WRTG 3020 Topics in Writing: Narrative and the Self

Instructor Contact:

Lara Jacobs, MFA

Email: lara.jacobs1@gmail.com

About the Course:

This course examines the relationship between narrative and the self. We often think of this dynamic as passive–a writer recording an experience or an aspect of his/her/their identity that already exists in the world. In our readings and in our writings we will consider the agency of stories–how writing can create an identity on the page that doesn’t exist or isn’t recognized in the outside world. Through analyzing published texts, crafting our own work, and engaging in discussions and in writing workshops, we will explore the power of language, rhetoric and genre to generate a self.


By the end of the course you should be able to:

Identify genre conventions and apply them to your own narrative.

Critique assigned texts to build rhetorical knowledge and dissect the complex relationship between speaker, subject and audience.

Rhetorically analyze personal, analytical, argumentative and multi-genre texts, comparing and contrasting narrative forms to develop your own essays.

Evaluate the writing process from ideation to edit to expand critical thinking and to communicate clearly and effectively.

Create and record a podcast to apply narrative strategies to digital media.

Required Texts:

Grief is the Thing With Feathers by Max Porter

·       Publisher: Graywolf Press; 1st edition (June 7, 2016)

·       ISBN-10: 1555977413

·       ISBN-13: 978-1555977412

Citizen by Claudia Rankine

·       Publisher: Graywolf Press; 1 edition (October 7, 2014)

·       ISBN-10: 1555976905

·       ISBN-13: 978-1555976903

How to Write An Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee

·       Publisher: Mariner Books; 1st edition (April 17, 2018)

·       ISBN-10: 1328764524

·       ISBN-13: 978-1328764522

Tell Me How It Ends by Valeria Luiselli

·       Publisher: Coffee House Press; Later Printing edition (April 4, 2017)

·       ISBN-10: 1566894956

·       ISBN-13: 978-1566894951

Additional readings or links posted on Canvas.


Assessment Percentage
Peer Review 7%
Written responses to and analysis of assigned reading materials and short writing prompts 20%
Personal Narrative 20%
Rhetorical Analysis 23%
Multi-genre Podcast 30%
Total 100%



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Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado