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ENGL 298 A: Intermediate Interdisciplinary Writing - Social Sciences

Meeting Time: 
TTh 2:00pm - 3:20pm
AND 008
Carrie Matthews
Carrie Matthews

Syllabus Description:

English 298: Writing in the Social Sciences & Freedom Struggles

          Americans turned their backs on us as we disappeared. Nobody marched for us, nobody protested, but today we bring our voices, our drums, our tsuru spirit to speak out against unjust mass incarceration. -Satsuki Ina, Co-Chair, Tsuru for Solidarity

 citizen-13660.w150.jpgDisplacement image.jpeg



Instructor: Carrie Matthews

Office Hours: Mondays, 1-2 pm (Zoom):

  Thursdays, 3:30-4:30, in person in Padelford A-20

or by appointment

Feel free to text me at 206-351-0214 for quick questions


Two books are assigned in the first part of this course that you will need to purchase:

Citizen 13660 by Miné Okubo (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1983) and

Displacement by Kiku Hughes (New York: First Second, 2020)

The rest of the course texts are hyperlinked in this syllabus and available for free online or will be posted to our Canvas website under that week’s Module as pdfs.

Course Overview: English 298, "Writing in the Social Sciences and Freedom Struggles," addresses how writing in the social sciences can both reinforce systemic inequality and challenge it. The course will focus on two major writing/composition projects. The first project will examine the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and their subsequent struggles for redress, reparations, and more broadly an end to racist detention and confinement. The second sequence of the course will investigate anti-war activism and open up onto broader struggles for abolition, particularly in relation to the concept of the refugee, both external (fleeing from one country to another) and internal (displaced within a country). We will interrogate whether the lens of "refugee" is useful for thinking about the disproportionate incarceration of Indigenous and Black people.

Our Sequences

·      Sequence 1: History/Literature of Japanese American Internment

·      Sequence 2:  Other Freedom Struggles: U.S. Antiwar Activism, the Plight of Refugees, & Abolition


  • To help you develop your abilities to read, view/listen, think, write, and create critically using approaches from the social sciences and with an awareness of ways writing in the social sciences has perpetuated systemic inequality as well as sought to investigate and redress it.
  • To guide you in accurately assessing your own and your peers' work in relation to our specific writing criteria.
  • To provide occasions for you to draw connections between some of the concepts, problems, and issues we will study and problems/concerns you care about.
  • To practice collaborative, publicly-engaged composition


Class Community Norms

Respect for Difference & Learning: For us to achieve the intellectual vibrancy diversity produces, we have to be open to learning how others see and move through the world, and we have to respect everyone's experiences. We should also recognize that some people's ways of seeing and experiencing the world have been privileged, while others have been marginalized, disparaged, and sometimes met with outright violence. We should attend to that in our written and oral commentary by engaging difference with openness to learning and awareness of power dynamics.  I expect each of us to help build a class community where racist, homophobic, transphobic, sexist, and ableist language and action are not welcomed so that all members of our class can be welcomed.

Respect for Writing and Writers: This class is an inclusive learning community that will frequently function as a writing workshop. Because of that—and because we learn from reading others’ writing—I will frequently ask you to post your writing on our class discussion board. If you are puzzled by an assignment, this will allow you to read your classmates’ responses and get a better sense of the task at hand. Please respect the parameters of our learning community and do not share your classmates’ writing with people outside the course unless you have their permission to do so in writing.

Sharing Writing: Much of our class time will be spent reading and responding to one another’s writing in progress. Hopefully this goes without saying, but at the risk of redundancy, I’ll say (well, write) it: treat everyone and everyone’s drafts in this class with respect. In particular, when we discuss informal writing or drafts, identify emerging or potential strengths as well as weaknesses. And remember that you’re critiquing the draft in front of you, not the writer.

Plagiarism: Don’t do it! If you ever have questions about documentation, please come see me—I’m happy to help answer questions and share strategies for avoiding plagiarism. I do expect your words and the ideas they express to be your own except when you clearly signal and name another source.

Assessment: You work in this class will be assessed according to a grade contract, which tries to assess you on learning and actually assesses you on labor.

Why a grade contract rather than traditional grading of final drafts of writing projects? There’s a long story behind this, but basically, a colleague who used to direct writing at UW Tacoma (and who is a major scholar—Asao Inoue if you want to look him up) convinced me that traditional grading of writing is racist, and I already didn’t like it because I mostly felt it just rewarded people like me and unfairly penalized a lot of other students simply on the basis of difference. My family was poor until I was 8, as in my Mom sewed my clothes and eating at McDonalds was a treat, but I had a super-privileged upbringing once my dad got a good job with the U.S. State Department. My dad has a PhD, and my mom a BA. And I got to travel, and there were lots of books. And, oh yeah, I’m white and cishet. So my home culture was very, very close to U.S academic culture, which made it easy to succeed and ace classes. And none of that speaks to what should matter: learning. I often just performed what I already knew and did fine, and I saw a lot of people having to totally adjust to a new culture who were as smart/hardworking as me or smarter/more hardworking who got lower grades. So I really don’t have a lot of faith that traditional grading systems for writing are just.

