Tesla Downes Schaeffer
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.
Welcome to English 131!
This course aims to provide you with a thorough, well-developed understanding of what it means to write effectively in an academic context. More than that, though, we begin to think about writing as a tool that opens up questions, generates provocative insight and propels important conversations in new directions. We will examine and unpack the way that text functions in many different arenas, including both academia and popular culture, and aim to develop the skills to participate confidently and thoughtfully in the rhetorical “conversations” that surround and comprise these topics. Throughout the course, we will be thinking about writing as a process that emerges first from inquiry. What motivates the author to write? What does s/he want us to do? How does the text function, and who is reading it? How does this text situate itself in, enforce or subvert the genre it occupies? In both writing and reading, a spirit of analytical scrutiny is fundamental to our project.
Alongside engaging with published textual material, we will also be entering into a dialogue with each other; this course is necessarily interactive and self-reflective, meaning that we will approach our own writing and that of our peers with the same analytical frame of mind. Writing is hard work, and no one enjoys it all the time- contrary to what some historical poets would have you believe, good writing seldom arises from divine intervention and is almost never easy. As such, drafting, revising and reflecting on our rhetorical choices will comprise a significant part of the class as well. Your assignments are shaped around this aim, providing you with ample opportunity to explore writing as a process rather than a verdict. Further, while no course can teach you absolutely everything you need to know to write successfully in college, developing the analytical and compositional skills required to articulate your thinking will benefit you in many of the writing and reading situations you encounter in the future, both inside and outside of school.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading