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Baseline Syllabi & Assignment Sequences

2016–2017 Foundation Syllabi

These syllabi, assignment sequences, and sample course schedules are designed to meet the needs of first-time FYW instructors at UConn teaching English 1010, while also offering examples of good practices and models for all instructors who may wish to teach these exact sequences or to borrow individual assignments or elements of the syllabi. These documents were created with care and dedication by the 2016 Program Development Committee: Ruth Book, Melissa Bugdal, Meghan Burns, Alex Gatten, Sarah Moon, Erick Piller, and Anna Ziering. They were created in conversation with and with the assistance of outgoing FYW Director Scott Campbell and Acting Director Lisa Blansett, and they build off the important work of previous committees. These documents, however, like all teaching materials, are not perfect; they are ever-evolving and ever in need of revision and thought as each instructor navigates each unique classroom experience.

 

Foundation Syllabus (ENGL 1010)
Borderlands, Contact Zones, Commons: Writing (about) Difference

Course Inquiry:

This course will examine the place and function of difference in language and writing, along with the ways in which power dynamics can suppress (or produce or expose) difference. A text, we will find, is composed of many voices—but rather than coexisting harmoniously, these different voices often struggle with one another, with some marginalized, or even submerged, and others dominant. Moreover, these power differentials within a text tend to reflect social and cultural practices. To better understand the heterogeneity of language, we will attend throughout this semester to those silenced or otherwise less authoritative voices, as well as to marginalized writers’ strategies of resistance—for example, their creative appropriation and use of dominant discourses for expressive and exploratory ends. In a sense, then, this seminar will involve a great deal of writing about writing, but also about culture, identity, and creativity.

 

Foundation Syllabus (ENGL 1010)
Negotiating Identity Through Language

Course Inquiry:

We will be exploring and troubling the role of writing, language and media in shaping identities—both personal and collective. We will make use of critical and scholarly texts, popular sources, digital media, and our own writing as locations for exploring the complex processes of identity formation and categorization. Ultimately, we will seek to challenge the way we define and understand our own identity and those of others through language, and in doing so.

 

2015–2016 Baseline Syllabi

These syllabi and assignment sequences are designed to meet the needs of first-time FYW instructors at UConn teaching English 1010, while also offering examples of good practices and models for all instructors who may wish to teach these exact sequences or to borrow individual assignments or elements of the syllabi. These documents were created with care and dedication by the 2015 Introduction Week Oversight Committee: Ruth Book, Emily Carminati, Gennifer Dorgan, Alaina Kaus, and Jarred Wiehe. They were created in conversation with and with the assistance of FYW Director Scott Campbell and Associate Director Lisa Blansett, and they build off the important work of the 2014 Oversight Committee (Emma Burris-Janssen, Emily Carminati, Kristina Dolce, Sarah Moon, George Moore, and Laura Wright) and countless individual instructors and past oversight committees. These documents, however, like all teaching materials, are not perfect; they are ever-evolving and ever in need of revision and thought as each instructor navigates each unique classroom experience.

 

Baseline Syllabus – Sequence One (ENGL 1010)
Imagining Otherwise: Fractured Identities and Political Lives

Course Inquiry:

Within our contemporary political moment, there seems to be a trend of needing to declare that certain lives matter. Declarations such as #BlackLivesMatter are often met with a seemingly self-evident claim that #AllLivesMatter, and these two claims create tension. So how might we make sense of these conflicts and find other ways to make change? This course is constructed around the questions of lives—which ones are seen as livable, as grievable, and as mattering. How are identities—as intersectional and changing things—given meaning, and how might we contest such categories that seek to make “identity” discrete and governable, such as race, gender, sexuality, disability, and class?  How might we broaden and interrogate the category of the human, thereby making all lives, indeed, matter? Through our writing, we will think about what it means to “live politically,” to engage in questions of responsibility and vulnerability in relation to power. This course will ultimately ask you to create writing projects that imagine otherwise, to imagine alternative apparatuses that might structure life.

 

Baseline Syllabus – Sequence Two (ENGL 1010)
Narrated Lives: Memory, Identity, and Representation

Course Inquiry:

In this course we will take a critical approach to identity—and how it is formed by, or for, us. We may discover that unlike what billboards, ads, and social media sites constantly tell us, identity is not created instantaneously, nor is there such a thing as a “stable” identity. Identity is always changing and always dependent on our networks of influence, our context in culture and history, and our seeing of others. Likewise, what we think we know of others is always mediated by cultural narratives and by our own constructions.

In this course, using texts that force us to consider and reconsider our ideas about memory, self-creation, relationships, communities, and identities, we will think and write about how we come to be “who we are.” And we will think particularly about the ways texts—journals, memoirs, photographs, paintings, essays, and so on—mitigate, inform, or resist relationships of power and identification. And, in producing our own texts, we will explore writing as a means for deepening our understandings of these relationships.