Instructor: Madison Priest

Office: 7-290E

Office Hours: Fri: 2:15-3:15 or by apptmt.



Class Time: W/F 12:25 – 1:45

Conference Time: W/F 1:45 – 2:05

Classroom: VC-3125


Required texts


  • McInerney, Jay. Bright Lights, Big City. (Vintage; available on Amazon)
  • The rest of the texts will be available on the course website under the “Readings” tab. The password is “nyc2014”.


Course Description


Welcome to English 2150! In this course, you will hone the reading, writing and analytical skills you developed in 2100 through an exploration—literary and otherwise—of the city around us. I chose this topic because we’re here: For us as a class, New York City is both common ground and a lens through which to explore our differences. A big city of small neighborhoods, New York has been shaped by centuries of immigration and emigration, countless cultures and subcultures. As we will see in this course, no one person’s understanding and experience of this city is exactly the same as anyone else’s. By reading fiction, journalism, essays and poetry, watching films and television shows and composing our own formal essays and informal, open-ended writing, we will seek to build on this tradition with our own work.


Learning Goals for 2100 and 2150: After completing ENG 2100 and 2150, students should be able to …


  • identify the key ideas and techniques used in a variety of articles, essays, and literary works, and subject these works to logical analysis;
  • undertake writing as a process requiring the outlining of ideas, multiple drafting, and revision of complete essays;
  • create an original and cogent thesis and develop an imaginative argument in unified and coherent paragraphs;
  • observe sentence boundaries, punctuate correctly, vary sentence structures, and employ the conventions of standard English grammar and usage;
  • engage with different genres of writing, including the short story, the novel, the essay, poetry, and drama, and comprehend and use appropriate vocabulary in interpreting the material by paying close attention to language and style;
  • identify, analyze, and synthesize multiple sources as support for written arguments;
  • gauge the value of different strategies for argumentation, including the use of counter-arguments;
  • produce researched essays that incorporate sources and that effectively evaluate multiple (and even conflicting) points of view;
  • avoid plagiarism and understand why it is unacceptable, at the same time learning how to appropriately document your research and ideas;
  • imagine the needs of one’s reader when writing in different rhetorical modes and social contexts and take audience and occasion into account when writing.


Course Requirements:


Class Participation: 10%

Students are expected to arrive on time, complete the reading(s), and bring all relevant materials to class. This grade will also be based upon my assessment of your general responsiveness in class, as well as your preparation for and participation in student-led discussions.


Draft Workshops: 5%

Students are expected to circulate their drafts on time, read others’ drafts before draft workshops, and critique others’ work in a constructive and respectful manner.


Quizzes: 5%

Short quizzes will also be administered from time to time. If you’ve done the reading carefully, you will have nothing to worry about.


Transit Journal: 5%

Students will keep a transit journal, to be collected periodically throughout the course.


Papers: 75%

  • Paper 1 – Personal (700-1050 words; ~2-3 pp): 10%
  • Paper 2 – Close Reading (1400-1750 words; ~4-5 pp): 15%
  • Paper 3 – Compare/Contrast (1750-2100 words; ~5-6 pp): 20% 
  • Paper 4 – Research (2450-2800 words; ~7-8 pp): 30%


Attendance Policy: Student attendance is expected at all scheduled classes unless excused by the instructor due to extenuating circumstances (illness, family emergency, religious holiday, etc). For an absence to be excused, the student must inform the professor in advance of the absence and must provide documentation. Three or more unexcused absences will result in a failing grade for class participation, and four or more unexcused absences will result in a failing grade for the course. Please be aware that any tardy of more than 15 minutes will be recorded as an absence, and every three tardies of under 15 minutes will be counted as one absence towards the total absence limit. No more than five total absences will be permitted under any circumstances.


Conferences: Two student conferences will be scheduled for the last twenty minutes of each class period. Attendance is mandatory. These do not require any advanced preparation, though I ask you to bring whatever you are working on so that we can go over it.


Paper Submission and Formatting:  All papers should be formatted according to MLA guidelines and in keeping with the assigned length; papers that fail to meet these requirements (i.e. are improperly formatted and/or too short/too long) will not be accepted for credit. Papers should be submitted to by the beginning of class on the day it is due. The class ID for is 7492156 and the password is “nyc2014.”


Re-writes:   If you are not satisfied with the grade received on Paper 1, Paper 2 and/or Paper 3, you may choose to re-write for full grade replacement. In the unlikely event that the grade for the re-written paper is lower than the original grade, the original grade will stand. In order to be eligible to rewrite your paper, you and I must speak in about your plans for revising your paper. Please note that all changes must be set in italics unless more than 75% of the paper has been changed and that late penalties ARE carried over to revisions. No re-writes will be allowed for Paper 4. Late rewrites will not be accepted. Incorrectly formatted rewrites (i.e. without the first paper attached and/or without italics if less than 75% of the paper is changed) will not be accepted. Re-writes are due one week after the paper is returned to you.


Late Paper Policy: Students are expected to meet all assigned deadlines except in cases of emergency (which, as for excused absences, must be documented and requested as soon as possible in advance of the deadline). Emergency extensions do not include foreseeable conflicts (religious holidays, unavoidable travel) for which the student may reasonably plan ahead. Late papers will be reduced by 1/3 of a letter grade for each day (24 hour period) that passes after the deadline before the paper is received; that penalty will increase to 2/3 of a grade per 24 hours for the second late and subsequent late papers. No papers will be accepted for credit more than ten days after the given deadline.


Academic Integrity Policy: Cheating and plagiarism will not be tolerated and will result in a failing grade for the given assignment; patterned academic integrity violations will result in a failing grade for the course. All violations will be brought to the attention of the Baruch administration. For the purpose of this course, the definitions of cheating and plagiarism employed will be such as are offered by the Baruch College Academic Honesty website. In essence, plagiarism refers to representing someone else’s work—their words or their ideas—as your own. If you are not sure if something you want to write would be considered plagiarism, talk to me! For more information, see: