From emails to snapchats, our communication practices are permeated by painstakingly measured rhetorical choices. In this course, we will explore how we arrive at these rhetorical choices, why they work within a rhetorical situation, and more broadly, how all texts are shaped by these nuances. Instead of understanding texts as products that are either well- or poorly executed, we will be examining what they do and how they can be powerful forms of action in the world. In so doing, we will try to understand the multiple purposes of composing texts and how they are shaped by contexts, audiences, and intentions within cultural situations. At its core, this course will serve as a platform for you to contextualize and practice writing.
This class will provide you with the opportunity to contemplate, analyze, and articulate your relationship with nature. Additionally, you will explore how that relationship has perhaps been constructed and constrained by various forces (social, cultural, and political). The major writing assignments for this course include a short piece of nature writing, a summary/response project, an argumentative essay, and a reflective project.
This class is also an invitation to join a learning community; a community whose goal is to investigate and discover best writing practices. As a community, through homework, postings, group assignments, activities, and discussions, we will discover the essential practices of academic writing and incorporate those practices into our compositions. But the investigation doesn’t stop there. We will also develop criteria for evaluating our writing. Throughout the semester, we will examine and shape our evaluation criteria, and in the process, create our own vocabulary for academic genres and writing.
The purpose of this course is for you to examine and develop your “voice”--the sense of self that allows you to be both yourself and a member of a community larger than yourself. Writing, and how you reveal your voice in your writing, is a social activity that creates “public conversation.” The public conversation is defined by the voices of its participants. Writing in the public conversation will require you to coexist in a community which has a tolerance of diversity and respect for others. In this class, we will not only add our voices to the public conversation, but we will try to bring our ideas into useful relation to the ideas of others. Our public conversation will not dominated by the loudest voices, but will be balanced with both voicing you ideas and opinions and listening to the voices of others.
In this class, you will write 20 pages in 3 papers and a reflective project. Each paper will go through a draft process: it will be reviewed by a peer, receive comments and edits from me, and you will submit a final draft for a grade. You will do many types of writing this semester in a number of different genres: advice article, cover letter, guidelines, opinion piece, argumentative essay, discussion boards, peer review and impromptu class responses. I believe your writing improves the more you do it, so I want you to do ample writing this semester.
As a student at UIC, your experiences in this city will shift and transform over time. You will be affected by the people around you, the physical space, and the social, political, environmental, and economic atmosphere of Chicago. You will engage daily with Chicago’s people; from the campus bookstore to public transportation to a local restaurant, your lives will intersect daily with a distinct group of people. This course is designed to immerse you in the city of Chicago as you engage in discourse and writing about a place and its people.
In this course, we will explore what makes us a part of this large, urban city; we’ll also analyze how Chicago plays a role in shaping who we become. From argumentative writing and personal narratives to interviews and analysis, we will look closely at how our community influences our lives. Through reading and writing, as well as personal connections with the people of Chicago, our conversations will center on the impact of society, and how its people share our stories.
One important goal of this course is to advance our abilities as writers and thinkers. We will analyze the impact of story in relation to personal experiences. We will write in various genres, not only to develop our skills as writers, but to further our engagement in the community and world around us. As a whole, we will discover what it means to be a productive citizen of a society, and learn from one another as we write about its impact.
This class involves intense writing and considerable reading. It is designed to prepare you for the challenges of writing in the languages of academic and other forms of social discourse. You will be responsible for producing multiple drafts of each writing assignment, and for making substantial revisions to each as needed. You will also work on honing the mechanics of your prose at the sentence level, acquiring active academic reading skills, and broadening your vocabulary. The guiding principle for the course is that what we write about and how we write it matter. In “Popular Music and Politics,” we will investigate subjects that may find us debating such questions as: “Why do the meanings of some words appear to change, depending on who is saying them?” “What might something so basic, so essential, as the music we listen to reveal about our social class or political beliefs?” “Can mere ideas, or products of thought, ever be harmful enough to warrant regulation?” These are some of the starting points for much stimulating critical thinking and writing we will undertake together this semester.
ENGL 160: Building a Better Place: Writing About the Political Use of Space in Chicago
As Chicago’s only public research university and a member of the Great Cities Institute, the University of Illinois at Chicago has a huge impact on the quality of life for those who live in the Chicagoland area and plays a significant role in what makes the city such a wonderful place to be. In this section of English 160, students will pursue several writing projects designed to provoke contemplation on how they might play a key role in making the city even better through the knowledge acquired in their university education. Over the course of the semester, students will contribute to a long-standing tradition of urban ethnography by interviewing a Chicagoland dweller on his/her favorite place; create new knowledge through their writing by joining a conversation on a controversial use of space on campus or in the Chicagoland area; and propose the creation of a new place designed to serve the unique needs of a well-defined community.
While each writing project will serve as a means to get students connected to the city in which they study and help them to imagine productive and fulfilling futures within it, the work of this course will most immediately prepare them for the academic writing expectations of the university community. Some students may even find themselves using the ideas produced by their writing as preparation for interviews for internships, undergraduate research, or volunteer work as they seek to further build their academic resumés. Through this coursework, students will sharpen some of the most valuable skillsets for their future academic and professional lives: the ability to understand complex arguments, the ability to write clear, correct, and compelling prose, and the ability to assess various sorts of rhetorical situations in order to make successful presentations. In other words, students will begin to see the value of smart rhetorical choices in achieving their long-term educational and professional goals.
This course explores "Writing in the Public Context" as it pertains to the social phenomenon of Fandom. We will examine several genres of text including academic, narrative, journalism, and person-to-person interview. Topics covered will survey fandom-cultures such as sports, anime, comic books, and film. Major writing assignments will use rhetorical methods of communication to produce thesis-based arguments, think pieces, profiles of place, and reflective analyses, while including lessons on sentence-level grammar.
ENGL 161: Ways of Living with a Changing Climate
CRN: 14420; 14409
Day(s)/Times: MWF 8:00-8:50; MWF 10:00-10:50
Instructor: Barton, Daniel
At the center of the debate over climate change is the question of whether it’s possible to reduce human impact on the environment and still meet the needs of an ever-increasing population. While many have argued for—and are implementing—a shift toward renewable energy such as wind, solar, or nuclear power to meet the world’s demand for electricity, there’s been a re-emphasis on fossil fuels in current politics that has had both environmental and sociopolitical consequences. Equally, there’s increased concern over how agricultural practices and land use have effected the environment, leading not only to questions about how we produce our food, but our diets themselves. Using current events such as the recent controversy over the Dakota Access Pipeline to frame our discussion, this course will engage with contemporary environmental issues, such as the impact of energy and food production on local ecosystems, and examine how people have been affected, both domestically and globally, by these activities and climate change in general. In addition, we will interrogate cultural attitudes surrounding climate change and the question of sustainability to understand the contexts in which these debates have occurred. Through critical examination of various texts—scholarly, public, governmental, etc.—and an independent research project culminating in a final research paper, we will develop academic research and writing skills that will be important throughout your college career.
ENGL 161: Critical Thinking about Conspiracy Theory
CRN: 14439; 14449; 14383
Day(s)/Times: MWF 11:00-11:50; MWF 1:00-1:50; MWF 2:00-2:50
Instructor: Berner, Jennie
In this research- and writing-intensive course, we will be using the theme of “conspiracy theory” to explore what constitutes legitimate (and illegitimate) knowledge in academic, public, and virtual spaces. Our access to information today is unparalleled, but it also demands a kind of vigilance. How do we identify credible sources? What counts as expertise? And how do we think critically about the information we encounter? In addition to analyzing a range of conspiracy theories (e.g., assassinations, alien abductions, false flag operations, artificial diseases, New World Order, and vaccine controversies), we will also consider the broader social, psychological, and political forces that contribute to conspiracy thinking. Course readings will cover a wide array of subtopics including hoaxes, pseudoscience, gaslighting, and fake news. Assignments will emphasize summary, analysis, synthesis, and other components of academic writing, and will culminate in a substantial research project that will allow you to assess unorthodox explanations of a public event, issue, or phenomenon of your choosing.
ENGL 161 : Writing the Dead: Death and Dying in the Western World
CRN: 14467; 14474; 14444
Day(s)/Times: MWF 11:00-11:50; MWF 1:00-1:50; MWF 3:00-3:50
Instructor: Browning, Annah
The particular “body” of inquiry we will be investigating in this course is (pun intended) the human body after death. How have dominant Western narratives about death affected cultural views of the cadaver? How have these attitudes manifested in how we handle the dead—physically and emotionally, as well as intellectually and ethically—in art and in society at large? We will approach a variety of texts dealing with the treatment of the dead, including cadaver donation and the funeral industry, as well as the grassroots "death acceptance" and "green burial" movements gaining momentum in America today. As you situate yourself within this body of issues through extensive reading and writing, you will find your own topic of interest. Through your research on this topic, you will not only create a contribution to larger academic discourse surrounding the death and dying, but also develop a set of writing and research skills that will serve you throughout your time in academia and beyond. As part of this process, you will produce four (4) writing projects, culminating in a documented research paper. Your final project should not only demonstrate your understanding of the topic and the existing public and academic conversations about it, but also participate in these conversations in a meaningful way. You will develop your reading, writing, research, and communication skills through assignments and activities such as class discussion, group work, and peer review.
ENGL 161: Writing about Happiness
CRN: 32290; 14433; 14438
Day(s)/Times: MWF 12:00-12:50; MWF 1:00-1:50; MWF 3:00-3:50
Instructor: Bryson, Chris
In this course, we will examine questions about happiness. In her book, The Happiness Myth: Why What We Think is Right is Wrong, Jennifer Michael Hecht explains that our common notions of happiness, what makes us happy in today’s society, is a kind of mythology we all accept as fact. She explores the conception of happiness across history, illuminating traditions and practices that made our ancestors happy, as a means of demonstrating how those notions often contradict our current beliefs and actions. As you read Hecht’s text and the supplemental readings, you will be able to question happiness in your own lives and communities. So what are the consequences of such an inquiry? Hecht, I think, says it best in her introduction, entitled “Get Happy.” She explains:
We need to pay careful attention to our modern, unhelpful myths [about happiness] so that we can make better choices. . . . Sometimes the lesson is to go out and change our behavior, and sometimes a remarkably different experience of the same behavior becomes possible with the simple addition of some big-picture knowledge. (13-14)
The consequence of this inquiry is, in other words, to better understand our actions and the motives behind them when happiness is at stake. We can better understand ourselves and our society as a result. Much of what Hecht says on this subject is controversial (money can make us happy), and it is my belief that these kinds of propositions will inspire lively debate and engaging research papers that address happiness in modern society.
ENGL 161: Writing Revolutions and Critiquing Prisons
CRN: 32287; 14414
Day(s)/Times: MWF 11:00-11:50; MWF 1:00-1:50
Instructor: Costello, Virginia
Although we begin with an analysis of Emma Goldman’s highly romantic and wildly impractical theory of anarchism, this class centers on a student-driven, semester-long research project. Since Goldman became an anarchist primarily in response to the treatment of Haymarket anarchists, we will start here in Chicago, 1886, but spend most of our time making connections to contemporary movements and politics, particularly those surrounding our prison system. We will be entering into an intellectual conversation about our prison system and students will be positioning themselves within those conversations. Contrary to common understanding, neither writing nor research is a linear process. Thus, in this class you will write drafts and revise several times before you submit work for a grade. Our text From Inquiry To Academic Writing: A Practical Guide explains how to develop ideas, read and think critically, analyze sources, construct a thesis, organize an essay, conduct basic research, and use appropriate styles and forms of citation. Writing assignments include but are not limited to the following: Proposal and Annotated Bibliography, Claim/Analysis Outline, Literature Review, and Research Paper.
ENGL 161: Gender and Popular Culture
Day(s)/Times: MWF 11:00-11:50
Instructor: Dancey, Angela
Depending on the context, the term "popular culture" can refer to: movies, songs, sports, video games, and television shows (often referred to in cultural studies as “texts”) that are enjoyed by many people; mass or consumer culture; and cultural products that are considered “low” or less sophisticated (such as pop music or comic books). A major concern of the academic study of popular culture is how it both mirrors and shapes our understanding of gender. Your goal in this course is to identify, research, and develop an inquiry into some aspect of the intersection of gender and popular culture that interests you. As part of this process, you will produce four (4) writing projects, culminating in a documented research paper. Your final project should not only demonstrate your understanding of the topic and the existing public and academic conversations about it, but also participate in these conversations in a meaningful way. You will develop your reading, writing, research, and communication skills through assignments and activities such as class discussion, presentations, group work, and peer review.
ENGL 161: Writing for Inquiry and Research: "-isms" and the Body
CRN: 21585; 14411
Day(s)/Times: MWF 10:00-10:50; MWF 11:00-11:50
Instructor: Frangello, Gina
In this course, we will closely examine the cultural discourses—popular, academic and medical—around the experience of living in a human body that is potentially subjected to "-isms" such as racism, sexism or ableism. Topics will include the intersection between individual and universal experiences, experimentations with language taken by women and people of color to try to reflect their experiences outside the “dominant tongue,” contemporary events that interrogate instances of both implicit and explicit discrimination, and the ways in which creative writers (poets, memoirists) attempt to create empathy and knock down the wall of "Otherness" surrounding issues of race/gender/mental illness/disability. You will develop critical thinking and analytical writing skills in the process of composing three short writing projects (a summary, a research proposal, and a literature review) based on aspects of this topic that hold particular interest to you. You will then apply these skills more comprehensively in a final, lengthier research paper, thus inserting your own voice and argument into the larger cultural conversation.
ENGL 161: Documenting Action: Reenactment, Reproduction, and Production
CRN: 32285; 14462
Day(s)/Times: MWF 8:00-8:50; MWF 9:00-9:50
Instructor: Gallus-Price, Sibyl
"Joshua Oppenheimer’s 2012 film, The Act of Killing, attempts to document Indonesian genocide by asking the remaining present day perpetrators to reenact the 1965-66 killings in a style reminiscent of familiar Hollywood films. The documentary film, a critical success, begs the question: does the film more successfully document the events or the formal constraints of documenting actions? This course will approach the concepts of reenactment, reproduction, and production in an effort to explore how we mediate and represent action and collective action as events. Our sources will include a seemingly disparate collection spanning everything from documentary film, to amateur video, to photography, to disaster relief shows, to crimes scenes, to Lego stop motion animation. In understanding how we mediate and represent action and collective action as events, we will focus on the ways forms disseminate, perform, document, constrain, and create meaning in the world.
ENGL 161: Rumor, Fear and the Madness of Crowds: Researching, Reading, and Writing About the Phenomenon of Crowd Behavior
CRN: 14407; 14412
Day(s)/Times: MWF 8:00-8:50; MWF 12:00-12:50
Instructor: Grunow, Scott
Who and what is a "crowd," often-called, was first defined in the late seventeenth century in response to the growing but ill-defined mass of “rowdy” persons rioting daily in the streets of London, a mob. Not all crowds behave like mobs, of course, but crowd behavior, frequently manifesting itself in violence, has drastically changed the course of history, both creating and influencing important economic, political, social, and aesthetic events. The recent Black Lives Matter movement, which has taken on many different forms and created many different social effects, is but one representative example of the power of crowd behavior to change history. In this course, you will learn to form your own inquiry by learning the skills of analytical and research-based writing. You will learn the essential elements of writing a social sciences academic research paper, a 10-page, researched-based project with an accompanying portfolio on a topic related the course’s area of inquiry. The first part of the course will focus on honing accurate reading skills by summarizing shorter assigned readings and beginning what will become the reference list/abstract for your research paper. You will begin exploring a general research topic, focusing on what and how an incident or pattern of crowd behavior occurred. The second part of the course will move from restating another author’s claims and evidence, “they say” to responding to them critically with an “I say, based on they say” using the reading and writing techniques of analysis and synthesis. You will begin to tie in your more specific research topic to multiple crowd theorists in this unit. The third part will involve your individual path of inquiry and research on a specific topic with a research proposal and accompanying reference list and the final research paper.
ENGL 161: The Popularity of Sci-Fi and Fantasy: Writing About a Cultural Phenomenon
CRN: 25973; 14432
Day(s)/Times: MWF 9:00-9:50; MWF 10:00-10:50
Instructor: Hart, Jenna
Harry Potter, Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings: many of the most beloved and lasting cultural artifacts of the past several decades have been sci-fi and fantasy. In this course, we'll be looking to answer the question of why these genres have become roaringly popular, looking at everything from psychology to fan culture to issues of race and gender representation. We will start with a common set of questions and texts, and then you will develop specific questions of your own and move on to enter into an academic conversation of your choosing. This class is designed around a semester-long research project, the culmination of which will be an academic research paper.
ENGL 161: Flannel, Vinyl, and Irony: Investigating Why We Love to Hate Hipsters
CRN: 14384; 14459
Day(s)/Times: MWF 8:00-8:50; MWF 9:00-9:50
Instructor: Jok, Laura
In this first-year composition class, we will examine the cultural phenomenon of the hipster, the much-maligned subset of the millennial generation who liked it before it was cool, wore it ironically, credited themselves with inventing gentrification, and ruined everything. We will consider the characteristics and values of the hipster as compared to past generations, including but not limited to gravitation to urban environments, pursuit of careers that align with ideals, irony, self-promotion on social media platforms, interest in the obscure, demand for whole, real, and cruelty-free food, coffee and craft beer snobbery, and nostalgia for vinyl and flannel. Has the word “hipster”—as some claim—lost all meaning, or can we identify meaningful trends of behavior? How do they differ cross-culturally? Which groups of people does the hipster movement exclude or fail to consider? What are the potential consequences or effects of specific habits of the hipster? What are the causes of the oddly consistent idiosyncrasies of hipsters; that is, what groups and value systems are hipsters reacting against, and why? Are their preferences progressive or shortsighted? Why can’t they even? Why do we love to hate hipsters, even if we worry that we might be hipsters? Each student will select a focused topic of inquiry relevant to the hipster movement, consider its causes, implications, or consequences, and develop a 10-page final research paper throughout the course of the semester.
ENGL 161: "Writing About “Chicago’s Murder Problem”
CRN: 14386; 14395
Day(s)/Times: MWF 1:00-1:50, MWF 2:00-2:50
Instructor: Krall, Aaron
Does Chicago have a “murder problem”? If so, what kind of problem is it? What are its causes? Are there any solutions? This course takes its title from a May 2016 New York Times feature story titled “Chicago’s Murder Problem,” in which the authors ask, “what’s going on in Chicago?” In this section of English 161, a writing course situated in academic inquiry, we will take up this question through an exploration of the academic research and public debates around issues that include race, poverty, segregation, gangs, guns, policing, education, social media, news media, art, and public health. The course is organized around a semester-long research project. We will begin with a common set of texts and questions, and then you will develop focused questions and participate in the practices of academic research and writing. We will use this work to explore disciplinary conventions and methodologies and to attend to the ways students enter communities structured by genres of academic writing.
ENGL 161: Who Pays for the Music?: The Economics of Art and Art Education Funding
CRN: 32289; 29121; 14437
Day(s)/Times: MWF 12:00-12:50; MWF 2:00-2:50; MWF 3:00-3:50
Instructor: Kulik, Katya
When the proposed U.S. budget was announced in May, it sent into panic both small local arts organizations and such giants as the Metropolitan Opera and the Julliard School, because it asked for cutting federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Why is it such a big deal? Shouldn’t art organizations be self-sufficient? In this course we are going to explore how arts and art education programs get funded and look at different models of how it is done in the United States and other countries. Our readings will draw on the fields of anthropology, social studies, economics, political science and art history. English 161 is designed to provide you with the tools that you will need to engage in academic inquiry. Throughout the semester you will be encouraged to draw on your own experiences as you gradually develop a research project.
ENGL161: Nostalgia, Media, and American Culture
CRN: 14402; 14392; 14454
Day(s)/Times: MWF 9:00-9:50; MWF 10:00-10:50; MWF 12:00-12:50
Instructor: Leick, Karen
In this class we will look at the influence of mass media in the 20th and 21st Centuries. Radio, film, television, and the Internet have all contributed to and been influenced by American culture and society in profound and complex ways. The rise of each new media was accompanied by anxiety about the changing world and nostalgia for an idealized past. Looking at the historical context of these developments will highlight the many (often passionate) reactions to the rapidly shifting cultural landscape. Each student will produce a 10-page research paper about a controversial issue in media studies. These projects may discuss one or more of the media we cover in the course (radio, film, television, video games, and the internet).
ENGL 161: "Chicago Works?": Writing through the Issues of the Working Poor
CRN: 14447; 14451; 29118
Day(s)/Times: MWF 8:00-8:50; MWF 9:00-9:50; MWF 11:00-11:50
Instructor: Lewis, Jennifer
In this course, we will explore contemporary ideas, debates and questions about work, poverty and social mobility and participate in current public conversations about these (initially broad) topics. We will first discern what these public conversations about the "working poor" in fact, are, assess their validity, and articulate our own, well-supported arguments. As summary, analysis and synthesis are central components of the academic research paper, we will practice these, and we will learn to find and evaluate a variety of primary and secondary sources for our own research. You will develop your reading, writing, research and communications skills through assignments and activities such as class discussion, group work and peer review.
ENGL 161: Researching and Writing about Film in a Cultural Context
CRN: 14400; 14427
Day(s)/Times: MWF 12:00-12:50; MWF 3:00-3:50
Instructor: Lyons, MaryAnne
Movies are one of the dominant popular art forms in America and throughout the world, but they are also a valuable part of our cultural landscape. They are both made and watched within a dense fabric of culture, history, and social issues. In this class, we will research the connections between reality and cinema, interrogating the ways in which our movies reflect the values and concerns at work in our society. Over the course of the semester, we will establish a groundwork through readings in genre, film history, reviews, and film theory, while students will perform their own research on a topic of their choosing that is relevant to the theme of this class, culminating in the writing of a research paper on that topic.
ENGL 161 : Social Justice as the Mirror and the Lens
CRN: 32286; 22118; 14413
Day(s)/Times: MWF 11:00-11:50; MWF 12:00-12:50; MWF 2:00-2:50
Instructor: Magoon, Mark
In this section of English 161 we will examine the topic of social justice—the fair and just relation between individuals and society as it relates to opportunity and social privilege—and use that topic as both mirror and lens en route to academic writing, but also to better understand ourselves and our world. Debates revolving around education, race, gender, identity, sexuality, and the rhetoric that surrounds them are at the heart of many community and cultural discussions not only here in Chicago, but abroad too. In this course—one that will function as a writing community and safe space—we will take up questions surrounding the topic of social justice today. Through the examination of various forms of “texts”—scholarly, public, literary, visual, and cinematic—we will use our course topic to develop skills of critical reading, academic research and writing.
ENGL 161: Writing for Change: Studying the Recent Past to Find Solutions in the American Present
CRN: 14434; 14453
Day(s)/Times: MWF 10:00-10:50; MWF 11:00-11:50
Instructor: Moore, Thomas
In learning about current events primarily through social media, network and cable news, and late-night satire—as most Americans do—one might assume the myriad sociopolitical problems we face in 2018 bear no connection to the past. In response to this growing trend, students in this course will research and think critically about the effect recent American history (the 1980s and 1990s) has on the social and political crises of the present—xenophobia, neoliberalism, toxic masculinity, and global warming. Our discussions of contemporary politics will be organized around readings from Naomi Klein’s No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need (2017), and our collective investigations of the 1980s and 1990s will draw on a variety of sources ranging from scholarly to lowbrow. We will begin by reading a few articles together as a class, and, as the semester progresses, each student will be free to research the urgent sociopolitical issue that matters to them most. Students will write a semester-long, cumulative research paper with two objectives in mind: (1) understanding how a specific social or political problem became what it is today, and (2) proposing viable steps we can take to solve it.
ENGL 161 : Writing About Free Speech on the College Campus
Day(s)/Times: MWF 9:00-9:50
Instructor: Moraghan, Matt
In June 2017, The Atlantic ran an essay titled with the question “Who's Afraid of Free Speech?” For many contemporary cultural critics, the answer is simple: it's you, current college students. In our section of English 161, we will consider whether this is truly the case. Are college students actually adverse to free speech? If so, why? And to what extent? If not, how else might we explain the spate of recent attempts to prevent invited guests from speaking on campuses across the country? We will take up these questions in the spirit of academic inquiry, which means that our investigation will focus primarily on academic research and public debate. Your response will come in the form of a semester-long research project. In order to complete that project, we will begin with a common set of texts, then you will independently develop focused questions and begin to participate in the practices of academic research and writing. By the time that you complete your research project, you will demonstrate mastery of both the conventions of academic writing and the current debate revolving around free speech on college campuses.
