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Academic Writing Workshop for Graduate Students

Winter 2018, W 1-4 p.m., 3-206

Instructor: Jane Lim

Office Hours: By appointment (5-325) Email: jlim1221@gmail.com



Workshop Overview

This workshop aims to help English graduate students hone their academic writing skills in the “discourse community” of English literature— that is, groups of individuals who share certain goals, beliefs, forums for communication, and rhetorical practices.


This workshop has two primary goals. The first is to examine the characteristic genres, styles, organization schemes, formats, and “rhetorical moves” used in literary studies. The second is to practice coherent writing, both on a syntactic and semantic level, by “working through the text.” Studying literature, as opposed to reading for pleasure, requires students to become conscious of the language, narrative techniques, characterization, symbols, themes, and effects of a written text. While literary analysis can be critical, theoretical, or evaluative, close-reading, as well as the ability to think critically, lies at the heart of a solid literary paper. That said, students will develop analytical skills necessary to produce critical discussions on literary works.


Since writing is a recursive process that requires careful planning, drafting, and revising, students will spend a good amount of time on peer review, as well as receiving written and verbal comments from the instructor. Writing is also an organic process informed by critical reading and thinking. Therefore, as students revise their papers, they will learn to revisit the primary text with a more critical eye.


Reading  Materials

Excerpts from

•  William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White, The Elements of Style (New York: Longman, 2000) - required

•  Paul Goring, Jeremy Hawthorn, and Domhnall Mitchell, Studying Literature: The Essential Companion (London: Arnold, 2001)

•  John J. Ruszkiewicz, How to Write Anything: A Guide and Reference (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009)

Joseph M. Williams and Joseph Bizup, Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace (Boston: Pearson, 2010)


Raymond Carver, “The Cathedral”– e-text provided via email

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper” – e-text provided via email



Workshop Schedule (Tentative) Week 1 : Jan 15

Introduction


What is the most difficult part of writing a paper?

Is there anything “new” under the sun?



What we really want in an academic paper: identifying “rhetorical situations” and understanding specific genres within academic writing


Close-reading exercise: new criticism or new historicism? Abel Meeropole/Billy Holiday, “Strange Fruit”


Brainstorming and outlining   Formulating and structuring an argument

Developing ideas to produce an organized thesis statement


The Elements of Style: common mistakes

Workshop: “The Paramedic Method”


Assignment:


1. Read Raymond Carver, “The Cathedral”

2. Write an outline and first draft (3 pages) on Carver


Week 2: Jan 22

Workshop on your outline and first draft (peer-review)


Discussion on “The Cathedral”


The Writing Stage:

How to come up with an effective title

How to “hook” your audience: strategies for introduction Using and presenting evidence

How to write up a summary

Mechanics and style: How to reduce wordiness and run-on sentences (writing exercise) Assignment:

1.     Write a revised second draft on Carver (5 pages)


Week 3: Jan 29

Workshop on your second draft on Carver using reverse-outline (peer-review)


Discussion on body paragraphs: Making sure paragraphs lead somewhere

Structure and Organization: Developing your logical sequence


Mechanics and Style: Use of transitions and active verbs


Citation styles: MLA or Chicago, or both?


Assignment:

1. Read Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper”

2. Write a response paper on “The Yellow Wallpaper” (3 pages)



Week 4: Feb 5

Share your response paper



Discussion on “The Yellow Wallpaper”


Writing a compare/contrast paper: Reading Carver and Gilman together text by text, theme by theme, scene by scene


Writing a Conclusion


•  Mechanics and Style: The Elements of Style p.66-85


Assignment:

1.     Write a compare/contrast paper on Carver and Gilman’s text (5 pages)



Week 5: Feb 12

Student paper presentations and/or peer-review


Writing a proposal/abstract:

Outline the objectives of your research project Present a working thesis

Propose research methodology Significance of your research


Wrap-up  discussion

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