ENGL 297 A: Intermediate Interdisciplinary Writing - Humanities

Meeting Time: 
TTh 2:30pm - 3:50pm
LOW 222
Profile photo
James (Rush) Daniel

Syllabus Description:

English 297 A: Humanities Writing Seminar

Work, Debt, and Political Economy in the Humanities

Winter 2020

James Rushing Daniel

Office: Padelford A-16

Office hours: Wednesday 12-2



English 297 is a writing seminar focused on the writing conventions of humanities disciplines with specific attention to rhetorical and literary studies. In the course, we will spend much of our time studying, discussing, and practicing these conventions to prepare you to write more effectively in humanities disciplines and, more broadly, to strengthen your critical and analytical skills. Much of this work will be collaborative and workshop-based, allowing you to approach writing in the humanities from the perspective of an engaged learning community. In addition to this approach, the course will also explore broader discussions about the value and the future of the humanities and humanist inquiry. We will consider whether the methods and concerns of the humanities remain relevant as STEM fields become increasingly dominant in academia, address how the humanities themselves have become progressively data-driven (with the development of the digital humanities), and discuss the extent to which these developments compliment and/or conflict with the values of the humanities.


While humanities writing is the fundamental concern of the course, our readings and writing assignments will be focused on a specific area of inquiry: the humanities’ engagement with issues of debt, work, and 21st century capitalism. This may seem like an odd collection of interests for disciplines generally oriented toward expression, communication, and experience. While it is true that STEM fields have attended to 21st century political economy, the humanities have extensively explored contemporary issues of economic inequality, precarity, poverty, and debt from the perspective of the individual. As economic conditions have become increasingly injurious to workers, so have humanities scholars investigated the conditions of such injury and the potential of resistance. It is this specific inquiry that will interest us as we explore humanities writing.


Learning Outcomes:


  • To immerse you in the practices and contexts of humanities writing
  • To help you develop your abilities to read, think, and write as a humanities scholar
  • To understand why and how the humanities emphasize historical and interpretive approaches over quantitative ones
  • To understand how the humanities are adopting quantitative methods
  • 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


Required Texts:


Surveys by Natasha Stagg, semiotext(e), 2016.

Seasonal Associate by Heike Geissler, semiotext(e), 2018.

We Have Never Been Middle Class by Hadas Weiss, Verso, 2019.



The grades for this course will be tabulated as follows:


Essay #1: 10%

Essay #2: 20%

Essay #3: 25%

Essay #4: 35%

Quizzes: 10%


≥ 95% = 4.0   88 = 3.3 81 = 2.6   74 = 1.9   67 = 1.2

94 = 3.9   87 = 3.2   80 = 2.5   73 = 1.8   66 = 1.1

93 = 3.8   86 = 3.1   79 = 2.4 72 = 1.7   65 = 1.0

92 = 3.7   85 = 3.0   78 = 2.3 71 = 1.6   64 = .9

91 = 3.6   84 = 2.9   77 = 2.2 70 = 1.5   63 = .8

90 = 3.5   83 = 2.8   76 = 2.1 69 = 1.4   62 = .7

89 = 3.4   82 = 2.7   75 = 2.0 68 = 1.3


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 (when assigned);

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 James Daniel at daniej9@uw.edu or IWP Program Director Megan Callow at http://mcallow@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


Policies and Administrative Details


Plagiarism:  All work for this course must be your own and written exclusively for this course.  The use of sources (including ideas, quotations or paraphrases) must be properly documented. Talk to me if you have any questions regarding what constitutes plagiarism. When in doubt, document!


Attendance: Your failure to attend this seminar routinely will lower your grade due the fact that many of the activities require your presence in the seminar to complete them. You are strongly advised not to miss class. Coming to class late disrupts the formation and timely completion of group work—tardiness will also detract from your participation grade.  If you must miss class on a day when assigned work is due, submit your assignment to me before class. Work not turned in on the day of class cannot be made up.


Written work: Except for in-class writing, all written work must be typed and double-spaced in Times New Roman font with one-inch margins and 12-point font.