ENGL 161: Writing Urban Secret Histories: Community, Identity, and the Human Economy
CRN: 14435; 14391; 14382
Day(s)/Times: MWF 11:00-11:50; MWF 1:00-1:50; MWF 2:00-2:50
Instructor: Newirth, Michael
This course is intended to introduce you to analytical writing, through examining contested aspects of urban life. The phrase “secret histories” suggests there are suppressed narratives beneath the familiar surface of urban life, to be unearthed through a process that starts with textual research, and ends in the structured medium of writing. Much of a city’s cultural vitality originates with artists and eccentrics who live in the margins, and much of a city’s spirit lies in the vibrancy and tradition of its invisible communities, dependent on ethnicity, religion, and other group alliances, even though the persistence of such communities can prove problematic to that city’s greater sense of cohesion. While we will be discussing urban issues, this is not a course in urban history. The overall purpose of this course is to develop methods of conducting academic research and writing effectively, through exploring these under-examined urban issues. We will utilize several texts and secondary sources, while other course material may be provided in class, online, or on library reserve. You will consider written texts from a variety of viewpoints and will participate in classroom discussion intended to make you aware of how one develops the skill set of effective writing.
ENGL 161: Topics in Contemporary Gender and Sexuality
CRN: 14473; 14431
Day(s)/Times: MWF 10:00-10:50; MWF 1:00-1:50
Instructor: O'Connor, Jared
Following the political controversy of the "Bathroom Bills" in North Carolina and Texas in 2016, rights for transgender persons became a pressing concern in the American cultural imaginary. However, not only did these bathroom bills spark debates regarding civil rights for LGBTQIA+ individuals but it also challenged popular assumptions about the malleability of gender. For perhaps the first time in American history, the notion that gender could indeed be considered a construct permeated in the minds of American public, uprooting long-held and normalized stigmas of gender as a fixed, biological characteristic. In this course, we will explore a variety of topics in gender studies—and its academic companion, sexuality studies—in an effort to show how normalized understandings of gender and sexuality effect nearly every aspect of our lives. Your inquiry into these fields will be research focused and you will be identifying and thoroughly researching a topic in gender/sexuality of your choosing. Alongside student research, we will discuss a variety of topics in class and in our readings including LGBTQIA+ rights, drag, gender as performance, locations and intersections of masculinity/femininity, hetero/homonormativity and much more as it appears and structures popular culture, various art forms, and our daily lives.
ENGL 161: Arguing about Movies
Day(s)/Times: MWF 2:00-2:50
Instructor: Osborne, Andrew
It's fun to argue about movies. This is probably so because movies are open to interpretation. Here's the problem, though: not all interpretations are created equally.
Good interpretations are supported by (1) good observation and (2) good argumentation.
The plan for this course is to watch a bunch of movies (outside of class), and then argue about them (inside of class). Eventually, one of these arguments that you particularly like will turn into an extended argumentative essay, with three other writing assignments along the way to make the final paper all that much easier.
ENGL 161: Intersections: Terms and Tactics of Resistance
CRN: 26193; 14452
Day(s)/Times: MWF 9:00-9:50; MWF 10:00-10:50
Instructor: Powell, Tierney
This course will take a critical approach to, what we will define as, the three Inter-s: Intersectionality, Interdisciplinarity, and Intertextuality. Since coining the term in the 1980s, Kimberlé Crenshaw’s “intersectionality,” which describes the “discrete set of experiences that often does not accurately reflect the interaction of race and gender,” has influenced critics across the world to develop research at the intersection of race, gender, and class (Crenshaw 1989). Intersectionality confronts the problem of what Crenshaw sees as the “single-axis framework,” a way of thinking and perceiving the world that treats complex issues of identity—such as race and gender— in mutually exclusive terms. In English 161: “Intersections,” we will confront the problem of the single-axis framework by embracing the space of the intersection as a space of encounter. We will read, research, and discuss interdisciplinary approaches and intertextual relationships within the field of intersectional studies. We will cover such topics as intersectionality in the age of digital media, the politics of black feminism in television, safe spaces and the “place” of the intersection, writing “self” and writing other, and intersectional resistance in visual culture, to name a few. The course will be organized around the development of student research projects in which course participants will conduct semester-long, interdisciplinary research on topics related to intersectionality. In studying intersectionality, students will develop terms and tactics for understanding issues of identity in contemporary society, as well as, interdisciplinary methods of critical inquiry.
ENGL 161: The Politics of Humor, or is it The Humor of Politics?
CRN: 40110; 29120
Day(s)/Times: MWF 12:00-12:50; MWF 1:00-1:50
Instructor: Rush, Samuel
For decades, politics and society have provided ample subject material for comedians. Through examining the works of several comedians (Dick Gregory, George Carlin, Joe Rogan, Richard Lewis, Dave Chappelle, Adam Carolla, Chris Rock, Lewis Black, to name a few), we will take a look comedy's influence on communicating the news to segments of the populace, including those who may not otherwise be in tune with what's happening in our world. We will also examine the implications of the works of comedians: the comedians' impact on society and the society's impact on the comedians themselves.
ENGL 161: Academic Writing II: Writing for Inquiry and Research
Day(s)/Times: MWF 3:00-3:50
Instructor: Stolley, Lisa
In this course, students will gain the skills necessary to produce an argumentative research paper, through an examination of the impact of advertising on our lives. Ongoing public conversations about the topic in the form of readings and films will provide students a breadth of choices for paper topics. In the process of constructing their academic research papers, students will learn how to access and assess appropriate source material, and how to integrate that source material for best effect.
