ENGL 298 E: Intermediate Interdisciplinary Writing - Social Sciences

Meeting Time: 
MW 10:00am - 11:20am
MGH 082
Julian Barr
Julian Barr

Syllabus Description:

ENGL 298 E:

Intermediate Interdisciplinary Writing - Social Sciences:

Writing in Geography and the GeoHumanities (5 Credits)

Winter 2020

SLN 14245

10:00-11:20 M/W

Mary Gates (MGH) 082

Instructor: Julian Barr (He/Him)

Email: jubarr@uw.edu

Office: Smith (SMI) 428

Office Hours: 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Mondays or by appointment.

Course Description and Objectives

In this course you will be doing an in-depth engagement with writing in the social sciences/humanities, with a focus on writing in Geography and the GeoHumanties. We will deeply explore what Geography is as a discipline in the first three weeks but, to put it simply, Geography is a discipline that answers: why does the “where” matter? Geography is an interdisciplinary field in both the social sciences and humanities that examines a wide variety of issues concerning culture, politics, economics, the environment, and our various social worlds. In this course we will discuss and practice how geographers communicate research and new understandings of human spatial existence. This will come in two parts. The first is looking at Geography broadly with an assignment that allows you to explore a subdiscipline in human geography through a critical film analysis. The second part, which will be our primary focus, will be a deeper look at the GeoHumanities, which is a new field within geography that sees the discipline as both a social science and a field in the humanities. Through a group project, students will be doing an extensive digital story map that engages with geographic research to tell contemporary and/or historical stories around a topic within human geography.

This course should provide a base line understanding of what geographers do and how we present knowledge. By the end of this course students will be able to…

  1. Conduct research by collecting a variety of sources to analyze with a critical social science lens.
  2. Write clearly and concisely about complex issues while considering a public audience.
  3. Consider ethical practices of writing that takes into account differences and oppression.
  4. Identify the differences and similarities between various forms of written scholarship and approaches to sharing information and research.
  5. Understand and put into practice the basic skills of cartography, digital mapping, and story writing to produce a digital story map using ESRI StoryMaps.
  6. Productively work in groups and be able to co-write and edit in a collaborative format.
  7. Deeply engage with concepts within the discipline of geography and scholarship examining issues at various geographic scales.

This course fulfills Composition (C) or Writing (W) credit.

Teaching Philosophy

My teaching philosophy is informed by an anti-racist critical pedagogy approach that highlights the struggles, and includes the voices, of the oppressed. I primarily draw on the Pedagogy of the Oppressed for guidance. Critical pedagogy acknowledges that language is diverse and that we cannot privilege Eurocentric perspectives, which can be oppressive to students, especially those students learning English, students with disabilities, and students whose prior education was limited. Writing courses at UW should improve students’ skills and confidence around writing. However, my experiences tell me that students frequently are apprehensive around writing courses. Critical pedagogy tells us to create an environment of learning where the student and teacher are co-learners. So, I aim to be a co-learner with all my students, and I am here to listen to your uncertainties around learning and help you establish realistic goals for individual success.

Required Text

All readings will be made available on Canvas.

Assignments and Grading Outline (100% Total)

A. Participation (10%)

            Your participation grade for this class is based on in-class participation; see below for more details.

B. Required Assignment Conference Session (5%)

C. Geographic Film Analysis (20%)

          a. Assignment 1: Film Selection with brief film synopsis (5%)

          b. Assignment 2: Geographic Film Analysis (15%)

D. GeoHumanities (65%)

          a. Assignment 3: Topic Proposal (5%)

          b. Assignment 4: Story Map Outline with bibliography (10%)

          c. Assignment 5: First Draft Story Map Text (15%)

          d. Assignment 6: Peer Review (5%)

          e. Assignment 7: Final Story Map with edited text (20%)

               (Assignment 8 Cancelled)

          f. Assignment 9: Reflection Essay (10%)

Course Calendar




Assignments Due



January 6 (Monday)

January 8 (Wednesday)

-Course Introduction

-What is Human Geography?




