ENGL 198 A: Interdisciplinary Writing/Social Science

Meeting Time: 
MWF 1:30pm - 2:20pm
THO 235

Syllabus Description:

English 198A: IWP Writing Link with  

HSTAA 105: The Peoples of the United States, Winter 2019

M,W, F: 1:30-2:20, THO 235

Matthew Van Duyn   mvanduyn@uw.edu 

Office hours: M, W 10 am-11 am and by appointment, Padelford B-10  

Course website: https://canvas.uw.edu/courses/1220562


Welcome to ENGL 198 A. This is a five-credit writing seminar linked to Professor Jim Gregory’s course, HSTAA 105: The Peoples of the United States. In this course, we will work on developing academic writing skills both in a broad sense and specifically in the discipline of history. While this course is closely linked to HSTAA 105, my goal is not just to help you perform better in that class, but also to help you develop broader skills in academic writing. Through individual and collaborative exercises I will work with you to refine skills in critical reading, argument construction, and essay composition. Some class meetings will be replaced by conferences to provide feedback on your drafts and completed written assignments.


In addition to the course materials for HSTAA 105, I will post a few supplementary readings and resources on Canvas. You are expected to come to class having read those supplementary readings when indicated on the syllabus.


Learning Goals:

  • Critically read primary and secondary history texts, focusing on identifying authors’ arguments and historical significance.
  • Develop your abilities to use writing to critically think through issues of historical and contemporary significance relating to how definitions of citizenship have evolved to the present.
  • Form compelling historical arguments that can be supported with evidence from a variety of types of sources.
  • Write papers that clearly convey and support your arguments.
  • Develop skills in assessing your own and your peers’ work in relation specific writing criteria that we will develop collaboratively.


Course Expectations


In this course, you will be expected to complete all drafts and written assignments. In addition, you will be expected to give critical feedback to your classmates throughout the writing process. To do this, you need to be present in class, though much of this feedback may be circulated using Canvas. Be respectful. Everyone in this course is working to improve their writing, which is not an easy skill to develop, so be mindful of this when providing feedback. My goal is to create an inclusive learning community where students will work together to improve their writing, reading, and thinking skills (under my guidance). If at any point you have any suggestions for ways to improve our writing community, then please contact me at any time. I will also build in opportunities for you to reflect on our progress towards this goal.


To summarize my expectations for you:


  • Complete all assignments on time and come to class prepared to share your work with your peers.
  • Actively participate in classroom activities, group work and conferences. Participation will count towards your final grade. Please note that if you are sick, you should not come to class.  However, you should communicate by phone or email to let me know you are ill and to discuss options for late or electronic submission of your work.  
  • Provide thoughtful written and oral feedback on your peers’ drafts. This feedback will also count towards your final grade.
  • Treat everyone and everyone’s writing with respect. Recognize that everyone is working on improving their writing. To those ends, try to identify strengths in your peers’ writing as well as constructive criticism.


A note: The focus of this course will be on using writing to think and learn about history. To do so will mean developing skills at constructing and conveying clear arguments. I will focus primarily on “high-order” skills related to structural and conceptual issues. This course IS NOT a seminar on grammar and syntax. At the same time, I will try to work with you if you have special concerns about developing those skills.




Other than the assigned texts for HSTAA 105, we will also use Kate L. Turabian’s Student Guide to Writing College Papers. This book is available for purchase in the University Book Store.


We will also use supplementary readings that will be posted to Canvas. You should have access to either an electronic or paper copy of those texts on days when they are assigned.




This course has five major assignments, two of which are concurrent with HSTAA 105:

  1. 2 page response paper due Monday, January 28
  2. Research prospectus packet due Friday, February 15 (includes revised and expanded prospectus, the first draft of which is due January 20)
  3. Draft of 8-10 page research paper due on Wednesday, February 20 (concurrent with 105)
  4. Final of 8-10 page research paper due on Friday, March 8 (concurrent with 105)
  5. Final reflective essay due Friday, March 15


These assignments, as well as their required drafts, must be completed to pass the course. In addition to these assignments, you will also be asked to complete a number of short homework assignments intended to help you succeed on the longer assignments.


Format: All major drafts and final papers should be in 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 page.


Citing sources: Do not plagiarize! We will discuss disciplinary standards for citing sources in class. If you have any further questions or concerns about plagiarism or citing sources, then please contact me.


Submission policies: Unless otherwise noted, all written assignments should be both posted on Canvas to the appropriate folder under the “assignments” tab AND turned in as a hard-copy to me in class.


Each of our assignments will be the culmination of scaffolding sequences that will consist of in-class and out-of-class short writing assignments, classroom discussion, drafting, peer review, and group conferences with me. This syllabus contains the schedule for the first sequence. Subsequent calendars will be distributed at the beginning of that sequence.


As you will see from their schedules, each of our sequences includes a number of smaller, scaffolding assignments. I will provide you more detailed explanations of these short assignments in class. All of these assignments should be completed by their required due dates.




  • 30%: Participation and Homework. Includes participation in in-class discussions and activities as well as short-written assignments completed as homework. Homework is graded using a check, check plus, check minus system. I will not accept late homework assignments unless you have contacted me in advance to explain why it is late or why you cannot come to class. Coming to class and coming prepared is required for a high participation grade.
  • 70%: Written work: Final copies of written work will be graded on a 0-4.0 scale. Written feedback to peers will also be graded. Drafts will not be graded. However, when required, drafts must be turned in to receive a final grade on an assignment.

    • 10%: two-page response paper
    • 15%: research prospectus packet including reflection essay
    • 30%: 8-10 page family history research project
    • 10%: Written feedback for classmates
    • 5%: Final reflective essay


Late policies: Late drafts, late final versions of essays, missed peer reviews and missed conferences will each result in the subtraction of .2 from the final grade for that particular essay.


Laptops and Devices


Everyone will be sharing their work on our canvas site and you will be asked to make peer reviews electronically. This means that bringing laptops (or tablets etc.) to class and conferences will be helpful. I will trust you to use your electronic devices responsibly. If you do not have access to a laptop or other device, they can be rented from the Student Technology Loan Program (STLP). More information can be found on STLP’s website: https://stlp.uw.edu/




The best way to contact me is by talking with me after class, coming to my office hours, or emailing me. If it is a weekday, I will respond to your emails within 24 hours. If you email me on a weekend, I might respond promptly, but I also reserve the right to take the weekends off.


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 (Links to an external site.)



Accommodations: If you are a student who needs academic accommodations of any sort, then please see me and I will work with the UW Disability Resources for Students Office (DRS) to provide the support you require. More information can be found on the DRS website at http://www.washington.edu/students/drs/


Writing Centers: The History Writing Center provides individual assistance on class writing assignments. The writing center is located on Smith 210c. Information about making an appointment can be found here: https://history.washington.edu/history-writing-center


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:http://depts.washington.edu/aspuw/clue/writing-center (Links to an external site.) CLUE also offers late-night study sessions and other academic support, and resources such as conversation groups for multilingual/international students.


The Odegaard Writing and Research Center (OWRC) also offers free, one-on-one help with all aspects of writing at any stage in the writing process. OWRC has locations in Odegaard Library, Miller Hall and Health Sciences Libraries. To make the best use of your time there, take 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. To make an appointment or browse the center's online resources, visit: http://www.depts.washington.edu/owrc


Other Resources: The Q Center: “We facilitate and enhance a brave, affirming, liberatory, and celebratory environment for students, faculty, staff, and alumni of all sexual and gender orientation, identities, and expressions. The University of Washington Q Center is a fierce, primarily student run resource center dedicated to serving anyone with or without a gender or sexuality – UW students, staff, faculty, alum, and community members.  We host and support student groups, put on regular programming events, house a lending library, and amplify student voices on our Student Blog.  Explore our website for more information or stop by the Husky Union Building, Room 315.http://depts.washington.edu/qcenter/wordpress 

Foundation for International Understanding through Students (FIUTS) is an example of a campus organization that can bring together your social and academic learning “FIUTS is an independent non-profit organization which provides cross-cultural leadership and social programming. FIUTS is local connections and global community. More information at www.fiuts.org

The Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center has a wealth of resources and opportunities available to students including student advising, organizational development, personal growth, and referrals to different departments and programs.  http://depts.washington.edu/ecc/



Sequence I: Response Paper


Our first sequence will scaffold your ability to write a 2-3 page critical and coherent response paper to readings from HSTAA 105. I will distribute a prompt for the paper by Friday, January 11.


This assignment is designed to help build skills of argument construction and support. You will need to complete this assignment by making a clear argument about the course texts. These papers will need to contain a clear thesis statement that is based on evidence from the chosen text. This sequence is designed to help you develop skills at reading historical texts for argument, generating your own arguments, and supporting those arguments with evidence.


This sequence is subject to change at my discretion.







In-class revisions week



M, 3/11

Discuss final reflection essay topics and work on outlines

Exercise 3.1: Final reflection paper outline—Full intro paragraph, two topic sentences with supporting evidence

W, 3/13

Peer review of outlines

Exercise 3.2: Final reflection paper

F, 3/15

Course reviews, concluding discussion


Catalog Description: 
Expository writing based on material presented in a specified social science lecture course. Assignments include drafts of papers to be submitted in the specified course, and other pieces of analytic prose. Concurrent registration in specified course required.
GE Requirements: 
English Composition (C)
Writing (W)
Last updated: 
August 2, 2019 - 10:40pm