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ENGL 299 E: Intermediate Interdisciplinary Writing - Natural Sciences

Meeting Time: 
TTh 11:30am - 12:50pm
BNS 203
D.E. Roberts

Syllabus Description:


 “The Two-Headed Biographer and the Museum of Notions” (2015); Eva Kotakova; Bohnice Psychiatric Hospital, Prague


ENGL 299 E: 

Intermediate Writing Link to PSYCH 202

Meets: T/Th 11:30-12:50
Classroom: BNS 203
Instructor: Daniel E. Roberts
Office Hours: T/Th 11:30-12:30
Tues Zoom Office Hours Join URL:
Thurs Zoom Office Hours Join URL:


Welcome to the writing link for Biopsychology! English 299 E is an intensive, intermediate writing course designed for participants in PSYCH 202. In our class, we will learn and practice skills for analyzing texts and data, organizing evidence, and presenting effective arguments in the manner expected of University of Washington students. Our course is loosely linked with PSYCH 202, meaning that we will explore some of the concepts you will study in that class in more depth through writing, class discussion, and interdisciplinary conversations. But this is also a course in its own right, and as such it will take its own detours.  Most of the thinkers we will be engaging with this quarter can be broadly categorized as cultural studies scholars and activists, and this course asks us to weigh the potential benefits of cultural studies to the disciplines of psychology and psychiatry, and vice versa. Our readings and discussions will focus on cultural studies (especially critical disability studies) perspectives that orbit around questions of biopolitics and bioethics; the histories and politics of cure; experiences of neurodivergence, mental disability, mental illness, and/or madness, and the political movements built around them; eugenics movements and reproductive futurity; diagnosis and the DSM; and the interlocking systems of medicalization and criminalization.

This quarter not only will you benefit from the many sets of critical eyes under which your work will pass, but you’ll have the chance to develop critical capacities through thinking about your classmates’ writing – a practice that likely will significantly improve your talents in evaluating and revising your own essays. As much as possible, emphasis in this class will be placed on learning through thinking and writing in interdisciplinary contexts. Many activities in this writing link will reflect the importance of writing as a means of learning.  Students will read and write to think through interpretive and critical issues and problems. Students will do much of this writing as homework assignments that include weekly blog posts, off-the-cuff responses to new materials, and draft sequences of major essays.


All assigned course texts will either be posted to our Course Canvas page (Files>Course Texts folder), hosted as an eBook through UW Libraries, or available for purchase in the UW bookstore or online. The following texts must be purchased independently:

  • Molly McCully Brown, The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded: Poems
  • Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Tonguebreaker
  • sam sax, Madness
  • Esmé Weijun Wang, The Collected Schizophrenias



Essay 1: 18%

Essay 2 Proposal & Draft 1: 18%

Essay 2 Draft 2 and Final Draft: 18%

Participation: 18%

Q/A Blog Assignment: 18%

Quizzes: 10%



This quarter you are required to write and revise two major essays. You will turn in two drafts of each essay--a first draft, and a final draft. You will give and receive peer feedback on each of these first drafts.

Essay 1 is worth 18% of your final grade.

The Essay 2 proposal and Essay 2 Draft 1 are worth 18% of your final grade. Your first and final drafts of Essay 2 are worth another 18% of your final grade/

Your first drafts will be graded on completion and will comprise 20% of your total essay grade. The grade you receive on your final essay will comprise 80% of your total essay grade. For example:

Major Essay 1: 

(18% of final grade)

Essay 1 Draft 1: 20% of Major Essay 1 Grade
Essay 1 Final Draft: 80% of Major Essay 1 Grade 

Major Essay 2:

Proposal + Draft 1 (18% of final grade)
Draft 2  (ungraded),  Final Draft (18% of final grade)



Because Spring quarter is entirely online, your participation grade will be based solely on your completion of our weekly "classwork"--posted in our Canvas Modules. All "classwork" is due on Sundays by 11:49pm.
Ex: Week 1 Classwork is due April 5th by 11:59pm

Q/A BLOG ASSIGNMENT--8 posts and 8 Replies

Q/A Posts: Due on Wednesday by 11:59pm (250-350 words each)-65%

Q/A Post Responses: Due on Sundays by 11:59pm (150-200 words each)-35%

Post your Q/A as a "comment" on my discussion post on our Canvas Discussion board.

Q/A Posts (250-350 words): Question/Answer blog posts are meant to be a virtual extension of our learning community. Throughout the quarter you are required to submit 8 blog posts to Canvas. You may select which weeks/days to contribute, but you must post by 11:59pm Wednesday of that week.  Each blog post must engage at least one of the readings assigned for the week. You can only submit one Q/A post per week, but you can choose which 8 weeks you want to respond to.

Your blog posts should open with a critical question you have about the assigned reading for the day. Some possible models of questions include:

What is the relationship between A and B (according to the reading and to me)?

How does this text invite us to think about X and why is this significant?

How can we use these texts to help us understand X [current event]?

What are the stakes of Z? What are some practical takeaways from this week's readings?

These are only a few examples--you can shape your questions however you want. In responding to your question (or seeking to "answer" it) you should turn to, and incorporate, evidence from the reading from that week while responding to them with your own perspective. You do not need to arrive at a thesis by the end of your post--the purpose of these blog posts is to provide you low-stakes opportunities to practice textual analysis, and test your ideas out on your peers and I. You may revise and extend the questions you pursue in these blog posts in your formal essays and projects, but you do not have to.

Q/A Responses (150-200 words): In addition to submitting a total of 8 Q/A posts to Canvas, you are required to respond to at least one of your classmates' Q/A posts weekly, for a total of 8 responses over the course of the quarter.  Like your Q/A posts, you can choose which 8 weeks you want to engage one of your classmates' posts. Your responses should speak to the question posed by your peer and the way they sought to "answer" this question. Be sure to go beyond saying you "agree" or "disagree" with the assertions made by your peer--give substantial reasons for why you agree or disagree. You can also build on your classmate's post by furthering the conversation they take up in their Q/A post.


This quarter you will be given weekly quizzes over the readings from the week. You must take all 10 quizzes, but I will drop your 2 lowest grades. All quizzes are open-book, and you may take each quiz up to two times (since I anticipate some will have technical issues at various points in the quarter). The grade you receive upon your second completion of each quiz will be your final grade for the quiz.


I understand that many things can interfere with one's ability to meet deadlines. I am happy to accept work  that is up to 3 days late with no penalty, but know that if you turn in a draft of an assignment linked with peer review (like essay proposals and all drafts but final drafts), you may forfeit the right to feedback from your peers. Please get in touch with me if you know that you will not make a deadline, letting me know when you think you'll be able to turn in your assignment.

After an assignment is more than 3 days late, you will receive a 5% grade deduction for every day that it is late.


Note: Readings and Assignments are DUE the date they are posted. In other words, complete the reading or assignment before class that day. All readings aside from the four text which must be purchased independently will be posted to Canvas or linked to as an ebook through UW libraries.

[CV] = posted to Canvas

Due dates and times are in PDT, Pacific time


Week 1

Tuesday 3.31

  • Introductions 

Thursday 4.2

  • Butler, “The Evening, the Morning, and the Night” [CV] 
  • Get to Know You Survey due by 11:59pm (via CV assignment dropbox)


Week 2

Tuesday 4.7

Wednesday 4.8

  • Week 2 Q/A Post due by 11:59pm

Thursday 4.9

  • Samuels, “Intro: The Crisis of Identification” (pg 1-8; pg 11-17; pg 20-23);  “Proving Disability” (pg 121-124; pg 130-140); “DNA and the Readable Self” (185-212) from Fantasies of Identification (follow link for eBook)

 Sunday 4.12

  • watch Democracy Now! news story, "COVID-19 Sacrifice Zones" (linked to on Week 2 module)
  • Response to peer's Week 2 Q/A post due by 11:59pm
  • Week 2 Classwork due by 11:59pm
  • Week 2 Quiz due by 11:59pm

Week 3

Tuesday 4.14

  • Terry, “Anxious Slippages Between Us and Them: A Brief History of the Scientific Search for Homosexual Bodies” [CV]

Wednesday 4.15 

  • Week 3 Q/A post due by 11:59pm
  • Brief Introduction due to discussion board by 11:59pm


Thursday 4.16

  • sax, Madness (buy independently)

Sunday 4.19

  • Essay 1 Proposal due to Canvas by 11:59pm
  • Week 3 Classwork due by 11:59pm
  • Week 3 Quiz due by 11:59pm
  • Response to Peer's Week 3 Q/A post due by 11:59pm

Week 4

Tuesday 4.21

  • Pick a TV show episode  or film that makes biopsychological arguments about the “criminal mind” and respond to the questions posted on the Week 4 module. Netflix's series Inside the Criminal Mind has four episodes to choose from, if you're looking for a suggestion. Criminal Minds and the NCIS franchise are also potentially rich sites for analysis.

Wednesday 4.22

  • Week 4 Q/A Post due by 11:59pm  (Yes, you can write your Q/A post about the television show or film you selected. If you do this, please try to use some of our course texts to help unpack and guide your analysis.)
  • Peer Review of Essay 1 Proposal Due to Canvas by 11:59pm [on Proposal, sign up to work independently or with a peer in a Zoom conference]

Thursday 4.23

  • Price, “Assaults on the Ivory Tower” (141-175) from Mad at School: Mental Disability and Academic Life [CV]
  • Wang, “Against Innocence” (260-295) from Carceral Capitalism [CV]

Sunday 4.26

  • Essay 1 Draft 1 due to Canvas by 11:59pm
  • Response to peer's Week 4 Q/A post due by 11:59pm
  • Week 4 Classwork due by 11:59pm
  • Week 4 Quiz due by 11:59pm