January 13 (Monday)

January 15 (Wednesday)

-Cultural Geography 1

Assignment 1 Due (1/15)

Choose Your Own Adventure


January 20 (Monday)- No Class

January 22 (Wednesday)

-Cultural Geography II

-Political Geography I


- Chang (2019) “Massacre of Black Wall Street


January 27 (Monday)

January 29 (Wednesday)

-Political Geography II


Choose Your Own Adventure


February 3 (Monday)

February 5 (Wednesday)


Assignment 2 Due (2/3)

-Cresswell et. al. (2015)


February 10 (Monday)

February 12 (Wednesday)

-GIS and Story Mapping

Assignment 3 Due (2/10)

Choose Your Own Adventure


February 17 (Monday)- No Class

February 19(Wednesday)

-Historical Geography

Assignment 4 Due (2/19)

-Gieseking (2013)


February 24 (Monday)

February 26 (Wednesday)

-Visual/Creative Geographies


-Crawford (2019)


March 2 (Monday)

March 4 (Wednesday)

-Peer Review

-Group Story Map Conferencing

Assignment 5 and 6 Due (3/2)



March 9 (Monday)

March 11(Wednesday)


Assignment 8 Cancelled!



Finals Week

- Reflections

Assignment 7 and 9 Due Monday (3/16)


Course Policies

Participation. In this course you are not graded based on attendance; however, you are graded based on participation. Participation is graded based on daily in-class activities, done either in groups or individually, that you will hand in. These activities cannot be made up and do require that you are in-class. You will get credit for participation if you missed class with documentation (see absence policy for details). The two lowest participation grades will be dropped.   

Safe Space. In this course we will discuss social problems and inequality and sometimes these issues will be controversial in nature. This classroom aims to be safe space for both students and the instructor. Please be respectful to the instructor and your fellow classmates. This includes interactions both verbally in person and digitally via email and Canvas. Hateful speech and language directed toward a person or group of people will not be tolerated. This includes, but is not limited to, language that can be considered racist, sexist, xenophobic, islamophobic, ageist, homophobic, transphobic, derogatory toward immigration status, ableist, etc. If you are not sure if something might be offensive, then it is probably best to not say it. I want to encourage open discussion and communication in the classroom, but we also have to be respectful to each other. Any student deemed to be breaking this policy will be asked to leave.  

Communication. You are required to use your University of Washington email for communication with the instructor and colleagues for this course. Please check your email and Canvas daily for messages about the course including any announcements or changes. Please feel free to communicate with me through email or Canvas at any time with questions, concerns, thoughts, etc. I promise I will respond, however please give me at least 24 hours (Monday-Friday). If after 24 hours you have not heard from me, please resend.  

Grading. All assignment grades will be posted to Canvas as soon as possible. If you ever have an issue with a grade, please feel free to contact me 24 hours after you receive the grade. However, I do require that you give me a written explanation of your concerns regarding the grade received.

Course Grading Scale.

100-94% = 4.0-3.8 (A)

93-90% = 3.7-3.4 (A-)

89-86% = 3.3-3.1 (B+)

85-83% = 3.0-2.8 (B)

82-80% = 2.7-2.4 (B-)

79-76% = 2.3-2.1 (C+)

75-73% = 2.0-1.8 (C)

72-70% = 1.7-1.4 (C-)

69-66% = 1.3-1.1 (D+)

65-63% = 1.0-0.8 (D)

62-60% = 0.7-0.1 (D-)

60-0% = 0.0 (F)

Absences. Grading is not based on attendance; however, I do expect and strongly encourage you to come to every class session. When absent for an unexcused reason, you cannot make up the participation points for that day as you cannot participate if you are not in class. You are still expected to turn in all due assignments via email or Canvas prior to the beginning of the class period and should get notes from a classmate. I will excuse absences for any recognized college events, religious observances, documented illness, childcare issues, or other major life emergencies. Documentation for such emergencies might be required and excused absences will be determined at my discretion. If you have a documented absence, please let me know via email.

Late/Makeup Assignments. I will accept late assignments with a penalty of 5 points per day for up to two weeks after the due date. If you know your assignment will be late please let me know before the due date. Remember, a late grade is always better than no grade. If you need an extension on a due date, please contact me before the due date if possible. Extensions are given on a case-by-case basis.    

Technology. Please be respectful to your fellow classmates/instructor and only use technology when absolutely needed. Technology can be distracting for your own learning and for the learning of others. However, I do encourage you to use technology that assists in your learning. Feel free to audio record any lectures and/or take notes on a digital device. However, if you use a device for notetaking please do not let that distract you by browsing the internet, checking your social media, emailing, etc. Please also silence your devices.

Academic Honesty. UW has guidelines on how to respond to suspected cases of academic dishonesty (i.e. cheating). These cases include plagiarism (using someone else’s work or words without giving due credit, include that of other students past and present) in written assignments. You should familiarize yourself with these guidelines outlined in the Student Conduct Code (see http://www.washington.edu/cssc/for-students/academic-misconduct/).