ENGL 161: Embracing Failure and Interrogating the American Dream through a Queer Theory Lens
CRN: 14394; 14470; 14404
Day(s)/Times: MWF 10:00-10:50; MWF 12:00-12:50; MWF 2:00-2:50
Instructor: Yamshon, Lyndee
In a success driven society, failure is defined as the binary or opposite of “success” with the negative connotation and the attachment of “losing.” By focusing on the evolution of queer theory, psychoanalysis, and several artists and academics, the definition of failure is transforming and redefining the idea of how to create meaning in a given lifetime. This course will provide an entry into contemporary discussions about failure through the lenses of queer theory by reading several from the perspective of memoirists, artists, and academics interrogating pop culture through a queer lens. Over the course of summary, a hybrid synthesis/personal essay, a research proposal, and finally, the research paper, students will develop critical thinking and analytical skills, which they will employ into their final paper. Throughout the semester, students are invited to critically examine and actively participate in the discourse surrounding new definitions of failure through the reading and critical analysis of several texts.
ENGL 161: Entertainment and Identity: Writing about Stand-Up Comedy, Vaudeville, and the Minstrel Show
CRN: 14396; 14408; 14471
Day(s)/Times: TR 8:00-9:15; TR 9:30-10:45; TR 12:30-1:45
Instructor: Baez, Marc
In this course we will examine relationships between entertainment and identity in Stand-Up Comedy, Vaudeville, and the Minstrel Show. As we examine these distinct but interrelated entertainment industries, we will consider developments in comedy, music, dance, fashion, management, and advertising.
Though we will read in a variety of subject areas and genres, please take note that these readings form sets of connections that you are encouraged to develop in your Research Paper. This means that you are invited to incorporate course readings and any of your writing assignments, including homework, into your Research Paper. The main point here is for you to think of all the work that we do throughout the semester as directly relevant material for your final project.
ENGL 161: How Many Mics: Researching Hip Hop Culture
CRN: 14443; 14381
Day(s)/Times: TR 11:00-12:15; TR 3:30-4:45
Instructor: Betts, Tara
During this course, you will consider parallels between what has happened in hip hop culture for the last 30-40 years and what is happening in the present. These writing projects will ask you to respond employing different sources, including Jeff Chang’s book Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop. As you critically analyze and incorporate your own thoughts, it will become evident that writing is a major way in which we can contribute to the world as a part of local, national, and global public conversations. In this class, you will complete four writing projects: an annotated bibliography, a literature review, a research proposal, and a completed research paper that you will develop throughout the semester. This course invites you to actively participate in these exchanges, specifically as it relates to hip hop culture and its historical and political influences.
ENGL 161: Academic Writing II: Writing for Inquiry and Research - Writing about the Media
CRN: 14401; 14446
Day(s)/Times: TR 11:00-12:30; TR 12:30-1:45
Instructor: Boulay, Kate
Referring to the Trump administration, in this course we follow mass media coverage the president in particular and politics more generally. As a student, in addition to watching the State of the Union (SotU) address, you will read a variety of current articles, essays, opinion pieces, etc. that discuss how the media and the president intersect, interact and for what purposes. You will enter the public discussion by writing about media coverage of either President Trump or U.S. politics. The course culminates in a research paper on a topic of your choice that address some aspect of mass media coverage of the presidency or politics. Work on this paper dominates the semester.
You need not have any background in the study of media and politics to enjoy and do well in this course. What is essential is an open mind and some interest in politics. The intersection of media and politics is the backbone of the course. As such it is the prism through which you enhance your skills summarizing, analyzing, and synthesizing arguments; conducting academic research; writing a research proposal; and, drafting and completing a research paper. Readings, writings, class discussion, small group discussion, and individual meetings with the instructor will help you generate a research topic that interests you sufficiently so that you can write a paper of more than ten pages on it.
ENGL 161: Everything By Design: Writing About Chicago’s Infrastructure
CRN: 14458; 14460
Day(s)/Times: TR 9:30-10:45; TR 3:30-4:45
Instructor: Casey, John
Infrastructure is all around you. The roads you drive to work or school, the water that comes out of the faucet in your home, the lights you turn on when it gets dark, and even the schools you have attended are all examples of infrastructure. These intricately designed systems for organizing space are fundamental parts of our lives that we often take for granted until they malfunction. But what is the logic behind the systems that make up infrastructure and how were those systems created? What is the future for infrastructure, particularly in the Chicago area? These are just a few of the questions we will explore in this class as we use the subject of infrastructure to learn some basic skills of academic research and writing.
ENGL 161: Living in the Age of Extremism: Zealots, Terrorists, and Cult Leaders; Followers and Aftereffects
Day(s)/Times: TR 12:30-1:45
Instructor: Cridland, Nicole
In this class we will interrogate the influence of charismatic figures on extremist social movements in the 20th and 21st centuries. Extremist thought has risen in visibility in our contemporary political and social landscape. By first examining the historical role of charismatic figures, students will then assess the influence of leaders on contemporary extremist social movements such as the alt-right, ISIS, and Scientology. Do these movements still depend on such figures to gain traction? Or is the diffuse nature of the internet giving rise to more de-centered movements? Would the alt-right be able to mobilize followers as effectively without Steve Bannon or Milo Yiannopoulos? At the end of this course, students will be able to write a well-argued, 10-page research multiple sources across media.
ENGL 161: Writing About Visual Art and the Community
CRN: 14388; 14463
Day(s)/Times: TR 8:00-9:15; TR 9:30-10:45
Instructor: Edelman, Adam
"We often look at visual art as individuals, focusing on how it makes us feel, or whether we “like” an artwork or not. But art also has the important role of connecting us to others through a feeling of shared experience. Unlike written language, visual art can be understood and appreciated by people from various cultures and backgrounds without having to be translated or explained. In this course, you will read a variety of current articles, essays, opinion pieces, etc. that discuss how works of visual art and communities intersect, interact and for what purposes. You will enter the public discussion by writing about specific movements in visual art or specific artworks in order to explain how their features build a sense of common experience among individuals. The course culminates in a research paper on a topic of your choice that address some aspect of a need for community building and how visual art has responded to this need, or how it can better respond in the future. Work on this paper dominates the semester. You need not have any background in the study of visual to enjoy and do well in this course. What is essential is an open mind and some interest in visual art. The intersection of art and community is the backbone of the course. As such it is the prism through which you enhance your skills summarizing, analyzing, and synthesizing arguments; conducting academic research; writing a research proposal; and, drafting and completing a research paper. Readings, writings, class discussion, small group discussion, and individual meetings with the instructor will help you generate a research topic that interests you sufficiently so that you can write a paper of more than ten pages on it."
