UPDATED 11/4/15  


(Download a .pdf of the 9/1/15 syllabus here: SyllabusENG1101-D410-UPDATED )




New York City College of Technology, CUNY

Fall 2015

Professor: A. Lavelle Porter


ENG1101- Section D410      

Tuesdays & Thursdays 2:30pm-3:45pm, Tuesdays 4:00-4:50pm 


Classroom: Namm 605, (2nd session Tuesdays, Namm 602A)

Office Hours: Pearl 410, Tuesdays 1pm-2pm, Thursdays 4pm-5pm

Email:             Phone:  TBD                                                   

Course Website:                                                                          


This is a writing intensive course designed to strengthen your ability to read critically, to discuss ideas intelligently, and to be effective in written communication.  Over the course of this term we will study numerous essays, stories and films related to the history of New York City. Studying these works will help you to develop your own ideas and improve your writing skillsYou will write several short essays, and one longer research essay. These projects will help you to develop research writing skills such as building an argument, referring to other texts, using secondary material effectively, and mastering the mechanics of quoting, citing, and documenting sources. The main readings from the course will come from The Place Where We Dwell, an excellent anthology with writings about the city of New York from a diverse range of writers in many different genres and disciplines.  These readings will be supplemented with film clips, websites and handouts.  It is my hope that this class will help you to develop valuable skills in written communication and research methodology, while also giving you a greater appreciation for the rich history and culture of the city around you.


Required Texts:

The Place Where We Dwell:  Reading and Writing about New York City (3rd Edition), edited by Juanita But, Mark Noonan, and Sean Scanlan.  If you don’t want to purchase a textbook, DO NOT TAKE THIS COURSE.



Your success in this class depends on your regular, punctual attendance and participation. If you miss a class, it is your responsibility to check with a classmate for any missed information.  I am not obligated to review what you missed if you decide not to attend class. Attendance is required. An excused absence is an illness with a doctor’s note, a family emergency, or a religious holiday. Please let me know in advance by e-mail or phone if you are going to absent for any of those reasons.

Please be on time.  Arriving to class late is disruptive to everyone. Excessive tardies will be docked from your participation grade at the professor’s discretion.

Your fourth absence will result in a five point deduction from your participation grade.  Five or more absences will result in a ten point deduction from your participation grade.

Absolutely no make-up exams will be administered unless the absence is an excused absence.

Classroom Decorum:

Personal communication devices including cell phones, smart phones, laptops and iPads are not allowed in this course, except for on specified dates. You must have physical copies of the texts in each class. For the purposes of this course we want to minimize digital distraction for the 1 hour and 15 minutes that we are together.  We will have a classroom computer that we can use to examine digital resources when needed.  You will have ample opportunity to consult the Internet outside of class.  In fact, online research will be a significant part of your take home assignments.  To get the most out of our class time, however, we need to be attentive and focused on our classroom discussion and assignments.  Please be sure to turn your ringers off before class begins.  Participation points will be deducted for the use of devices in class, at the professor’s discretion.  Repeated abuse of this policy will result in your dismissal from the course.         



100 points total

Participation: 20 points

-This part of your grade includes active participation in class discussions, group work and completion of in-class assignments. A lack of good-faith participation in these assignments and activities will result in deductions from your participation grade.
Response Papers/Assignments: 20 points

-There will be 10 of these throughout the semester wherein you will be asked to turn in your response questions to the readings or write short response papers for film clips shown in class.  These will be checked for grammar and content in order to help you improve your writing.  These assignments will be given out in class and posted on the course OpenLab site under Assignments. The scoring for these assignments will be as follows:

2 points – complete, shows serious effort
1 point – at least half complete
0 points – poor/nothing turned in

(1/2 points may be assessed at the professor’s discretion)

Response questions must be emailed or placed in my department mailbox by 10am on the due date.  This will give me a chance to review your responses before class. (The exception for this will be film screenings wherein your responses are to be turned in after the viewing.) Be prepared to discuss your answers in class as well. If you have any questions about what is due, check the OpenLab site to keep track of assignments.  This is designed as incentive for you to keep up with the readings and be prepared for class.  Therefore, late assignments will not be accepted, and cannot be made up.

Essay #1: 10 points

Essay #2: 10 points

-You will write two longer essays of about 500-750 words.  These will be graded in detail. You will receive assignment sheets with detailed instructions and grading rubrics for both of these assignments.
Research Project: 20 points

– This grade will include completion of a research project of about 1, 500 to 2,000 words  (6-7 pages) based on one of the authors from the text.  The project will be a cumulative effort over the course of the semester. The point breakdown is as follows:

Research Proposal – 5
Presentation – 5
Final Paper – 10
Details about each stage of the project will be given in a separate handout.

Final Exam: 20 points

-The final will be a two-part written exam administered by the English Department.  Details about the exam will be provided later in the semester.

All essays must be turned in on time, at the beginning of class, to receive full credit. If you choose to email them, the email must be received before class time on the due date.  (An assignment turned in or emailed during or after class is not “on time.” It will be penalized one day.)

