ENGL 298 D: Intermediate Interdisciplinary Writing - Social Sciences

Meeting Time: 
MWF 3:30pm - 4:20pm
RAI 116
Carrie Matthews
Carrie Matthews

Syllabus Description:

English 298 linked to LSJ 200 is a small (21 students max) intellectual community that will explore some of the topics, readings, and concepts you're learning in LSJ 200 in writing. Specifically, we will explore instances of criminalization and decriminalization; the violence of law generally and incarceration specifically; and the politics of rights.


English 298 SYLLABUS : LSJ 200-Linked Writing Seminar

Winter 2018

Carrie Matthews

Office: Padelford A-11 E (in the Writing Programs Suite)

           Office hours: M & W 12noon-1 p.m.; T, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. or by appointment at crmatthe@uw.edu




"Justice-Involved" People in the United States of America:





Incapacitation is a reasonable goal of punishment. Incapacitation, in my case, has now exhausted its purpose. Of course, the purpose of imprisoning me was not to incapacitate me so long as I posed a threat to society. I was given a life-without parole sentence under the assumption that youths like me would always be a threat to society. Though science has proven such arguments fallacious, regardless, I have been defined by what I did as a child.

                                                                        --Jeremiah Bourgeois, 2013



            All texts assigned in LSJ 200

            Occasional supplementary texts will be posted to our Canvas website or distributed in class


Course Overview

Welcome to English 298, a writing seminar linked to LSJ 200!. One underlying assumption of this course is that ‘good’ college writing cannot happen independently of real knowledge, and knowledge at a university usually means inquiry under the rubric of a specific academic discipline or field, in this case an interdisciplinary field that draws particularly from sociology and law, as well as anthropology, geography, and critical race theory (CRT). So our writing in this class will be grounded in what you are learning in LSJ 200. Our writing projects will focus quite selectively on a few of the case studies, concepts, issues, and texts that emerge in LSJ 200. Basically, we operate as friendly parasites in English 298, using LSJ 200 to provide us with genuine and rich academic writing contexts.

Over the course of the quarter, you will build on the knowledge you are acquiring in LSJ 200 through three writing sequences.  Each sequence will include exploratory “pre-writing” and culminate in a “major paper or other writing project” that you have rigorously revised with the help of peer critiques and conferences with me.


  • To help you develop your abilities to read, think, and write critically about issues of law, justice, and (wait for it) society. By the end of this course, I hope you will have developed your capacity to interrogate ideas and norms through writing, particularly in terms of the violence law and incarceration enacts.
  • To provide occasions for you to draw connections between some of the cases, concepts, issues, and arguments raised in LSJ 200 and problems/concerns you care about.
  • To guide you in accurately assessing your own and your peers' work in relation to our specific writing criteria.
  • To practice collaborative, public-facing writing and multimodal composition

Class Community Norms

This class is an inclusive learning community that will frequently function as a writing workshop. Because of that—and because we learn from reading others’ writing—I will frequently ask you to post your writing on our class discussion board. If you are puzzled by an assignment, this will allow you to read your classmates’ responses and get a better sense of the task at hand. Please respect the parameters of our learning community and do not share your classmates’ writing with people outside the course unless you have their permission to do so in writing.

Sharing Writing in Class: Much of our class time will be spent reading and responding to one another’s writing in progress. Most of your informal writing will receive peer feedback in class, so you should always bring a hard copy of writing assignments to class.

Respect: Hopefully this goes without saying, but at the risk of redundancy, I’ll say (well, write) it: treat everyone and everyone’s drafts in this class with respect. In particular, when we discuss informal writing or drafts, identify emerging or potential strengths as well as weaknesses. And remember that you’re critiquing the draft in front of you, not the writer.

Expectations: This course is designed to lead you through the steps of a developed writing process. You are required to complete every step. This includes:

1) actively participating in class discussions, small group work, and conferences;

2) providing timely, thoughtful, and engaged written feedback on peers’ drafts;

3) completing informal writing/pre-writing assignments on time; and

4) submitting all drafts and revisions of the major essays on the date they are due.

My Role: to engage—to take seriously and read attentively—your work in progress. I will coach your writing, helping you hone your critical reading skills, develop nascent ideas, analyze others’ arguments, and push your own arguments further in conversation with your classmates and professional/scholarly texts.

Your Role: to grapple with the ideas in lecture and readings and in your peers’ writing and conversation. You should puzzle through the texts we read, not skim them; consistently demonstrate engaged, critical intelligence in your writing; and come to class and conferences prepared. Perhaps most importantly, you will need to think through your own and your peers’ writing critically and engage in significant revision of your own thinking and writing. In return, you can expect your classmates and me to read your writing with care and take your reflections seriously.

The IWP & Anti-Racist Pedagogy: The Interdisciplinary Writing Program (IWP) is committed to engaging with anti-racist pedagogies. These pedagogies may take various forms, such as curricular attention to voices, communities, and perspectives that have been historically marginalized inside and beyond academic disciplines; inclusive classroom practices; discussions of racism; and consideration of other forms of prejudice and exclusion. We believe that countering the cultures and practices of racism in an academic institution is fundamental to developing a vibrant intellectual community. The IWP is happy to talk with you about your questions as well as to support student-led initiatives around anti-racist work, and we invite you to contact IWP faculty member Rush Daniel at daniej9@uw.edu or IWP Program Director Carrie Matthews at crmatthe@uw.edu. If you’re interested in how teachers of English as a professional community have taken up anti-racist work, check out the National Council of Teachers of English Statement on Anti-Racism to Support Teaching and Learning at http://www.ncte.org/positions/statements/antiracisminteaching

Nuts and Bolts

Paper Format: Unless an assignment specifies otherwise, please submit all papers in 11- or 12-pt. Times New Roman font, double-spaced, with one-inch margins. Include your name, the date, and a title at the top of the first page: you don’t need a title page.

Plagiarism: Don’t do it! If you ever have questions about documentation, please come see me—I’m happy to help answer questions and share strategies for avoiding plagiarism. I do expect your words and the ideas they express to be your own except when you clearly signal and name another source.

Conferences and Due Dates for Major Papers

A detailed calendar of events will be distributed at the beginning of each sequence, but so that you can plan your schedule around conferences and major paper due dates, here they are:

Sequence 1 Conferences: January 22nd-24th

Final Draft due Friday, January 26th

Sequence 2 Conferences: February 12th-14h

Final Draft due Friday, February 16th

Sequence 3 Conferences: March 2nd-6th

Final Draft due Friday, March 9th


Accommodations: Please let me know if you need accommodation of any sort. I am happy to work with the UW Disability Resources for Students Office (DRS) to provide what you require, and I am very willing to take suggestions specific to this class to meet your needs. This syllabus is available in large print, as are other class materials—just ask.  More information on support at UW may be found on the DRS web site at http://www.washington.edu/students/drs/

Writing Centers

            Wherever you fall on the spectrum of writing in this course— whether you are struggling with a writing assignment or seeking to “reach the next level”— take advantage of the UW’s writing centers. You will receive feedback and guidance on your writing from me and from your classmates, but it’s also valuable to get the perspective of someone outside the course (especially someone with expertise in producing academic writing!). UW’s writing centers are free for students and provide individual attention from trained readers and writing coaches.

            We are lucky that the UW has a Law, Societies, and Justice Writing Center (jointly with Political Science and the Jackson School of International Studies). GO THERE (Gowen 111): you’ll get expert advice from tutors likely to be familiar with LSJ concepts, themes, and genres of writing. The url is https://depts.washington.edu/pswrite/

The Odegaard Writing and Research Center (OWRC) offers free, one-on-one help with all aspects of writing at any stage in the writing process. You can consult with a writing tutor at any stage of the writing process, from the very beginning (when you are planning a paper) to near the end (when you are thinking about how to revise a draft to submit to your instructor). To make the best use of your time there, please bring a copy of your assignment with you and double-space any drafts you want to bring in. While OWRC writing consultants are eager to help you improve your writing, they will not proofread your paper. Available spots are limited, so book your appointments early! Reserve appointments online at http://depts.washington.edu/owrc/ .

You can also try out the CLUE Writing Center, open 7 pm until midnight, Sunday through Thursday.  CLUE is a first-come, first-served writing center located in the Gateway Center at the south end of the Mary Gates Hall Commons.  To learn more, visit http://depts.washington.edu/clue/dropintutor_writing.php

 Confidentiality: Barring an imminent threat, I will not discuss you or your performance in this class with third parties outside the University of Washington unless you instruct me to do so and sign a consent form. FERPA (the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act) prevents me from legally disclosing student information to third parties without a release signed by you. And even if a third party (a potential employer, a government agency, etc.) contacts me for information about you and has a consent form that you have signed, I will still refrain from providing information unless you have given me a written request (email is fine). So: if you would like me to respond to queries about you from a potential employer or anyone else, you should do two things: 1) fill out and sign a release form (one the third party provides or the UW's own, found at http://www.washington.edu/students/reg/ferpafac.html); and 2) email me a request to talk with this third party, giving me a sense of the context (recommendation? background check?) and of any information I should be sure to reveal or not reveal.


Catalog Description: 
Expository writing based on materials presented in a specified social science course. Assignments include drafts of papers to be submitted in the specified course, and other pieces of analytical prose. Concurrent registration in the specified course required. Offered: AWSpS.
GE Requirements: 
English Composition (C)
Writing (W)
Last updated: 
October 17, 2018 - 10:10pm