English 3.305 Writing, Power, and Social Change

M-W 3-4:30, Fall 1995
Instructor: Katie Conrad
Office: C6, 4th floor, Bennett Hall
e-mail: kconrad@dept.english.upenn.edu


House of Our Own Bookstore, 3920 Spruce Street. Please buy your books here!
Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior
Art Spiegelman, MAUS I and MAUS II
Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon
Terry Tempest Williams, Refuge
Audre Lorde, Zami

Other texts will be available either through photocopies provided by the instructor or in a bulkpack available at Campus Copy Center, 39th and Walnut.


Grades will be based on papers and on class participation. I reserve the right to hold an exam, though currently none are scheduled.

Since this is a writing course, you will be responsible for an in-class essay, four short (one- to two- page) papers, and one longer (4-5 page) paper. Excluding the in-class essay, you are allowed to chose the texts on which you will write, though I recommend that you start writing early to allow yourself time to revise and improve. The longer paper may be a revision of one of your shorter papers.

You will discuss those papers with your peers throughout the semester. You must have a new paper for each of the scheduled writing group days. On the day on which the essay is due, you must bring in copies of your essay for your writing group.

Papers will not be graded until late in the course; I am interested both in getting you comfortable with writing and with grading your best work. As the semester progresses, I will give you the option to receive grades on your essays. I will read and comment upon an unlimited number of drafts; once you've chosen to receive a grade, however, no further revisions will be accepted. On (or before) December 11, you will turn in a portfolio with all of your work--your final paper, all drafts with my comments, any peer review comments you have, and any revisions.

Your participation grade will be based on four things: attendance, class participation (including any quizzes), writing groups (including attendance and participation), and short assignments (including discussion questions, in-class writing, Internet assignments, etc.). I will take attendance. If you are unable to attend class because of illness or emergency, please contact me (by note or e-mail), or send a message via one of your classmates. Please tell me if you will be missing class to observe religious holidays. Hangovers, sniffles, chem midterms, away games, etc. do not constitute excusable absences. Please make a special effort to be present for writing group days, since your classmates will be depending on your input for help in revising their papers, and will be giving you their input for your benefit. More significantly, perhaps, one quarter of your participation grade depends on your participation in your writing group.

Below you will find a tentative syllabus. The scheduling of the readings may change; I look forward to your input.


September W6 intro: literature, writing, and politics

M11 in-class essay on Alvarez, "Daughter of Invention"
W13 MacPherson, "A Loaf of Bread"

M18 writing groups; writing discussion
W20 Wilson, "Obscene Callers"

(add period ends)
M25 Song of Solomon
W27 Song of Solomon

October M2 TBA

M9 Rodriguez, "Complexion"; Wong, "When I Was Growing Up"
W11 George Will essay; Gloria Anzaldua essay; essay due

(drop period ends)
M16 FALL BREAK -- off
W18 O'Faolain, "How to Write a Short Story"; writing groups

M23 The Woman Warrior
W25 The Woman Warrior

M30 Chin essay; Wong essay
November W1 Allison essay & story

M6 Zami
W8 Zami

M13 Maus I; selections from McCloud, Understanding Comics
W15 Maus I and II; Bettleheim, "A Victim"

M20 Krauthammer essay; Maus II; essay due
W22 Thanksgiving break begins (off?)

M27 writing groups; Leland Bardwell, "A Dove of Peace"
W29 Refuge

December M4 Refuge

M11 last day; final paper and portfolios due!

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