Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

ENG 1010: English Composition-Student Version (2018-19 Archive): Ajmera, Param

2018-2019 Archive Copy of ENG 1010: English Composition-Student Version

Bulletin Description, Discussion, Objectives

Course Description: Writing is both a mode of thinking through which we create knowledge, as well as a practice of doing that involves the use of language and the creation of text. Writing is used to make money, shape politics, create beauty, distort perceptions, unsettle values, and to persuade. It is the most versatile tool to help in solving practical problems and is used in all aspects of our lives. We send messages to those we love, we write down things we might forget, we fill out application forms burdened with our dreams and desires. It is everywhere, and we are often forced to confront its difficulties and tribulations, especially at work or in school. It is also nowhere; we might have written something today and have already forgotten about it. Closely related to writing, but somewhat distinct from it, is a similar use of language and text: reading. We read and we write at the same time. Sometimes we read – to gather information, to spur inspiration – before we actually begin writing. But even when we read before we write, we have occasion to write while we read. We make notes, we underline things, and we doodle in the margins. We quickly realize that we cannot write without reading at the same time. They feed each other.

In this course we will tread this porous boundary between reading and writing. We will familiarize ourselves with some of the basic forms of writing and learn ways of reading that attend to the texture of language and the context of history and politics. The readings for this course include a selection of fiction and non-fiction that attend to the relation between culture – the ways in which humans live and express themselves – and politics – the ways in which humans organize social life. Culture and politics are deeply intertwined and collectively they allow us to understand how we frame our identity and its position within society as a whole. Our readings will raise issues such as the experience of immigration, the possibility of social change, and the influence of art on society, among many others. By reading and writing about culture and politics we will ask and answer questions such as, how do we use writing to create knowledge? How do we learn by writing? How do we adapt specific forms of writing to express our ideas with clarity? And how is the ability to write valued in different settings?

Course Objectives:

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  • Express ideas–both orally and in writing–correctly, cogently, persuasively, and in conformity with the conventions of the discipline
  • Read and think critically to be prepared to succeed in a variety of college-level assignments

Discussion: This class will serve as an introduction to college-level composition. During this course students will practice and perfect strategies for writing expository essays and for engaging with different kinds of texts. Students will read actively and think critically about course reading and assigned writing. Students will write both in and out of class, with an emphasis on drafting and revision.  Class will be split between writing, working in groups, and discussing readings and student work.  Students will focus on the following: reading critically and writing analytically; developing and supporting theses and arguments; summarizing, paraphrasing, and synthesizing information from a variety of sources; structuring persuasive and cohesive essays; incorporating and integrating evidence into their writing using MLA documentation; editing and revising; using appropriate conventions of language, including correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

Course Information

Brooklyn College: The City University of New York

English 1010: Professor Param Ajmera

Fall 2018: 2150 Boylan

Mondays and Wednesdays 2:15-3:30PM

Office Hours: Mondays 11:00-12:00PM (or by appointment)

Readings and Resources


Course Schedule

Week 1: Introductions

Monday 8/27

  1. Introduction to the class: goals, requirements, etc.
  2. Syllabus
  3. Student and instructor introductions

Wednesday 8/29

  1. Reading – Adichie, “Real Food”  
  2. Reflections on writing: process, argument, rhetorical modes and strategies
  3. Assignment – in class short writing assignment

Week 2: First-Year Common Reading: Americanah

Monday 9/3 – NO CLASS

Wednesday 9/5

  1. ReadingAmericanah - Chapters 1-15
  2. Introduction to close reading & annotation: identifying plot, setting, character, and mood
  3. Assignment – in class annotation and close reading assignment

Week 3: Focus on close reading, annotation, personal narrative

Monday 9/10 – NO CLASS

Wednesday 9/12

  1. ReadingAmericanah – Chapters 16 – 30
  2. Discussion on why write a Personal Narrative?
  3. Discussion on Plagiarism and Originality
  4. Assignment – Personal Narrative (Draft 1) – due 9/17 beginning of class

Week 4: Personal Narratives continued

Monday 9/17

  1. Reading - Americanah – Chapters 16 – 30  
  2. Reading – The Process of Revision  
  3. Assignment - Personal Narrative (Final Draft) – due 9/24 beginning of class

Wednesday 9/19 – NO CLASS


Week 5: Summary

Monday 9/24

  1. Reading - Anzaldua, Gloria, “How to Tame a Wild Tongue”  
  2. Discussion ways to summarize
  3. Assignment – in-class summary exercise of Anzaldua

