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Instructor Class Description

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Terris L S Patterson
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

Spring '09 -- "Ideology and Its Discontents" At this moment, I'm planning to teach my ideology course in the spring. We will predominantly read critical theory and then apply these concepts to analyze the world we live in. The good news is that you can think of it as a more creative and hands-on approach to "writing." The potentially bad news is that most of the readings are dense and complicated. Take a look at the course website to see what you're signing up for.

FYI: WE WILL NOT BE READING MUCH "LITERATURE" IN THE TRADITIONAL SENSE! Please don't enroll in this section if you want to read Victorian or Romantic literature and/or poetry. There are plenty of other sections that will cater to your needs.

Also, this will be a computer-integrated class and will spend half our time in the lab. You do NOT need extensive computer skills; everyone is welcome. But we will be doing lots of work directly on the computers in the lab. You can expect lots of small group work.

------------------------------------------------------------------------ For FALL '08 -- "THE ELECTION": The fall course will be on "The Election"! We will probably look at much of the material listed under the "Independence" course, so there is some concrete plan of action. But much, if not the majority, of the information and discussion will be based on current events centering around the run up to the general election.

Neither candidate will be favoured, but the course will be EXPLICITLY POLITICAL in content. Most of the readings will be online newspaper articles, editorials, op-eds, letters to the editor, and so forth. Students will be required to print the articles before reading them and then bring materials to class for discussion. Aside from that, the "required book list" will be light since most reading will be current events. Because of the nature of the course, students are expected to be fairly fluid with the shifting currents of our daily events.

Because this class will be about the presidential/VP election, the course will cover topics such as race, gender, socioeconomic classes, the "norm" and the "Other," in-group and out-group, ideology, liberalism (including neoliberalism & neoconservatism), military service, the "military industrial complex," sexuality and sex scandals, age(-ism), revolution(ary ideals), the status quo, r/evolution, women's reproductive rights, etc.

Come prepared to debate and share your opinion! Participation will factor heavily into the grading process.

Please contact me with any questions you have about the course prior to enrolling. ----------------------------------------------------------------

As of now (May '08), I'm kicking around numerous ideas for 111 courses next year:

"Independence"--declarations of independence: What does it mean to be "free"?; Can human rights truly exist, and if so, on what geopolitical climate?

"Ideology"--examining our U.S. ideology of capitalism and democracy, socioeconomic (in)equality, civil rights, etc (overlap with "Independence" and "Labour Rights").

"Labour/Workers' Rights"--How have workers' rights evolved, in relation to labour unions, the increasing separation of wealth, etc? Do corporations have a social responsibility? Should government have a role in regulating purely economic policies?

"Satire"--Enough said. Will focus predominantly on socioeconomic issues.

"Education"--Similar to my current course: current debates on access, Academic Bill of Rights, teacher indoctrination, NCLB, standardized testing, creativity in education, etc. How does the education system reproduce ideology? Does education act as an assimilating or hegemonic force? Is there any hope to "fix" the system?

I'll probably narrow this list down to three, and then rotate through them each quarter. I may (possibly) give students the option to decide on the first day.

DISCLAIMER: ALL COURSES WILL FOCUS ON CURRENT EVENTS AND BE EXPLICITLY POLITICAL IN NATURE! WE WILL COVER EXTREMELY CONTROVERSIAL AND TOUCHY SUBJECTS SUCH AS RACE, GENDER, SOCIAL CLASSES, RELIGION, etc. ONLY ENROLL IF YOU'RE WILLING TO DEBATE AND QUESTION YOUR OWN PERSONAL BELIEFS--NOT FOR THE EASILY OFFENDED!

Materials will include films, short stories, chapters, and/or possibly longer texts depending on that quarter's topic. I can assure you there will not be any poetry, regardless of what it says above. While the writing element is fairly standard, you can expect a decent amount of extremely dense reading.

My current course focuses on ideology and education, 131 F, which you can check out the reading lists (and some additional posted materials) at http://courses.washington.edu/engl131. FYI: not all the "required" reading is actually required, it's a combination of three classes which hasn't had a thorough update.

Please direct any questions to tlspatt@u.washington.edu.

Student learning goals

An obvious focus on writing--hence the "c" credit, critical thinking, inquiry and analysis, argument, and challenging ideals, assumptions, and "common sense."

General method of instruction

Seminar environment, featuring student-directed discussion. Come prepared to talk and actively engage in the conversation. Occasional lecturing may occur based on the necessity for historical background--you'll probably prefer a brief lecture to (actually) reading the historical archive.

Recommended preparation

This class is part of the Computer-Integrated Classroom. There are no technical pre-requisites for this class, but obviously at least a basic familiarity with personal computers and the internet will be useful. Access to a computer and the world wide web is required.

Reading ahead is always an option for the extremely motivated individuals. Contact me if that interests you.

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.
Additional Information
Last Update by Terris L S Patterson
Date: 02/24/2009