            The grade contract is a separate document that will be posted in Module 1. You may propose a grade contract for any grade; for example, I have had students say to me, “I just need a 2.5 and have x, y, and z going on in my life, so could I do this much work for a 2.5? That is totally fine; I respect your judgment of what works best for you this quarter, especially given the challenges and losses of the pandemic. My only concern is that you honor your classmates’ efforts by completing peer reviews and attending the two conferences. (For the second sequence, which is a group project, it’s just important to make your group and me aware of what you can and cannot contribute to the project.)


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;

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, primary documents, 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 members Rush Daniel at or Carrie Matthews at 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

COVID-19 Face Mask Policy:

Apparently UW is no longer requiring face masks for everyone on campus this quarter. I will be wearing a mask when we meet, and I hope you will, too, as you never know if a classmate is immuno-compromised or lives in a multi-generational household with children too young to be vaccinated or older people quite vulnerable to ‘break-through’ infections, or… all the things I don’t know about and fail to include here.



 Accommodations: Please let me know if you need accommodation of any sort. I am happy to work with the UW Disability Resources for Students Office (DRS) to provide what you require, and I am very willing to take suggestions specific to this class to meet your needs.

If you have already established accommodations with Disability Resources for Students (DRS), please communicate your approved accommodations to me at your earliest convenience so we can discuss 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 or DRS offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and/or temporary health conditions. Reasonable accommodations are established through an interactive process between you, your instructor(s) and DRS. It is the policy and practice of the University of Washington to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law.

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 (”

I’m required to include the language above by law in Washington. Basically, if any class demands conflict with a religious observance for you, I am happy to work with you. Please just let me know early in the quarter.

Writing Centers

            Wherever you fall on the spectrum of writing in this course— whether you are struggling with a writing assignment or seeking to “reach the next level”— take advantage of the UW’s writing centers. You will receive feedback and guidance on your writing from me and from your classmates, but it’s also valuable to get the perspective of someone outside the course (especially someone with expertise in producing academic writing!). UW’s writing centers are free for students and provide individual attention from trained readers and writing coaches. This quarter they will offer remote writing appointments.

The Odegaard Writing and Research Center (OWRC) offers free, one-on-one help with all aspects of writing at any stage in the writing process. You can consult with a writing tutor at any stage of the writing process, from the very beginning (when you are planning a paper) to near the end (when you are thinking about how to revise a draft to submit to your instructor). To make the best use of your time there, please bring 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. Available spots are limited, so book your appointments early! Reserve appointments online at .

You can also try out the CLUE Writing Center. CLUE is a first-come, first-served writing center located in the Gateway Center at the south end of the Mary Gates Hall Commons, but of course all virtual this quarter. To learn more, visit

Confidentiality: Barring an imminent threat, I will not discuss you or your performance in this class with third parties outside the University of Washington unless you instruct me to do so in writing. FERPA (the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act) prevents me from legally disclosing student information to third parties without a release signed by you. And even if a third party (a potential employer, a government agency, etc.) contacts me for information about you and has a consent form that you have signed, I will still refrain from providing information unless you have given me a written request (email is fine). So: if you would like me to respond to queries about you from a potential employer or anyone else, you should do two things: 1) fill out and sign a release form (one the third party provides or the UW's own, found at; and 2) email me a request to talk with this third party, giving me a sense of the context (recommendation? background check?) and of any information I should be sure to reveal or not reveal.

Q Center

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 their website for more information at

UW Food Pantry

In the US now, one in four (it might be one in three with the pandemic) college students do not get enough food due to costs associated with a college education. Food insecurity negatively affects physical, mental and emotional health, making it difficult for people to perform well at school and work. Any Hungry Husky relieves this issue by providing nutritious, wholesome food to anyone in the UW community. The UW Food Pantry (Poplar Hall 210) provides UW students, staff and faculty with shelf-stable groceries and seasonal fresh produce for no cost. Anyone with a Husky ID is welcome.

For more information, check them out at

Voter Registration

You can register to vote online or by mail until 8 days before an election or in-person through Election day. Registrations done by mail need to be received, not postmarked, by the 8 day deadline.

Out-of-state students may register to vote in Washington if you have lived in the state for at least 30 days and have established a residential address in the state.

For more information, check out



Course Calendar

Note: Please be sure to check your UW email account at least daily, as I will email you with any updates/changes. All readings are assigned to be read for the next class session; writing is due by the start of class that day unless I specify another time on that week’s module.

