English 101 Course Descriptions

English 101 Preference Form

Members of the Class of 2023 should complete this form by Wednesday, May 29, 2019.

Fall 2019

(click here for Spring 2020 descriptions)

Section A01:  Pop Culture
Pop culture has become such a part of our world that we may not fully realize the ways in which it influences us. In this class, students will study and respond to a variety of readings which analyze and question the effects pop culture has on society at large and in their own lives. By the end of the semester students will be able to create comprehensive works through practicing writing as a process—from the early draft stages and research, to revision and rewriting. Working closely with peers and the instructor is an essential part of this course. Class will rely heavily on workshops, peer reviews, conferences, class discussions and presentations.

Section A02:  Literature and the Everyday
Although most of us take it for granted, literature—poetry, fiction, and drama especially—surrounds us every day and is just about everywhere we look. If you see it, too, for example, on t-shirts, adapted into film, alluded to in speeches and on the nightly news, and, of course on FB and twitter, then this section of 101 might be for you. Through lectures, class discussions of course readings, research and related writing assignments, and small group projects, students will pose critical questions and then craft informed answers about these genres of literature and the ways that they function in everyday life.

Section A03:  First Year Writing
First-Year Writing teaches students to think flexibly about writing. In this class, you’ll learn how to think about audience, purpose, and rhetorical contexts. Course work includes developing thesis statements; selecting, organizing, presenting and documenting evidence, and refining prose. You’ll confer individually with your professor about your writing. You’ll also participate in some sort of writing workshop, whether in the form of paired peer review or a full-class discussion about a draft in progress. Ideally by taking this course you’ll become a reflective practitioner–that is, a thoughtful writer–about an ancient but continuously evolving craft.

Section A04:  First Year Writing
First-Year Writing teaches students to think flexibly about writing. In this class, you’ll learn how to think about audience, purpose, and rhetorical contexts. Course work includes developing thesis statements; selecting, organizing, presenting and documenting evidence, and refining prose. You’ll confer individually with your professor about your writing. You’ll also participate in some sort of writing workshop, whether in the form of paired peer review or a full-class discussion about a draft in progress. Ideally by taking this course you’ll become a reflective practitioner–that is, a thoughtful writer–about an ancient but continuously evolving craft.

Section A05:  Writing about Fiction, Film and Fact
We’ll practice writing for different purposes and different audiences, producing multiple drafts. Much of our writing will be prompted by non-fiction and fictional texts in which we’ll examine the authors’ assumptions. A few films will also be part of our stimulus for class discussion and writing papers. We’ll share our writing and practice peer review as well as explore the lives of minimum wage workers in Barbara Ehrenreich’s ‘Nickel and Dimed’. We’ll write in and out of class, review a play and a film, and strengthen our vocabulary and paragraph construction through our reading and writing. David Sedaris, Danielle Evans, and Louise Erdrich are some of the authors we’ll read, discuss, and write about in this course. Students are expected to purchase or rent the required texts.

Section A06:  Writing about the Connected Life
Do you belong to Generation C? Marketers use the term to describe consumers who are especially connected via social media. These individuals shoot videos, share images and post written opinions. If you’re reading this, you’re probably part of this creative generation. But what does it mean to be so connected? Is everyone in the world equally connected? And is there a way to be someone other than a consumer? What happens when we dare to disconnect? We’ll pursue these questions, along with others that you pose, as we explore arguments related to networked life. Writing provides us with ways to discover, learn, invent, reflect and express ourselves; it also allows us to communicate with audiences for a range of purposes.  Included in our understanding of “writing” will be texts that combine words and image, as we draft, revise, edit, and workshop ideas. This course will also feature weekly, one-hour experiments disconnecting from digital devices.

Section A07:  Writing About Chocolate, Dragons, and Other Problems
The course will be conducted as a workshop, with students completing assignments tailored to their writing needs and conferring frequently with the instructor. Most assignments will be analytic essays of the sort expected in other college courses (e.g., comparison and contrast, deductive essay, book review, and literary or quantitative analysis), yet some of the topics will allow for some creativity (e.g., dragon fighting, eating chocolates, and personal experiences).  Expect to do lots of writing, both formal and informal—and expect your writing to improve.

Section A08:  Writing about Film
Movies have been an integral part of American culture throughout the twentieth century, and look set to continue to reflect and, in some ways, direct American culture well into the twenty-first century. By looking at specific American movies, this course will investigate the ways in which film has reflected, critiqued and even produced American cultural identity in the twentieth century. More importantly, we will investigate how learning the language of film can help us think about the role language plays in the production of creative and critical arguments: how studying the discourse of film might act as a model for relearning the art of argumentation. By reading film in this writerly fashion, we will learn to self-reflect upon the questions, challenges, and choices that make up the process of writing.

Section A09:  Pop Culture
Pop culture has become such a part of our world that we may not fully realize the ways in which it influences us. In this class, students will study and respond to a variety of readings which analyze and question the effects pop culture has on society at large and in their own lives. By the end of the semester students will be able to create comprehensive works through practicing writing as a process—from the early draft stages and research, to revision and rewriting. Working closely with peers and the instructor is an essential part of this course. Class will rely heavily on workshops, peer reviews, conferences, class discussions and presentations.

Section A10:  Writing About Thinking
Writing About Thinking focuses on writing as a way to think. The assigned essays, to be read weekly, are by authors who wrote their way toward thought, who solidified their thinking through the use of vivid illustrations and who clarified their ideas in order to share them with their reading audience. For many authors, unlike many of us, writing is how they think; all other thinking methods (oration, discussion, etc.) simply stir the pot.  Yet, stirring the pot is a necessary precursor to writing; we need to speak to each other about the works we are reading, not only in terms of content but to examine the structure and approach that the content determined. Why do we do this?  Because what the writer is trying to say will be reflected in how he or she writes. The writing produced by students in Writing About Thinking may address private questions, critical evaluations of current controversies and close encounters with the risky thinking that comes from questioning the status quo.  In other words, in Writing About Thinking, all ideas are on the table. We will read Jonathan Kozol, Vladimir Nabokov, Joan Didion, Alice Walker, Brent Staples, Mark Twain and Virginia Woolf as well as current editorials and blogs. Finally, we will examine and discuss cultural interpretations of the world through any medium available.  Writing About Thinking is writing and reading intensive and includes the keeping of an academic journal, active participation in class discussions, and engagement of each other’s written work through the on-going process of peer review and workshops

Section A11:  Ways of Knowing:  What We Know, How We Know
This course addresses the slippery realms of knowledge, particularly as they pertain to reading and writing. What do we know? How do we know what we know? Are facts knowledge? What is a body of knowledge? Who decides what is important to know? Together, we will explore what knowing means in different contexts, and what values are placed on knowledge depending on perspective.

Section A12:  Writing about Film
Movies have been an integral part of American culture throughout the twentieth century, and look set to continue to reflect and, in some ways, direct American culture well into the twenty-first century. By looking at specific American movies, this course will investigate the ways in which film has reflected, critiqued and even produced American cultural identity in the twentieth century. More importantly, we will investigate how learning the language of film can help us think about the role language plays in the production of creative and critical arguments: how studying the discourse of film might act as a model for relearning the art of argumentation. By reading film in this writerly fashion, we will learn to self-reflect upon the questions, challenges, and choices that make up the process of writing.

Section A13:  Writing:  Math, Science and Technology
In this course students examine the many ways that writers can communicate mathematical, scientific and technical information to varied audiences. In the process of improving their own writing, students will learn to adapt the best techniques from sources that range from technical papers to explanatory texts for popular audiences, from essays by scientists to science fiction extrapolation and dramatization.

Section A14:  Writing about Fiction, Film and Fact
We’ll practice writing for different purposes and different audiences, producing multiple drafts. Much of our writing will be prompted by non-fiction and fictional texts in which we’ll examine the authors’ assumptions. A few films will also be part of our stimulus for class discussion and writing papers. We’ll share our writing and practice peer review as well as explore the lives of minimum wage workers in Barbara Ehrenreich’s ‘Nickel and Dimed’. We’ll write in and out of class, review a play and a film, and strengthen our vocabulary and paragraph construction through our reading and writing. David Sedaris, Danielle Evans, and Louise Erdrich are some of the authors we’ll read, discuss, and write about in this course. Students are expected to purchase or rent the required texts.

Section A15:  Writing About Nature, Environment, and Place
Students in this section of first-year writing will read and discuss essays, articles, and fiction that probe the contradictions surrounding environmental issues in the United States today. Readings represent a variety of stances and include newspaper features, fiction and fictional accounts, and academic essays. Topics include the perils of toxic waste, the growth of cities, the organic food business, land and property rights, and the wonder of insects, among others. This writing-intensive course gives students the opportunity to learn and practice writing academic essays, not personal essays or personal responses that engage analytically with the readings.

Section A16:  Literature and the Everyday
Although most of us take it for granted, literature—poetry, fiction, and drama especially—surrounds us everyday and is just about everywhere we look. If you see it, too, for example, on t-shirts, adapted into film, alluded to in speeches and on the nightly news, and, of course on FB and twitter, then this section of 101 might be for you. Through lectures, class discussions of course readings, research and related writing assignments, and small group projects, students will pose critical questions and then craft informed answers about these genres of literature and the ways that they function in everyday life.

 

Spring Semester 2020

(click here for Fall 2019 descriptions)

Section B17:  Writing about Film
Movies have been an integral part of American culture throughout the twentieth century, and look set to continue to reflect and, in some ways, direct American culture well into the twenty-first century. By looking at specific American movies, this course will investigate the ways in which film has reflected, critiqued and even produced American cultural identity in the twentieth century. More importantly, we will investigate how learning the language of film can help us think about the role language plays in the production of creative and critical arguments: how studying the discourse of film might act as a model for relearning the art of argumentation. By reading film in this writerly fashion, we will learn to self-reflect upon the questions, challenges, and choices that make up the process of writing.

Section B18:  Literature and the Everyday
Although most of us take it for granted, literature—poetry, fiction, and drama especially—surrounds us every day and is just about everywhere we look. If you see it, too, for example, on t-shirts, adapted into film, alluded to in speeches and on the nightly news, and, of course on FB and twitter, then this section of 101 might be for you. Through lectures, class discussions of course readings, research and related writing assignments, and small group projects, students will pose critical questions and then craft informed answers about these genres of literature and the ways that they function in everyday life.

Section B19:  Writing about War
How do we come to terms with armed conflict as a part of our world and our history? What kinds of people or experiences come to mind when we think about war? And who can write about it? Do we grant to civilians, refugees, children, women, or journalists the same kind of authority that we give to soldiers who have seen combat. How do we know who or what to believe?  In this class we will read, view, discuss, and write about examples of literature, film, news writing, comics, journalism, and video games about conflict and its impact. In this class we will write a lot, read each other’s work, and learn to understand and meet the demands of different assignment genres, from the thesis paper and book review to the presentation and website. By the time you leave the class, you will have built a profile of yourself as a writer, reflected on what strategies work best for you, and determined the next steps in your writing life.

Section B20:  Writing about Travel and Exploration
At some point in our lives, we have all traveled somewhere new and unfamiliar—a new country, a new school, or a new neighborhood. This course examines what it means to travel and explore. What motivates people to seek out the new? How do people navigate unfamiliar places or cultures? What resources are relied upon or given authority by travelers in unknown terrain?

To think through these questions, we will read works by a diversity of authors, including Henry James, Rudyard Kipling, James Baldwin, David Foster Wallace, and Pico Ayer.  In doing so, we will pay particular attention to the form as well as the content of each text. We will ask: what opinions or viewpoints are implicitly conveyed or endorsed in a text? How does writing style affect our perception of the authority, impartiality, and reasonableness of a given text? How does writing style affect our perception of the authority, impartiality, and reasonableness of a given text? How does a writer achieve his or her intended effect? What kinds of ideas or experiences are most effectively expressed by which writing styles?

Section B22:  Writing about Pop Culture
Pop culture has become such a part of our world that we may not fully realize the ways in which it influences us. In this class, students will study and respond to a variety of readings which analyze and question the effects pop culture has on society at large and in their own lives. By the end of the semester students will be able to create comprehensive works through practicing writing as a process—from the early draft stages and research, to revision and rewriting. Working closely with peers and the instructor is an essential part of this course. Class will rely heavily on workshops, peer reviews, conferences, class discussions and presentations.

Section B23:  Technology and Identity
Is technology a means of exhibiting our identity? Or does technology shape our identity? This course will explore via writing exercises and multimodal projects the influence of technology on the 21st Century American life.

Section B24:  Into the Wild:  Escape and/or Transcendence
Most Americans pursue “unfiltered experience.”  “A yearning for elsewhere, for a life beyond the one we’re leading,” suggests Jonathan Raban, “is universal [but] in the national mythology, it’s the quintessential American experience to arrive in a wild and inhospitable place, bend raw nature to one’s own advantage, and make it home.”  The “bending” might not be as important as the getting there, the getting out there as in Outward Bound, out into the woods, on the river, up into the mountains.  We are accustomed to seeing such an experience as “sublime,” a romantic vision discovered or re-discovered by romantic philosophers, novelists, filmmakers, and poets, so much so that perhaps going out into nature has become a commodity, a vacation package, complete with tour guides and slick pamphlets. This quest for a kind of transcendence associated with nature has existed since the very beginnings of the American experience and has recently been examined by Florence Williams in The Nature Fix, her exploration of neuroscientists’ grapplings about how we are affected by the natural world.   We will read and see films based upon Into the Wild and “Brokeback Mountain” as well as the film, “Grizzly Man,” and such novels as In the Lake of the Woods, Bay of Souls, Point Omega, Jazz, and others.  Classes involve discussion, student-led panels for each book and film, and five five-page papers.  It will be a sublime experience.

Section B25:  Writing About Thinking
Writing About Thinking focuses on writing as a way to think. The assigned essays, to be read weekly, are by authors who wrote their way toward thought, who solidified their thinking through the use of vivid illustrations and who clarified their ideas in order to share them with their reading audience. For many authors, unlike many of us, writing is how they think; all other thinking methods (oration, discussion, etc.) simply stir the pot.  Yet, stirring the pot is a necessary precursor to writing; we need to speak to each other about the works we are reading, not only in terms of content but to examine the structure and approach that the content determined. Why do we do this?  Because what the writer is trying to say will be reflected in how he or she writes. The writing produced by students in Writing About Thinking may address private questions, critical evaluations of current controversies and close encounters with the risky thinking that comes from questioning the status quo.  In other words, in Writing About Thinking, all ideas are on the table. We will read Jonathan Kozol, Vladimir Nabokov, Joan Didion, Alice Walker, Brent Staples, Mark Twain and Virginia Woolf as well as current editorials and blogs. Finally, we will examine and discuss cultural interpretations of the world through any medium available.  Writing About Thinking is writing and reading intensive and includes the keeping of an academic journal, active participation in class discussions, and engagement of each other’s written work through the on-going process of peer review and workshops

Section B26:  Writing About Multicultural Lives
What do you think of when you hear the word “culture”? Race? Religion? Traditions? Language? Gender? What does it mean to be living among people who embody different aspects of culture? What does it mean to identify with more than one culture simultaneously? We’ll look at some possible answers, along with the work of Anjani Patel, David Sedaris, Danzy Senna, and Deborah Tannen, then use some of these possibilities to explore Wheaton’s permanent collection of art. This course will have elements of traditional lecture and discussion along with workshop and small groups. We’ll use the different aspects of culture as a framework to discuss the larger issues of writing in both formal and informal assignments. Each student will have frequent one-on-one consultations with the instructor. There will be an emphasis on process and revision while we develop the skills needed for college-level writing.

Section B27:  Writing about Film
Movies have been an integral part of American culture throughout the twentieth century, and look set to continue to reflect and, in some ways, direct American culture well into the twenty-first century. By looking at specific American movies, this course will investigate the ways in which film has reflected, critiqued and even produced American cultural identity in the twentieth century. More importantly, we will investigate how learning the language of film can help us think about the role language plays in the production of creative and critical arguments: how studying the discourse of film might act as a model for relearning the art of argumentation. By reading film in this writerly fashion, we will learn to self-reflect upon the questions, challenges, and choices that make up the process of writing.