English 298 is linked with POL S 202, “Introduction to American Politics” and is intended to expose students to the complexities of reading and writing in the social sciences. Specifically, we will focus on the creation of knowledge through writing while thinking about how writing contributes to our understanding of global processes and how we can write effectively in the social sciences as well as in other disciplines. In this class we will challenge our previous notions about what it means to be a “text” or a piece of “good writing,” and instead learn to evaluate different writing situations, question texts and our own assumptions, and interact with those texts through writing of our own. In this way, writing becomes a conversation between our words and the words of others. We will engage in this conversation by reading actively and analytically with the understanding that our arguments improve through understanding the arguments of others. By becoming aware of the strategies that other writers employ in addressing different contexts, we will develop skills to produce complex and interesting arguments of our own.
Over the course of the quarter, we will build on the knowledge you are acquiring in POL S 202 through three writing sequences. Each sequence will include exploratory prewriting and culminate in a major paper or project that you will rigorously revise with the help of peer feedback and conferences with me. In this sense, the class focuses heavily on building a rich scholarly community in which you can engage more deeply with the issues and conflicts surrounding American Politics.