Spring 2014 Course Offerings
This is an unofficial list of FYWP courses that will be offered in Spring 2014. For a list of non-FYWP English courses, please consult the English department's course descriptions page. For the complete official course offerings, please consult the UIC schedule of classes.
TUESDAY / THURSDAY SECTIONS
ENGL 070: Writing in Context
CRN 32304 (TR 8:00-9:15);CRN 30566 (TR 9:30-10:45)
This preparatory class emphasizes the second-language writing challenges presented by structure, meaning, and use to those for whom English is not the primary language. The content of English 070 parallels that of English 160 and focuses on the skills needed to produce academic writing. Particular attention is paid to critical thinking and reading. Students will also be introduced to the concepts of Situated Writing--the idea that writing offers a way of understanding the world as well as a way to get things done and that the context for producing a piece of writing, who is writing it and why, helps the writer decide about the form a piece of writing will take. The class requires three writing projects and three cover letters in order to allow for more time and instruction on the writing process and on sentence-level skills. The course will focus on the public debates caused by the conflicting needs of our multicultural U.S. society. How do people in the U.S. view themselves and their way of life? How do questions of gender, language, race, education and politics manifest themselves in the “public forum”? Students will participate in these "conflicts" through papers and group discussions.
MONDAY / WEDNESDAY / FRIDAY SECTIONS
ENGL 071: Popular Music and Politics
CRN 30568 (MWF 10:00-10:50)
This class involves intense writing and considerable reading. It is designed to prepare you for the challenges of writing in the languages of academic and other forms of social discourse. You will be responsible for producing multiple drafts of each writing assignment, and for making substantial revisions to each as needed. You will also work on honing the mechanics of your prose at the sentence level, acquiring active academic reading skills, and broadening your vocabulary. The guiding principle for the course is that what we write about and how we write it matters. In “Popular Music and Politics,” we will investigate subjects that may find us debating such questions as: “Why do the meanings of some words appear to change, depending on who is saying them?” “What might something so basic, so essential, as the music we listen to reveal about our social class?” “Can mere ideas, or products of thought, ever be harmful enough to warrant regulation?” These are some of the starting points for much stimulating critical thought, and written response, we will undertake together this semester.
TUESDAY / THURSDAY SECTIONS
ENGL 071:-Up Comedy: Writing in Genres
CRN 35508 (TR 9:30-10:45)
The main purpose of this class is to provide you with writing experience that you can use throughout your entire career here at UIC as a contributing member of an academic community. Specifically, you will draft and revise four major writing projects: a Dialogue, a Review, an Argumentative Essay, and a Personal Essay. In each of these projects, situation and genre will operate as guiding concepts, and your subject will be stand-up comedy. In order to complete these projects with confidence and clarity, you will spend a significant amount of time in class focusing on areas key to reading and writing at the college level.
MONDAY / WEDNESDAY / FRIDAY SECTIONS
ENGL 160: Writing and Rhetoric for a Global Audience
CRN 26190 (MWF 10:00-10:50)
This class is designed to recognize the benefits and advantages of bilingualism, and to serve the needs of bilingual and English-language-learning students. This is not an ESL class--instead, the class will explore global rhetoric, focus on the cultural norms of American Academic and public discourses, and help students find ways to express linguistic diversity while still communicating clearly and effectively with a chosen audience. We will examine both personal and public writing, and also examine how our language choices and forms change when moving in and out of different linguistic contexts. Please note: This section is designed to meet the needs of English-language learners. Instructor permission is required to enroll.
ENGL 160: Academic Writing and Issues of Consumption
CRN 14356 (MWF 9:00-9:50);CRN 14364 (MWF 11:00-11:50);CRN 26189 (MWF 12:00-12:50)
O'Hara, Mary Ellen
This course will focus upon the problems inherent to being a consumer today in the United States. Factory farming, GMO’s and food production, as well as ancillary issues such as landfills, waste issues, and water production/rights will be examined through various in-class discussions, group activities, and writing projects. The course takes a heuristic approach whereby students formulate their response to specific consumer issues based upon their unique moral landscape. Thus, students will explore and define their relationship to sustainable and ethical consumption, boycotting and buycotting, as well as other methods utilized to address problematic consumer issues. This class will employ a variety of writing strategies to draft and revise four major writing projects including a Personal Essay, a Film Review, an Argumentative Essay, and a Newsletter based upon a Service Learning Project regarding the recovery of food for local food banks.
ENGL 160: Academic Writing I
CRN 14374 (MWF 2:00-2:50)
Do you want to be heard? Do you want to voice your opinion? Then, this writing course will help you write your way into local and global conversations. We will explore issues of community at home, at school, in professional fields, and as citizens in a democracy. By reading and examining various genres and the ways in which they are used for specific purposes and audiences, you will come to see writing as more than something you do for school. Instead, you will see ways in which writing applies to worldly circumstances that you will encounter not only in school, but also in various other communities. Over the course of the term, you will produce your own writing in four different genres: a personal essay, a feature story, a research-supported argument, and an opinion piece for a newspaper. Through frequent peer review sessions, you will learn to examine your own writing and your peers’ critically and constructively, and you will use the writing process as a way to clarify your ideas. Through revision, you will learn to improve your writing and thereby prepare for the variety of writing situations that you will face here at the university and in both your professional and private lives.
ENGL 160: Knowing Your Place: Writing About the Politics of Space in Chicago
CRN 14357 (MWF 8:00-8:50); CRN 19837 (MWF 1:00-1:50)
What makes studying in the city of Chicago attractive to you? Have you ever wondered why so many people from other parts of the country—or even other parts of the world—have decided to make Chicago their home? In this section of English 160, students will pursue several writing projects designed to bring the concerns of the “What Makes Your Place Great?” contest and Chicago’s city-wide placemaking initiative into the classroom. We will begin the course with an exploration of the city’s most beautiful and vibrant “undiscovered” places and end the course with a vision of what might be done to make the city even more inhabitable. The final assignment, a placemaking proposal, will take the shape of an in-class contest. (Prizes will be awarded for the best entries).
Over the course of the term, we will read the works of urban planners, architects, sociologists, psychologists, art historians, poets, fiction writers, travel writers, oral historians, economists, scientists, homeowners, disability activists, and fellow students in order to learn more about the cultural, emotional, spiritual, practical, and political uses of space in the Chicagoland area and beyond. By reading up on “placemaking,” students will come to see that home is not only the place you live but also the places you want to inhabit—i.e., a special corner of a public park, a fountain hidden away on a city side street, the bleachers next to the baseball diamond where you grew up, a coffee shop in your new neighborhood, the rainbow resource room at UIC, the elementary school where you tutor, and so on.
In this course, students will not only contribute to a long tradition of urban ethnography by interviewing a Chicagoland dweller on his/her favorite place but will also create new knowledge through their writing: by joining a conversation on a controversial use of space on campus or in the Chicagoland area, by exploring the politics of the workplace and arguing for more equitable arrangements, and, finally, by proposing the creation of a new place designed to memorialize an important person or event, to serve the needs of a community, or to solve a social problem of personal significance. Each writing project will serve not only as a means to get students connected to the city in which they study and to help them imagine a productive and fulfilling future in it but will also prepare students for the academic writing expectations of the university community.
TUESDAY / THURSDAY SECTIONS
ENGL 160: Writing About Food
CRN 32310 (TR 8:00-9:15);CRN 27287 (TR 11:00-12:15)
Cox, Nikki Paley
This course approaches writing as an instrument of community involvement and a tool of social change. Writing is one of the many ways we can contribute to and participate in our world; local, national, and global issues generate numerous forms of public “conversations.” This course invites you to actively participate in these exchanges, specifically in areas related to food and food studies. In this class, you will complete four writing projects: a rhetorical analysis, a review, an argumentative essay, and a feature story/profile. Additionally, you will write a cover letter explaining how you understand the key terms of the class as they apply to these four assignments and your growth as a writer. Through this series of writing projects you will be asked to contribute to the public discourse(s) surrounding specific social situations and community or national issues. These writing projects will ask you to respond to diverse situations by employing different types of writing from a variety of genres. As we explore various forms of writing, we will also work towards an understanding of how different genres are created out of and shaped by the particular situations from which they arise.
ENGL 160: Writing Into Community Conversations
CRN 26185 (TR 12:30-1:45); CRN 26187 (TR 2:00-3:15);CRN 14361 (TR 3:30-4:45)
This course approaches writing as an instrument of community involvement and a means of instigating social change. Writing is one of the many ways that we can contribute to and participate in our world--from personal letters, web logs, and emails to resumes, articles, formal proposals, and academic presentations. Local, national, and global issues generate numerous forms of public [written] “conversations.” This course invites you to actively participate in these exchanges. Through a series of four writing projects you will be asked to contribute to the public discourse(s) surrounding specific social situations and community issues. These writing projects will ask you to respond to diverse situations by employing different types of writing from a variety of genres. As we explore various forms of writing, we will also work towards an understanding of how different genres are created out of and shaped by the particular situations from which they arise.
BLENDED SECTIONS (Tuesday Only)
Blended courses have a reduced number of physical class meetings. This reduction is made possible by haveing a significant number of activities and assignments done online and through new media.
ENGL 160: Writing Your Way Into the Public Conversation
CRN 14362 (Tuesday 9:30-10:45); CRN 14365 (Tuesday 11:00-12:15);CRN14369 (Tuesday 2:00-3:15)
The purpose of this course is for you to examine and develop your “voice”--the sense of self that allows you to be both yourself and a member of a community larger than yourself. Writing, and how you reveal your voice in your writing, is a social activity that creates “public conversation.” The public conversation is defined by the voices of its participants. Writing in the public conversation will require you to coexist in a community which has a tolerance of diversity and respect for others. In this class, we will not only add our voices to the public conversation, but we will try to bring our ideas into useful relation to the ideas of others. Our public conversation will not dominated by the loudest voices, but will be balanced with both voicing you ideas and opinions and listening to the voices of others. To lend insight and ideas to our examination of our voice and the public conversation of which it is a part, we will read a number of texts which contain various viewpoints and issues. We will read these works critically using the concepts of situation, genre, language, and consequences. You will use writing as a way to respond to a call to action. Writing is, at its roots, a performance--I hope this class makes you feel that writing is a way to shape your reality--it isn’t something you do “in your head”--it is the act of an engaged person. Understanding situation, genre, language, and consequences will further your ability to write about, and ultimately know, yourself and the world. Also, you will strive for your writing to express your ideas in the fewest words possible, be grammatically correct, and avoid mistakes and typos. Your work over the semester will help you integrate all of these issues into effectively written projects.Please Note: This is a blended version of the course, which means the class will meet one day a week with all other activities being done through online and new media activities and assignments..
MONDAY / WEDNESDAY / FRIDAY SECTIONS
ENGL 161: Urban Nature and Human Freedom
CRN 14461 (MWF 11:00-11:50); CRN32292 (MWF 1:00-1:50); CRN14438 (MWF 3:00-3:50)
In 1989, Bill McKibben boldly published his landmark environmental book The End of Nature. In this work, McKibben, like Thoreau and Rachel Carson before him, made a plea for Americans to reinvent their environmental consciences, and/or connections to nature. In the years since, as McKibben points out in a new introduction to his book published in 2005, this has not happened, and in fact some argue that the reverse has occurred. Under these conditions, what kind of relationship with nature can humanity have, now and in the future, and how does this effect the concept of “freedom”?
In this course, you’ll examine the modes of discourse--scientific, political, historical, psychological, and literary--surrounding this controversial topic. Using “global warming and technology” and their impact on “nature” as a starting point, you’ll explore the ways various writing genres engage with humanity’s relationship, or NON-relationship, to nature and freedom in the twenty first century. You will write several short papers designed to develop critical thinking and analysis skills, and these papers will lead to and culminate in a full-length research paper on a topic of your choosing, approved by the instructor, that adds to the academic debate about humanity’s relationship to nature in our time, including “human freedom” issues.
ENGL 161: Bastard Tongues and Divided Identities: Entering the Conversation on the Origins of Language
CRN 14431 (MWF 9:00-9:50); CRN14452 (MWF 10:00-10:50)
Think of the differences between your own everyday speech and that of your grandparents’ speech. They may have learned a different dialect than you (maybe they grew up in Mississippi and you grew up in Chicago). Or maybe the difference is merely the passage of time: what used to be hot is now cool, where they said the bee’s knees you say the business. English, and all languages, is constantly shifting. The rules and usages change. How, then, does any language come to exist? How did this thing called English originate? And how do languages pass from generation to generation? These are the kinds of questions linguist Derek Bickerton investigates in Bastard Tongues, his memoir of scientific discovery. The central inquiry of Bickerton’s book is, “Is there a common thread that links all the world’s languages?”Central questions of our course will include: How are family, friendship, and community bonds influenced by language differences? How is identity reliant on or related to language? What is language? How is it transferred from person to person and culture to culture? In the process of following these lines of inquiry, students of English 161 will acquire the intellectual tools and research skills to develop, compose, and revise independent research projects.
ENGL 161: Writing About Happiness
CRN 32286 (MWF 11:00-11:50)
In this course, we will examine questions about happiness. In her book, The Happiness Myth: Why What We Think Is Right Is Wrong, Jennifer Michael Hecht explains that our common notions of happiness, what makes us happy in today’s society, are a kind of mythology we all accept as fact. She explores the conception of happiness across history, illuminating traditions and practices that made our ancestors happy, as a means of demonstrating how those notions often contradict our current beliefs and actions.
ENGL 161: Writing About Medicine, Bioethics, and Social Inequality
CRN 14409 (MWF 10:00-10:50); CRN14400 (MWF 12:00-12:50)
This course investigates issues surrounding ethics, race, and biomedical research, focusing on Rebecca Skloot’sThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacksas the core text for students’ analytic inquiry. In this course, students will become familiar with the life of Henrietta Lacks, a 31-year-old black tobacco farmer and mother of five who was diagnosed with a rare and virulent strain of cervical cancer. Henrietta’s cancer cells, removed during a routine biopsy were taken and cultured without her consent. Meanwhile, Henrietta’s family remained unaware of the great medical advancements made possible by their now-deceased mother’s cervical cells. While their mother’s cells continued to advance modern medicine, the Lacks children did not receive any compensation for their mother’s biomedical contribution, nor did they receive access to proper medical treatment themselves. We will use the story of Henrietta Lacks as a touchstone to explore and analyze the larger issues surrounding modern medicine and bioethics, as well as study the particular exploitive practices inflicted upon certain races and classes of people in the name of scientific advancement. While analyzing these issues, students’ goal is to learn about academic research and writing, while synthesizing the readings and ideas posed in class. As a class, we will also spend time learning about summarizing, analyzing, and synthesizing arguments, conducting academic research, writing a research proposal, and drafting the final research paper. All of this will culminate in a final research paper that answers a research question students have posed in relation to the course inquiry. Class readings and class discussions will guide you through each of these steps, and help students work toward generating a research topic that interests students enough to write a ten-page paper.
ENGL 161: “City on the Re-Write”
CRN 14420 (MWF 8:00-8:50); CRN14459 (MWF 9:00-9:50);CRN14434 (MWF 10:00-10:00)
How do the spaces of research and writing contain the histories, geographies, and memories of Chicago? This spring, we will examine this and other questions through a reconsideration of the “City that Works.” In this section of English 161, you will be a participant in an active research academic community that considers the shared senses of geography and history in Chicago. We will explore how research writers engage the city’s spaces, whether those spaces are geological, urban, economic, rhetorical, or domestic. Writers in this class will work within a cross-disciplinary research community, utilizing one another’s research as well as editing others’ research writing. Each writer is invited to approach these questions from his or her own discipline. Possible final research essay projects include: Is Chicago a Midwestern or Western city? What is the difference? How is Chicago known through its waterways, skyscrapers, neighborhoods, airports, and stockyards? What industries (or lack thereof) will define Chicago’s economy over the next century? Do the city’s freeways, canals, assembly lines, and cubicles offer any sense of social, architectural, or geographical meaning? Working from Dominic Pacyga’sChicago: A Biography, these questions will frame our common research.
ENGL 161: Writing About Gender and Advertising
CRN 14412 (MWF 12:00-12:50); CRN14414 (MWF 1:00-1:50)
In this course, we will study the academic and public conversation about representations of gender in advertising. We will read about, discuss, and write about issues such as the difference between sex and gender, masculinity and femininity in advertising, gender roles and stereotypes, and the gendered body in consumer culture. The course will culminate in a research paper that explores some aspect of the course topic.
ENGL 161: Pop Music and Politics
CRN 14467(MWF 11:00-11:50); CRN22118(MWF 12:00-12:50)
In “Popular Music and Politics,” we will investigate subjects that may find us debating such questions as: “Why do the meanings of some words appear to change, depending on who is saying them?” “What might something so basic, so essential, as the music we listen to reveal about our social class or political beliefs?” “Can mere ideas, or products of thought, ever be harmful enough to warrant regulation?” These are some of the starting points for much stimulating critical thinking and writing we will undertake together this semester.Our investigation into these questions provides the context for our writing, but remember that our goal is to learn about academic research and writing, not just pop music or politics. Therefore, in addition to our inquiries into images and their contexts, we will also spend time learning about summarizing, analyzing, and synthesizing arguments, conducting academic research, writing a research proposal, and drafting your research paper. All of this will culminate in a final research paper that answers a research question you have posed in relation to the course inquiry.Our readings and class discussions will guide you through each of these steps, and help you work toward generating a research topic that interests you enough to write a ten-page paper.
ENGL 161: Rumors, Fear, and the Madness of Crowds: Exploring the Phenomena of Crowd Behavior and Mob Violence
CRN 14407 (MWF 8:00-8:50); CRN14411 (MWF 11:00-11:50)
In this course, we will explore in detail various scholarly theories about the mysterious and fascinating phenomenon of crowd behavior. The first half of the course will explore and analyze these readings, generate discussion based on them, and respond to them using the analytical writing techniques of summary, analysis, and an extension of analysis, synthesis. The second half will involve your individual path of inquiry and research on a specific topic, resulting in the creation of a unique theory about why a specific incident of crowd behavior occurred.