ENGL 161: Academic Writing II: Writing Toward a Queerer Nation
CRN: 14442; 14389; 14390
Day(s)/Times: TR 11:00-12:15; TR 12:30-1:45; TR 2:00-3:15
Instructor: Gayle, Robin
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, and Asexual (LGBTQA) Civil Rights Movement is a contentious development in the United States, teeming with social support & criticism, economic theories, sociological studies, and legal proceedings. In this writing course, you will enter into contemporary discussions about some of the issues faced by the LGBTQA populations. Over the course of several writing projects, you will develop your critical thinking and analytical writing skills. As you focus your inquiry into a specific issue, you will immerse yourself into contemporary queer literature. Throughout the semester, you are invited to critically examine and actively participate in the discourse surrounding the LGBTQA communities.
ENGL 161: Academic Writing in the Digital Age
Day(s)/Times: TR 3:30-4:45
Instructor: Gemmel, Gina
In this section of 161, we will examine the way we live life in 2017 with constant access to technology. Will technology help us achieve a better and more equitable society? How much of a role has technology played in the decline in American manufacturing? Social media and smartphones help us connect with friends and family, but how connected are we really? Is having technology at our fingertips making us less intelligent? All of these questions are part of current debates about how and why we use technology, and to what effects. As a generation who has grown up with technology at your fingertips, you are prepared to enter this debate; English 161 will show you how to do so in the form of academic argument. After exploring these issues as a class, you will choose your own topic related to the digital age and begin research in preparation for constructing your own arguments. I will provide support as you construct your own arguments through workshops, conferences, and instruction in research skills. At the end of the class, you will feel more comfortable doing independent research and making arguments in an academic format, both of which will serve you well throughout your academic career.
ENGL 161: Academic Writing II: The Rhetorical Tradition
Day(s)/Times: TR 2:00 - 3:15
Instructor: Hayek, Philip
Academic Writing II focuses on the kind of academic writing that uses information drawn from research to shape convincing, defensible arguments. Using rhetorical theories of persuasion, this course reinforces and extends students' abilities to deal with the variable relationships between writer, reader, and subject in the specific context of academic research and argumentation. Students will refine their skill in using the language of academic writing shaped with greater stylistic sophistication, especially in the context of argumentative strategies. We will focus on the rhetorical tradition, from Aristotle to Obama, as we develop our abilities to discover the available means of persuasion in any given situation.
ENGL 161: The Purposes of Higher Education?
CRN: 14417; 26880; 14456
Day(s)/Times: TR 9:30-10:45; TR 11:00-12:15; TR 3:30-4:45
Instructor: Jakalski, David
Why do students go to a college or university? What experiences or services should colleges or universities provide? Should postsecondary education in the United States be devoted entirely to academics, or do co-curricular activities (clubs, sports, etc.) constitute part of the college or university experience? What methods and technologies should be employed to best provide this education? Are institutions of higher education drivers of class mobility, or do they perpetuate and maintain economic inequality? This course will conduct a focused inquiry into what constitutes the purposes of higher education in the United States. We will read from several scholarly articles and book-length studies including Andrew Delbanco’s College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be (Princeton UP, 2014), and we will also read from a variety of popular sources (journal articles from The Atlantic Monthly, film, newspapers, interviews, etc.). Assignments will include four writing projects—Annotated Bibliography, Literature Review, Research Proposal, Argumentative Research Paper—that invite you to further develop the necessary skills to write your own critical argument regarding higher education in the United States.
ENGL 161: Writing about Race, Class, and Gender in the United States
CRN: 14469; 32295; 14403
Day(s)/Times: TR 11:00-12:15; TR 2:00-3:15; TR 3:30-4:45
Instructor: Jenks, Philip
This course explores the relationships and intersections between race, class, and gender in the United States. How do race, class, and gender intersect in and shift our understandings of one another? What is intersectionality? In this class, you will critically examine the intersectional meanings of race, class, and gender with an emphasis on how these inflect and affect our lives. You will connect these concepts to our role in the world. By combining the experience of exploring the intersectionality of race, class, and gender with relevant written assignments and readings, you will enhance your research skills considerably. Your written assignments include an annotated bibliography, a research proposal, a literature review, and a culminating research paper. In each assignment, you will demonstrate an ability to summarize and analyze effectively.
ENGL 161: Writing the University: Contemporary Issues in Higher Education
Day(s)/Times: TR 3:30-4:45
Instructor: Kessler, Jeffrey
What are we doing here in an institution of higher education at UIC in this classroom? What issues about higher education affect our class? How do our experiences of higher education vary? In our section of English 161, a writing course situated in academic inquiry, we will take up these questions through an exploration of academic research and public debate. There are many more questions and even fewer easy answers. The course is organized around a semester-long research project. We will begin with a common set of texts and questions, and then you will develop focused questions and participate in the practices of academic research and writing. We will use this work to explore disciplinary conventions and methodologies and to attend to the ways students enter communities structured by forms of academic writing.
ENGL 161: Academic Writing II
CRN: 14457; 30804; 32293
Day(s)/Times: TR 9:30-10:45; TR 11:00-12:15; TR 2:00-3:15
Instructor: Khoury, Nicole
This class will provide you with tools for researching and exploring topics on the role of language and gender. In this class, you will become familiar with the effects of gender on language use. We will discuss popular beliefs and scholarly theories about language and communication. This course is designed with the goal of using the course topic—language and gender—as a vehicle for developing critical thinking and scholarly research/analytic skills. This course introduces students to issues on language, gender, sexuality, ideology, identity and power. Not only should the course challenge what you know about language and gender, but it should also provide you with valuable academic skills that will benefit you throughout the rest of your time in college (and beyond).
ENGL 161: Writing About Corporations
CRN: 14428; 14468
Day(s)/Times: TR 3:30-4:45; TR 5:00-6:15
Instructor: McFarland, Scott
English 161 asks students to explore a topic in depth and conduct independent research related to that topic. In this course, we will examine how large corporations serve, or fail to serve, the public interest. In doing so, we will consider the role that corporations play in America’s economy, politics and culture. Through lectures, screenings, group discussions, writing workshops, and individual conferences, you will develop an independent inquiry about a specific, ongoing public policy debate concerning a particular corporation or industry. (Some companies or industries require many public policy responses; the fast food industry, for example, raises concerns about: health, minimum-wage jobs, union rights, worker safety, animal rights, government subsidies, environmental impact, etc.) This inquiry will be the basis of four writing projects: 1) an annotated bibliography; 2) a literature review; 3) a research proposal; and 4) a documented research paper.
