Today more than ever we are confronted with the urgent question of what is true. From stories about supposedly stolen elections to conspiracy theories about vaccines and 5G, how we decide what counts as the truth is constantly up for debate – and the debates have potentially serious consequences. With politically polarized information in the news and new technologies like generative AI to circulate falsehoods on social media, it has never been more important to examine how we know what is true and to consider how we can argue and debate about our beliefs responsibly and effectively. This intensive course in analytical writing at the collegiate level will offer a chance to think through these issues and to develop the skills necessary to craft rhetorically-effective argumentative essays examining the nature of truth. In our readings, we will tackle classic texts from authors like Plato and Machiavelli alongside feminist and postcolonial critiques by figures like Donna Haraway and Frantz Fanon. We will also examine different instances of cultural production that define or redefine what people think of as true, focusing especially on the power of satire to unmask falsehoods and change our frame of thinking, from twentieth-century theatre like that of Dario Fo to twenty-first century television and streaming programs like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. In our writing sessions, we will work closely to refine the techniques of writing and revision that will allow you to transform your ideas and insights into powerful essays, using rhetorical instruction materials and small group workshops that replicate the intensive writing seminars taken by University of Chicago undergraduates in the Humanities Core.
Remote or Residential
Geared for students who enjoy writing analytically and exploring philosophical themes. This course is meant for students who excel in their English courses and want a college-level writing course. It serves as an excellent introduction to the kind of close reading, interpretive, and writing skills that undergraduates learn in the College at the University of Chicago.
Current Grade / Education Level
Class Duration (CST)