ENG 101: College Composition

Fall I 2016 / LaGuardia Community College, CUNY


Professor Bethany Holmstrom

E-mail: bholmstrom@lagcc.cuny.edu

Slack handle: @bethany

Office hours: Tuesdays 2:15-3:15 / E-263, D - other hours virtually or by appointment

Meeting info:

Section 0741 / M & W 9:15-11:30 / E-230 (lab Mondays), E-260 (Wednesdays)

Slack team url: http://eng101f16.slack.com

Course weight/time:

3 credits, 4 hours

Course Objectivesporch.jpeg

  1. Demonstrate understanding of writing as a process by using such strategies as pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading.
  2. Read and listen critically and analytically, including identifying an argument’s major assumptions and assertions and evaluating its supporting evidence.
  3. Write clearly and coherently in varied academic formats (such as formal essays, research papers, and reports) using standard English and appropriate technology to critique and improve one’s own and others’ texts. Essays will vary in length between 600 and 1500 words and will demonstrate an understanding of audience, voice, and purpose.
  4. Demonstrate research skills by using appropriate technology, including gathering, evaluating, and synthesizing primary and secondary sources. Essays will include quotation, summation, paraphrase, and citation and will avoid plagiarism.
  5. Support a thesis with well-reasoned arguments, and communicate persuasively over a variety of contexts, purposes, audiences, and media.
  6. Formulate original ideas and relate them to the ideas of others by employing the conventions of ethical attribution and citation.

In Our Section

This class is inspired, in large part, by Candice Benbow’s Lemonade Syllabus, and also draws heavily from Jessica Marie Johnson and Janell Hobson’s post on the  African American Intellectual History Society’s blog, “#Lemonade: A Black Feminist Resource List.” We will be reading, discussing, and writing about Beyoncé’s visual album, Lemonade - including related texts and criticism. I would highly recommend that you purchase Lemonade (the visual album) so that you can easily refer back to it and watch it multiple times (you might want to also consider the free 90-day trial with Tidal to get access throughout the semester); we will also screen the album in class. All of our readings are available in your course packet or are easily accessed online (and will be posted on our Slack forum): please bring your course packet with you to class every day.



How can I get a question answered?

The best place to get a quick answer is to check the syllabus. If the answer is not there, the next best place to figure out an answer is on Slack, our group forum and digital workspace: post in the #general channel, and either I or someone else in the class will answer. If these two things don’t give you an answer, or you want to set up an individual meeting, send me a direct message on Slack or email me at the address listed at the top of the syllabus. If you send an email, make sure you have something in the subject line that sums up what you're writing about, and sign off with your name. Remember that this is not a text message: email is a written correspondence, and you should treat it as you would a professional communication. I check e-mail from 9am-5pm on weekdays, but give me a few hours (I might be teaching, or commuting, or living life) and I should be able to get back to you: I do not have my work email on my phone, so I am not chained to this account. This is why Slack will probably get you a quicker answer.

It’s cool if I text constantly during class, right?

No, it's not. Unless you are requested to use your phone for a particular task (using an app, looking up something, or live-tweeting during class), phones should remain in your bag and turned off for the duration of class. We will have regular “cell phone breaks” in class: every half hour, the entire class will have a two minute break to check phones. This will help us maintain a distraction-free environment.

What should I do if I need a learning accommodation?

To receive accommodations for testing and instruction, students with disabilities must inform the Office for Students with Disabilities. In my life prior to academia I was a special education teacher, so please also inform me of any accommodations you might require if you have a disability.

What are some additional resources for the class, in terms of content?

A lot has been written and said about Lemonade since its release, and about Beyoncé’s various performances of “Formation,” and other songs from the album. It is worthwhile to look at #lemonadesyllabus and #lemonade on Twitter. The post on the AAIHS site listed above has tons of resources as well. Twitter and other social media platforms were filled with commentary on the album when it premiered on HBO, so it is also worth checking out Storify and seeing the reactions assembled there. We will discuss how to cite a variety of materials - including text, video, music, tweets, and other digital materials - throughout the semester.

Grading Criteria

College/department non-negotiables:

What’s the grading breakdown?

Let’s keep it simple, to start:

Lack of attendance or participation will result in deductions from your overall earned score.

Okay, so what are the papers like?

According to the English department guidelines, you will be responsible for five papers in this class including two in-class essays, each 600 words or more. You must turn in all five papers to pass this class. You can read the department guidelines in the 101 Information Sheet included in your course packet. Each of the papers below will incorporate readings and/or additional research. The total average for your papers will be worth 75% of your overall grade, and they are given equal weight in terms of your overall average. The grade for each paper is determined by a rubric. To earn the highest possible grade, you will also need to meet a variety of earlier deadlines and benchmarks, designed to help you develop your writing and research skills - these are built into the assessment for each assignment. Each of the five papers below will incorporate readings and/or additional research, and are as follows:

Paper 1 -  What is Feminism? Reflecting on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists

Paper 2 -  Is Lemonade Feminist?: Beyoncé, bell hooks, and Critiques of Lemonade

Paper 3 -  In-class midterm (responding to colleagues)

Paper 4 - Make-Your-Own Reading List

Paper 5 -  In-class reflection

You will receive detailed prompts for each of these assignments: feel free to ask me for access to prompts in advance, should you wish to look them over sooner (except for the in-class essays, of course).

What do you mean by “informal” writing?

Informal writing is all the other writing that will take place for the class. This includes in-class writing, quizzes, steps in larger papers (outlines, thesis, abstracts, etc.), rough drafts for peer review, and peer review letters. Some of these - like the aforementioned steps for larger papers or peer review letters - will also count towards your formal paper grades (they are that important!).

What about deadlines?

No late papers or assignments will be accepted or counted as passing, though a token can help you extend a deadline.

Oh, yes, that reminds me - what’s the attendance policy?

As stated above, you can miss up to 8 hours of class: this is the official college policy. Time that you are late to class or leave early counts towards an overall cumulative deficit. When you exceed the 8 hours of allowed miss class time, you will automatically fail the class; unless, however, you have a token and use it to excuse two hours of class time. Even if you are absent, all papers and assignments are still due on the date listed on the syllabus; since all major papers are submitted digitally, there is no reason why papers cannot be submitted even if you cannot make the class meeting.

What are these tokens you keep mentioning?

Each student will receive two virtual tokens to start the class, which can be used to:

Notify me via direct message on Slack when you wish to “cash in” one of these tokens. Should you have any remaining tokens at the end of the term, they will each add an additional two points to your final average. Please note that a token can excuse you from missed class time, but it will not excuse any missed work: that requires another token entirely. There will be opportunities to earn additional tokens throughout the semester.

Course Schedule

Please note that all assignments/due dates are subject to change. All readings are in your course packet unless otherwise noted (and are designated as CP in the schedule below). You should bring your readings to every class. All articles and video/podcast resources will also be posted on Slack. All papers should be submitted in your individual GoogleDrive folder, which we will set up together in class.

September 12 (M) 


What is gender?

Reading in class: short excerpts from Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble

September 14 (W)

What do we mean when we talk about “race”?

Reading due: “Race,” “Ethnicity,” and “Ideology,” excerpts from Post-Colonial Studies: The Key Concepts [CP]

September 19 (M)

Reading due: They Say / I Say chapters 1-3 [CP]

September 21 (W)

Reading due: “We Should All Be Feminists,” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie [CP]

Optional Viewing: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TEDx Talk

September 26 (M)

Writing Workshop: Paper 1 Rough Draft / Peer Review

September 28 (W)

Writing due: Paper 1 due in Individual GoogleDrive folder by class time

Extra Token Reading Due: Kamaria Roberts & Kenya Downs, “What Beyoncé Teaches Us About the African Diaspora in ‘Lemonade,’” Vulture Roundtable, “Beyoncé’s Lemonade and the Undeniable Power of a Black Woman’s Vulnerability[both in CP]; complete Token GoogleForm (posted on Slack) before class to receive extra token


October 3 (M)

No class, college closed

October 5 (W)

Listening due: Strange Fruit #169 podcast: “Unpacking the Symbolism in Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’” (only required to listen to 42:00)

Reading due: bell hooks, “Moving Beyond Pain”; Feministing, “A Black Feminist Roundtable on bell hooks, Beyoncé, and ‘Moving Beyond Pain’” [both in CP]

Writing due: GoogleForm Podcast Listening Response, due by class time (access form via the #podcast channel on Slack)

October 10 (M)

No class, college closed

October 12 (W)

No class, college closed

October 17 (M)

Reading due: They Say / I Say Chapters 4-11 [CP]

October 19 (W)

Writing due: Paper 2 Rough Draft & Peer Review

October 24 (M)

Writing due: Paper 2 draft

October 26 (W)

Reading due: Colleagues’ papers from Monday’s class

Writing due: Paper 2 final draft due in individual GoogleDrive folder by class time


October 28 (F) - Classes follow a Monday schedule

Mid-term: In-class Paper 3

October 31 (M)

Final Project Workshop

Reading due: Candice Benbow’s Lemonade Syllabus (view online)

November 2 (W)

Final Project Workshop

Sharing project ideas

Read: short excerpt on ethos, pathos, and logos

November 7 (M)

Final Project Workshop

November 9 (W)

Final Project Conferences

November 14 (M)

Final Project Workshop / Conferences

November 16 (W)

Final Project Workshop / Conferences

Bring to class: Syllabus/Reading List and Draft of Letter for Peer Review

November 21 (M)

Final Project Workshop

November 23 (W)

No class meeting

November 28 (M)

Due: Final Project Materials as digital files, to be uploaded to public site

November 30 (W)

In-class Presentations

December 5 (M)

Class Roundtable

December 7 (W)

In class: Paper 5 (final reflection)

December 14 (W)

Grading conferences