Department of Writing and Rhetoric

Write Here, Write Now.

Liberal Arts 102

First-Year Seminar

While the LIBA 102 seminars are all different and depend on the expertise of the faculty conducting them, they share pedagogical goals and are a part of the same sequenced first year writing instruction. On this page, we provide information about the overall course purpose and goals; we also provide links to the individual course descriptions provided by each instructor.

Course description:

LIBA 102 is a first-year writing course conducted within the context of a research area within a specific discipline designed to build on writing abilities learned in WRIT 100/101. The course works to develop critical thinking and research abilities appropriate for use in academic writing within a particular discipline. The course pays special attention to developing argumentation, analysis of texts, and synthesis of information into thoughtful, coherent written projects. Students enrolled in LIBA 102 produce papers that are longer and more in depth than in WRIT 100/101. The course culminates in a final portfolio of the student’s work.

Course Purpose

The objectives of this course are

  1. to develop writing abilities learned in WRIT 100/101, including the understanding that writing is a process that develops over time through revision (Writing Process);
  2. to write for specific purposes and for specific audiences (Purposes and Audience);
  3. to respond critically to different points of view so that the student creates effective and sustained arguments (Exploration and Argumentation);
  4. to become proficient at locating primary and secondary research from a variety of sources and at evaluating the reliability of sources (Research); and
  5. to become effective researchers and writers of research papers as a member of an active writing, reading, and researching community, understanding that such writing should be free of serious grammatical and mechanical errors while following disciplinary writing conventions (Conventions and Mechanics).

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of our most frequently asked questions about LIBA 102. If you have a question that is not answered here, please click “Contact Us,” above, and send us a message. Someone will respond promptly to your inquiry.

Which course requires more work/writing, WRIT 102 or LIBA 102?

While the specific amount of work that is assigned in any class is up to each individual instructor, the general guidelines for the amount and type of work done in each class are the same.

What requirements do LIBA 102 and WRIT 102 fulfill?

Either course fulfills the second sequence of the core first-year composition requirements.

Is there a common textbook required for LIBA 102 courses?

All courses use the handbook,A Writer’s Reference Ole Miss edition; additional books are at the discretion of the instructor, although supplementary texts should be identified in the course proposal.

What are the differences between WRIT 102 and LIBA 102?

WRIT 102 courses are theme-based (Food, Literature, Business, Environment, and Pop Culture) and are taught by either CWR faculty, adjunct instructors, and graduate student instructors. LIBA 102 courses are designed around a research interest by an established disciplinary expert. Some LIBA 102 instructors are professors from the Ole Miss academic community, while others are professors or artists from other colleges or universities or from a specific disciplinary field.

Spring 2017 Course Offerings

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Writing About Film with Whitney Hubbard

This course is designed for students to learn how to integrate the language of film with various compositional modes. Students will use certain films as vehicles to compose a variety of assignments.T TH 11:00A-12:15P
T TH 02:30P-03:45P


The Closed Fist and the Open Hand: The Art of Persuasion Through HBO’s The Wire with Angela Green

This course introduces students to the study of rhetoric through viewing and discussing the acclaimed HBO series The Wire, as well as through supplemental readings on crime, policing, and race.
T TH 01:00P-02:15P
T TH 02:30P-03:45P


Writing Through Horror Film with Jenny Jackson

This course introduces students to the broad range of theoretical, formal, and historiographic issues specific to horror film as well as build on their skills as academic writers through these same forums. Not only will we watch horror film and discuss what we watch, we will read scholarship regarding horror film, and we will engage with that scholarship through analytical, critical, research-based writing
TTH 01:00P-02:15P


Beyond Protest:  Music Affecting Social Change with Greg Johnson

This course will examine the many varied ways music has been used as an agent of social change throughout history, in various cultures, and through different musical genres.
T TH 04:00P-05:15P


