Being a good writer is much like being a good detective or a good lawyer. Like being a detective, writing requires careful gathering of evidence and thoughtful analysis. Like being a lawyer, writing also demands persuasive argumentation and compelling claims. As a writer in an academic environment, you too will need to "make your case" for your ideas, presenting your insights in a clear, organized, and critical fashion. To develop these skills, we will practice close reading, scholarly research, and the planning, drafting, and revising of the academic essay. These are skills that will serve you well in whatever discipline you choose; consequently, we will be looking at texts (and other media) from a variety of fields. Through our readings and discussion, as well as workshops and conferences, we will engage the essay as a space to develop and articulate our critical voice and to participate in academic conversation.