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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Tasha M Buttler
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

This is an academic research and writing course that can be used to satisfy 5 credits of composition. This course will use fiction and poetry from around the world to develop ideas and arguments about how individual characters represent love and desire. We will be asking: what, if anything, can be useful about formulating generalizations about these drives in terms of culture and gender? The primary focus of the course will be to develop critical thinking skills to analyze and construct our own arguments.

The argument that I am exploring in this course is this: Love, or that which characters are driven to seek, astonish, punish, care for, or create desire in, is inadequately represented in models of psychological theory as it also is in popular media. The stories we will grapple with in this class offer more complex, and I argue, compelling, accounts of, and critiques of, erotic attachments including to those of a beloved, a home, or ultimately, a sense of psychic coherence.

Student learning goals

You will have opportunities to develop and arrange material that holds valence as academic argument, as well as to develop your own ideas supported by textual evidence, and an idea about why it matters.

Develop and demonstrate academic research skills by annotating critical sources and then entering into current conversations

Identify an author’s main arguments and rhetorical strategies including the assumptions of the writing

Use examples from texts for interpretation, discussion, and claim building

Respond to another writer’s work with empathy, intellect, and conviction Learn how to listen to and invite competing interpretations.

Recognize your developing part in a civic community through reading and writing. Identify and cultivate your own writing style by building on your own experience, voices, and projects. And have fun reading, writing, and talking about ideas and how they are expressed.

General method of instruction

Expect a rigorous amount of reading and writing (8-10 hours per week).There are three components to this course that will be factored into your final grade: a portfolio of your essays and revisions, one exam, and your participation in seminar groups. The final portfolio that demonstrates how your work meets the outcomes for expository writing will count for 70% of your grade. The exam will count for 10% and your participation will count for 20%. Class participation will include in-class writing assignments, seminar work, oral discussion, homework assignments, quizzes, and review of peer essays. I do not accept assignments via email. Late assignments will have one grade per class period subtracted from the final grade. If you miss a class, make sure to ask a classmate if you can copy her or his notes. I am not able to update you on what you have missed in class.

Recommended preparation

We will the following authors/texts to evaluate how other writers stage and perform their arguments: Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting Virginia Woolf, To The Lighthouse. (Both available at UW Bookstore) Course Reader: Selections from David Damrosch’s What is World Literature? Poetry and short fiction from Morocco (Fatima Mernissi), Lebanon (Hanan Al-Shaykh), Turkey (Nazim Hikmet), Iran (Forugh Farrokhzad, Simin Behbahani, Seyyed Ebrahim Nabavi, Simin Daneshwar, Mirza Agha Asgari) , Germany (Rainer Maria Rilke), England (DH Lawrence), Italy (Italo Calvino), Portugal (Fernando Pessoa, Eugenio de Andrade), U.S. (Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell), Brazil (Machado de Assis, Clarice Lispector, João Cabral de Melo Neto), Cuba (Nicolás Guillén), and Peru (César Vallejo). Available at Professional Copy on 42nd / University Ave.

Part of the theoretical framework out of which our discussions develop come from three contemporary philosophers: Martha Nussbaum, Judith Butler, and Slavoj Žižek.

Class assignments and grading

Close reading, short responses, in-class seminaring, peer reviews, quizzes, 2 major papers that develop a prominent line of argument, and revisions. Texts will be available for purchase at University Bookstore. Required purchase of course reader at Professional Copy on University Ave.

See Expected UW outcomes for 100 level composition courses on English Dept website or in course reader. Portfolio 70% of final grade, contribution to the class as part of an academic community 30%.


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 Tasha M Buttler
Date: 04/01/2008