Week 5

Tuesday 4.28

  • 13th (available to view through Netflix)
  • Suggested: (filed in Files>Suggested Sources)
    -Davis, Are Prisons Obsolete?
    -Murakawa, The First Civil Right

Wednesday 4.29

  • Week 5 Q/A Post due by 11:59pm
  • Peer Review of Essay 1 Draft 1 due by 11:59pm

Thursday 4.30

  • Wang,"This is a Story About Nerds and Cops: PredPol and Algorithmic Policing" from Carceral Capitalism (pg 228- 252) [CV]
  • Browne, "Branding Blackness: Biometric Technology and the Surveillance of Blackness" (89-130) from Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness (reading TBA)
  • Suggested: Noble, Algorithms of Oppression
  • Suggested: Apprich et al, Pattern Discrimination 

 Sunday 5.3

  • Response to peer's Week 5 Q/A Post due by 11:59pm
  • Week 5 Classwork due by 11:59pm
  • Week 5 Quiz due by 11:59pm

Week 6

Tuesday 5.5

  • Ben-Moshe, "Why Prisons are Not ‘The New Asylums’” [CV]
  • Ware et al, “It Can’t Be Fixed Because It’s Not Broken: Racism and Disability in the Prison Industrial Complex” [CV]
  • Suggested: Frontline: The New Asylums (PBS). Watch here:
  • Suggested: Rembis, “The New Asylums: Madness and Mass Incarceration in the Neoliberal Era [CV]

Wednesday 5.6

  • Week 6 Q/A Post due by 11:59pm
  • Essay 1 Final Draft due by 11:59pm

Thursday 5.7

Sunday 5.10

  • Week 6 Classwork due by 11:59pm
  • Week 6 Quiz due by 11:59pm
  • Response to peer's Week 6 Q/A post due by 11:59pm


Week 7

Tuesday 5.12

  • Metzl,  Preface to and Chapter 13-14 of The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease (p. ix-xxi and 95-128)

Wednesday 5.13

  • Week 7 Q/A Post due by 11:59pm

Thurs 5.14

  • LA No More Jails Coalition-Care Not Cages Zine
  • "The New Asylums"-PBS Frontline (link in module)
  • Icarus Project, Mapping Our Madness


Sunday 5.17

  • Essay 2 Proposal due by 11:59pm
  • Response to peer's Week 7 Q/A Post due by 11:59pm
  • Week 7 Classwork due by 11:59pm
  • Week 7 Quiz due by 11:59pm

Week 8

Tues 5.19

  • Wang, excerpts from The Collected Schizophrenias--"Diagnosis" (3-25); "Toward a Pathology of the Possessed" (27-41); “The Choice of Children” (79-94) "On the Ward" (95-111); "The Slenderman, the Nothing, and Me" (113-122)

Wednesday 5.20

  • Week 8 Q/A Post due by 11:59pm
  • Peer Review of Essay 2 Proposal due by 11:59pm

Thurs 5.21

  • Clare, selections from Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling With Cure. Read "Ideology of Cure" and 1 other chapter on cure. See the Week 8 Module for a link to the eBook.
  • Brown, The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded (buy independently). Read 1-2 sections of your choice.


Sunday 5.24

  • Essay 2 Draft 1 (first 4-5 pages) due by 11:59pm
  • Response to peer's Week 8 Q/A Post due by 11:59pm
  • Week 8 Classwork due by 11:59pm
  • Week 8 Quiz due by 11:59pm

Week 9

Tues 5.26

  • Kafer, “Debating Feminist Futures” from Feminist Queer Crip [CV]
  • Ne'eman, "The Future (and the Past) of Autistic Advocacy, or Why the ASA's Magazine, The Advocate, Wouldn't Publish this Piece" [CV]

Wednesday 5.27

  • Week 9 Q/A Post due by 11:59pm
  • Peer Review of Essay 2 Draft 1 due by 11:59pm

Thursday 5/28

Sunday 5.31

  • Essay 2 Draft 2 due by 11:59pm
  • Response to peer's Week 9 Q/A Post due by 11:59pm
  • Week 9 Classwork due by 11:59pm
  • Week 9 Quiz due by 11:59pm

Week 10

Tuesday 6.2

  • Piepzna-Samarasinha, Tonguebreaker (buy independently)

Wednesday 6.3

  • Week 10 Q/A Post due by 11:59pm
  • Peer Review of Essay 2 Draft 2 due to Canvas by 11:59pm

Thursday 6.4

  • Piepzna-Samarasinha, Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice-I (eBook available here)
  • Piepzna-Samarasinha, “Cripping the Apocalypse” from Care Work


 Sunday 6.7

  • Week 10 Classwork due by 11:59pm
  • Response to peer's Week 10 Q/A post due by 11:59pm
  • Week 10 Quiz due by 11:59pm

Finals Week

Wednesday 6.11

  • Essay 2 Final Draft due by 11:59pm


Catalog Description: 
Expository writing based on materials presented in a specified natural 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: 
March 3, 2020 - 10:50pm