Fall 2012

engl 20803: intermediate composition 

“The Politics of the Everyday”

Description from course syllabus:

Although the word “politics” is in its title, this course is not about “politics” in the traditional way we use the term. It’s about “politics” in a much broader sense—the kinds of assumptions and principles that help form our relationships to the people, places, and things we value in our lives. These assumptions are, essentially, arguments about how we choose to live in the world, and they can have powerful effects on us (and on others) that we often fail to notice. The purpose of this class, then, is take a step back from these assumptions in order to isolate and examine more critically what kinds of arguments are being made and what kinds of effects we see these arguments having in the world. This is a much more difficult task than it might seem, however, so we’ll rely on highly-focused reading, writing, and speaking assignments throughout the course to help us uncover how the “politics of the everyday” operates in our lives. In using writing as a method for personal, critical engagement in the world, we’ll also be exploring ways of using various media—print, visual, and digital formats—to enhance particular arguments or expand one’s rhetorical repertoire. My hope is that, by the end of the semester, we’ll all feel more confident evaluating and producing the kinds of political argument we currently experience on a daily basis.

engl 30523: american literature and popular culture

“Bestsellers in American Culture”

Description from course syllabus:

Since its birth as a field of study, “American Literature” has struggled with questions about the relationship between “high art” literary products and more “popular” modes of textual production. In this course, we will explore examples of issues associated with this ongoing tension. We will read and analyze a range of primary texts that illustrate such questions, and we will do extensive writing to support our study. Taken together, the activities in this class will blend a focus on literary traditions (including addressing issues about both “the literary” and “traditions”) and one on writing designed to enhance our cultural analyses.

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