ENGL 131 C: Composition: Exposition

Meeting Time: 
MTWTh 9:30am - 10:20am
MGH 288
Alex McCauley
Alexander McCauley

Syllabus Description:

Course Description

All writing is good for something, but sometimes what it’s good for is wrapping up dead fish or

rolling cigarettes. The plan for this course is to understand writing, your own and that of others,

as economy--a system of gains and losses. Writing to please one audience will simultaneously

alienate another audience. Rather than asking “what does it mean?” when we approach a text,

we’ll ask, “how does it work?” This involves attention to the function and limits of writing, from

genre all the way down to word choice.


The focus of this course that will structure our reading and writing is objects. This could be

individual objects (your skull, for instance) or categories of objects (skulls in general.) This

could mean the toilet in your dormitory versus the toilet in your Marseilles hotel. This could

mean a book, a plant, a camera, a hat. Of course, objects exist in contexts—the laboratory, the

factory, the stage, the grocery—and these contexts may also be addressed along the way. What

do we imply when we understand objects as themselves versus understanding them in their

environments? How do objects come to have legal standing? In other words, how do we read

objects, and how do we write them?


The focus of the course is objects, but that focus exists primarily as a vehicle to help you more

easily reach four specific outcomes for your writing. These outcomes are outlined in detail

below but they can be understood broadly in the following terms: diverse strategies for diverse

contexts; analysis and synthesis of texts; production of arguments that matter in an academic

context; and, revision.

Catalog Description: 
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.
GE Requirements: 
English Composition (C)
Other Requirements Met: 
Last updated: 
March 15, 2016 - 3:30pm