I acknowledge that plagiarism can be understood differently in various cultures; however, we will be following the UW definition of academic dishonesty in this course. Always cite your work when using other people’s ideas or words. We will discuss this more in class and I will give you instructions on avoiding plagiarism. If ever in doubt if something is considered plagiarism or cheating, please ask me. Students caught cheating or committing plagiarism on an assignment or exam will be given a reduced grade on the assignment the first time. The second offense will result in an automatic zero on the assignment and the third offense will result in a zero for the course. All incidents of plagiarism or cheating will be reported to administration. 

Suspended Operations. In the event of inclement weather or suspended operations, students should refer to the University’s main website for information regarding campus closures. If no information is posted, you should assume the campus is open. In the event of an extended campus closure, refer to the Canvas website for this course.

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 Religious Accommodations Policy. Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form.” However, if you do not feel comfortable with this form please see me and I will accommodate as needed.

Lactation Spaces and Infants/Children in Class Policy. Parents who are breastfeeding an infant, or expressing milk, may do so in class without the permission of the instructor. Or if you prefer to breastfeed or breast-pump outside of class, you may take time out of class to use a lactation space. For a list of dedicated lactation spaces on campus please go here: https://hr.uw.edu/child-care/lactation-stations/uw-seattle/. However, in either case, it is a good idea to communicate with the instructor ahead of time. If you want to bring an older infant or child(ren) to class, please let me know ahead of time. You are responsible for seeing that the child or children are not disruptive to the class and for ensuring that all additional University policies and rules are followed by those that you bring.

Student Resources

Student Technology Loan Program (STLP). “The Student Technology Loan Program allows students to borrow laptops, cameras, projectors, and other equipment for free. To be eligible for our program you must be enrolled for the current quarter at the Seattle campus.” For more information including a list of equipment and reservation form please visit: https://stlp.uw.edu.

Writing and Learning Support Resources. The Odegaard Writing and Research Center (OWRC) offers free, one-to-one, 45-minute tutoring sessions for undergraduate writers in all fields at the UW. They will work with writers on any writing or research project, as well as personal projects. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please see our website (https://depts.washington.edu/owrc), or go visit in person on the first floor of Odegaard Undergraduate Library.

CLUE Writing Center. “If you are an undergraduate student at the UW Seattle campus, we are available to work with you. We can be of help during any stage in the writing process, including: Starting, Drafting, Revising, Researching, and Polishing. We will not proofread or edit a paper for you, but we will either teach or help you learn how to find and correct errors in punctuation, usage, and grammar. Whether you need help talking through ideas, honing an outline you've been working on, evaluating a draft mid-composition, or looking through a final draft—we're confident we can help you write more efficiently and effectively.” For more information please see the CLUE Website.

 Disability Resources. Your experience in this class is important. If you have already established accommodations with Disability Resources for Students (DRS), please communicate your approved accommodations at your earliest convenience so I know your needs in this course.

If you have not yet established services through DRS, but have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations (conditions include but not limited to; mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts), you are welcome to contact DRS at 206-543-8924 or uwdrs@uw.edu or disability.uw.edu. DRS offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and/or temporary health conditions. It is the policy and practice of the University of Washington to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law.

Counseling Center. The Counseling Center offers short-term, problem-focused counseling to UW students who may feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities of college, work, family, and relationships. Counselors are available to help students cope with stresses and personal issues that may interfere with their ability to perform in school. The service is provided confidentially and without additional charge to currently enrolled students. To schedule an appointment or stop the Counseling Center, located in 401 Schmitz Hall. Additional information can also be found by visiting https://www.washington.edu/counseling.

Library Resources.

UW Libraries Search - find and get items from the UW Libraries and its SUMMIT partners.

Borrowing information (Links to an external site.) - learn about loan periods, check out policies, and more.

UW GIS Resources- guide to geospatial data and GIS resources at UW

Audio & Video (Links to an external site.) - guide to media resources within the collection.

Find It (Links to an external site.) - guide to finding other types of information in the Libraries

Ask Us (Links to an external site.) - get in touch with UW librarians by phone, email, or 24/7 chat.

Articles & Research Databases (Links to an external site.) - browse a full list of UW Libraries databases by title.

E-Journals (Links to an external site.) - search for UW Libraries e-journals by title, title keyword, or subject.

E-Newspapers (Links to an external site.) - guide to electronic newspapers within the UW Libraries collection.

Other Resources. For a more extensive list of UW resources, please see the UW Resources for Students document on the course Canvas page.

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: 
November 12, 2019 - 10:50pm