Welcome to English 131! The goal of this class is to teach you how to become more confident and capable college writers. The skills you learn this quarter will be transferable across disciplines and as a result will be used again and again not only throughout your academic careers but your professional careers as well. We will engage in inquiry, analysis, synthesis, and meaning-making through argument—all writing habits emphasized by our course outcomes (or goals), which appear on this syllabus and which we will discuss throughout the quarter
The only way to improve writing skills is to practice, and this class will ensure that there is ample opportunity for practice. In addition to more formal writing assignments, we will cultivate a practice of continual critical reflection on our writing choices, processes, and situations. As a result of these assignments, we will learn how to analyze, evaluate, and respond to different writing situations persuasively. That being said, all writing, even in its most academic state, is incredibly personal. As a result, the key with revision and writing is to be respectful and patient with yourself and those around you who offer support and suggestions.
This course will use the assigned readings to help us focus on and facilitate discussions about how language can be manipulated to shape and control how we make sense of and create identities, systems of belonging, and more. We will be asking questions such as how does language influence the perceptions of communities, others, and ourselves? How do systems of power use language to control and shape ideologies and belief systems? How do writers convince an audience of the significance of their argument? What is at stake for the writer, and how does the writer involve the reader in these stakes? Ultimately, we will analyze these texts to understand how, among other things, a persuasive argument is developed, and how we can engage in a dialogue with their central arguments in order to help you create your own arguable and complex claims.