Late or Missed Work: It is important that you complete your assigned work on time since it affects both your progress and the progress of others in the course. If you are not able to finish an assignment on time, please notify me in advance with a compelling reason. Otherwise, late essays will be marked down .5 points for each day late. Missed peer critiques and/ or workshops or written responses to the readings cannot be made up.


Office Hours: I hold office hours on Wednesday from 12 to 2. If these times don’t work for you let me know and we can make an appointment to meet at another time. Always bring printed material for any writing you would like to discuss.


Electronics Policy: I strictly limit the use of technology in the classroom. Unless by otherwise agreed upon arrangement, I ask that you bring in paper copies of all texts to be discussed in the class. Notes should be taken by hand rather than on your laptop. There will be times when laptop use will be permitted, but I will announce these beforehand. Texting is likewise prohibited. If I observe you texting or using your computer at an unauthorized time, I will ask you to put your device away.

CLUE writing center, open 7 pm until midnight, Sunday through Thursday in Mary Gates 141.  CLUE is a first-come, first-served drop-in writing center located in Mary Gates Hall. CLUE also offers study sessions and other academic support. http://depts.washington.edu/aspuw/clue/home/

The Odegaard Writing and Research Center (OWRC) offers students, staff, and faculty at UW Seattle free, one-to-one, 45-minute tutoring sessions for any writing or research project, as well as for personal projects such as applications or cover letters and resumes. OWRC tutors and librarians are trained to collaborate at any stage of the writing and research process, from brainstorming and identifying sources to making final revisions and tying up loose ends. For more information, or to schedule an appointment (more than 500 available per week!), visit (https://depts.washington.edu/owrc) or to OWRC in person on the first floor of Odegaard Undergraduate Library.

On Accommodations: Please let me know if you need accommodations of any sort. I am happy to work with the UW Disability Service Office (DSO) to provide what you require, and I am very willing to take suggestions specific to this class to meet your needs.  More information on support at UW may be found on the DSO web site at http://www.washington.edu/admin/dso/


Religious Accommodations: Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Faculty Syllabus Guidelines and Resources. Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form available at: https://registrar.washington.edu/students/religious-accommodations-request/


Questions or Concerns: If you have questions or concerns about this course, please do come talk with me during office hours or email me. If you are not comfortable discussing your concerns with me, you may wish to contact Interdisciplinary Writing Program Director Megan Callow at mcallow@uw.edu or Acting Chair of English Anis Bawarshi at bawarshi@uw.edu.


Course Calendar





In Class

Reading Due

Writing Due

Thursday, 1/9

Introduction to the course, discussion of the humanities, introduce Paper #1



Tuesday, 1/14

Discuss Stover, argument analysis workshop

Stover, https://www.chronicle.com/article/There-Is-No-Case-for-the/242724


Thursday, 1/16

Introduce humanities writing, Introduce Paper #2


Paper #1 due by 9am

Tuesday, 1/21

Discuss Weiss

Weiss, 1-87


Thursday, 1/23

Continued discussion of Weiss

Weiss, 88-118





Rough draft of Paper #2 due Sunday, 1/26 by 8pm

Tuesday, 1/28




Thursday, 1/30





Tuesday, 2/4

Introduction to literary analysis, introduce Paper #3


Paper #2 due by 9am

Thursday, 2/6


Literary analysis reading, TBA


Tuesday, 2/11


Geissler, 9-109


Thursday, 2/13


Geissler, 110-158


Tuesday, 2/18


Geissler, 159-239


Thursday, 2/20



Rough draft of Paper #3 due in class

Tuesday, 2/25

Introduce Stagg, Paper #4


Final draft of Paper #3 due on Canvas by 9am

Thursday, 2/27


Stagg, 7-56


Tuesday, 3/3


Stagg, 57-175


Thursday, 3/5



Rough draft of Paper #4 due on Canvas by 9am

Tuesday, 3/10




Thursday, 3/12



Final draft of Paper #4 due on Canvas by 8pm


Catalog Description: 
Expository writing based on materials presented in a specified humanities 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: 
November 25, 2019 - 10:50pm