English 1A: Composition and Reading

Course Description

Welcome to English 1A: Composition and Reading. This course focuses on developing skills in critical reading and expository and argumentative writing based on critical reading of texts.

By almost any measure, this year has been one that future scholars and historians will spend their careers making sense of. From a global pandemic, to apocalyptic fires, record breaking heat, and devastating storms, nature seems to be asserting dominion over the planet and all who live on it. Socially and politically the world’s population has never been so fractured and divided. Nationalism and authoritarianism are on the rise around the globe, and social media are simultaneously connecting us and isolating us, carving us up into digestible bits so that advertisers can target ever more specific appeals to their audiences.

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How we make sense of all of this depends, of course, on how and where we get our information. Whatever our beliefs and opinions are they are inevitably shaped and molded by the media we consume. The focus of this course is to understand and critically asses our relationships with our media diet. We will explore foundational questions about the media and its impact on how we process, use, and express information.

We’ll analyze the role of the media in shaping public discourse and its role in both established and developing democracies. We’ll explore how governments and political leaders around the world have used the media – for good and bad. We’ll examine the system of expectations and pressures that impact those who work in media. And we’ll explore how new technologies are “democratizing’ the media, giving rise to “citizen journalists” – everyday people who have the power to communicate and coordinate with others for meaningful change.

Most topics worth exploring are complex, requiring thoughtful consideration from a variety of perspectives. As such, they should provide us with ample opportunities for fruitful discussions, deep critical thinking, and exploratory writing. I’m looking forward to reading your ideas!

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