ENGL 161: Is Technology Making Us Smarter, Or Are We Dumbing Down?
CRN: 32291; 22116
Day(s)/Times: TR 12:30-1:45; TR 2:00-3:15
Instructor: Parr, Katherine
Is technology making us smarter, or are we dumbing down? From national security to the kindergarten classroom, computers have become essential to our daily lives. This section of English 161 will address the issues surrounding the use of computer technology and its effects on society. Your research will delve into the use of the technology on many fronts in order to determine its usefulness and its potential for disruptions, such as attention in children, cyber attacks, travel safety, and the storage of personal and vital information, e.g., in finance and in medical records. After becoming familiar with the arguments for our dependence on computer technology and the arguments against, students will choose its use in their fields of interest, or studies, for an individually tailored research project.
ENGL 161: Problem-Based Writing
Day(s)/Times: TR 11:00-12:15
Instructor: Schoenknecht, Mark
Unlike many sections of ENGL 161, this course will not begin with a predetermined theme. Instead, we’ll spend the first week of class constructing a shared research question that will serve as the basis of our inquiry for the term. Readings for the course will largely consist of texts discovered by students throughout the duration of their research. Ideally, whatever organizing question we agree to will be grounded in an open-ended, real-world problem relevant to our lives as students at UIC or as residents of Chicago. The goal in this sense is to encourage genuine civic engagement, and to understand our writing as building toward an “authentic” product that might have important sociopolitical applications (aside from merely satisfying the requirements of an instructor).
Ultimately, our research question is intended to serve as an occasion for practicing critical reading, writing, and research strategies. Students will illustrate their mastery of these skills by participating in class discussions and small group work, submitting a variety of short homework assignments, and completing multiple drafts of four genre-based writing projects: a literature review, an annotated bibliography, a research proposal, and an 10-page research paper.
ENGL 161: Mental Illness and the Idioms (or Epidemics) of Distress
CRN: 26194; 14398
Day(s)/Times: TR 11:00-12:15; TR 2:00-3:15
Instructor: Shearer, Jay
In this course, we will examine the social forces, manipulations and motives that contribute to the labeling of mental illness. We will explore and analyze “idioms of distress” as well as links between contemporary psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry, popular and professional knowledge, and the simultaneous selling of both disease and cure. You will (or should, if you do the work) develop critical thinking and analytical writing skills in the process of composing three short writing projects. You will apply these skills more comprehensively in a final, lengthier research paper, an independent research project regarding in some way mental illness, its diagnosis or treatment, the pharmaceutical industry’s links to the medical profession, the power of mass persuasion, or a closely related topic of your choosing.
ENGL 161: Inner Sectum: Reading, Writing, and Researching About Insects and Human Intersections
CRN: 14415; 14464; 14399
Day(s)/Times: TR 8:00-9:15; TR 9:30-10:45; TR 12:30-1:45
Instructor: Sherfinski, Todd
Animalia arthropoda hexapoda will serve as the subject of inquiry for this course. Whether you’re confused as Gregor Samsa or as certain as E. O. Wilson about insects, you’ll find this course emphasizing what it means to engage in both oral and written academic conversations, how to read around subjects, and how to navigate research on the world wide web as well as through the stacks of the Daley Library. The course involves reading and writing assignments, four writing projects, and a group research project – all revolving around insects and how we interact with them.
The course seeks to view academic writing through the lens of entomology in the hopes that students might make connections between composition and the physical world. The course also challenges students to consider what we mean when we use the word “research,” as well as the scope and impact of research.
ENGL 161: Behind the Picket Lines: Writing about Protest in America
Day(s)/Times: TR 2:00-3:15
Instructor: Turim-Nygren, Mika
From the Women’s March to the NFL brouhaha, from Occupy to the Tea Party, protests have loomed large in the national discourse of the last few years. This course will use academic writing as a means of inquiry for moving beyond the media spectacle in order to think through the origins, ideas, and ambitions of protest movements in America. Beginning with Chicago’s own Haymarket Affair, we will examine the ways that writing can memorialize--and manipulate--the legacy of a powerful demonstration. Readings will center around Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, and will also include selections from investigative journalism, cultural criticism, and historical analysis. A central tenet of this class is that writing is a means of thinking, and that as you engage in the practice of writing, you help shape the world around you. As we build toward a final research paper, you will gradually take on more autonomy in developing a topic of inquiry that interests you, and about which you can say something truly original.
ENGL 161: The Politics of Parenting
CRN: 14422; 14465
Day(s)/Times: TR 8:00-9:15; TR 9:30-10:45
Instructor: Weeg, Marla
In this class, you will explore and write about the complex tensions that surround parenthood today. You will read, analyze, and write about some of the various issues that have arisen around modern parenthood in the twenty-first century. We will look at Families As They Really Are, edited by Barbara J. Risman, and also look at various articles from other texts and journals to get a sense of what are the parenthood tensions today.
Our investigation into the “Politics of Parenthood” provides the context for our writing, but our goal is to learn about academic research and writing. Therefore, we will also spend time learning about summarizing, analyzing and synthesizing arguments, conducting academic research, and writing a research proposal. All of this will culminate in a final research paper that answers an inquiry you have posed about a specific issue concerning our topic. Our readings and our class discussions will guide you through each of these steps and help you work toward generating a research topic that interests you enough to write a 10-page paper.
ENGL 161: The Language of ‘Us’ and ‘Them’: Linguistics and Identity
Day(s)/Times: TR 12:30-1:45
Instructor: Williams, Charitianne
This class is designed to recognize the benefits and advantages of multilingualism, and to serve the needs of multilingual and English-language-learning students. In this class we will study language variation with a focus on how language shapes our own and others’ sense of identity. Examining global linguistic events such as the spread of English as Lingua Franca and the rise of the Internet, the class will attempt to separate truth from myth as course members gain mastery in one discourse community in particular: Academia.