Go to Sakai web portal for your courses and for the full syllabus (schedule) of this course: https://sakai.wlu.edu/portal/

WRIT 100  Writing Seminar for First-Years  Professor Suzanne Keen
Fall term 2011 (10:10am-12:10pm [TR])   Office: Payne 124
Office Hours: Mondays and Wednesdays 1:30-3:00 p.m.
Extra office hours will be added, and announced through Sakai, before paper due dates.

Schools of Magic

In this section students read fiction and view films about schools for exceptional scholars: academies of magic, sorcery, and superheroism. Using the lens of these manifestly out-of-this world fantasies, we focus on various theories of education with reference to students’ own experiences in liberal education. Primary texts include works by Lev Grossman, Orson Scott Card, Ursula LeGuin, John Milton, J. K. Rowling, and Caroline Stevemer; excerpted educational theorists range from William Cronon and John Henry Cardinal Newman to John Dewey and Paolo Freire. Familiarity with the Narnia books will be helpful, but isn’t essential.

The writing component of this course, as in all WRIT 100 sections, consists of 4 graded essays. I assign an initial diagnostic essay, due in the first week. After the daignostic paper, drafting and revision will be emphasized. The papers introduce students to several methodologies: close reading, motif-tracing, and crafting an effective comparative paper. An extended unit culminates in the final multi-source essay. Students learn how to frame a research question; how to use print and electronic subscription sources (beyond googling); how to navigate the physical library (we go there); how to craft a working bibliography in MLA style; how to modulate among multiple sources within paragraphs of analysis using parenthetical citation; how to write a correct Works Cited page; how to understand what counts as common knowledge to avoid plagiarism; and how to find out what the equivalents of these elements might be in another discipline. In short, Schools of magic prepares students for college writing in disciplines other than English, even though our discussions jump off from reading literature.

Required Books (purchase at bookstore or be sure to get these editions if you are shopping online)

Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game (Tor; ISBN: 978-0312853238)
Lev Grossman, The Magicians (Plume; ISBN: 978-0452296299)
Ursula LeGuin, A Wizard of Earthsea (Spectra; ISBN 978-0553383041)
J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Scholastic; ISBN 978-0439136365)
Caroline Stevemer, A Scholar of Magics (Starscape; ISBN: 978-0765353467)

Required writing and other components of evaluation:

  5% Diagnostic essay, on your liberal education, in response to Cronon.
10% Essay #1, method of analysis, close reading. 1000 words
10% Essay #2, method of analysis, motif-tracing. 1000 words
10% Essay #3 draft, method of analysis, comparison and contrast + __________. 1000 words
25% Essay #3 revised and expanded version. 1500 words (after peer review)
30% Essay #4, multi-source essay. 2000 words—writing and argument that employs external sources: research, parenthetical citations and works cited in MLA style).
10% Class participation and faithful attendance, peer review, writing process materials.

Required writing handbook(s): Bullock, The Norton Field Guide to Writing with Handbook.  I refer to this text by section and topic when you have grammar, punctuation, or style errors. I expect you to have it, unless you buy Lipson's Cite Right. It is shelved separately in the Bookstore. If you want hard copy, buy a copy there. (Norton; ISBN: 978-0-393-93439-7). The alternative is to refer to the free online version of the Norton Field Guide Handbook, but then you will need to get Cite Right, the recommended text by Charles Lipson.  A handy guide to citation that should cover most of your college classes in the future. Available with the other texts for our section If you buy Cite Right you can use the on-line Norton Field Guide Handbook.

Writing exercises to practice correct style, diction, and grammar.

Theories: all available through the protected course website in Sakai to read online or print out. Live links on this page indicate texts available on the Web or through Google Books.

Margaret Zoller Booth and Grace Marie Booth, "What American Schools Can Learn from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry," The Phi Delta Kappan 85.4 (2003): 310-15.
Janet Brenna Croft, "Education of a Witch," Mythlore 27.3/4 (2009): 129-42.
William Cronon, “Only Connect. . . The Goals of a Liberal Education,” The American Scholar (Autumn, 1998): 73-80.
John Dewey, "My Pedagogic Creed." Sakai. Also available online.
from Paolo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed: 30th Anniversary Edition (NY: Continuum, 2010).
John Granger, "Harry Potter is Here to Stay," Christianity Today (July 2011) 50-3.
Elizabeth Gruner, "Teach the Children: Education and Knowledge in Recent Children's Fantasy," Children's Literature 37 (2009): 216-35.
from John Holt, Instead of Education: Ways to Help People Do Things Better (NY: Holt Sentient, 2004).
T. R. Johnson, "School Sucks," College Composition and Communication 52.4 (2001): 620-50.
Ursula LeGuin, “Why Americans are Afraid of Dragons,” The Language of the Night (NY: Putnam, 1979): 38-45.
from C. S. Lewis, The Discarded Image (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1994).
John Milton, Comus, a Masque Presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634.
John Milton, Of Education.
from John Henry Cardinal Newman, The Idea of a University (Washington, D.C.: Gateway Editions, 1999).
from J. R. R. Tolkien, "On Fairy Stories," Tree and Leaf (Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1965): 46-55.

Films (in-class viewing)

Alfonso Cuaron, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Mike Mitchell, Sky High

Grammar Girl podcast typescripts.
Direct comments and questions to Professor Suzanne Keen.
Return to Suzanne Keen's home page