Composition I

What do cheap
smartphones, unliveable smog levels in Beijing, unprecedented average annual
land temperatures worldwide, a declining global bee population, the impending
demise of several small island nations in the Pacific, record corporate profits
in the carbon fuel industry, Round-up©, and a forecast rise in sea
level in Hawai’i by 39 inches over the next century all have in common? They
are products of the Anthropocene Epoch, a new geological epoch in which human behavior
influences world ecosystems as never before. We can deny it is happening, shrug
and feel helpless, focus on other stuff, or invest ourselves in research and
writing (across nearly all disciplines and majors) that engages with the challenge
and anticipates jobs that must be created to rise to it. This course will help
you gain expertise in such research and writing.


Major assignments
will focus on (1) our campus and its resources for you as a researcher-writer, (2)
O‘ahu and Hawai‘i as places that can lead our thinking, and (3) sustainability
as different disciplines address it. Our work will be highly collaborative: we
will use software designed to enhance your abilities as a reviewer for others
(a key workplace skill often ignored in writing courses), and you will work
actively with classmates as you each develop your own e-portfolio—an assemblage
of your writing that you can build upon in later courses at UHM and in
preparation for further study or the job market. Readings will be entirely
online and will include excerpts from The
Value of Hawai‘i
(Howes and Osorio, eds.) and Composing and Sustainability (Owens), among others. We will strive
to tie the local to the global repeatedly, to help you figure out what you want
to do at UH Mānoa and beyond.