Urban Ethnic Humor with LaToya Faulk

In popular culture comedy plays a formative role where opinions concerning inequality, racism, discrimination, inclusion, and racial and ethnic identity are concerned. Humorists, cartoonists, stand-up comedians, sitcoms (like Blackish or Comedy Central to name a few), (Black)Twitter and Facebook memes use cultural rhetoric, and humor to forecast racially controversial contemporary arguments. In this course, participants will examine racial and ethnic humor, satire, and comedy, and critically analyze humor as a rhetorical device.
M W F 12:00P-12:50P


The Southern Experience: Writing Southern Cultural History  with Jimmy Thomas

This course examines how Southern culture and identity are represented in literature, music, film, religion, language, and even food. Through the lenses of race, class, and gender, we will gain a deeper understanding of the South as a concept, which will ultimately serve to enhance our understanding of the South as a place.
T TH 02:30P-03:45P
T TH 05:00P-06:15P


From Farm to Fork: Going Green Locally with Emily Cooley

The purpose of this course is to challenge students to consider the impact their everyday decisions about food have on their health, local community, nation, world and environment.  This course will examine how our food is grown, where it comes from, and how it gets here.  We will consider the benefits and challenges of local sourcing.  The effects of corporate farming and the modern agri-business model will also be explored.
T TH 01:00P-02:30P


Respect and Tolerance: Outside of the Bubble with Sovent Taylor

This course introduces students to thinking critically about respect and tolerance in regards to individual and world views.  The course will focus on teaching students how to do research and understand different cultures and different points of view.
T TH 05:00P-06:15P


Stories of the Apocalypse: How Civilization Imagines the End with Sean Ennis

The purpose of this course is to expose students to writing, both fiction and non-fiction, that explores great disruptions to life as we know it.  Our culture is increasingly interested in thinking about its own end, and I hope to create a space where these ideas can be discussed in an academic setting.  While some of the texts we’ll discuss may describe fantastic events, the course really is an examination of the individual’s relationships to institutions like the government, organized religion, the military, science, family, etc.
M W F 10:00A-10:50A


Writing About True Crime with Bill Boyle

This course explores the way that true crime directs our attention to the dark underside of reality and reveals an aspect of the human condition that captivates and horrifies us. Over the last couple of years, an even bigger mainstream true crime audience has been drawn in by the success of NPR’s podcast Serial and HBO’s The Jinx miniseries, but these are only the latest storytelling vehicles in a genre that has run the gamut from murder ballads to tabloid newspapers to “nonfiction novels” (as Truman Capote called his masterpiece In Cold Blood). In this class, students will seek to consider our relationship as readers, viewers, and listeners to these stories that we consume and are consumed by.
T TH 11:00A-12:15P
T TH 02:30P-03:45P


Writing History Through American Presidential Elections with Jeff Bourdon

The purpose of this course is to learn to write history in an academic setting through analyzing and evaluating American presidential elections. Students will be exposed to American history from 1787 to the present.
M W F 02:00P-02:50P
M W F 12:00P-12:50P


Writing About Science Fiction with Patrick McGinn

This class exposes students to some of the more important science fiction writing from the genre’s inception in the nineteenth century to the present, and to enhance the student’s writing and critical thinking skills as he or she confronts the imaginative experiences and ideas presented within the literature. In addition to these themes, and others, one question that undoubtedly will reappear is what do our own utopian and dystopian visions of the future reveal about ourselves, now, in our own time.
M W F 12:00P-12:50P


The Rhetoric of Video Games with Trey Bagwell

In this course, students will rhetorically analyze video games and various types of interactive media as cultural, political, educational, and commercial artifacts through this lense. Students will discuss, critique, and research about this ubiquitous form of media and how it affects both their social lives and academic careers.
T TH 02:30P-03:45P


Guts, Google, and Green Living: Writing About Science with Emily Howorth

How does the human digestive system work? How do mathematicians predict election outcomes? Which is smarter—a robot or an octopus? With a focus on science-related subject material, this course asks students to analyze rhetoric and language, synthesize arguments, create multimodal presentations, and conduct research to inform an evidence-based position essay that includes a call to action.
M W F 01:00P-01:50P


WRIT 102 Theme Descriptions
WRIT 102 and LIBA 102 fulfill the same course requirements.