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.
“…it is part of the business of the writer – as I see it – to examine attitudes, to go beneath the surface, to tap the source.” James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son
When we read a text, we continue a conversation that the writer has begun. We bring to this conversation, like any other, our knowledge, experiences, and interests—ourselves. In English 131, we will make it our business, as James Baldwin writes, “to go beneath the surface” of the claims we encounter in a diverse array of texts, including: scholarly and literary work; cultural artifacts; the work of our peers; and our own writing.
By becoming aware of the strategies that writers use in addressing different audiences and contexts, we will develop the skills to produce complex, analytic, and persuasive arguments of our own. To that end, we will read actively and analytically (you should always have a pen or pencil on hand, for making notes directly on reading materials), write frequently (in the classroom and at home), and revise substantially (this means more than correcting grammar).
Through the process of writing, we will learn how to communicate, in our writing, why whatever it is that we are arguing matters. This should prove useful across many disciplines at the University of Washington—and beyond, in professional and other contexts.
A final note: since this course is rooted in conversation – between various texts, among us, and with the world at large – please bring an open mind and a careful ear to class. Be prepared to discuss assignments. Each of us – our knowledge, experience, and interests – is a resource, and each student’s investment in this course will enrich that of his or her peers.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading