Diversity Minor Blog

April 9, 2018

Summer classes of interest to C21/Diversity Minor students: English 200A (VLPA/W) and English 281A (C or W)

Here are a couple of courses in English this summer that may also be of interest, especially for students seeking “C”, “W” or VLPA courses:

English 200A, VLPA and W course, A-term,  M-Th noon-2:10, SLN 22347: “Immigrant Fictions,” is a five credit course, taught by senior English faculty member John O’Neill, dedicated to reading and writing about works of fiction that explore the global movement of people in a time when migratory flows are increasingly met with resistance and persecution.  Reading, discussion and writing in this class will engage this process of movement, what sacrifices are required, what restrictions are imposed, and what transformations might occur.  We will explore the ways in which these fictional works engage the challenges of daily life to enrich our understanding of the struggles encountered by others who seek to preserve a sense of self in the absence of familiar frames of reference or forms of support. While being recognized is a powerful desire, it often conflicts with the fear of exposure, just as the pull of nostalgia competes with the embrace of new possibilities.

Texts include The Border Patrol State” by Leslie Marmon Silko; “Borders” by Thomas King; “War Years” by Viet Than Nguyen; Signs Preceding the End of the World, by Yuri Herrera;

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue; Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

A few comments from students who took this course last summer:

  • “As someone who comes from an immigrant family, I have never read novels of global migration, and it was nice to finally have that exposure, especially in a time like this.”
  • “The way the instructor lead class discussion is very inclusive.  He makes everyone feel like their comment/idea matters.”
  • “I found I learned a lot about my style in addition to how different each person’s critical eye acts.  The themes of these books also gave some better life understanding.”

English 281A: C or W, A-term, M-Th 9:40-11:50; SLN 11357: “Researching and Writing Family History” is an Intermediate Composition course, taught by senior English faculty member Elizabeth Simmons-O’Neill,  in which students will work individually and in groups to investigate an element of their family’s history in the context of larger historical contexts, trends and events. The instructor and UW librarians provide training in a range of research methods including using census data, local and regional newspapers, mapping, scholarly academic resources and oral history interviews. Throughout the research process and writing process, students  share information and respond to each other’s ideas and drafts in progress.  Students write in several genres: family data charts, reflections on method, annotated interview transcript, research-based analyses, and a short final essay reflecting on what you have learned and on how your writing in this class might transfer to other writing, learning, civic and professional occasions.

A few comments from students who took this course last summer:

  • “I thoroughly enjoyed this course. It was so intellectually stimulating, challenging, and fun! I not only learned skills and resources that would help me write in the future, I also learned about my family and myself.”
  • “I took this course to fill a writing requirement, but I think I ended up getting something much more rewarding. Not to be cheesy, but I was hoping, at most, to learn how to be a better essay writer in my time moving forward at UW, but I left with a greater understanding of who I was as a person”.
  • “This was an amazing and very interesting class, thank you so much for teaching it! It stretched both my writing skills and the way I perceive history. I also learned lots about how I work and think as a researcher.”