ways that engage their readers. 

Book List:

The primary text for this section will be course reader, available from a local copy shop. Other books include:

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. Herland: A Lost Feminist Utopian Novel (ISBN 0-394-73665-6)

Graff, Gerald & Cathy Birkenstein. "They Say/ I Say": The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, 3rd edition (ISBN: 978-0-393-93584-4)

Lipson, Charles. Doing Honest Work in College: How to Prepare Citations, Avoid Plagiarism, and Achieve Real Academic Success, 2nd Edition (ISBN: 978-0226484778)

Class Number: 20970
Meeting time @ place:
MWF 10:00am - 12:00pm @ 80 Barrows Hall
Section Theme: Coming-of-Age: The Journey to Adulthood
Instructor: Mary Grover
Section Description:

Course theme: Coming-of-Age: Representing the Journey to Adulthood 

Course description: The expression “coming-of-age” carries provocative associations, such as sexual awakening, disillusionment, embattlement.  This course explores how our culture makes sense of the concept.  Through critical reading, analytical writing, and class discussion, we will examine the assumptions and arguments that influential writers and artists make when portraying how individuals come of age.  Our inquiry will be framed by committed participation in all facets of the writing process, including pre-writing activities, drafting, critique, and of course, revision, revision, and revision.     

Book List:

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline 

Raising Cain, by Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson 

Writing the Memoir: From Truth to Art, by Judith Barrington 

Class Number: 20980
Meeting time @ place:
MWF 12:00pm - 2:00pm @ 100 Wheeler Hall (ALC)
Section Theme: Our Digital Era: Current issues, science, and sci-fi
Instructor: Jordan Ruyle
Section Description:

Digital technology is ever-present, from the bCourses site we use for this class to the texts and notifications you’re likely receiving as you read this sentence. We use some form of digital technology in our education, our politics, our struggles for social justice, and our social lives. In this class, you’ll step back a bit from the experiences around you, reading about, observing, and writing about the way our use of various digital technologies shapes us.

As you weigh in on current conversations and issues surrounding our use of digital technology, you’ll practice writing in different genres and honing your writing skills. This class will help you build writing and critical thinking habits that will serve you in your future academic work here at Cal; you’ll leave the class with a new set of skills for drafting, revising, proofreading and editing your writing.

Expect to read a lot, write a lot, and revise a lot. We'll read a novel and short stories in addition to longer non-fiction texts and material on developing a robust writing practice. You will be challenged, but you will also be rewarded by becoming a stronger writer and thinker.

Book List:

Smarter Than You Think (Thompson) (available at the student bookstore); They Say/I Say (any edition); Digital Course Reader (available through bCourses); other texts TBA

Class Number: 20981
Meeting time @ place:
MWF 12:00pm - 2:00pm @ 50 Barrows Hall
Section Theme: The Capacious Identity
Instructor: Chisako Cole
Section Description:

How do we define identity? How do we form our identity and what affects it? In this class, we’ll explore how we see ourselves and how others perceive us based on space, stereotypes, expectations and language. Key concepts we’ll focus on are public places vs. private spaces, authenticity and commercialization, gentrification, and language acquisition. Students will examine a variety of texts- writing assignments will include a video analysis, persuasive essay and a multimodal essay.

Book List:

Space & Place (Tuan)
Just Mercy (Stevenson)
How to Kill a City (Moskowitz)
Course Reader 

Class Number: 20982
Meeting time @ place:
MWF 12:00pm - 2:00pm @ 80 Barrows Hall
Section Theme: Witness and Testimony
Instructor: Ben Spanbock
Section Description:

Understanding subjectivity is an essential part of the writing process. When we express ourselves, make an argument, or tell a story, we do so from a position shaped by who we are and where we are, our background and experiences, our thoughts and beliefs, and even how we are feeling in that moment. Subjectivity also plays a foundational role in how we understand and interpret others and the world around us. It shapes our opinions and makes us unique. This class asks students to consider subjectivity through two distinct but related paradigms: witnessing, an act of seeing or otherwise experiencing an event, and testimony, an act of self-expression meant to share or convey opinions on what has been witnessed. The purpose of this class is to introduce practical methods for reading “texts” (print, visual, auditory, social, etc.) and to activate both thought and writing processes to engage with the dynamic issues they raise. Together we will examine a number of short and long texts that draw from and speak to discourses from across the academic disciplines and raise questions concerning subjectivity in acts of witness and testimony. Operating under the premise that our community stands to benefit from a diversity of perspectives and opinions, we will explore different techniques for self-expression and different types of writing with a goal of better understanding our own subject positions, as well as those we encounter.


Book List:

The Well Crafted Sentence (Nora Bacon); The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Mark Haddon); Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies (Seth Holmes); Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White (Lila Quintero Weaver); Course Reader (on bCourses)

Class Number: 20971
Meeting time @ place:
MWF 2:00pm - 4:00pm @ 89 Dwinelle Hall
Section Theme: Exploring Ethics
Instructor: Donnett Flash
Section Description:
Book List:

They Say/I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Discourse  (Graff, Birkenstein, and Durst)

The Sunflower (Simon Wiesenthal)

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Bryan Stevenson)

Class Number: 20972
Meeting time @ place:
MWF 10:00am - 12:00pm @ 106 Mulford Hall
Section Theme: The Rhetoric of Science
Instructor: Michal Reznizki
Section Description:

What is Science? How is it being communicated to the public? In this course, we will focus on scientific communication and on how scientific advances are being “translated” to popular audiences. We will read two books about the topic and will explore rhetorical elements of both academic and popular articles on different scientific topics.

Book List:

Bad Advice: Or Why Celebrities, Politicians, and Activists Aren’t Your Best Source of Health Information, by Paul Offit

Houston, We Have a Narrative, by Randy Olson

The Essential Guide to Rhetoric, by Christian Lundberg and William Keith