English 101 is described in the Undergraduate Catalog as “a study of expository and argumentative writing. Composition stresses organization, coherence, structure, mechanics, and the fundamentals of research. Readings selected by the instructor are used for composition topics.”
Our class will focus on developing your college-level reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. The careful analysis of an array of texts – written and visual, fiction and non-fiction – will equip you with tools for reading that are, in turn, vital to effective academic writing.
The class is intended to offer you new ways of seeing the act of writing as well as numerous and varied opportunities to practice writing, an activity that like many others improves with experience. You will be encouraged to see (and to experience) writing as an ongoing process that can be improved through analysis and revision, rather than as a magical one-time event that automatically works for some but not for others.
Writing is fundamentally about communicating, involving not only a writer but also an audience. We will concentrate our efforts on developing skills that aid in conveying meaning to an audience: using effective grammar and mechanics, presenting clear explanations and examples, and constructing convincing arguments. Ultimately, we will study the elements of effective writing not simply to produce correct sentences or refined paragraphs but in order to communicate ideas to an audience.
More specifically, we will practice these skills through performing cultural studies, analyzing how culture’s many elements work together to influence the ways we think about and inhabit ourselves and our world. American popular culture will be our central focus, as we look at texts of various forms in order to read what they might be telling us, intentionally or not, about America and Americans.