Course Description

Focusing on the 20th and 21st centuries, the course will present several key theoretical perspectives. By exploring these theories, students will consider the ways in which the value of a text emerges from the historically variable forces of culture and institutional value systems.

Required Materials

Notebook/laptop/iPad/printer or cash for reading materials (see links at website)

Books if you like paper

Internet Access for participation

Thoughtfulness, Humor, and Curiosity

Course Outcomes

This course meets two General Education goals that will help students learn to

  • Communicate effectively
  • Make informed, ethical choices

This course fulfills the requirements for the Writing Emphasis component of the WCU General Education curriculum.  This course helps students to develop their writing by providing opportunities for revision in response to feedback from both instructor and peers. Through course readings and discussions, the course helps students make informed, ethical choices.  

Course Overview

ENG 296 is designed to help students use theoretical perspectives to interpret texts, to understand others’ interpretations, and to frame the social and political spaces of textual construction, transmission, and reception. This course is invested in considering questions like, how do texts work? How do we read? How is meaning made? What happens when we read and/or write? How do texts exist in a world with and alongside other texts and other social structures? We’ll explore these questions by reading some key theoretical texts and discussing their meaning.  Most importantly, though, will be the application of theories to texts in order to produce interpretations. Our theme this term is Language, Power and Self. We’ll read a couple of late 20th-century theorists and two currently active theorists who are still working (and calling out folks on Twitter!). Working slowly through these key figures, our course will focus on building two key skills:  (a) how to successfully navigate theoretical texts, and (b) how to use theory to help understand texts that we care about. Welcome!

Reading Materials:  You won’t need to buy any books for this course.  We’ll read primary texts by important figures, work together to understand key terms, concepts and methods.  We’ll work to trace connections and apply methods to the world around us. I’ll give you the readings via our course website, http://eng296.digitalwcu.org.  Primary materials: Essays by Freire, Butler, hooks, and Foucault

General Education Goals  This course fulfills the requirements for the Writing Emphasis component of the WCU General Education curriculum.  This course meets two General Education goals that will help students learn to: (a) think critically and analytically; and (b) communicate effectively.

Writing Assignments As a writing emphasis course, your writing will feature prominently in this course.  Below are descriptions of the four types of writing assignments you will do in this class. There are both formal and informal writing assignments that are designed to help you develop the skill of writing well.  Students will be given opportunities to revise their writing with the benefit of feedback from the instructor and peers. This feedback on written assignments will be designed to encourage critical thinking and ongoing improvement in writing

Students with Disabilities  If you have a disability that requires accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), please present your letter of accommodations and meet with me as soon as possible. For more information, please contact the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (OSSD) at x3217.

Plagiarism  Your finished work must be your own, as a result of the engagement of your mind with the thoughts of others in  a way that reflects your perspective. Plagiarism is academic dishonesty, a theft that robs you of the chance to either succeed or fail but most of all it robs you of the chance to learn.  It will result in at best an F on the assignment, and it risks university-level judicial sanctions. For questions regarding Academic Integrity, the No-Grade Policy, Sexual Harassment, or the Student Code of Conduct, students are encouraged to refer to the Department’s Undergraduate Handbook, the Undergraduate Catalogue, the Ram’s Eye View, and the University website at www.wcupa.edu.

Attendance  Regular attendance is encouraged and required for this course; it’s nearly impossible to do well in a course that you do not attend.While there is no formal penalty for missing any class, in my experience, students who miss classes gradually lose touch with the pace of the course and inevitably fail for the term. In order to ensure your success, I recommend attending each of the class meetings. Poor attendance correlates with poor participation.