The Atlantic is much more than the ocean that connects the coastal rims of Africa, Europe, and the Americas. It is a system of economic, political, social and cultural traffic with a history that spans the period between European expansion in the Americas in the late fifteenth century and the abolition of slavery in the late nineteenth. This section of the global learning community will examine key texts in the history of the Atlantic system by looking closely at the language used to describe the impersonal forces and relations of power that brought people from different parts of the world into intimate contact with one another. In addition, we will also consider how twentieth- and twenty-first century authors have reinterpreted official narratives about this history in an effort to confront certain aspects of its enduring legacy.

Having said that, this is a writing intensive course designed to help you put into practice principles of composition required for college-level writing. In this course you will learn, among other things, how to write with an audience in mind, how to frame a compelling argument, how to articulate a debatable thesis, how to organize your essay around a main idea, and how to incorporate and critique the writing of others into your own. You’ll come to appreciate that writing is a craft that takes patience and practice, which is to say that good essays are seldom written in one sitting. More often than not, essays go through a process that involves brainstorming, drafting, composing, rewriting and editing—a process that your essays will go through for their benefit and yours.

By the end of the semester students will be expected to demonstrate the following historical, literary, and writing competencies:

• Develop the critical skills necessary to identify the ways that historical and literary sources can be used together to understand major trends within the Atlantic World
• Demonstrate knowledge of various literary genres and their conventions
• Develop a technical vocabulary to analyze literary and visual texts
• Formulate original arguments based on the analysis and synthesis of evidence drawn from primary and secondary sources
• Articulate and defend arguments before an audience

Instructor: Rick Rodriguez
English Department, VC 7-288
Office Hours: M\W 1:00 to 2:30 pm or by appt.