ENG 101: College Composition

Section 0823 / Fall I 2018 / LaGuardia Community College, CUNY

Instructor Info:  

Professor Bethany Holmstrom

E-mail: bholmstrom@lagcc.cuny.edu

Slack handle: @bethany

Office hours: Thursdays 3:25-4:25, Library O — other hours virtually or by appointment

Meeting info:

Section 0823 / T & Th 1:00-3:15 / E-228 (lab Tuesdays), MB-64 (Thursdays)

Slack team url: http://eng1010823.slack.com

Course Objectives

  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

Jordan Peele’s recent movie Get Out (2017) was a critical and commercial success; it was a horror movie that also functioned as a dark comedy, critiquing race relations in the United States. Using Get Out as a case study, you will read and intervene in an academic conversation, drawing on theory and texts to analyze the movie. For the final project in this class, you will choose a popular culture item (a show, movie, album, song, etc., in any language) that can be “read” in a more nuanced way, and make your case to your colleagues in class. You do not have to purchase any books for this class, but you are expected to bring the relevant required readings to class.


How can I get a question answered?

Direct Message the professor on Slack @bethany, or post to the #general channel if you think others also will need clarity on the topic. You can also email Bethany at bholmstrom@lagcc.cuny.edu (Slack will be quicker though).

Can I use my phone during class? What about other devices?

If you need to send a quick text, whatever: we’re all adults here. If it’s a longer exchange or a call you need to take care of, just step outside the class rather than distracting folks. Please feel free to bring any other devices to class that will help you learn. If you want to bring your own laptop, tablet, etc.: go for it.

How many papers, and what are the deadlines?

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 major papers to pass this class. All papers will be posted in a Google Drive folder, and handed in as a hard copy. Check the schedule below & Slack for deadlines. You get a one-time, two-day extension to use on any assignment (except for in-class papers), no questions asked.

Here’s a general overview of our papers (you’ll get detailed prompts in class, and the non-exam items are also hyperlinked below):

How will I be graded?

We’ll create a grading contract together that lets us hammer out the details of how you can earn particular grades in this class.

What should I do if I missed a class?

Check the syllabus and consult Slack to see if any updates were posted. Then reach out to a couple of colleagues from the class to review what happened. If you still have questions, make an appointment to talk to the professor or come see them during office hours. To be clear: professors cannot “go over” everything you missed (yes, you missed things!), or re-teach the entire class. Your colleagues should be able to fill you in (and you should be able to do the same for them if they are absent).

What should I do if my “life stuff” is interfering with my “college stuff”?

Any student who is having trouble affording the basics, lacks a stable place to live, and/or is experiencing other issues that they think may affect their performance in the course, is urged to contact Student Services for support. Single Stop provides a variety of services such as financial support, tax help, and legal counseling for immigration, among other needs.

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 her life prior to academia, Professor Holmstrom was a special education teacher — so please also inform her of any accommodations you might require.

What should I avoid?

Don't plagiarize on a paper; if you plagiarize, you will fail the class. Don’t miss more than 15% of class (8 hours, as per the college handbook). Try hard, come to class, write, engage with the material, review the contract and meet your selected grade requirements, and be involved in the learning process — and you'll be fine.

Course Schedule

Please note that all assignments/due dates are subject to change.

September 13 (Th)


In class screening: “This is America,” Childish Gambino, dir. by Hiro Murai

September 18 (T)


September 20 (Th)

Reading due: Audre Lorde, “Power”; Andrea Smith, “Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy”; review class contract

September 25 (T)

Reading due: Excerpt from W.E.B. Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk, “Of Our Spiritual Strivings”; Excerpt from chapter 5 of Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks

September 27 (Th)

Reading due:  James Baldwin, “My Dungeon Shook: Letter to my Nephew”; Excerpt from Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me (5-12, 68-71; from “The Struggle is in your name” on 68)

October 2 (T)

In class screening & discussion: I Am Not Your Negro, dir. Raoul Peck (2016)

October 4 (Th)

Reading due: Chapter 5 from Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow (Focus on 178-190, “The Symbolic Production of Race” on 197-200, bottom of 215-end of chapter on 220)

In class screening & discussion: 13th, dir. Ava DuVernay (2016)

October 9 (T)

Reading due: Carol Anderson, “White Rage”

October 11 (Th)

Reading due: Claudia Rankine, “The Condition of Black Life is One of Mourning”; Part I of Claudia Rankine’s Citizen (5-18)

Paper Lab: Responding to readings/viewings

October 16 (T)

In class screening & discussion: Get Out

Paper draft due in class

October 18 (Th)

In class screening & discussion: Get Out (including the alternate ending, y’all!)

October 23 (T)

Paper Lab

October 25 (Th)


October 30 (T)

Paper  Lab & Swap

November 1 (Th)


November 6 (T)

Reading due: Final Project prompt; student project examples

Due in class: Choose your pop culture item for final project

Final Project Research Lab

November 8 (Th)

Reading due: articles for final project

Final Project Lab: freewriting

November 13 (T)

Final Project Lab

November 15 (Th)

Final Project Lab

November 20 (T)

Final Project Lab

November 22 (Th)


November 27 (T)

Final Project Peer Review

November 29 (Th)

Final Project conferences

December 4 (T)

Final project presentations & swap

December 6 (Th)

Reading due: at least one colleague’s final project

Final Exam written in class

December 11 (T)

Final Exam revision lab (only needed for those who failed the final)

 ENG 101 Syllabus/ Holmstrom / Fall I 2018