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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Robertson Lee Allen
ENGL 298
Seattle Campus

Intermediate Interdisciplinary Writing - Social Sciences

Expository writing based on materials presented in a specified social science course. Assignments include drafts of papers to be submitted in the specified course, and other pieces of analytical prose. Concurrent registration in the specified course required. Offered: AWSpS.

Class description

This is a 5-credit intensive writing course designed for students enrolled simultaneously in Anth 209: Visual Anthropology. Anth 209 will provide you with an understanding of the field of visual anthropology, ethnographic film, and other modes of media representation and inquiry. In keeping with the design of Anth 209, Eng 298B will focus on visual anthropology and ethnographic approaches to visual media. This writing link will build on information and ideas presented in the lecture course through writing projects that will require you to critically read, view, and analyze arguments written and produced by professional anthropologists and media scholars. The dual purpose of this course will be to further develop your writing and critical thinking skills and to enrich your understanding of anthropology by examining approaches to visual anthropology.

All papers written in this course will be revised in a supportive workshop setting, in which you will read and critically evaluate one another’s work. At each step in the process of composition and revision, you will be asked to consider the effectiveness of your writing in light of your intended audience, your purpose for composing the piece, and other concepts discussed in the lecture course. By the end of the quarter, it will be clear that successful writing requires a patient commitment to a process of critical self-assessment, consultation with peers, and continued revision. Although we will focus on strategies for thinking and writing like an anthropologist in this course, you will be able to use the techniques and critical thinking skills developed this quarter to “unpack” the elements of successful writing in other disciplines as you proceed with your academic careers.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Writing workshopping, small groups, class discussion

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

1. Papers. Students will write three major papers over the course of the quarter. Each of these papers will be submitted in rough draft form and then revised following a peer review process, in which you will carefully read and comment on one another’s work. You will also meet with me in individual conferences to discuss your paper draft and will be asked to critically analyze and assess your own work. Following this process, you will submit a polished final draft of each paper along with your rough draft, peer review comments, and any other materials generated while revising. Paper grades will be determined via an assessment of the quality of the completed draft, the progress made through the process of revision, and your incorporation of comments made by your peers and the instructor.

2. Homework. You will be also be asked to complete a number of shorter writing assignments and exercises designed to help develop skills and analytical techniques necessary for successfully completing the three major papers. Some of these assignments will tackle specific issues related to visual anthropology. Others will require you to reflect on your own writing and the process of revising. The majority of these assignments will be given as homework, but some may be conducted as in-class exercises. Homework assignments will form a major component of your grade in this course and completion of these exercises will be essential to your success.

3. Peer Review. You will be expected to carefully read and comment on paper drafts submitted by your peers. These comments should be constructive, thoughtful, and respectful and should reflect a great deal of time and careful effort spent in critically reading and thinking about your peers’ work. The peer review process is critical to the structure of this course because it allows you to learn from one another and will ultimately help you to reflect analytically on your own writing. Specific instructions for conducting peer reviews will be provided in class. Peer review comments will be collected and graded. You will be required to provide comments on your peers’ paper in order to receive full credit on your own paper.

4. Conferencing. Each of you will meet with me for two or three peer group conferences over the course of the quarter. These conferences will provide an opportunity for us to discuss your paper drafts, strategies for revision. We will discuss how best to prepare for these conferences in class. On weeks in which individual conferences are held, one or two class periods will generally be canceled. You will sign up for conference appointments in class. In order to receive a grade for a paper, students MUST attend the conference. Papers that have not been discussed in conference will NOT be graded.

5. Participation. Active participation and regular class attendance are critical for success in this course. This course will often require you to collaborate through small group work and peer review workshops. You will be expected to attend class regularly, actively engage in class discussions, provide thoughtful feedback on your peers’ papers, reflect analytically on your own writing, complete all assigned readings, and display an overall commitment to improving your writing over the course of the quarter.

6. Portfolio and Reflection Essay. Do not throw anything away! At the end of the quarter you will collect a portfolio containing rough drafts of all your papers and comments received from peer reviewers and the instructor. On the final day of class, you will also be completing a self-assessment letter reflecting on your experiences in the course, changes in your writing, the value of the draft and peer review process.


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 Robertson Lee Allen
Date: 12/16/2010