English Composition 121

Sp 19 Course Outline

Date In-class Assignments
1/28 Review syllabus; annotate course page; relationship with writing activity

Read/Write: excerpt from Killing the Five-Paragraph and response


Read “Past Experiences” by Petersen and “On Anarchism in New York” and “Academic Tourist”
1/30 What is an autoethnography; What is not an autoethnography

Tips, not formulas: Paragraph structure

Watch your assigned film: Strong Island; Henrietta Lacks; Struggle; Harriet the Spy; Look of Silence

Blog Post #1 due by next class

2/4 What is an autoethnography; what is not an autoethnography continued

Tips, not formulas: Summary

Also, Writing effective summaries

Read Agosin’s “Always Living in Spanish” and Chee’s “The Writing Life”


Please visit thedaln.org and pick one of the thousands of literacy narratives to analyze in class


2/6 Purpose of literacy narratives

Tips, not formulas: Close reading/writing strategies (tone, structure, technique)

Summary in class of Agosin

Write/Present: Write a paragraph of your own literacy narrative. Try to mirror the tone, structure, or technique of the literacy narrative you have selected.

Read Emergent Strategy excerpt and “Mindfulness as a moderator in expressive writing”



2/11 What is mindfulness; how can we apply it to the writing process

Experiment: Writing using mindfulness

Tips, not formulas: Transforming pre-writing notes into project ideas

Read excerpt from Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own and excerpt from Wildbrook
2/13 How is place research?

Write: Place that I’m writing from; Place that I’m writing about; Place that my reader is in

Read “Lena Dunham Comes to Term with Herself” and “When the Walls Came Tumbling Down”


Blog post #2 due by next class

3/6 People as research; Interviewing techniques; Deep Listening

Experiment: Try deep listening for our own project

Write: Summarize what you learned from your deep listening exercise

More on people

Tips, not formulas: Thesis Statement

Submit your first draft of your autoethnography prior to our conference (no later than Saturday 2/23)
2/25 Conferences

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2/27 Conferences

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Read excerpt from Carrying the Fire and “Ferguson isn’t about black rage against cops.”

Blog post #3 due by next class

3/11 What is history; techniques for integrating history into our final project; how can history become research

Write: Timeline for our own projects

Tips, not formulas: Synthesis

Read excerpt from Tyson’s Astrophysics and watch Bill Nye the Science Guy clip
3/13 Explaining difficult concepts to children; avoiding wordiness; how can science help us in our research; conducting our own scientific experiment

Tips, not formulas: Avoiding wordiness

Read “Our Real Immigration Problem” and “A Week in New York City


Blog post #4 due next class

3/18 Integrating quotes continued; Numbers as research; creating your own data


Read “The Help” by Roxane Gay and “Beale Street” by Mary Phillips
3/20 Performing critiques on whole works; value of critiques; place of critique in our own research project; types of critique we might use

Write: Critique a whole work related to your project

The Coded Language of For-Profit Colleges” by Cottom

Blog post #5 due next class

3/25 More on for-profit colleges; sociological institutions up for critique

Write: What are institutions/systems your project is interested in challenging, breaking apart?

 Blog post #6 due next class

and watch/read your assigned film/story

and complete “Method of Critique”

3/27 Critique, Critique, Critique… Read “A Talk to Teachers” by Baldwin and watch Adiche’s “We Should All be Feminists”
4/1 Writing for an intended reader; developing our own “Talk”

Tips, not formulas: Offering feedback

Be sure to share your second draft with your workshop partner (and me) and complete blog post #7
4/3 What is an argument? Claims, logical fallacies, counterclaims, etc. Read sample autoethnography
4/8 Responding to feedback; sample responses to feedback;

Read/Write: reading letters to editors and crafting your own “letter to the editor”

Read sample autoethnography
4/10 ACTIVISM IN ACADEMIA EVENT at The Graduate Center
4/15 In-class: APA

Try APA on your own in this doc

Technical: APA in-text and format

Technical: APA in-text and reference page


Read Roxane Gay’s What Fullness is


4/17 APA What ifs Work on final draft of auto ethnography & enjoy spring break!
5/1 Write: Continue working on final draft of autoethnography Finish your autoethnography and submit by May 1, no later than May 5.
5/6 Conferences
5/8 Conferences
5/13 Revisiting writing activity from first class; letter to future ENG 121 student; celebration Consider taking more ENG/ENW courses: ENW 210, ENW 305, ENG 222, ENG 223, etc.


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