Contexts for Reading and Writing Self and Society

English 101:
Contexts for Reading and Writing Self and Society

Tim Wandling
English 101/Spring 2002
Office hours:
Wed: 1:00 2:00 PM
T/TH 9:20 10:35 Thu: 1 2:30

PH: 664 2796 Nichols, 362A
Email: wandling {at} sonoma(.)edu

Required Texts
Shuster and Van Pelt, Speculations: Readings in Culture, Identities, and Values
Lunsford and Collins, The St. Martin’s Handbook
Melville, Benito Cereno and Bartelby

This class is designed to allow you to develop and polish your own writing style as you engage with issues of contemporary culture and as you engage in the play of language. We will emphasize the relevance of writing to your lives and education. Please finish all readings before the class for which they are assigned. Attend all class meetings and scheduled conferences. I expect students to participate fully in class discussion of writing topics, peer editing, and assigned readings. Assignments are due at the beginning of class and late papers will be marked down. Papers need to be typed neatly and follow a consistent method of documentation (i.e., MELA style or APA). Additional readings and exercises from St. Martins (SM) will be assigned as needed

Service Learning Component
Each of you will be part of a team that works with a local non-profit agency to produce a written document that serves the mission of the agency. Examples include: Brochures, interviews, grant proposals, web pages. There will not be a specific due date for this assignment but all work must be done by the end of the semester. Each of you will visit the site at least once and participate in an orientation. The component is mandatory and takes the place of one essay that might be assigned in this course. More details on this to come, but as you work on these projects, I think you will enjoy bringing your developing writing skills to bear upon a real and important project. I will assist groups in managing any logistical concerns.

Essays: 50% (3 essays plus a research project with annotated bibliography)
Class participation, including peer review: 10%
Service Learning Project: 10%
Assignments/in class quizzes & essays: 15%
Attendance: 5%
Final exam: 10%

To pass this course, you must average at least a C on all essays. However, you can average a C on your papers, and still wind up with a B in the course if you work hard at the course and count yourself to participating fully in the reading and discussion of essays. If you are getting C grades or lower on your papers as the semester goes on, you should be meeting with me to find out how to improve in the course and what strategies might best serve you in developing your writing.

Thoughts on reading
Read critically and actively. Take notes in the margins highlight – keep a journal call a friend send an email response write a poem in response write down a question or topic that vexes you. How do the authors you read make their points? Do you agree with their evidence? Is the logic clear? What is interesting stylistically about their work? Do you agree with its conclusions? Why, or why not? Insight into a work’s meaning will be enhanced when you consider your role as a reader to be an active one in partnership with the writer.

Scheduled Readings/Assignments

1/29 Course Introductions.

1/31 Read and workshop “The Typewriter Revolution”
Terms: Connotation and Denotation. Interpretation. Thesis statement/approach.

2/5 Continue work on “The Typewriter Revolution.”

2/7 Kincaid, “Girl”
Term: Voice.

2/12 Bambara, “The Lesson”
Term: Theme/message

Essay #1 due (Interpretation and translation of “Typewriter Revolution”).

2/14 Tan, “Two Kinds”
Kozol, “Rachel and Her Children”
SM: Chapter 1

2/19 Elkind, “Childhood’s End”
Evaluating sources.
SM: chapter 5.

2/26 Bing “When You’re a Crip (or a Blood). Use of interview. Role of interviewer.

First version of essay #2 due (Personal Narrative)

2/28 Peer editing of essay #2
Read SM: Ch. 4

3/5 Melville, “Bartelby the Scrivener”

3/7 Continue discussion of “Bartelby”
Douglas, “Where the Girls Are”
Use of characters in arguments.

Student conferences this week (as scheduled)

3/12 Rapping, “In Praise of Roseanne”

Essay #2 due (Summary of essay)

3/14 Critical thinking: small group work on Rapping and Douglas. Interview partner on analysis of summaries.

3/19 Krasny, “Passing the Buck”
Working on transition statements.
Read SM: CH. 6.
Identify initial topics for research. A library tour may be scheduled.
(Discuss research proposal and annotated bibliography) is due.

3/21 Leonard, “TV and the Decline of Civilization”
Focus on use of irony and on repetition.
Essay # 2 due (Transitions)

3/26 Bloom, “Music”
Logical fallacies.
SM: Review Ch. 5 part f
A #3 due today (Analysis of Summary)

3/28 Berkeley in the Sixties (Film)
Annotated Bibliographies will be due.
SM: Read Part 8 early and often!

