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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Shane A. Mccoy
ENGL 131
Seattle Campus

Composition: Exposition

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.

Class description

This class is first and foremost a writing intensive class where we focus on writing and the ways in which writing can be employed, deployed, and analyzed within the realm of rhetorical analysis. The course content is contextualized around Time Magazine's 'Person of the Year' for 2011---The Protestor. Rightfully so, the theme of the class will be entitled "Mad World" and we will focus on documentaries in class, music/dance/art, and theoretical texts that help limn sociopolitical themes and ideological standpoints that are often portrayed in political demonstrations and movements, namely nonviolent and violent protests. Some of the topics in class include the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the war in Afghanistan and the rhetoric of humanitarian aid, among others. Films include "Trouble the Water," "Budrus," "The Black Power Mixtape," and "The Help." Television series include episodes of "Mad Men." A course reader will be available with selections from theoretical texts that Frantz Fanon's "On Violence" from his book The Wretched of the Earth, Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci's "Selections from the Prison Notebooks" on hegemony, Slavoj Zizek's "Violence: Six Sideways Reflections," among other readings. We will also look at other types of visual representations (namely, print advertisement, and commercials) in order to apply the theoretical frameworks to at least 5 short assignments (2-3 pages in length each), daily in-class writing activities, and 2 major papers (5-7 pages in length, excluding bibliography). The course culminates at the end of the quarter with the submission of an e-portfolio that demonstrates critical awareness of rhetorical choices and strategies made in writing assignments vis-a-vis critical reflections.

Student learning goals

We will spend much of our time on learning how to write and how to engage with complex texts in order to produce complex claims in written assignments.

We will also develop an awareness of multiple strategies writers’ use in various contexts, and we will learn how to discern between ineffective arguments and arguments that matter in academic contexts.

The overall approach to this class places an emphasis on the writing process, which is the ability to produce, revise, edit, and proofread one’s own writing.

The goal of the class will be to focus on how to write academic arguments and present lines of inquiry into the materials brought to bear, and by the end of the quarter, you will be able to transfer the “good” writing habits developed in this course and effectively demonstrate them in future courses.

General method of instruction

Lecture and class discussion

Recommended preparation

No background is necessary, but an active engagement in political rhetoric and ideas is highly necessary.

Class assignments and grading

5 short assignments (2-3 pages in length each, excluding bibliography), daily in-class writing activities, and 2 major papers (5-7 pages in length, excluding bibliography), submission of an e-portfolio.


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 Shane A. Mccoy
Date: 02/29/2012