Week 1

Th, Aug 27

  • Introductions to each other and the course
  • Diagnostic writing: Write a short autobiographical piece that presents a chapter in your history as a writer. Describe what you now view as an especially formative experience in how you came to be the writer you are today. What practices and ideas has this experience or set of related experiences led to? You might begin by jotting down ideas or making a list of important experiences, people, or classes that have influenced your thinking about writing, then flesh out these ideas into a draft. Due by end of class in hard copy or via email to me at
  • Assignment for next class: Read chapters 1-3 in George Lakoff and Mark Johnson’s Metaphors We Live By; read “On Reading and Thinking Critically,” and respond to prompts (on the right column of this course blog) for both no later than 11:59pm Mon, Aug 31; annotate hard copy of Lakoff and Johnson based on our class discussion and today’s reading.

Week 2

Tues, Sept 1

  • Discuss readings and responses.
  • Discussion Lead Sign up [in pairs; hard copy will circulate in class].
  • Turn in annotated readings.

Th, Sept 3

  • Discuss readings.
  • Watch student Norman Braddock’s Remix video project on Tan’s “Mother Tongue” (5:53)

Week 3

Tues, Sept 8

Th, Sept 10

  • No class; classes follow a Monday schedule because of Labor Day Holiday.
  • Assignment for next class: Work on your essay; draft for review due in one week.

Week 4

Tues, Sept 15

  • No classes scheduled (Rosh Hashanah)
  • Assignment for Th, Sept 17: Read Richard Straub’s “Responding to Other Students’ Writing” and be ready to discuss in class; Straub group prepare for discussion lead; post your creative non-fiction essay draft our class folder on Google Drive for feedback from me and your writing group. To do so, click here and then click “Open in Drive” (blue button top right). You can then click “New” (top left) or drag and drop your document to the folder. *Make sure you save your draft in the following manner: “lastname_firstname_creativenonfictiondraft.docx”.
  • Important: Page one of your draft should be a “writer’s reflective letter” describing your choices, process, and thinking about your piece so far, and instructions for readers to help them give you feedback. You should address the letter to your writing group and me. 

Th, Sept 17

  • Discuss Straub piece
  • Discuss elements of a good, creative-non fiction essay (assessment criteria)
  • Peer review of Draft 1, Creative Non-Fiction essay
  • Assignment for Th, Sept 24: Read excerpt from Krista Ratcliffe’s Rhetorical Listening, “Intro,” pgs 8-16 on a brief history of gender and race; read Ratcliffe’s “Definitions of Race and Whiteness” and respond to prompts on the home page of this site [no group lead this time to allow more time for paper revision].
  • Creative Non-Fiction essay due in your personal Google Drive folder + Writer’s Reflective Letter as page 1. *Important: Please revise your Writer’s Letter to include specific changes you made from your draft on which you received feedback. Relatedly, consider the four primary areas of the grading rubric and how your piece addresses each one. I will not grade your final draft without this complete, revised letter as page 1.

Week 5

Tues, Sept 22

  • No class; celebration of Jewish Holidays

Th, Sept 24

Fri, Sept 25 (make up day for holidays to ensure class meeting equality between MW and TR classes)

  • No formal class meeting, though your online assignment is to watch a one-hour Emmett Til documentary and be ready to discuss and write about your responses in class Tuesday. (Please note you will need internet access to watch this documentary posted on YouTube.)

Week 6

Tues, Sept 29

  • Assignment for next class: Watch Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I Have A Dream” speech and respond to prompts on course blog homepage; read “Introduction: Yellowface,” from Robert G. Lee’s Orientals: Asian Americans in Popular Culture and respond to prompts on course blog homepage

Th, Oct 1

  • No class [Prof. Blankenship hosting out-of-town scholar giving lecture for Baruch faculty]; work on responses to King speech and Lee reading for class Tuesday

Week 7

Tues, Oct 6

  • Discuss Lee reading

Th, Oct 8

  • Discuss Baldwin and Coates, including style and rhetorical strategies of each writer, and audience and context for each piece
  • Introduce Critical Analysis Essay

Week 8

Tues, Oct 13

  • Baldwin and Coates discussion [cont. if necessary]; Brooks group lead discussion on reading
  • Discuss reading; tie together readings from the past few weeks and their relationship to the upcoming paper
  • Brainstorm essay ideas with your writer’s group, time allowing

Th, Oct 15

  • Discuss reading; “First Person” essay discussion lead
  • Assignment for next class: Work on your essay; post draft 1 + Writer’s Letter as page 1 to the Google Drive folder titled “Critical Analysis Essay Drafts” for peer feedback. Please note that I will *not* provide feedback if you fail to include a writer’s letter. Also: make sure you give your draft a creative title that makes your readers want to keep reading.
  • Your Writer’s Letter should contain the following: What you feel you’ve done well, what needs more work, questions for your readers, and address specifically how well you think you’ve done on the following from the rubric for the essay:
    • Thesis/Focus (40%): How well have you informed your readers about the various rhetorical aspects of the two texts (message/argument, audience, purpose, historic and political context, writing style, metaphors) and drawn conclusions about the differences between these two texts and the significance of these rhetorical elements (the “so what” that you offer to your readers)?
    • Support (30%): How well do you support your analysis with examples from the two texts, as well as other texts we’ve read this semester? How well do you integrate direct quotes from the texts (without “padding” your paper with too many long quotes)?
    • Organization (20%): How well do you organize the piece? Is the organization logical and coherent?
    • Style, Grammar, and Editing (10%): How well have you edited and proofread so that no grammatical or spelling errors detract from the message and your credibility as a writer?

