ENG101 - English Composition I
Prof. Eileen Joy
FALL 2003

Personal History, Collective Culture & The Ethics of Remembering

"The need of truth is more sacred than any other need. Yet it is never mentioned." (Simone Weil, from The Need for Roots: Prelude to a Declaration of Duties Towards Mankind, 1949)

Fig. 1. House burning in Rosewood, Florida (1923); Fig. 2. Abercrombie Model


Writing is the art of applying the ass to the seat.--Dorothy Parker

The SIUE Department of English Language & Literature tells us that the first year writing sequence at SIUE is designed to help students build upon what they have learned about writing in high school in order to successfully navigate the complex endeavor of becoming college writers. To that end, it is the hope that students who complete the first part of the sequence, ENG101, will:

The professor would like to add that, in addition to learning how to use writing as a cognitive tool, and how to articulately communicate our ideas in writing, we will also work to understand how LANGUAGE = POWER. In an increasingly technological world where much money is to be made deciphering genetic codes, constructing chemical micro-robots, designing artificial forms of intelligence, engineering "smart" cars, and the like, the ability to communicate effectively with others has not lost its significance. One might even say that the ability to communicate well--to express ideas clearly and even beautifully--is a vital necessity for success, the importance of which it would be dangerous to overlook (unless, of course, you're perfectly happy skulking about at the bottom of the heap). You may possess any number of abilities and skills in areas other than writing, but without a firm grasp of your language and culture and the skillful means to express yourself, whether in a love letter, inter-office e-memo, technical prospectus, or court brief, you cannot command attention or regard for yourself or your ideas. The 21st century is being hailed as the Information Age, as well as the Age of Technology, and the global airwaves are already jammed with billions of voices. In order to succeed, you must aim to stand above the crowd and be heard. You will want to be smart, sleek, stylish, daring, and commanding. Believe it or not, that's exactly what this course is all about.

But there is one last thing, too (perhaps most important to me): the professor hopes to engage you in a debate over the ethics of ideas and expressive language.

COURSE OBJECTIVES (The more "concrete" version")

This is something slightly different, yet altogether connected to our “COURSE DESCRIPTION.” This is also a good example of an outline.

I. We are going to learn to read critically and think logically.

II. We are going to produce good writing by means of a process, and we are going to understand that the drafting process is a thinking process.

III. We are going to write to accomplish our own personal rhetorical goals while also being sensitive to the needs of our readers.

IV. We are going to analyze our writing processes and modify them when necessary to strengthen our ability to communicate.

V. We are going to learn how to focus on a central idea and how to develop and support a topic through sustained discourse.

VI. We are going to learn principles for organizing our writing and how to utilize formal conventions to strengthen our message.

VII. We are going to learn how to develop confidence in our own judgment.

VIII. We are going to learn how to locate, evaluate, and integrate primary and secondary source material into our writing.

IX. We are going to always be on the lookout for ways to increase the powers of our vocabulary, both verbal and cultural, in order to empower ourselves.

REQUIRED TEXTS (available through Textbook Rental Services)

Exploring Language by Goshgarian (9th edition)
Seeing & Writing 2 by McQuade & McQuade (2nd edition)
The Holt Handbook by Kirszner & Mandell (6th edition)

A good, thick collegiate dictionary is highly recommended. In addition, be aware that the online Oxford English Dictionary is available on Lovejoy Library's website.


You will be required to write three major essays of varying lengths (ranging from shorter 3 to 4-page papers to 6 to 8-page papers), with multiple drafts. These essays will allow you to practice your hand at narrative, objective reporting, close critical analysis, and persuasive writing. Essays 2 & 3 will incorporate outside research.

You will be given periodic short writing assignments related to readings and other subjects under discussion. Typically, you will be asked to write responses (1-2 typewritten pages in length) to questions framed by the professor that have been prompted by in-class discussions. Occasionally, I will also ask you to bring in portions of work-in-progress that will count as "short papers." You can expect to have one of these assigned each week, for a total somewhere between 10 and 12 by the end of the semester. The main emphasis in these papers is on "freewriting," and they will mainly be graded on the requisite effort (or lack thereof) put forth.

You will be assigned to a research group early in the semester, and for essays 2 & 3 there will be various group assignments that involve spending some time outside of class undertaking research and/or analysis of sources related to topics under discussion, and each group will also be responsible for making in-class presentations of the results of their outside work. Your grade for this portion of the course will be based upon the requisite effort being put forth, and NOT upon whether or not the professor feels that the group has come up with the "right" or "wrong" results.

Group Assignment #1

Group Assignment #2

Group Assignment #3

In this course, you will learn that writing is an inherently social act, and the best writing is produced through collaboration with other writers--in this case, your fellow students and the professor. And because one of the emphases in this class is also on the development of critical and analytical thinking and reading skills, you will also learn that one does not think well in a vacuum. Our ideas benefit immeasurably when exchanged with others in a series of critical dialogues. Preparing for and participating in class are vitally important to your success in this class, and therefore, your contribution to in-class discussions and draft workshops, as well as your attendance record, will be factored into your final grade.

SPECIAL NOTE: Because one of the main emphases in this course is on learning how excellent writing emerges out of a serious commitment to the drafting process (which is also a critical thinking process), not showing up on the days when draft workshops and draft conferences are scheduled will result in the lowering of your final paper grades, and in some cases, can result in the professor not accepting an essay at all. If there are legitimate reasons for not being able to attend a draft workshop or for missing a scheduled draft conference, the professor will help you to make other arrangements for making up the work in a timely fashion.