Wednesday 9/26

  1. Reading – Hurston, Zora Neale, “How it Feels to Be Colored Me”
  2. Discussion on summary vs. paraphrase
  3. Assignment – Summary of Hurston – due 10/1 beginning of class

Week 6: Summary continued

Monday 10/1

  1. Reading - Appiah, Anthony, “The Case for Contamination”  
  2. Discussion on reverse outlining (argument, sub argument, counter argument, evidence)
  3. Assignment – in class group exercises on reverse outlining

Wednesday 10/3

  1. Reading - Coates, Ta-Nehisi, “The Case for Reparations”  
  2. Discussion on thesis statements
  3. Assignment – Summary of Coates – due 10/10 beginning of class

Week 7: Analysis

Monday 10/8 – NO CLASS

Wednesday 10/10

  1. Reading - Douglass, Frederick, “Learning to Read and Write”  
  2. Discussion on summary vs. analysis
  3. Assignment – in class workshop on analysis

Week 8: Analysis continued

Monday 10/15

  1. Reading - Carr, Nicholas, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?: What the Internet is doing to our brains” 
  2. Discussion on Audience and Exigency
  3. Assignment – in class activity - storyboarding Carr’s argument – seeing how it all fits together and identifying the crucial underlying questions

Wednesday 10/17

  1. Reading - Gatto, John Taylor, “Against School: How public education cripples our kids, and why”
  2. Discussion on Politics and Power – the stakes of analysis
  3. Assignment – Analytic Essay #1 - Due 10/22 beginning of class.

Week 9: Analysis continued

Monday 10/22

  1. Reading - Michaels, Walter Benn, “The Trouble with Diversity”  
  2. Continued discussion on Politics and Power with a specific focus on identity
  3. Discussion on agreement and disagreement with specific arguments

Wednesday 10/24

  1. Peer Review of Analytic Essay #1
  2. Assignment - Revised Analytic Essay #1 (final draft) due 10/29 beginning of class

Week 10: Analysis Continued (focus on childhood and family)

Monday 10/29

  1. Reading - Vuong, Ocean, “A Letter to My Mother That She will Never Read”
  2. Discussion on quotation and citation
  3. Assignment – in class exercises on MLA format

Wednesday 10/31

  1. Reading - Chua, Amy, "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior"
  2. Discussion on analysis vs. summary vs. personal narrative
  3. Assignment – Analytical Essay #2 – due 11/5 beginning of class

Week 11: Compare and Contrast

Monday 11/5

  1. LOOP workshop
  2. Reading - Baldwin, James, Notes of a Native Son Intro

Wednesday 11/7

  1. Reading - Baldwin, James, Stranger in the Village & Notes of a Native Son Intro
  2. Reading - Cole, Teju, “Black Bodies: Rereading James Baldwin’s Stranger in the Village,” Baldwin, James, Stranger in the Village & Notes of a Native Son Intro
  3. Discussion on texts in conversation.


Week 12: Compare and Contrast continued

Monday 11/12

  1. Reading - Cole, Teju, “Black Bodies: Rereading James Baldwin’s Stranger in the Village,” Baldwin, James, Stranger in the Village & Notes of a Native Son Intro

Wednesday 11/14

  1. In Class Practice Test #1

Week 13: Compare and Contrast continued

Monday 11/19

  1. Peer Review of Compare and Contrast Essay #1

Wednesday 11/21

  1. Reading - Kincaid, Jamaica “The Ugly Tourist”
  2. Reading - Danticat, Edwige, “Another Country”
  3. Discussion on nationalism, disaster

Week 14: Compare and Contrast continued

Monday 11/26

  1. Reading - Kincaid, Jamaica “The Ugly Tourist”
  2. Reading - Danticat, Edwige, “Another Country”

Wednesday 11/28

  1. In Class Practice Test #2

Week 15: Compare and Contrast continued

Monday 12/3

  1. Peer Review

Wednesday 12/5

  1. Reading - TBD

Week 16: Final Exam Prep and Closing Remarks

Monday 12/10

  1. In Class Practice Test #3

Wednesday 12/12

  1. Closing remarks – the necessity and importance of critical reading and thoughtful writing
  2. Strategies to ace the test
  3. Final questions about the course and exam


FINAL EXAM  DATE 14/12/2018 10:30AM-12:30PM