Dr. Thomas Pfau Winter2006
Office: R 230K
Office Hours: by appointment
“If a lion could talk, we could not understand him.”
“Human kind / Cannot bear very much reality.”
T. S. Eliot
Required Texts and Supplies
Ballenger, Bruce. The Curious Researcher: a Guide to Writing Research Papers, 4th ed. Pearson/Longman, 2004. (CR)
De Botton, Alain. Status Anxiety. New York: Random, 2004. (SA)
Truss, Lynn. Eats, Shoots &Leaves: the Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. New York: Gotham, 2004. (ESL)
Recommended: Hacker, Diana. A Writer’s Reference, 5th ed. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003
You should also own and use a good college dictionary and thesaurus.
Course Description and Objectives
English 201 is a writing workshop designed to give you experience in writing college-level research papers, as well as extend your knowledge of thinking and reading critically and clearly. Through regular assignments of varying lengths and complexity, you will study research techniques, summarizing, source analysis, argumentation styles, and idea development. The course presents reading and writing as a means of exploring, developing and communicating ideas within the communities in which we live.
1. Attendance – You are expected to attend all class meetings, and to arrive on time and prepared to participate in discussions. Since this is a workshop course your attendance is essential: what writers learn from workshops cannot be made up, nor can it be learned when working alone. Be sure that you do not need to leave the classroom (excepting an emergency) until class is dismissed. If you are absent you will not be able to make up missed in-class assignments. Seven absences will constitute grounds for failing the course. Absences under the maximum may adversely affect your grade, as can tardiness.
2. Reading – To participate in class you need to keep up with the reading. You are responsible for reading and thinking about all that is assigned for the day before the beginning of class. Readings other than those on the syllabus, from time to time, will be assigned as well, and you are responsible for that reading, even if you are absent the day it is assigned.
3. Writing Assignments – You will be writing three major papers for this course. The papers must be typed double-spaced, with one-inch margins on all sides, and should have a reasonably sized font. These papers will be discussed in writing workshops before the final drafts are submitted. On the days of the workshops, bring at least one neat copy to class, and drafts should include a cover letter explaining 1) what you were trying to accomplish in the draft 2) what you think is going well and 3) what you feel you are having trouble with or would like advice about. If you do not bring a completed draft to the workshop, your essay grade may be reduced. Revision is a vital part of the writing process, and you are encouraged to write multiple drafts of your assignments. Final drafts (hard copies) are due at the beginning of class on the date announced. The grade on late essays will be reduced one letter grade per class. The papers are as follows:
The assignment asks you to choose an issue that has both personal and public significance and to use your own experience as well as outside sources to make a case for the importance of the issue. As you explore multiple kinds of evidence and their effects, you should also consider how personal experience and group identification(s) (which means more than public opinion) affect the issues that we consider important and the kinds of arguments to which we respond.
Rhetorical Case study Analysis
For this assignment choose a public issue or event and identify a group of primary texts that present arguments about the issue. The essay you write in response to the texts should explain to readers the rhetorical situation, including what community or communities are involved, who the interested parties are and what constitutes their interests, what the major positions are, what kinds of arguments are made for each position, who represents the various positions (and whose positions are not represented), and what kinds of evidence are used. You may choose a current issue or one of historical importance, but keep in mind you must work mainly with primary texts: i.e. actual arguments written while the issue is/was in flux, more than commentaries or analyses written after the fact. For example, you might choose to do a case study of a dispute within the last presidential election or an issue within the Iraqi war controversy, but you must work with texts written while the issue was in debate. Of course, you needn’t choose an issue that has been resolved, and it needn’t be controversial. You may also choose an issue of local interest, whether on campus or within the area’s communities, in your workplace or within an organization. Texts for analysis may include transcripts of oral discussions, print documents produced by those interested in the issue, cartoons, advertisements, websites – any text that constitutes an argument about the issue.
Status Anxiety Analysis/Proposal
For this essay you will choose a problem and/or a solution as presented by de Botton’s book and analyze its accuracy and effectiveness, and propose your own elaboration of the book’s ideas. You may take issue with de Botton regarding his ideas as well, and even propose a problem/solution of your own. This investigation should include primary as well secondary sources (Primary sources include interviews, field observation, surveys, etc., as well as analysis of original texts). The final proposal will be presented both as a paper and as an oral presentation. Be as creative as you wish while bearing in mind your objective: to persuade skeptical readers/listeners of both the existence of a problem and/or the reasonableness of your proposed solution.
Other criteria will be discussed as each paper comes up. All of your papers will be evaluated for their organization, pacing, paragraph development, detailed description, precise and effective word choice, transitions to achieve coherence, clear relationship between audience and purpose, and command of spelling and grammar.
You will also be asked to produce response journals, i.e. short writing assignments in response to readings or your own writings. They are intended to help prepare you for group discussion; late responses will not be accepted, but electronic submissions will. The journals should be generally about one to two pages in length, and will be evaluated with a check, check plus or check minus.
The work you turn in for this course must be your own. Sources used must be documented properly. If you have questions about how to do this, either ask me or consult The Curious Researcher and the section on MLA format. Types of academic dishonesty include plagiarism, stealing, cheating, unauthorized collaboration, fabrication, falsification, and complicity in aiding another to commit an act of academic misconduct. Sanctions imposed for cases of academic misconduct include receiving an F for the assignment.
Students with disabilities who have accommodation needs are asked to meet with Disability Support Services to establish their eligibility for accommodation. In addition students are encouraged to review their accommodation requirements with the instructor during the first week of the quarter.
Please refer to the Arts and Humanities Division policies for further information.
Response Journals 15%
Personal-Public Argument 20%
Rhetorical Case Study Analysis 30%
Status Anxiety Analysis/Proposal 25%
In this course A=90 – 100, B=80 – 89, C=70 – 79, D=60 – 69. Borderline grades will be determined first by class participation and then by effort and improvement. Be aware that I do not employ a mathematical average of your work, and will evaluate overall performance as well as essay grades at the end of the term. Note that strong participation can significantly enhance your grade for this course.
Week 1 (Jan3 & 5)
Introduction to course. Invention for Personal-Public Argument. Find something that might not appear to be an argument at first glance, and write a response journal explaining why it is an argument. Discuss journals. Chapter one, part one, of Status Anxiety (SA) and response journal. Begin reading The Curious Researcher (CR).
Week 2 (Jan 10 & 12
Further discussion of Personal-Public Argument. Ch. 2 of SA and Introduction to Eats, Shoots and Leaves (ESL); response journal with regard to either SA or ESL First draft of paper with cover memo due. Workshops. You should have finished reading chapter one of The Curious Researcher (CR).
Week 3 (Jan 17 & 19)
Ch. 3 of SA and “The Tractable Apostrophe” in ESL; write response journals. Drafts due; workshops. By now you should have read chapter two of CR.
Week 4 (Jan 24 & 26)
Personal-Public Argument due Discuss Rhetorical Case Study Analysis. Discuss Toulmin. Choose an editorial for a newspaper and apply the Toulmin method of debate analysis. Reflect on how your analysis affected your response. Ch. 4 of SA and “That’ll Do, Comma” in ESL; write response journal. Begin choosing texts for your analysis.
Week 5 (Jan 31)
Write response journal to what you consider the primary text for your case study and. discuss other texts you will use. Ch. 5 of SA and “Airs and Graces” in ESL; response journal. You should have finished at least chapter 3 of CR.
No class on Feb. 2
Week 6 (Feb 7 & 9)
Initial drafts due; workshops. Ch. 1 and 2, part two, of SA and “Cutting a Dash” in ESL; response journal. Finish chapter 4 of CR. Conferences/Research.
Week 7 (Feb14 & 16)
Drafts due; workshops. Ch 3, part two, of SA and “A Little Used Punctuation Mark” in ESL; response journal. Finish chapter 5 of CR. Research/Conferences.
Week 8 (Feb 21 & 23)
Ch. 4, part two, of SA and “Merely Conventional Signs” in ESL; response journal. Drafts due; workshops.
Week 9 (Feb28 & Mar 2)
Rhetorical Case Study Analysis due. Write an outline of your proposed projects, making a case for the one that interests you most. Discussion. Ch. 5, part two, of SA and response journal.
Week 10 (Mar 7 & 9)
Research/Conferences. Draft of Analysis/Proposal due. Workshops. Presentation preparation.
Week 11 (Mar 14 & 16)
Presentations. Draft of proposal due; workshops.
Week 12 (Mar 21 & 23)
Presentations. Analysis/Proposal due. Conclusions.