Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Jonathan E Murr
ENGL 111
Seattle Campus

Composition: Literature

Study and practice of good writing; topics derived from reading and discussing stories, poems, essays, and plays. Cannot be taken if student has already received a grade of 2.0 or higher in either ENGL 111, ENGL 121, or ENGL 131.

Class description

English 111 is designed to help you to become a more confident, thoughtful, and skilled writer, reader and thinker as you make your way through the university (and beyond it). Every day you read an enormous variety of "texts"—from emails to TV shows, from online video clips to digital images in advertisements—and you bring to each of those texts a range of experiences, received and achieved understandings, and a mix of cultural lenses that help you shape and interpret what you encounter. This course names that process of reading and asks you to think critically about it as you focus on the process and social practice of writing. This classroom—and the community of writers we'll try to create—is intended to provide you with a comfortable space in which you will write, revise, and polish your own writings, which will ultimately reflect your own willingness to extend the boundaries of your thought and creativity.

At its most basic level, our course is shaped by a series of "Outcomes" which guide all English composition courses at UW. As we work through them, we will pay particular attention to the choices that writers (including you!) constantly make; we will put a variety of texts in "conversation" with one another; and we will focus on the "stakes" of our writing—i.e. why it matters—and how specific "claims" are shaped and reshaped throughout the writing/revision process.


To focus the work we'll do together this quarter, we're going to explore a particular theme: Globalization and Colonial Histories. In the US context, mainstream discourses of globalization—for instance, what you are likely to hear on CNN or read in major newspapers—typically understand it as a contemporary, often inevitable, condition under which information, technologies, goods, money and people flow across old borders in new ways. It is often paired, optimistically, with such keywords as development, freedom, progress, global community, etc. Most of the texts we'll examine this quarter—by historians, social scientists, theorists, filmmakers and artists—seek to question or undermine that narrative, attempting to highlight the ways in which the dominant model of “globalization? produces or continues forms of unevenness, exploitation and violence that developed as part of the colonial world system. The picture of globalization these texts will offer us in the next ten weeks will thus question particular dominant narratives; the perspectives they offer will be limited, of course, and we will only just begin to think about the ways that cultural texts (like novels, for instance) help to produce knowledge about these topics. But we are going to examine the ways that "writers" working in different mediums and genres think about, respond to, and sometimes try to intervene in "global" colonial histories and presents. We will think about why certain people (by virtue of race, gender, class, sexuality, nationality, history, etc.) are most often the victims of “globalization,? and why others are its beneficiaries. Ultimately, you will be asked to think about what these issues might mean for your life and to join these conversations through your own writing.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Jonathan E Murr
Date: 03/22/2010