ENGL 161:Writing About Animal Rights, Ecology, and Civic Engagement
CRN 14384 (MWF 8:00-8:50); CRN14432 (MWF 10:00-10:50);CRN26192 (MWF 12:00-12:50)
This course focuses on the relationships between animal rights, ecology, and civic engagement. In this class, you will critically examine our social and individual responsibilities in relationship to the environment, with an emphasis on how diet and consumption affects our social and physical environment. You will visit relevant public institutions (West Loop Meatpacking district) connecting animal rights, sustainability, and our role in the world. By combining the physical experience of exploring the West Loop Meatpacking district with relevant written assignments and readings, you will enhance your research skills considerably. Your written assignments include journaling, summary, extended analysis, a research proposal, and a culminating research paper. In each assignment, you will demonstrate an ability to argue and analyze effectively.
ENGL 161: Writing About Sex and Consumer Culture
CRN 32287 (MWF 11:00-11:50); CRN14444 (MWF 12:00-12:50)
In Elizabeth Fraterrigo’s Playboy and The Making of the Good Life in Modern America, the Chicago-based historian outlines a context for understanding the development and popularity of Playboy, the world’s most influential men’s magazine. Her book shows that the definition of the “good life” touted by Playboy left its mark on an American society increasingly interested in consumer pleasures and notions of individual freedom.Among this course’s pressing issues is the relationship between freedom and consumption—is more always more? How can we understand the gender politics of Playboy in relation to contemporary relationships, and what, if any, conclusions can we draw about the underlying social values that produce icons like The Girls Next Door?Even if, as some scholars have suggested, Playboy’s relevance as a magazine ended in the 1970s, its derivatives and philosophy of consumption still inform our culture; students in this class will aim to understand the consequences.Like Fraterrigo, we will set out to approach problems of culture as academics by learning to summarize, analyze and synthesize course readings. You will write a research proposal to guide your inquiry before conducting research and penetrating the scholarly conversation through an argumentative essay.
ENGL 161: Writing about Film in a Historical Context
CRN 14447 (MWF 1:00-1:50); CRN29121 (MWF 2:00-2:50); CRN22115 (MWF 3:00-3:50)
For more than a century, people around the world have been making and watching movies. If asked why we go to the movies, our first response might be for entertainment; but as the dominant popular art form in America today, movies are also a valuable part of our cultural landscape. They are both made and watched within a dense fabric of culture, history, and sensibilities. In this class we will explore the place of film in American society from World War II until the present. Our main text will give a decade-by-decade account of what was happening in America and what impact that had on the films being made (as well as the impact that films themselves had on the world around them). Through discussions of the readings and through a series of focused writing assignments, we will hone our critical reading and writing skills in order to enter this conversation by developing an inquiry that contributes to the discourse. We will draw on our own observations as conscious moviegoers, to examine what the films we see tell us about the world in which we live.
ENGL 161: Writing Urban Secret Histories
CRN 14391 (MWF 1:00-1:50); CRN14413 (MWF 2:00-2:50); CRN14437 (MWF 3:00-3:50)
This course focuses thematically on the contested narratives visible in the actual social histories of cities like Chicago and New York. Students will read a variety of texts by writers such as Luc Sante and Marco d’Eramo, while encountering different writing techniques, culminating in an independently researched, thesis-driven 10-page research project. This course should appeal to students who are willing to engage historical narratives as text evidence, and wish to build their writing skills in terms of logic, clarity, and specificity.
ENGL 161: Writing About Technology and Communication
CRN 14451 (MWF 9:00-9:50); CRN29118 (MWF 11:00-11:50)
Is communication through Facebook, blogging, texting, and emailing changing the way we speak and relate to each other? Are the signals, setups, and platforms of technology changing the way we think? In the text A Better Pencil, Dennis Baron sets forth the argument that “computer technology has taken control over our words in ways and at a speed that no previous technology of literacy ever did before.” This course will have at the center of discussion the ways in which technological shifts are changing the fabric of the way we write, communicate, and relate. This class will ask you to investigate the thing that most wholly consumes our reality day in and day out: media and technology. During this course you’ll be asked to look deeper into what makes up media and technology today. How is it composed, created, and reflecting or influencing people? How does the speed of the computer, the set-up of the desktop, windows, links and texts within media reflect and influence our notions of reality?
In the midst of the meaningful discussion surrounding the evolution of communication, we will be focusing on the act of academic writing and argumentation. We will study this book in terms of its claims, values, evidence, and strategies; in turn, we will be studying our main text through the lens of rhetoric. Expect to not only learn how to question the very culture of communication, but how to analyze arguments and be discerning about the ways in which argumentation operates. By the end of the course I want you to all be exceptional investigators and intellectually impressive detectives of the world around you. Additionally this class will encourage you to think more critically on your notions of writing, communication, culture, intelligence and mediums through which we learn.
ENGL 161: Writing About the Dangers of Technology and the Limits of Knowledge
CRN 14453 (MWF 11:00-11:50); CRN29120 (MWF 1:00-1:50)
Yucca Mountain, roughly 100 miles from Las Vegas, was the planned site for the storage of all nuclear waste contained at facilities throughout the United States—up to 70,000 metric tons (or 150 million pounds) and growing. The project was approved by Congress in 2002, defunded in 2011, and is currently in legal limbo. About a Mountain by John D’Agata documents the federal government’s attempt to safely store our country’s nuclear waste for a proposed period of 10,000 years, the complexity of this task, the billions of dollars spent in the process, the dangers of technology, the limits of knowledge, and language itself.In this course we will examine D’Agata’s inquiry into the limits of knowledge, humanity’s destructive power, the definition of a “fact,” and how to think critically about a problem with a time span longer than our lifetimes. After situating yourself within this constellation of issues through reading and writing, you will dig deeper into a topic of your own choosing. Through research and writing, you will contribute to the larger academic discourse surrounding these issues, and develop the skills necessary to engage in academic inquiry.
ENGL 161: “Can’t Buy Me Love?”: Writing About Pervasive (and Persuasive?) Advertising
CRN 14466 (MWF 10:00-10:50)
English 161 is designed to guide you through the steps of creating a cohesive, coherent, and engaging research paper. In the process of constructing your paper, you will learn what it means to enter an intellectual conversation, that is, an ongoing public inquiry, in which you will find and contribute your own unique perspective. In this class, we will investigate the role of advertising in American culture; specifically, its impact on the shaping of our self-image, our goals, and our desires. This is a well-debated issue with a multiplicity of viewpoints; you will examine various viewpoints so as to discover your own, which will then become the central thrust of your research paper. In the first half of the semester, you will gain familiarity in and practice with some of the conventions of academic writing, including summary, synthesized analysis, and argument, which are central components of the research paper. You will learn how to effectively use library source material to put together an annotated bibliography; in doing so, you will learn the value and necessity of acknowledging, respecting, articulating, and incorporating the claims of other contributors into your own inquiry—even if those claims run counter to your own. During the second half of the semester, we will turn the classroom into a laboratory of sorts—each of you will conduct independent research on an aspect of our class topic of your choice, and will bring results of your investigation into the classroom for peer review and group discussion. By the end of the semester, you will have written a ten-page research paper that will reflect your successful entry into the academic culture.
ENGL 161: Writing Work/Writing Identity
CRN 14474 (MWF 1:00-1:50)
English 161 is designed to provide you with the tools that you will need to engage in academic inquiry. Approximately half of the course will be devoted to developing the intellectual tools that will help you to guide your inquiry, while the other half will be devoted to developing a field, or subject of inquiry. Using our core text, The Working Poor: Invisible in America by David K. Shipler, we will conduct an inquiry into the nature of work, wealth, class, and identity in America. This inquiry responds to larger public conversations about how wealth is distributed in the United States and how work and money interact with identity. Throughout the semester, you will have opportunities to explore Chicago and its surroundings in order to observe what we’re learning about firsthand. You will also be encouraged to draw on your own experiences as you develop a research project.
ENGL 161: Writing About History and American Education
CRN 29119 (MWF 10:00-10:50); CRN32289 (MWF 12:00-12:50)
If you went to an American high school, you probably have heard about Helen Keller, the young woman who famously learned to communicate despite being both blind and deaf. But did you know that as an adult, Keller became an ardent socialist, dedicating her life to fighting “Industrial Blindness and Social Deafness”? If you never learned that part of the story, why do you think your textbook left it out—and what else might its authors have tried to hide? In his bestselling book,Lies My Teacher Told Me, James Loewen tries to answer just this question by pointing out oversights and exaggerations in the average American history education. He also asks why we assume in the first place that history should be taught as a dry collection of facts about dead heroes, rather than learned the way actual historians learn it: by interpreting primary documents.
Our course will take Loewen’s book as our core text, and will use it as a model for the way that an academic builds an argument, including reading skeptically, finding ideas to disagree with, and saying something new in a way that matters. We will read even Loewen suspiciously, aided by the perspective of excerpts from Howard Zinn’sA People’s History of the United States. At the same time, we will hone our own writing skills through four writing projects that build successively on one another: a summary, a synthesis, an annotated bibliography, and a final research paper. To complement our work, we will examine controversial history-related case studies, such as Columbus’s “discovery” as taught in America, the Algerian War as taught in France, and the Nazi rise to power as taught in Germany. Moreover, rather than thinking only about the way history is taught, we will use Loewen’s work as one example of how every academic subject tends to be taught as a set of accepted facts rather than as a collection of controversies, disagreements, and ongoing debates. In this first-year course, as many of you move from high school into college, it is my hope that this course will help you transition from rote-learning, test-taking “students” into critical, engaged, assertive scholars.
ENGL 161: Writing About “Generation Me”
CRN14439 (MWF 11:00-11:50)
Today’s young people are raised to be individuals who place great value on their own self-worth and accomplishments. They are taught to put themselves first and focus on raising their self-esteem, because only after accomplishing these things will they be able to have successful lives and good relationships. But do these lessons always hold true for everyone? Although individualism has had a positive effect on young people in that it teaches them to act independently and pursue their dreams, at the same time it can lead to unfulfilled expectations and conflicts in their relationships with others. This focus on the self can also cause people to place less emphasis on community and social obligations. The primary text for this course will be Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled—and More Miserable Than Ever Before by psychology professor Jean M. Twenge. We will also look at other articles and essays that focus on “Generation Me” and look at particular aspects of popular culture, education, and family values that have helped to shape “Generation Me.” Although you will be expected to write four papers total, the capstone essay will be a 10-page, thesis-driven, research-based essay focusing on an aspect of “Generation Me” and one of its effects on identity formation in the twenty-first century.
ENGL 161: Writing and the Politics of Parenthood
CRN 32290 (MWF 12:00-12:50); CRN14386 (MWF 1:00-1:50); CRN14395 (MWF 2:00-2:50)
In this class, you will explore and write about the complex tensions that surround parenthood today. We will look at Ann Crittendon’sThe Price of Motherhood and also look at various articles from other texts and journals to get a sense of what the parenthood tensions are today. Our investigation into the “Politics of Parenthood” provides the context for our writing, but our goal is to learn about academic research and writing. Therefore, we will also spend time learning about summarizing, analyzing and synthesizing arguments, conducting academic research, and writing a research proposal. All of this will culminate in a final research paper that answers an inquiry you have posed about a specific issue concerning our topic. Our readings and our class discussions will guide you through each of these steps, and help you work toward generating a research topic that interests you enough to write a 10-page paper.
ENGL 161: Chicago’s Growing Pains: The Struggles of Metropolitan Development, Racial and Class Divides, Urban Crisis, and Immigration Controversies
CRN 14402 (MWF 9:00-9:50); CRN14387 (MWF 10:00-10:50)
In this course we will examine the origins and evolution of Chicago as a city. Your task in the course will be to make reasoned arguments based on topics ranging from the rapid growth of industry and urban chaos to social, racial, and ethnic changes in Chicago. Our core text will be Dominic Pacyga’sChicago: A Biography. We will examine Pacyga’s arguments about Chicago as both a progressive city that creates green urban spaces and review a less progressive aspect of the clash of social classes and immigration issues. Our task will be to enter a scholarly conversation with Pacyga’s analysis of the development of Chicago as a major urban center. Central questions of our course will include: In what ways is Chicago a progressive city and in what ways does it fail to be? How does urban growth affect neighborhoods and the poor? What defines Chicago as an immigrant city, and how is this relationship complicated over space and time? We will answer these, and several other questions leading up to your own inquiry on the subject of Chicago.
The first half of the course will be dedicated to studying summary, analysis and synthesis through the readings. During the second half of the semester, you will write a research proposal about an aspect of our subject into which you would like to inquire before conducting research and then presenting your contribution to the scholarly conversation through an research essay informed by several outside sources.
ENGL 161: Writing About Youth, Music, and Social Crises Since 1975
CRN 14392 (MWF 10:00-10:50); CRN14454 (MWF 12:00-12:50)
For the past fifty years or so, groups of teenagers or young adults have tended to organize themselves by a preference for a particular kind of music, clothing style, slang, and other seemingly arbitrary characteristics. As such, they provoke the attention of media and scholars alike, especially if these young people also assume provocative political positions. We will focus primarily on loud rock’n’roll offshoots: old-school punk, heavy metal, and their more recent reincarnations; with our central text, the book Sells Like Teen Spirit by sociologist Ryan Moore, we will analyze how songwriters in those genres react to social and economic crises since 1975. Our investigations will lead you to write a focused and analytical research project of 10 to 12 pages offering your own take on the overall theme of the course. Through a number of short assignments, you will be able to develop critical reading and writing skills as well as participate in the ongoing debates about music and social crises.
TUESDAY / THURSDAY SECTIONS
ENGL 161: Talking to Strangers: Writing about Stand-Up Comedy
CRN 26880 (TR 11:00-12:15);CRN22116 (TR 2:00-3:15);CRN26883(TR 3:30-4:45)
In Comedy at the Edge, Richard Zoglin characterizes stand-up comedy in the United States during the 1970s as marking a clear shift from a primarily impersonal, joke-based entertainment into a more varied and ambitious art invested in personal experience and direct social commentary. But while it is clear that Richard Pryor and George Carlin and Andy Kaufman engaged in experimentation that was often in conflict with the older style of stand-up, we will treat this tension between a set-up/punchline joke-telling tradition and the development and success of other approaches in the 1970s as an opportunity to explore connections between this “new” type of stand-up comedy and stand-up’s complicated past, from the Borscht-Belt to Vaudeville to Blackface Minstrelsy. English 161 is designed to provide you with the tools that you will need to engage in academic inquiry. So with this in mind, you will complete four writing projects: Summary (2 pages); Extended Analysis (5 pages); a Research Proposal including an annotated bibliography (3 Pages); and a final Research project (10 Pages). Through the first three writing projects, you will develop skills that will enable you to create a well-organized and tightly argued final research paper. Each writing project will include at least two drafts, and the final draft for the research project will be highlighted to show all revisions and will also include a cover letter explaining these revisions.
ENGL 161: Writing About U.S. Political News
CRN 30804 (TR 11:00-12:15);CRN14389 (TR 12:30-1:45)
Boulay, Katherine M.
In this course we follow mass media coverage of U.S. politics. As a student in this course, in addition to watching the news and the State of the Union (SotU) address, you will read a variety of current articles, essays, books, opinion pieces, etc. that discuss how the media and, among others, the president intersect, interact, and for what purposes. You will enter the public discussion by writing about media coverage of President Obama. The course culminates in a research paper on a topic of your choice that addresses some aspect of mass media coverage of the presidency. Work on this paper dominates the final six weeks of the semester. You need not have any background in the study of media and politics in order to enjoy and do well in the course. What is essential is an open mind and some interest in politics. The intersection of media and politics is the backbone of the course. As such it is the prism through which you enhance your skills summarizing, analyzing, and synthesizing arguments; conducting academic research; writing a research proposal; and, drafting and completing a research paper. Readings, writings, class discussion, small group discussion, and individual meetings with the instructor will help you generate a research topic that interests you sufficiently so that you can write a ten-page paper on it.
ENGL 161: Writing About Chicago Architecture
CRN 14382 (TR 12:30-1:45)
In this course we will continue the examination of “situated writing” begun in English 160 while exploring the skills associated with academic research. Using the four key terms of language, genre, situation, and consequences, we will uncover how architecture creates the urban experience in Chicago. The city has typically been characterized as a gritty, industrial, and materialistic city that lacks real culture. Does the urban skyline of Chicago reflect that narrative or have observers been misreading the city’s architecture? What changes have happened to the city’s appearance over time and how are they significant? How exactly does one read a city’s architecture? These are simply a few of the questions we will consider in this class as you explore your own relationship to Chicago’s individual buildings and overall design. You will be asked to choose a topic related to Chicago architecture and engage in extended research on that topic. The subject of your research might be the history of a specific building in Chicago or a study that explores patterns of development in the city. Whatever topic you choose, it should reveal an aspect of Chicago architecture that you feel we are not aware of or change our perception about a building or group of buildings we thought that we understood. By the end of this course, you should have an understanding of the process that leads from inquiry to academic writing. You should also have a better understanding of the perception of Chicago’s architecture and how that perception relates to the reality of life for the city’s residents.
ENGL 161: Writing About the Metropolis as a Text: How to Read Chicago Like a Book
CRN 32291 (TR 12:30-1:45)
In this section of English 161, we will explore ways of reading the public spaces of Chicago––its graffiti and public art, its museums and cultural institutions, and its private codes and mannerisms––as if each were a legible text open to our interpretation and critique. Over the course of the semester, students will inquire into issues of urban identity, the social history of city-building, the idea of public and private spaces, and the notion of a metropolis, as well as their own situation within the city of Chicago. During this class, we will aspire to answer the following questions: How can Chicago’s cultural and social history be understood through an analysis of its public spaces? How might one read Chicago’s public spaces as if they were a written text? How have Chicagoans come to value certain texts and devalue others? In what ways do the city’s written and non-written texts shape how we think of ourselves? What does it mean to inhabit a metropolis?
ENGL 161: Writing the Revolution
CRN14388 (TR 8:00-9:15); CRN14427 (TR 9:30-10:45);CRN14399 (TR 12:30-1:45)
In this class, we will analyze Emma Goldman’s highly romantic and wildly impractical theory of anarchism. Since Goldman became an anarchist primarily in response to the treatment of Haymarket anarchists, we will start here in Chicago, 1886, move to the early 1900s when Goldman lectured throughout the U.S., and finally make connections to contemporary movements and politics. We will examine Goldman’s essays, which are rich in references to the work of respected scientists, sexologists, and literary writers as well as a few quacks (!). We will hone our critical thinking skills, develop our own positions, and write about the justice system, education, gender, politics, and class. Finally, we will examine the way in which many of Goldman’s arguments are strikingly relevant today. We will be entering into an intellectual conversation on anarchism and students will be positioning themselves within that conversation. The later half of the semester will be dedicated to employing our critical thinking skills and writing a research paper. Our text, From Inquiry To Academic Writing: A Practical Guide, explains how to develop ideas, analyze essays, synthesize sources, construct a thesis, organize an essay, conduct basic research, and use appropriate styles and forms of citation.
ENGL 161: Writing Analytically about Ethics and Politics
CRN 14401 (TR 11:00-12:15); CRN14383 (TR 2:00-3:15);CRN22117 (TR 3:30-4:45)
Ford, William, Dr.
This course is designed to prepare you to write academic research papers, specifically, position papers (papers that analyze a controversy, proposing and defending a solution to it), partly by involving you in readings and discussions about many of the ethical and political controversies of our time. In connection with our primary writing text, From Inquiry to Academic Writing: A Practical Guide, we’ll examine two philosophically-based texts: one (Understand Ethics) that will provide us with an organized overview of ethical (and, to some extent, political) ideas, and another (Understand Political Philosophy) that provides a similar overview of political questions and theories as they have been considered and developed throughout the history of Western Civilization up to the present. Looking at ethical and political questions in a more disciplined analytical and philosophical way will not only help you to sort through alternative positions to find the one that makes the most sense to you, but it will also give you the opportunity (and incentive) to learn some very practical skills to help in the cultivation of your analytical writing. To begin with, you will learn some easy and effective ways to analyze the range of opinion on specific ethical and political issues, how to identify major points of conflict, how to formulate research questions, and how to recognize unexamined opinions and uncover hidden assumptions. You will also learn techniques for paraphrasing short passages, summarizing longer ones, analyzing complex subjects and controversies, synthesizing (relating together) ideas and arguments from various points of view, and constructing reasonable arguments of your own. Emphasis will be placed on persuasive rhetorical structure, unbiased representation of conflicting positions, identification of underlying principles, rational (and honest) argumentation, and correct documentation of source material. All of this constitutes excellent preparation, not only for college-level research, but also for making everyday decisions (or life-changing ones) concerning your own ethics and politics. No prior knowledge of ethics, logic, politics (or philosophy in general) is required.
ENGL 161: Writing About College and Career
CRN 26879 (TR 2:00-3:15)
You have made a significant commitment of time and money by choosing to enroll in classes at UIC. Why? What do you expect from your university education? What do you hope to achieve while you are a student and after you graduate? As college tuition continues to rise, student loans mount, and technology evolves, many people are asking: Is college worth it? Is it time to reinvent postsecondary education? Is college necessary for a successful career? We will explore possible answers to these questions and initiate further inquiry into the topic of college and career as you learn more about academic research and writing. You will write a series of shorter assignments including a summary, a synthesized analysis, and a research paper proposal. Your final writing project will be a 10-page documented research paper in which you join the academic conversation as you pursue your own specific inquiry within the broader context of issues concerning college and career. You will develop and support your own distinct claim in relation to the research you have done. As further goals for this class, I hope that as a result of the class conversations we have and the research you do, you will gain a fuller understanding of why you are in college, what you hope to accomplish here, and how you will go about achieving your goals, and I hope you will become an advocate for your own academic success and that of others.
ENGL 161: Writing About Urban Campuses in Global Cities
CRN 14456 (TR 12:30-1:45); CRN14398 (TR 2:00-3:15); CRN14403 (TR 3:30-4:45)
This section of English 161 will examine the relationships between urban universities and their cities. We will begin with Sharon Haar’s book,The City as Campus: Urbanism and Higher Education in Chicago, which reads the institutional, social, and architectural history of UIC as a case study for a broader analysis of the role of universities in the global cities of the twenty-first century. Working from the threads of her argument, we will study a variety of urban universities, with a special focus on those in Chicago, to consider both the ways campuses can support the growth and development of cities and the ways urban contexts enrich the educational missions of universities. This exploration will be structured by the practices of academic research and writing. Students will write a series of essays employing the strategies of summary, analysis, and synthesis. This work will culminate in a major research project that will provide students an opportunity to make an argument about the role of universities in contemporary cities.
ENGL 161: “Chicago Works?” Writing Through the Issues of the Working Poor
CRN 14465 (TR 9:30-10:45); CRN14469 (TR 11:00-12:15); CRN26882 (TR 12:30-1:45)
In this course, we will extend and further develop our skills that evolved in English 160. We will enter even further into public conversations and their consequences, first discerning what these conversations about the “working poor,” in fact, are, assessing their validity, and articulating our own, well-supported arguments. As summary, analysis, and synthesis are central components of the academic research paper, we will practice these, and we will learn to find and evaluate a variety of primary and secondary sources for our final projects. One of our goals is to identify and participate in public conversations about poverty and work. In order to do this we will each bring in one newspaper or magazine article per week. It can be any piece that interested you for any reason. Please identify the issue at hand, what/who you think the author is responding to, and consider how the author defines/uses major terms such as poverty, work, welfare, etc. This will be part of your journal and will help you move toward your final research portfolio as well as spark class discussions. Our first three writing projects, which are summary, analysis, and synthesis essays, will be based on David Shipler’sThe Working Poor and the Course Packet (includes: “The Myth of the Working Poor” by Steven Malanga; “The Working Poor” by Tim Jones; “Wal-Mart’s Urban Romance” by Ta-Nehisi and Paul Coates; selections from When Work Disappears by William Julius Wilson, essays by Malcolm Gladwell and Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich). The fourth project is an annotated bibliography and final project outline, and the final research portfolio will be the culmination, in the form of a ten-page paper, of the semester’s inquiries and efforts.
ENGL 161: Writing About Corporations
CRN 14390 (TR 2:00-3:15); CRN14397 (TR 3:30-4:45)
What is a corporation? Where did corporations come from? How did this particular institution develop? As citizens of a country that prides itself on its economic system, we Americans know a lot less about the institutions that make up that economy than about the institutions that make up our government. And increasingly, that ignorance is proving costly, as we realize the extent to which those “economic” institutions actually are our government. What role should corporations play in setting public policy? Are stockholder earnings the proper measure of a company’s success? The purpose of English 161 is to have you enter into an intellectual “conversation” on a particular subject, and to position yourself within that conversation. In this course, you will enter into an academic conversation about the role major corporations play in American politics and culture. During the first half of the semester you will become familiar with the contexts and genres of academic texts and learn about the topic of the inquiry. We’ll do this by examining corporations from an academic perspective, questioning the balance between the virtues of civic institutions and the demands of corporate interests. Papers written during this portion of the class will make use of intellectual tools such as summary, analysis, synthesis, and argument. Skills such as paraphrase and quotation will be emphasized. During the second half of the semester, you’ll do independent research on a topic related to our conversation. The class will function as a research community or working group in support of this independent inquiry. By conducting independent research you will learn what it is like to participate in academic culture—to pose your own questions about important issues, and to make arguments in response to what others have said. You will make use of library sources for your chosen topic, particularly academic journal articles and books from a variety of disciplines. This inquiry will result in a fully documented, 10-page research paper on the influence of large corporations on American politics and culture. .
ENGL 161: Writing about Chicago: Pursuing Inquiry through Research
CRN 14405 (TR 8:00-9:15);CRN14381 (TR 11:00-12:15)
Reading about Chicago’s 19th-century emergence as a mighty industrial force is difficult to reconcile with today’s city of Millennium Park, but this dynamic interplay characterizes Chicago’s remarkable story. In reading the history of Chicago, students will gain competence in academic writing through summary and analysis practice. For final research projects on Chicago, students will choose topics that intersect with their own academic and personal interests.
ENGL 161: Mental Illness and the Idioms (or Epidemics) of Distress
CRN 14442 (TR 11:00-12:15); CRN14471 (TR 12:30-1:45)
In this course, we will examine the social forces, manipulations and motives that contribute to the labeling of mental illness. We will explore and analyze “idioms of distress” as well as links between contemporary psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry, popular and professional knowledge, and the simultaneous selling of both disease and cure. You will (or should, if you do the work) develop critical thinking and analytical writing skills in the process of composing several writing projects. You will apply these skills more comprehensively in a final, lengthier research paper, thus inserting their own voice and argument in the larger conversation about these issues. You will compose a Summary Paper, Extended Analysis, and Research Proposal, culminating in the production of a longer research paper regarding in some way mental illness, its diagnosis or treatment, the pharmaceutical industry’s relationship with the medical profession, the power of mass persuasion & stigmatization, or a closely related topic of your choosing.
ENGL 161: Give Me a Place to Stand (and I’ll Move the Earth): Writing About the Scope and Impact of Mathematics
CRN 14396 (TR 8:00- 9:15); CRN26193 (TR 9:30- 10:45);CRN14472 (TR 12:30-1:45)
“Give me a place to stay and I’ll move the earth,” proclaimed the Reverend Al Green on his take of the Gospel standard “Up Above My Head (I Hear Music in the Air).” While it’s clear that Green was quoting the standard, is it possible that Green was referencing more than Gospel? That he was in fact alluding to that great Greek mathematician Archimedes, who claimed that given a lever and a place to stand he could move the earth? Certainly there’s a difference between stay and stand, but the similarity between the terms might give one pause. And that’s the heart of this section of English 161—to pause and consider the presence, impact, and relationship of mathematics to us and the world we’re treading on. Through daily reading and writing assignments, group presentations, and writing projects emphasizing components of academic writing that equip students to engage in independent research, students will learn how to better use summary, analysis, and synthesis in order to write academically. The course also seeks to view academic writing through the lens of mathematics in the hopes that students who see themselves as stronger in one discipline (Mathematics or Composition) at the expense of the other (Composition or Mathematics) might find that their perceived weaknesses are in fact strengths. After all, both Mathematics and Composition are languages and so depend on orders of operations to communicate or make conversation. Both seek to express, question, solve, and, perhaps most importantly, explain. After all, aren’t mathematical proofs in effect stories? Aren’t stories attempts to explain or tell some truth? And don’t the best stories, in their attempts to express truth, invite retellings, entertain a range of interpretations, and at least serve as some other to speak back to?
ENGL 161: The Language of “Us” and “Them”: Linguistics and Identity
CRN 14422 (TR 8:00-9:15);CRN26881 (TR 2:00-3:15)
This class is designed to recognize the benefits and advantages of bilingualism, and to serve the needs of bilingual and English-language-learning students. In this class we will study language variation with a focus on how language shapes our own and other’s sense of identity. Examining major national linguistic events such as the Oakland Ebonics debate and the English-only movement, the class will attempt to separate truth from myth as course members gain mastery of one discourse community in particular: Academia. Please note: This section is designed to meet the needs of English-language learners. Instructor permission is required to enroll.
Blended courses have a reduced number of physical class meetings. This reduction is made possible by haveing a significant number of activities and assignments done online and through new media.
ENGL 161: What Can Poetry Teach Us?
CRN 25973 (Thursday 9:30-10:45); CRN14468(Thursday 11:00-12:15); CRN32293 (Thursday 2:00-3:15)
Leavey, Andrea Witzke
The twentieth-century poet, Marianne Moore, begins her poem “Poetry” with the line, “I too dislike it.” The “too” implies, of course, that the speaker is not alone. Poetry is not always easy--even for poets--and yet it has much to teach us, be it as readers, as writers, as thinkers, as people. As Gertrude Reif Hughes puts it in her essay “How Poems Teach Us to Think,” “[i]n trying to understand an obscure poem we have to loosen some of our habitual responses. Riddles are an extreme example. They baffle on purpose, using disguise in order to reveal, so they offer a telling instance of how poems teach us to think.” American poet and businessman Dana Gioia would agree. Gioia felt his poetic training and “background in imagination, in language and in literature” gave him an enormous advantage in the business world. So how does poetry provide a route to developing the “qualitative and creative” skills and “creative judgment” that Gioia believes poetry gave him? In this course, we will examine that question as well as learn methods for reading and understanding many kinds of contemporary poetry. We will also read John Timberland Newman’s How Did Poetry Survive?, a book that explores the links between American poetry and the rise of urban culture over the last century. Students will produce four writing projects over the course of the term, finishing with an extended, documented research paper about a particular aspect of poetry, its relation to American culture, and how it could be used in innovative ways in areas of life and society that aren’t always associated with poetry. Please note: This is a blended version of the course, which means class will meet once a week with all other activities being completed through online and new media activities and assignments.