Week 9

Tues, Oct 20

  • Peer review Critical Analysis Essays
  • Assignment for next class: Read “Revising Attitudes” by Brock Dethier and be readt to discuss and implement in class [no discussion lead this week].

Th, Oct 22

  • Assignment for next class: Finalize paper.

Week 10

Tues, Oct 27

  • Conferences on paper drafts
  • Assignment for next class: Bring final draft of your essay to class Thursday for editing.

Th, Oct 29

  • Assignment for next class: Final revisions on essays; post your final draft + revised Writer’s Letter to your personal class folder in Google Drive.

Week 11

Tues, Nov 3

  • Assignment for next class: Complete this worksheet to get you started with your research (including your initial questions driving your research, at least 4 sources, and a Reflective Annotated Bibliography on at least 1 of these sources. Bring hard copy to class Thursday.

Th, Nov 5

  • Work on narrowing a research question
  • Sign up for a conference time with Prof. Blankenship next Th, 11/12 to discuss your research project
  • Assignment for next class: Draft your Prospectus with RefAnnBib for your research project and post to your Google Drive folder no later than your conference time Th, Nov 12. (Fill in your responses to the prompts and include 4 sources for your paper and a RefAnnBib for one of them. These can be the same sources you included in the document I asked you to bring to class Th, 11/5, and you can use a fully completed RefAnnBib that you also brought to class–if these sources still work for your topic.)

Week 12

Tues, Nov 10

  • Attend poetry reading in the Honors Lounge in lieu of a formal class meeting
  • Assignment for next class: Finalize your Prospectus

Th, Nov 12

  • Individual conferences in lieu of a formal class meeting
  • Assignment for next class: Post RefAnnBibs for all 8 sources for your project in your personal folder on Google Drive. If you post after class today you will not receive credit for this assignment.

Week 13

Tues, Nov 17

  • Practice with summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting directly from others’ work in ethical and rhetorically savvy ways. PowerPoint here. Complete Working With Sources exercise; due at end of class)
  • Assignment for next class: Complete your zero draft for workshopping with your writer’s group

Th, Nov 19

  • Aristotelian Stasis Theory and Making Good Arguments (complete 5 kinds of claims you could employ for your research project; due in class)
  • Read other student Research-Based Argument Essays (handouts, which I’ll need returned in class today) and comment on generic and stylistic elements and strengths and areas for improvement.
  • In-class workshopping your zero draft

Week 14

Tues, Nov 24

  • Peer review Research-Based Argument Essays (directions)
  • Assignment for Dec 1: Work on your essay; final draft due Th, Dec 3

Th, Nov 26

  • No class; Thanksgiving Holiday.
  • Assignment for Th, Dec 3: Work on your essay; post final draft of your essay to your personal Google Drive folder + revised Writer’s Letter as page 1. Your revised Writer’s Letter should contain all the elements of your draft letter plus a discussion of changes you made after getting feedback. Please note that I will not grade your paper without the letter.

Week 15

Tues, Dec 1

  • Assignment for next class: Begin brainstorming for Remix Project; Research-Based Argument Essay + revised Writer’s Letter due to your personal folder in Google Drive by class time Th.

Th, Dec 3

  • In-class conferences with Prof. Blankenship and your writer’s group on your project
  • In-class studio work on Remix Project
  • Assignment for next class: Work on your project. 

Week 16

Tues, Dec 8

  • In-class studio work on Remix Project; meet in computer space VC 7-205 for the class session.

Th, Dec 10

  • Assignment for next class: Work on your Remix Project; final draft + revised Extended Writer’s Letter due in your personal Google Drive folder on Th, Dec 17.
  • For the very end of your Extended Writer’s Letter, I ask that you revisit your writing from the first day of class (below) and consider how your views about yourself as a writer and your approaches to writing have changed over the course of this semester.

Finals Week

Tues, Dec 15

  • No class / Reading Day
  • Assignment for next class: Work on your Remix Project;final draft + revised Extended Writer’s Letter (with response to prompt above as well) due in your personal Google Drive folder by 6pm on Th, Dec 17.

Th, Dec 17

  • Presentations of your Remix Project during our class finals time: 6-8pm

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