Readings and discussion board posts are due prior to the start of the following class session. If a reading is not hyperlinked here, it is posted as a pdf on the Canvas Module for that week.

WEEK 1: Course Introduction

Tuesday, March 29, 2022: Course Overview & Introductions

HW: Read “Apology to People of Color for APA’s Role in Promoting, Perpetuating, and Failing to Challenge Racism, Racial Discrimination, and Human Hierarchy in U.S.”; “Inequality and Inclusion,” by the Social Science Research Council; and Johann Galtung, “Cultural Violence”

Introduce yourself on our Canvas Discussion Board, “Self-introductions.’

Thursday, March 31, 2022: On Writing in the Social Sciences

HW: Read “Inscrutable Grief: Memorializing Japanese American Internment in Miné Okubo’s Citizen 13660” by Kathryn Stanutz and pages 3-29 in Citizen 13660.

Locate an artifact about Japanese-American internment from the National Archives or another source and post a paragraph on the discussion board under “Artifacts” telling us what the artifact is and why you chose it. Please include a link to the artifact if possible.

WEEK 2: Introduction to Japanese-American Internment
Tuesday, April 5, 2022:

HW: Read pages 30-79 in Citizen 13660 and post to the discussion board “Initial Reflections on Citizen 13660

Thursday, April 7, 2022: Introduction to the Sequence 1 Project

HW: Finish reading Citizen 13660

WEEK 3: Kiku Hughes’s Displacement
Tuesday, April 12, 2022: Introduction to Kiku Hughes’s Displacement

HW: Read Chapters 1-4 in Displacement
Thursday, April 14, 2022: Class was cancelled due to sickness

HW: Finish Displacement

Post précis to the discussion board under “Project Précis”

Tuesday, April 19, 2022: Read-around of Project Précis and Criteria Generation

HW: Begin composing/drafting your project

Thursday, April 21, 2022: Overview of the Conferencing and Peer Review Process; Conference Sign-Ups

HW: Finish conference draft and post to your group’s discussion board by 12 noon Monday, April 25th.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022: Class Cancelled for Conferences

Thursday, April 28, 2022:  Class Cancelled for Conferences

HW: Read “Bad English” and “The End of White Innocence” from Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong

WEEK 6: Antiwar Activism: the Vietnam Conflict and Iraq Invasion & Occupation
Tuesday, May 3, 2022: Introduction to Sequence 2 & Background on the Vietnam Conflict and Iraq Invasion

Final draft of Sequence 1 Project due

HW: Watch “50 Years After U.S. Launched Secret War on Laos, Unexploded Bombs Still Killing Civilians” (5:56) “Asian Americans Serving and Fighting in the Vietnam War” (8:10) at and “Asian American Veterans and the Anti-War Movement” (2:36) at

Thursday, May 5, 2022

HW: Read “Bring the Boys Home Now! Antiwar Activism and Withdrawal from Vietnam—and Iraq,” by Melvin Small; Watch “Resettling Vietnamese Refugees in the United States” (4:22) and “New photo book reveals experience of Cambodian refugees after resettling in the United States” (3:50)

WEEK 7: Antiwar Activism & the Plight of the Refugee
Tuesday, May 10, 2022: Screening of “The Donut King” in class

Spend some time on the Tsuru for Solidarity website at and read “President Biden could admit the lowest number of refugees in history” by the International Rescue Committee.

Thursday, May 12, 2022: Finish screening “The Donut King”

Watch (and read the page of accompanying text) “Internally Displaced People and Indigenous Self-Determination” and read “The First U.S. Climate Refugees: Louisiana Tribe Fights for Sovereignty over Resettlement as Island Disappears

Added 5/12: Read "Black Prisoners’ Caucus: How an incarcerated man works for restorative justice and racial equity" and Derrick Bell's "Space Traders" (see Modules)

WEEK 8: Internal Refugees? & Abolition
Tuesday, May 17, 2022: Guest Speaker: Faraji Bhakti, "The Black Prisoners Caucus & Abolition"

HW: Add your take-aways from today's presentation to our crowd-sourcing google doc under Modules. See the questions in blue.

Thursday, May 19, 2022: Set Sequence II Projects and Collaborations

HW: Post précis to the discussion board under “Project Précis” (with the name of your partner or collaborators, if you're collaborating) by 12 noon Monday, May 23rd

Tuesday, May 24, 2022: Read-around of Project Précis. Conference Sign-Ups, Devise Criteria
Thursday, May 26, 2022 : Go over Peer Review Instructions

Rough drafts due to your group's discussion board at midnight Sunday

Tuesday, May 31, 2022 Class Cancelled for Conferences
Thursday, June 2, 2022 Class Cancelled for Conferences


Final Draft of Sequence 2 Project and Reflection Due June 6th (by midnight).



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: 
March 7, 2022 - 9:56pm