4/2 & 4/4 SPRING REAK

4/9 Staples “Just Walk On By”

Essay #2 due today (comparison and contrast, first version)

4/11 Peer editing of essay #2
Read all of Part 4 in SM.

4116 King “Letter From Birmingham Jail”
SM: Ch 20, 21.

4/18 Darrow “Address to the Prisoners at Cook County Jail”
Discussion of active verbs and clear sentences.
Term: Nominalization.
SM: Ch 23

4/23 Mitford, “The Criminal Type”

First Version of Research Essay due today

4/25 Discussion/presentation of Service Learning projects.

4/30 Wolf, “Hunger: A Feminist Critique.”
Focus on Wolf’s use of abstraction and hidden verbal agency.
Look for nominalizations. What is the most vivid image in this piece?

5/2 Faludi, “The Wages of Backlash”

5/7 Sweet, Paglia, Greider on Date Rape.
Final Version of Research Essay Due Today.

5/9 Roiphe, Gaitskill, on Date Rape.
Essay #4 In class writing assessing the five essays on date rape.

5/14 Tori Amos, “Me and a Gun” and “Cruciff”; Gardner, “Tori Amos Keeps Her Head.”
Film: Thelma & Louise

5/16 Finish Thelma & Louise. Discussion.
Using symbolic details to tell stories.
Essay #4 due: Call to Arms or Persuasive Essay.

Final Exam May 23rd, 8:00 AM

Exam will cover terms and chapters assigned in St. Martins and will include an in-class essay based on our readings in Speculations.

What is community based writing?

CBW (Community based writing) involves a group of students working together to complete a writing project for a non-profit organization. These projects are required parts of their community service learning component in English composition courses. Typically, groups will include 4-5 writers who are working on these projects in lieu of a 3-5 page academic paper they would otherwise be writing. Each group of students will bring different skills and interests to their projects, so the specific tasks to be performed are agreed upon after they consult with a representative from the community agency.

Examples of successful community based writing projects include:

  • Interview(s) of clients and/or team members for inclusion in PR newsletters, publicity, and/or grants
  • Update or create resource lists.
  • Produce a newsletter.
  • Write drafts of or sections of grants (they will need more guidance on this).
  • Website enhancement (skills vary here)
  • Update or creation of needed organizational materials (Brochures, handouts, training materials).
  • Other projects as defined by the organization and approved by the instructor.In completing these projects, students will work with a representative from the Community Partner. The projects will also be evaluated by the composition instructor.

What we ask of our community partners:

  • Orientation. Meet with students to provide a brief training/orientation to the mission of the agency.
  • Project. Define a project that may be completed in 4 6 weeks. Provide needed support to students as they complete the project.
  • Communication. Keep in touch with the instructor about the project’s progress.
  • Research ideas. Brainstorm with the students and/or provide a list of possible research topics in your field. Many of our students are inspired by their work in the community and would like to tailor to community needs the research projects they are undertaking in the composition course.

Goals of the Program:

  • Foster in students an engaged concern with community needs.
  • Empower students to produce writing that makes a difference in the world.
  • Develop important skills in collaboration, project design and planning.
  • Provide community partners with an opportunity to connect with students at SSU, orient them to their agencies’ missions and to share with them their experience and knowledge about community needs.
  • Provide community partners with thoughtfully produced written materials.
  • Encourage research into community based issues.

Contact information for Community Partners:

United Against Sexual Assault:
Jessica Prosch
Prevention Education Coordinator
Phone: 545 7270
Email: info {at} uasa.sonoma(.)org

Junior Achievement:
Susan Wandling
Education Manager
Phone: 546 2578
Email: jasrprograms {at} callatg(.)com

Family Connection:
Kathy Tonkovich
Executive Director
Phone: 579 3630
Email: familyconnection {at} pon(.)net

St. Josephs Community Health
Dory Magasis Escobar
Directory of Healthy Communities
Phone: 547 2289
Email: descobar {at} srin.stjoe(.)org

Sierra Youth Club
Carolee Watts
Garden Manager
Phone: 537 6306
Darlene Lewis
Email: DLEWIS1@sonoma
Phone: 707 537 6306

School: Sonoma State University
Professor: Tim Wandling
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