English /African and African American Studies 2367.01S satisfies the University’s GE requirement for social diversity and the U.S. experience and second level writing.  The primary goals of this course are to sharpen your expository writing, critical thinking and analytical skills through a service learning framework.  The “S” in the course number means that this second-level writing class has been designated a service learning writing course.  What does that mean for you?  It means that much of the work that you do in this class will be guided by our engagement with community partners for whom we interact throughout the semester.

Participants in this course will read about the importance of undertaking life-history and literacy narrative projects, with a particular focus on preserving the history of African-American communities.  Collecting (and analyzing) literacy narratives—or literacy stories—is an important research strategy that can be used to document the history and current activities of any community.  It is especially important in black communities where their/our literacy practices have often been under-reported or negatively characterized.  Collecting literacy narratives also provides an opportunity for community members to have a voice in telling their stories.  In this course—which welcomes community members and volunteers—students will learn about collecting and preserving the life-history narratives of Black Columbus, focusing specifically on stories having to do with literacy practices occurring in the Black dance community.

Some of the questions that we will explore this semester are what is the relationship between dance and literacy practices?  Can we consider the body a text?  Is dance a literacy practice?  How does black dance communicate the life stories of black communities?   Columbus has a rich history of African diasporic dance through dance schools, companies, and black dance praise worship groups.  Because dance is focused on the body, few people think about dance in relation to literacy.  Representatives of the Columbus black dance community will be involved as guest speakers to talk about their work.

Class members will learn about interviewing techniques, view/listen to life history/literacy narrative recordings, and reflect on such texts as a medium of social activism.  Participants will also learn how to use digital audio recorders, digital still cameras, and digital video cameras to record the stories of dance community members in Black Columbus, and all participants will conduct a series of life-history/literacy narrative interviews with members of the community.   You will work in groups to identify people and sites for collecting literacy narratives.  Each team will have a graduate student team leader.  Guest speakers who have participated in similar projects will also be invited to speak to the class.  The course will culminate in a public reception at which literacy narratives will be shown.

We will spend the beginning weeks of the course exploring the Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives as well as background reading on literacy and the history of black dance.  Course texts will include one print book, one digital book (curated digital exhibit) and articles posted on your Carmen site, films, and guest speakers.

About English 2367
English 2367 focuses on expository writing. Students compose texts that employ/develop their skills in analysis, argumentation, and the use of evidence; Emphasizes research; Provides extensive experience in writing but also experience in reading, listening, and speaking; stresses revision. For most if not all papers, students have the opportunity to revise after receiving instructor and/or peer comments; Deals with aspects of the diverse U.S. experience. English 2367 fulfills the University’s “diversity” requirement, meaning that the course furnishes students with a view of the multi-faceted cultures that comprise the “American experience” (or “American experiences”), including issues of race, culture, ethnicity, disability, economic class, social class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and politics. Students learn to analyze their own perspectives (as well as the perspectives of others) and articulate them in well-reasoned, expository prose; Connects classroom learning to community service and civic engagement.

GE Goals/Rationale
Writing courses across disciplines develop students’ skills in writing, reading, critical thinking, and oral expression.

GE Learning Objectives

  • Students apply basic skills in expository writing in print and digital environments
  • Students demonstrate critical thinking through written and oral expression
  • Students retrieve and use written and oral information analytically and effectively
  • Students use appropriate technology to complete assignments

To these goals and objectives, we add visual thinking, understanding, and expression—visual literacy—and collective/cooperative thinking, understanding, and expression.

2367S Learning Outcomes:

  • Demonstrate research skills in multiple environments
  • Become proficient at collecting and analyzing qualitative data
  • Become proficient writing for specific audiences
  • Gain experience composing in multiple genres and media
  • Work collaboratively in a team setting to complete multiple tasks
  • Through critical analysis, discussion, and writing, demonstrate the ability to read carefully and express ideas effectively
  • Apply written, oral, and visual communication skills and conventions of academic discourse to the challenges of a specific discipline.
  • Access and use information critically and analytically