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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Shane A. Mccoy
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

"Racing 'America': Reading Race in the Age of Obama"

The course entitled "Racing 'America': Reading Race in the Age of Obama" will cover topics that deal centrally with the question of race and ethnicity in both the United States and transnationally. The critical questions for this class: how does one engage with questions of race in the age of Barack Obama and how does race impact the U.S. in our contemporary moment? Furthermore, how does colorblindness, white privilege, and a "post-racial" America complicate our notions of race and ethnicity in the U.S.? And what is the role of new 'American' literature in mediating a white/black racial dichotomy? We will focus much of our attention on Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's acclaimed novel "Americanah" (2013). We will also engage with theoretical readings by prominent scholars in anthropology, sociology, linguistics, history, feminist theory, legal theory, and public intellectuals to frame our discussions on race and ethnicity in the U.S. and transnationally. Selections include sociologist Eduardo Bonilla-Silva's "Rethinking Racism"; linguist/anthroplogist H. Samy Alim's and Geneva Smitherman's "Articulate While Black"; French theorist Etienne Balibar's "Is There a Neo-Racism"; feminist scholar Peggy McIntosh's influential essay "White Privilege"; legal theorist Hiroshi Motomurai's "Americans in Waiting"; and sociologist Wendy Roth's "Migrant Schemas" and "Performing Race Strategically." We will also focus on popular readings from,, and Ta-Nehisi Coates's "Fear of a Black President".

This class is first and foremost a writing intensive class where we focus on writing and the ways in which writing can be employed, deployed, and analyzed. As an offering within the Expository Writing Program (EWP), this class is intended to provide a sound basis for the elements of writing in multiple (and across) disciplines. We will spend much of our time on learning how to write and how to engage with literature and other texts in order to produce complex claims in written assignments.

Finally, the goal of the class will be to focus on how to write academic arguments and present lines of inquiry into the materials brought to bear, and by the end of the quarter, you will be able to transfer the “good” writing habits developed in this course and effectively demonstrate them in future courses. In addition, this class is specifically a Computer-Integrated Classroom (CIC), thus specific rules of the class will be explained in the syllabus.

Student learning goals

• To learn how to write and how to engage with complex texts in order to produce complex claims in written assignments.

• To develop an awareness of multiple strategies writers’ use in various contexts

• To understand the writing process, which is the ability to produce, revise, edit, and proofread one’s own writing as well as the rhetorical choices made in one’s own writing.

• To focus on how to write academic arguments and present lines of inquiry into the materials brought to bear

• To understand what consists of “good” writing habits

• To effectively demonstrate course outcomes in critical reflections on writing assignments

General method of instruction


Recommended preparation


Class assignments and grading

5 short assignments (2-3 pages in length) and 2 major assignments (6-8 pages in length)

30% participation; 70% final portfolio

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 Shane A. Mccoy
Date: 12/12/2013