Sample English 2800 syllabus from Professor Linda Neiberg.
Syllabus for Fall 2012 ENG 2150 course with the theme “Authenticity & Astonishment.”
Garbological Studies is a fifteen week writing expedition into the past, present, and future of waste, junk, trash, garbage, and all other manner of discarded things. The class will look towards the dumpster as a rich compost of topics for in-class writing and take home essays. Class time will be divided between an overview of common writing issues related to the analytical essay, and discussions, which will review exemplary models of garbological writing, and consider the consequences of unmitigated garbage production.
This course presents a global approach to literature by introducing a variety of narrative, lyric, and dramatic forms representative of different cultures and historical periods, from ancient times through the sixteenth century. Specific choices depend upon the preference of the instructor, but every class studies examples of epic poetry, sacred texts, medieval narrative, and classical and Renaissance drama. Discussions involve both close reading of selected texts and comparison of the values the texts promote. Students engage in a variety of communication-intensive activities designed to enhance their appreciation of literature and their awareness of the way it shapes and reflects a multicultural world.
The theme of this course is “Authority.” In what ways do we assert our authority with family members, friends, teachers, bosses, coworkers, and strangers, or fail to, in our daily lives? In what ways have we been affected by authority—our own and that of others? Is authority a positive, negative, or neutral force? How does authority affect our lives on a global scale? To what extent is the course of history determined by those with the most authority? Is authority an end in itself for those with it or a means of reaching an end? What are some ways of gaining authority? Is writing an assertion of authority? What is the word “author” doing in the word “authority?” Why does an essay written in a clear, meditative, and factual voice assert authority? In what ways can playing with the form of our essays (writing personal narratives, opinion pieces, research papers, etc.) assert our authority, or detract from it?
This course will employ a combination of literature, nonfiction, and film to examine the language of the “war on terror,” and the way that rhetoric has been used to justify the global counter-terrorism offensive as a response to 9/11. We will discuss, in particular, how language has been used to manipulate public anxiety about terrorist threats to gain support for military action. Along the way we will visit such issues as: the rise of Al Qaeda; violence as a means of political change; and American foreign policy in Afghanistan, Iraq, and beyond. The goal is to develop a shared understanding of our decade-long war against terrorism and its impact on American society.
Among the authors we will read are Lawrence Wright, George Orwell, Jane Mayer, Dexter Filkins, and George Packer.