Late papers will be penalized one point per calendar day.  No papers will be accepted three calendar days after the assignment is due.


Mid-Semester Review

By October 15, any student who has missed three or more classes, who has missed multiple assignments, or who has not participated in the class discussions will be required to have a meeting with me and the chair of the department in order to continue in the course. The last day to withdraw from a Fall 2015 course with a “W” is November 9.



City Tech Statement on Academic Integrity:
“Students and all others who work with information, ideas, texts, images, music, inventions, and other intellectual property owe their audience and sources accuracy and honesty in using, crediting, and citing sources. As a community of intellectual and professional workers, the College recognizes its responsibility for providing instruction in information literacy and academic integrity, offering models of good practice, and responding vigilantly and appropriately to infractions of academic integrity. Accordingly, academic dishonesty is prohibited in The City University of New York and at New York City College of Technology and is punishable by penalties, including failing grades, suspension, and expulsion. The complete text of the College policy on Academic Integrity may be found in the catalog.”

We will review some guidelines about plagiarism at the beginning of the course, and several times throughout the semester.  For further information about plagiarism, cheating and academic integrity see pages 90-92 of the City Tech student handbook available online at


Citation Format:

We will be using the Modern Languages Association (MLA) format in this course, and we’ll spend time in class covering MLA citation as well as introducing you to other forms of citation in other disciplines.  One popular website which can help you get acquainted with MLA format is The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL):


Writing Center: For additional help with your writing, you may visit the Atrium Learning Center at Namm AG-18



Readings will be covered in class on the day listed here.  As indicated above there will be 10 specific assignments that you are required to turn in.  However, answers to ALL response questions for each reading should be written in your notebooks in COMPLETE SENTENCES before every class.  We will review response questions in class every day, so be prepared to share your pre-written responses in class.  Students who do not have responses at the ready will be deducted one point for lack of participation.    



8/27     Course Introduction – Background on NYC history



9/1       Russell Shorto, “Henry Hudson the Pollinator” (p. 226); Syllabus Review


9/3       E. B. White, “Here is New York” (p.37)



9/8       The Cruise


9/10     NO CLASS – Classes follow a Monday schedule.



9/15     NO CLASS –  Rosh Hashannah


9/17     Colson Whitehead, “The Colossus of New York” (p. 6); Katie Roiphe, “A Coney Island of the Mind” (p.11)



922      NO CLASS – Yom Kippur


9/24     Nelson George, “Ft. Greene Dreams” (p.31); Anna Quindlen, “Pregnant in New York” (p.20)


9/25     Clips from New York: A Documentary Film (on Immigrant New York)  This is a Friday, but TUESDAY CLASSES MEET.  However, ENG1101-D410 will not meet.  Check the blog for this date’s assignment.



9/29     Emma Lazarus, “The New Colossus” (p.50); Anzia Yezierska, “America and I” (p.54)  FORT GREENE TOUR


10/1   Emma Lazarus, “The New Colossus” (p.50); Anzia Yezierska, “America and I” (p.54)

Claude McKay, “Tropics in New York” (p. 68); Edwidge Danticat, “New York Was Our City on the Hill” (p.73)



10/6     Essay #1 Due  Claude McKay, “Tropics in New York” (p. 68); Edwidge Danticat, “New York Was Our City on the Hill” (p.73)

Digital Research:  Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911

10/8     NO CLASS for ENG 1101 – SEE THE BLOG POST FOR UPDATED 10/8 ASSIGNMENTS THAT ARE DUE ON 10/13  (Questions Due by Email)  – Digital Research:  Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911

Colin Powell, “My American Journey” (p. 90);  Esmerelda Santiago, “When I Was Puerto Rican” (p. 101)



10/13   Mark Naison, “From Doo Wop to Hip-Hop” (p. 162); Joseph Anastasio “My Life in Graffiti” (p. 133)  


10/15   Naison and Anastasio, continued      



10/20   Style Wars

10/22   Library Instruction Session – Class meets in the library, 4th Floor Atrium Building



10/27   Research Proposal Due; James Parrott, “As Incomes Gap Widens…” (p. 180); Brian Paul “Affordable Housing Policies…” (p. 188)


10/29    Mark Berkey-Gerard, “Youth Gangs” (p.202); Benjamin Shepard, “Fighting Police Brutality in Global Brooklyn” (p.218)


11/3     Phillip Lopate, “The Brooklyn Bridge” (p. 244); Walt Whitman, “Mannahatta” (p. 229)

11/5     Walt Whitman, “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” (p.231)



11/10  “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” Herman Melville, “Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street” (p.272)

11/12   “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” (and other Whitman poems) Herman Melville “Bartleby” (continued)



11/17   Essay #2 Due; Hart Crane, “The Bridge” (p.358); Gang Starr, “The Place Where We Dwell” (p. 372); Or choose two other poems, p. 358-379.


11/19   Research Paper Guidelines



11/24   Research Paper Workshop


1126    NO CLASS – Thanksgiving



12/1     Research Presentations


12/3     Research Presentations



12/8     Research Presentations


12/10   Research Presentations; Research Papers Due







Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *