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English Writing Courses

The English Department offers more courses that satisfy the Intensive Writing 1 and Intensive Writing 2 Proficiencies than any other department on campus. Most students at PC take their Writing 1 course in the English Department, and a substantial number also take their Writing 2 courses here. Our writing courses are not primarily about grammar and mechanics; they are small-group seminars that use writing as a means of learning about a particular topic. Along the way, students develop skills in rhetoric and argumentation that they will apply to any discipline they choose to study. The courses for Spring 2020 are listed below.*

Writing 1

ENG101-001 | TR 100-215 | 1987 | Rebecca Karni
Making Sense
How do literature, film, and other forms of “culture” create meaning? In this course we will explore this question by close reading, as well as thinking and writing critically about, examples from literature and film, as well as scholarly, journalistic, and other texts concerned in one way or other with meaning-making. In the process, you’ll be introduced to a number of rhetorical and critical strategies to formulate your own arguments about a variety of texts (including films and images, among others). These strategies will include basic narratological and semiotic approaches.

ENG101-002 | TWF 1030-1120 | 1988 | Jenny Platz
Digital Identities
Everyday we encounter digital texts such as social media, YouTube, and video games. With constant contact with these narratives, how are our identities shaped by the media that surrounds us? Through the theme of digital identities, students will learn to analyze digital texts and create persuasive arguments about their deeper cultural meaning and impact. We will read essays on digital media, film studies, and identity, and will compose essays in a variety of genres and styles. The class will review literary conventions and rhetorical strategies to create effective arguments regarding the self in the digital world.

ENG101-003 | MWF 130-220 | 1989 | James Beaver

ENG101-004 | MWF 1230-120 | 1990 | Pat Armstrong
The Examined Life
“How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” — E.M. Forster. In this class, we will read essays about the environment, race, gender, social media and sexuality, among other topics. Students will explore these topics, along with self-generated topics, in their journals. Rather than merely writing down what they already know, however, students will write to reflect on the readings and thereby learn what they think through writing. These journal entries will provide the materials from which the students will shape their formal essays, and these essays will be read and discussed in class. Through a rigorous workshopping process, students will learn to analyze and evaluate every aspect of an essay, including its rhetorical strategies (organization, thesis, tone, evidence, etc.) and its mechanics (grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, etc.). By learning how to analyze other students’ work, students will learn how to analyze—and, thus, edit—their own work.

ENG101-005 | TWF 830-920 | 1991 | Beth Leonardo Silva
This Is Us? Exploring What It Means to Be a Sibling
What does it mean to be a sibling? Is it simply a biological or legal connection, or something more? This semester, we will study rhetorical strategies and think about writing as an ongoing process of reflection and revision, in order to create complex, analytical, and effective arguments. We will also interrogate what it means to have or to be a sibling. What is it like to be an individual within a predetermined community that, in some ways, you can never opt out of? We will also study how the concept of the sibling has been used as a rhetorical strategy for centuries.

ENG101-006 | MR 830-945 | 1992 | Milena Radeva-Costello
Community, Altruism, and Giving
This course aims to develop your writing skills beyond competence through a variety of writing and reading assignments, draft workshops, and class discussions.  We will read a variety of literary texts and popular essays on the topics of community, altruism, service, and democracy.  We will discuss the very possibility of giving that philosopher Jacques Derrida questions in Given Time.  With Susan Glaspell’s play The Inheritors, we will comment on the role of the university in America, and on education as a gift.  We will ask what it means to give, what motivates donors, how philanthropy affects its beneficiaries, if private giving challenges the practices of democracy, and what is the place of the Catholic idea of caritas in modern welfare society.  Finally, in this course, you will perfect your grammar, punctuation, paragraph coherence and sentence organization skills, use the resources in the library to write persuasive argumentative essays, and document your sources in the correct MLA citation style.

ENG101-008 | TWF 930-1020 | 1994 | Elaine Brousseau
Becoming a Self
How do we become individuals distinct from our families and our friends? How do we become part of and eventually impact the larger communities (school, work, neighborhood, country) that we find ourselves in as we journey into adulthood? How do we identify what we are passionate about and how do we keep that passion from being swallowed up by the demands of these larger communities? This course will examine this theme through written and visual texts — for example, a short story, a movie, a theater performance, magazine and newspaper articles. The essays you write about these and other texts will help you frame arguments as you explore how the self emerges and defines itself in different environments.

ENG101-009 | TR 230-345 | 1995 | Rebecca Karni
Making Sense
How do literature, film, and other forms of “culture” create meaning? In this course we will explore this question by close reading, as well as thinking and writing critically about, examples from literature and film, as well as scholarly, journalistic, and other texts concerned in one way or other with meaning-making. In the process, you’ll be introduced to a number of rhetorical and critical strategies to formulate your own arguments about a variety of texts (including films and images, among others). These strategies will include basic narratological and semiotic approaches.

ENG101-010 | MWF 1230-120 | 1996 | Lucas DuClos
Claiming Your Education
In this course you will explore big ideas in education as they relate to your experience as a student and your goals given your academic interests. You might explore how interest in a task can develop as a consequence of the effort you put in, or why it matters to exercise choice as a student. Your focus will not be chosen randomly. You will use your practice in several writing genres to engage in a more critical discussion with leading voices in education about the topics that matter to you most. The features of each writing genre we practice will provide unique insight into your chosen topic and into your own educational experience. Whether you’re keeping your options open, studying finance or education itself, you will engage in a more critical exploration of the theories and practices informing and shaping that education.

ENG101-011 | MWF 1130-1220 | 1997 | Pat Armstrong
The Examined Life
“How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” — E.M. Forster. In this class, we will read essays about the environment, race, gender, social media and sexuality, among other topics. Students will explore these topics, along with self-generated topics, in their journals. Rather than merely writing down what they already know, however, students will write to reflect on the readings and thereby learn what they think through writing. These journal entries will provide the materials from which the students will shape their formal essays, and these essays will be read and discussed in class. Through a rigorous workshopping process, students will learn to analyze and evaluate every aspect of an essay, including its rhetorical strategies (organization, thesis, tone, evidence, etc.) and its mechanics (grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, etc.). By learning how to analyze other students’ work, students will learn how to analyze—and, thus, edit—their own work.

ENG101-012 | TWF 1030-1120 | 2515 | Elaine Brousseau
Becoming a Self
How do we become individuals distinct from our families and our friends? How do we become part of and eventually impact the larger communities (school, work, neighborhood, country) that we find ourselves in as we journey into adulthood? How do we identify what we are passionate about and how do we keep that passion from being swallowed up by the demands of these larger communities? This course will examine this theme through written and visual texts — for example, a short story, a movie, a theater performance, magazine and newspaper articles. The essays you write about these and other texts will help you frame arguments as you explore how the self emerges and defines itself in different environments.

ENG101-013 | MWF 130-220 | 2516 | Tavid Mulder
The Problem of Modernity
What does it mean to be modern? It seems to be whatever is newest. And yet, the new doesn’t exist outside of history. For instance, global warming seems to be an unprecedented, existential threat to humanity, but this situation is the consequence of specific forms of social organization that have been around for a few hundred years. In this class, we will talk about what distinguishes modern from traditional forms of life and how insight into these changes can help us make sense of aspects of the present. We will talk about politics, individualism, cities and literature, and in the process you will learn the argumentative and rhetorical strategies that are crucial in college-level writing.

ENG101-014 | TR 400-515 | 2517 | Rachel Dushkewich
Writing Across the Personal and Political
This course is built around the theme of “writing across the personal and political.” Ideas, political opinions, personal identities, and even the conventions of “good writing” do not exist in a vacuum. Our readings and assignments will explore the cultural constructs surrounding argumentation, writing, audience expectations, and who or what constitutes strong evidence. Our critical reading and writing assignments will explore even the most personal writing as a deeply political act invested in its own set of arguments, and we will learn to explore the cultural context that informs our own rhetoric and compositions.

ENG175-001 | MWF 230-320 | 2000 | Stephanie Boeninger

ENG175-002 | MR 230-345 | 2001 | Chun Ye

ENG175-003 | MWF 1130-1220 | 2002 | Stephanie Boeninger

ENG175-004 | TR 100-215 | 2003 | Tuire Valkeakari
Introduction to Literature
Philosopher Plato had little patience with what some ancients and not-so-ancients have called “the lies of the poets.” Why study such “lies,” literary texts, in an academic environment? Let’s find out. We will explore fiction, drama, and poetry, with a particular interest in what these genres are made of and how they work. We will mostly read nineteenth- and twentieth-century American authors, including Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, John Steinbeck, LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka), and Toni Morrison.

ENG175-005 | TR 1130-1245 | 2004 | Tuire Valkeakari
Introduction to Literature
Philosopher Plato had little patience with what some ancients and not-so-ancients have called “the lies of the poets.” Why study such “lies,” literary texts, in an academic environment? Let’s find out. We will explore fiction, drama, and poetry, with a particular interest in what these genres are made of and how they work. We will mostly read nineteenth- and twentieth-century American authors, including Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, John Steinbeck, LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka), and Toni Morrison.

ENG175-006 | MR 1000-1115 | 2005 | Chun Ye

ENG175-007 | TR 1130-1245 | 2006 | EC Osondu

ENG175-008 | MWF 130-220 | 2007 | Margaret Reid

ENG175-009 | MWF 1230-120 | 2008 | Margaret Reid

ENG175-010 | TWF 930-1020 | 2009 | James Beaver

ENG175-011 | TR 100-215 | 2010 | Chard deNiord

ENG175-012 | TR 400-515 | 2011 | Amy Foley
Modernism and Modernity
This course is an introduction to modern literature from a global perspective. Together, we will explore texts between 1890 and the present day from primary genres of literature: fiction, poetry and drama. Much of our study will be dedicated to thinking about the identities and perspectives of our authors, including gender, race, sexuality, class, and religion. We will consider some important thematic developments in modernist literatures, such as psychoanalysis and existentialism. In postwar, postcolonial, and contemporary texts, perspectives on choice, freedom, and power will influence how we interpret major historical happenings, such as war and imperialism. In addition to a persuasive paper about a topic of your choice, you will practice close critical readings of select passages, conversing with critical essays, and comparing and contrasting texts to think about power relations.”

ENG301-001 | MR 1000-1115 | 2016 | Mark Pedretti
The Undead
Zombies have invaded popular culture and the Academy alike; figures of lurching, flesh-eating ghouls are pervasive on television and in film, but have also become an object of academic inquiry in a number of different disciplines. More than just a horror-movie gimmick, figures of the undead offer a speculative horizon for exploring questions of con-sciousness, humanity, politics, history, economics, ethics, sociality, disease, and the boundary be-tween life and death. In this course, we will be researching the undead. Mature academic writing demonstrates an awareness of the extant body of scholarly research (articles, books, and book chapters from reputable sources) on any given topic; in this course students will learn to conduct informed, focused textual research to facilitate knowledgeable arguments about meaningful research questions.

ENG301-002 | MWF 1130-1220 | 2017 | Iain Bernhoft
Myths of Self-Making

This course critically examines a major mythological figure of the American imagination: the “self-made man.” The idea of the enterprising person who “pulls himself up by the bootstraps” is distinctively American. But where does it arise, and how does it come to prominence in American culture, politics, and economics? By evaluating the limits and potential of this ideal, what insight can we draw for our own careers and lives? We will first study the origins of the myth of the self-made man, then consider critiques of it, and finally apply course concepts to issues in contemporary politics and economics—including financial speculation, entitlement reform, technological disruption, and the gig economy.

ENG301-003 | TWF 930-1020 | 2018 | Shawn Flanagan
Dropped Calls: Technology, Society, and Social Justice
Communication technologies have made it easier for everyone to communicate and improved interpersonal communication, or have they?   The U.S. has effectively ended segregation and vastly improved socio-economic inequality with respect to race and gender over the past fifty years, or has it?  Our class will consider these claims and others related to social justice and the impacts of technology on our lives in the content and activities of this course.  As we discuss the issues presented in the class content, we will explore the questions these materials raise (through discussions, short essays, and on-line Forum writings) as they complicate our own understanding, experience, and world view.  These initial observational/reflective writings in the first half of the semester will give way to research writing assignments that focus on academic research as a process and culminate in a final research project that includes both a presentation and research paper.

ENG301-004 | TR 400-515 | 2019 | John Scanlan

ENG301-005 | M 700-930PM | 2020 | Chard deNiord

ENG301-006 | MWF 130-220 | 2021 | Matthew Beach

ENG301-007 | TWF 830-920 | 2022 | Shawn Flanagan
Dropped Calls: Technology, Society, and Social Justice
Communication technologies have made it easier for everyone to communicate and improved interpersonal communication, or have they?   The U.S. has effectively ended segregation and vastly improved socio-economic inequality with respect to race and gender over the past fifty years, or has it?  Our class will consider these claims and others related to social justice and the impacts of technology on our lives in the content and activities of this course.  As we discuss the issues presented in the class content, we will explore the questions these materials raise (through discussions, short essays, and on-line Forum writings) as they complicate our own understanding, experience, and world view.  These initial observational/reflective writings in the first half of the semester will give way to research writing assignments that focus on academic research as a process and culminate in a final research project that includes both a presentation and research paper.

ENG301-008 | MWF 1230-120 | 2518 | Matthew Beach

ENG301-009 | TWF 1030-1120 | 2519 | Beth Leonardo Silva
Sibling Rhetoric
From the Kardashians to the Jonas Brothers, the battle of Lannisters vs Starks to the This Is US trio, our culture is saturated with siblings. In addition to celebrities and fictional characters, we also rely heavily on the metaphor of the sibling in our everyday language: “she’s like a sister to me,” “he’s my bro.” In this course, as we hone our ability to research and write effectively, we will also explore how the language of the sibling has been used from the French Revolution’s cry of “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” to today’s “Bro Culture,” with some surprising twists and turns in between.

ENG301-010 | MWF 130-220 | 2520 | Lucas DuClos
Brand Ambassadors
Whether you’re writing on behalf of a product, an experience or an idea, it’s good practice to consider your audience, sometimes right down to a single word. In this course we will explore the significance of audience at each stage of the writing process, from invention to revision. We will choose objects (a brand or an idea, for example) we want to advocate for or champion, as well as objects we find ourselves more critical of. We’ll explore how authors write inclusively and where they don’t, and we’ll learn the difference between writing for a narrow audience and a general audience when it comes to a controversial issue in our own academic concentration. Writing projects will come with unique challenges, each one teaching us something different about the importance of voice in writing — yours and your reader’s.

*Schedule, courses, and instructors are subject to change.