Follow these guidelines for submitting final work:

For an example of what a paper should look like, format-wise, in its final form, consult The Holt Handbook, pp. 65-68.


The professor is happy to consider revisions of major essays you would like to rewrite for a higher grade (with the exception of the final essay), with the following provisions:


This support service resides in Peck Hall #1419 (Chad Verbais, Coordinator). Writing consultants are available there to work with you by appointment on ANY writing assignment, at any point in the drafting process. Smart students, no matter how advanced or limited their writing skills, understand the benefit of such a service and regularly seek it out.


If you feel that you are entitled to special accommodations (for example, a volunteer note-taker, interpreter, special desk, or extra time on tests), please contact the Disability Support Services office in Rendleman Hall #1218 (Jane A. Floyd-Hendey, Director), and they will help you fill out the necessary paperwork.


The professor does not accept late papers. Period. If there is an extraordinarily good reason for needing an extension on a paper due date, let the professor know in advance, and she will be kind.


Attendance, promptness, and participation are essential to success in college courses. Faculty members recognize that unexpected occasions may arise when a student must be absent from class, but the general attendance policy of this professor states that if a student is absent more than the number of required class sessions per week (in this case, that would be more than 2 sessions), the professor has the option of lowering the student’s final course grade by one letter grade for each additional session missed.  Furthermore, if absences become excessive (more than two weeks' worth of sessions), the SIUE Registrar, at the professor's request, reserves the right to withdraw the student administratively. For more information on this, please consult the following: SIUE Class Attendance Policy.
Failure to attend class in a responsible and committed manner may thus be grounds for failure in or administrative withdrawal from the course.


Any student found engaging in an act of academic dishonesty will be promptly dismissed from the course with a grade of "F." By "academic dishonesty," I mean PLAGIARISM (the act of representing the work of another as one's own), which the University considers a grave breach of intellectual integrity. All definitions, terminology, concepts, and patterns of organization taken from an outside source must be identified and given credit in any essay or exam you write--whether it be for the English department or any other department. For more detailed information on this, please consult the following: SIUE Plagiarism Policy.


A 93-100
B 84-92
C 74-83
D 65-73
F under 65

Grading Guidelines


EL=Exploring Language; SW=Seeing & Writing

Monday Aug. 25 Introduction to Course/In-Class Writing
    Vowell, "Shooting Dad" (audiofile)
    Practice Essay Assignment
Wednesday Aug. 27 Discussion: Essay 1
Monday Sep. 1 NO CLASS -- Labor Day Holiday
Wednesday Sep. 3 Siegel, "A Father's Pain, A Judge's Duty"
Monday Sep. 8 Discussion: Siegel Article
Wednesday Sep. 10 French, "Angels & Demons"
Monday Sep. 15 Discussion: French Article
Wednesday Sep. 17 No Class -- Draft Conferences
Monday Sep. 22 No Class -- Draft Conferences
Wednesday Sep. 24 Draft Workshop: Essay 1
    Draft Workshop Questions & Guidelines
Monday Sep. 29 O'Neill, "The Language of Advertising" (EL, 315-24)
Wednesday Oct. 1 Discussion: Essay 2
    Essay 1 Due
Monday Oct. 6 Diesel versus Abercrombie
Wednesday Oct. 8 Discussion: Diesel vs. Abercrombie
Monday Oct. 13 View: The Merchants of Cool (PBS Frontline program)
Wednesday Oct. 15 Discussion: The Merchants of Cool
Monday Oct. 20 Bordo, "Never Just Pictures" (SW, 236-40)
    Alexander, "Cool Like Me" (SW, 367-70)
Wednesday Oct. 22 No Class -- Professor at Conference
Monday Oct. 27 Interviews from The Merchants of Cool:
    Todd Cunningham (MTV Senior VP, Brand Strategy)
    Dee Dee Gordon and Sharon Lee (founding partners of Look-Look)
    Brian Graden (MTV President of Programming)
    Jimmy Iovine (Interscope Records Co-chairman)
    Mark Crispin Miller (media critic, NYU professor)
    Douglas Rushkoff (media & popular culture analyst, NYU professor)
    John Seabrook (freelance writer, author of Nobrow: The Culture of Marketing)
Wednesday Oct.29 Draft Workshop: Essay 2
    Draft Workshop Questions & Guidelines
Monday Nov.3 View: Rosewood (film)
Wednesday Nov. 5 View: Rosewood (film)
    Essay 2 Due
Monday Nov. 10 Discussion: Rosewood & Essay 3
Wednesday Nov. 12 "The Rosewood Report" (electronic course reserves)
Monday Nov. 17 "The Rosewood Report"
Wednesday Nov. 19 "The Rosewood Report"
Monday Nov. 24 No Class -- Thanksgiving Holiday
Wednesday Nov. 26 No Class -- Thanksgiving Holiday
Monday Dec. 1 W.E.B. Du Bois, "Of Our Spiritual Strivings"
Wednesday Dec. 3 Bowe, "Nobodies: Does Slavery Exist in America?" (electronic course reserves)
Monday Dec. 8 No Class -- Draft Conferences
Wednesday Dec. 10 No Class -- Draft Conferences
Monday Dec. 15 Essay 3 Due
Thursday Dec. 18 Final Exam 10:00 - 11:40 a.m.