University of Washington: Composition through Literature: Caribbean/American Literature

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Collaboratory Description: English 111 - Composition through Literature

Welcome to the collaboratory for English 111(E) Composition through Literature at the University of Washington.

A poster for a play on the Haitian Revolution, performed in Boston the same year that C. L. R. James published his definitive text, The Black Jacobins.

Course description: In all English 111 courses, the outcomes established by the Expository Writing Program are explored through literary or cultural texts that ideally have relevance beyond the fields that make up English as a discipline. These courses are designed to engage non-majors in a sequence of assignments directed at writing skills and strategies. All English 111 courses are built around introducing students to concepts that can be placed in relation to a series of texts to produce complex claim-based arguments. English 111 courses are all unique, however, because of a dynamic interaction between the texts selected by an instructor, the fields in which the instructor aligns their work, their teaching philosophy, and, most importantly, the students who contribute to the classroom experience.

English 111(E) for Spring Quarter has been designed to draw upon public interest in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. The texts range from critical theory, to history, to fiction—all with the intention of situating Haiti in relation to histories of slavery, colonialism, and imperialism, as well as within a comparative Caribbean framework. The fiction moves across the borders of the U.S., Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica. Three primary sources of scholarship will help to open critical lines of inquiry that students can pursue in their own writing: two seminal essays within Diaspora Studies, and a cluster of “keyword” essays that articulate contemporary debates within American Cultural Studies. The course is primarily structured on seminars and workshops so as to encourage student-led discussion and active or participatory learning. A significant component of the writing in English 111(E) will be collaborative student essays developed through the Keywords for American Cultural Studies Website.

Course Keywords: African, American, Diaspora, and Ethnicity

First Sequence of Readings:

Historical Background: C.L.R. James’ The Black Jacobins

Critical Essay: “Reflections on Exile” by Edward Said

Short Stories by Edwidge Danticat and Junot Diaz

Second Sequence of Readings:

Critical Essay: "Cultural Identity and Diaspora" by Stuart Hall

No Telephone to Heaven by Michelle Cliff

Instructions for First-Time Users

Students: If you're a student enrolled in this class, you'll have access to edit and create pages. Your login user ID is the same as your UW NetID, and you have a temporary class password which will be distributed in class. To change your password, click on "preferences" in the upper right-hand navigation.

  1. You're welcome to experiment with editing pages in the Sandbox. Check out the Help and FAQs pages for tips on how to format pages.
  2. You will sign up for a keyword in the second week of the quarter. Ideally, keyword groups should have 5-6 students.

Other Visitors to the Site: If you're not enrolled in this class, you can still read and comment on the work that we're generating throughout the quarter. This will be a work in progress until the end of March, so please check back for new additions and developments. You're also welcome to email me with any questions or comments about our course.

Collaboratory Lead: Deborah Kimmey, University of Washington

Main Collaboratory Areas