Alexandra Joy Burgin
Study and practice of good writing: topics derived from a variety of personal, academic, and public subjects. Cannot be taken if student has already received a grade of 2.0 or higher in either ENGL 111, ENGL 121, or ENGL 131.
English 131: The Rhetoric of Pop Culture
English 131 is designed to prepare you for your academic career. Regardless of what path you are considering, be it Political Science, Engineering, Biology, or Pre-Law, you will require the ability to think critically about the world around you and articulate that thinking in writing. Your coursework, both now and in the years to come, will require you to produce writing that varies greatly in tone, style, research methods, complexity, and organization. The ability to clearly articulate your ideas, however, will always be necessary regardless of framework. To that end, this class seeks to prepare you with the tools necessary for a successful academic life: -the ability to thoughtfully analyze texts, materials, and the arguments of others -the techniques of successful research and how to incorporate that research into your arguments -an understanding of how to articulate your own complex claims -the ability to revise successfully
This section of 131 will use popular culture as a vehicle to engage with the specific strategies of rhetorical analysis and writing discussed above. Non-traditional literary texts such as television shows and movies can serve as accessible mediums for discussion and critical analysis, as well as the ability to create complex, stake-driven claims of your own. In addition to giving you the opportunity to choose texts that interest you, popular culture allows us to use a topic that you are already thinking about critically to explore strategies of articulating that critical thinking on paper. Popular culture shapes our thinking in overt and subtle ways, and by using writing strategies to break down how that shaping occurs, we can become more astute and engaged citizens as well as writers.
As fun as popular culture can be to work with, it is important to remain critically engaged as much as possible. You should come to class ready to carefully unpack complex meanings as well as the strategies that produce them. It is important that you be prepared to examine texts, engage in respectful and informed conversations, and, of course, write, write, and then write some more. If you are willing to put in the effort, you will leave this class with the tools to be a successful academic writer and critically engaged member of society.
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