Course Description This course builds on ENG 1101. Together, we will explore the question: what is the social context of writing? We will also lay the starting points to build a personalized writing practice within a cross section of genres, conduct research as inquiry, and reflect on our writing practices.


The main goal is that after you finish this sequence, you’ll be able to analyze and participate in genres inside and outside of higher ed, including work, professional, personal, artistic and publishing contexts.


We’re aiming to build skills that will be useful in future coursework, the workplace, and in your personal lives. In other words, this course isn’t self-contained—we’re aiming to give you a toolbox of skills that you can apply across situations.


Prerequisite ENG 1101


LEARNING OUTCOMES for this course

These are the goals that instructors in ENG 1101 and ENG 1121 want students to gain by the end of the sequence:

  1. Read and listen critically and analytically in a variety of genres and rhetorical situations. Identify and evaluate exigencies, purposes, claims, supporting evidence, and underlying assumptions in a variety of texts, genres, and media.
  2. Adapt and compose in a variety of genres. Adapt writing conventions in ways that are suitable to different exigencies and purposes in a variety of contexts, including academic, workplace, and civic audiences. When appropriate, repurpose prior work to new genres, audiences, and media by adjusting delivery, design, tone, organization, and language.
  3. Use research as a process of inquiry and engagement with multiple perspectives. Learn to focus on a topic and develop research questions that lead to propositions and claims that can be supported with well-reasoned arguments. Persuasively communicate and repurpose research projects across a variety of contexts, purposes, audiences, and media. Demonstrate research skills through proper attribution and citation gathering, evaluating, and synthesizing both primary and secondary sources. Learn how to use appropriate citation styles depending on disciplinary and situational requirements (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.)
  4. Use reflection and other metacognitive processes to revise prior assumptions about the writing processes and transfer acquired knowledge about effective reading and writing practices into new writing situations. Engage with reading and writing as a process including prewriting, writing, and continuous revision. Students write essays that demonstrate their reflection of their own writing process from the beginning and throughout the semester with the intention to transfer their acquired knowledge about genre and composing practices into new writing situations.
  5. Demonstrate the social and ethical responsibilities and consequences of writing. Recognize that first-year writing includes academic, workplace, and civic contexts, all of which require careful deliberation concerning the ethical and social ramifications concerning fairness, inclusivity, and respect for diversity. Write and revise for academic and broader, public audiences accordingly.
  6. Compose in 21st Century Environments. Learn to choose among the most current and effective delivery methods for different composing situations, including composing in new media environments, including alphabetic texts, still and moving images, sonic, and mixed media compositions. Use digital media platforms appropriate to audience and purpose.





Readings / Texts on Discourse Communities, Genres and Rhetorical Analysis: What is the social context of writing?


1619 Project

Cirillo, Frank J. “Frederick Douglas.”

Diaz, Drown—at book store;   Diaz, 7 stories.

Lincoln, Gettysburg Address.


Reeves, John. The Lost Indictment of Robert E. Lee. Speech at U.S. National Archives.



Shaara, The Killer Angels at book store


U.S. Constitution


Secondary readings will be made available online.

Carillo, E. “How Students Read: Some Thoughts on Why This Matters.”

Kynard, “Getting on the Right Side of It”

Murray, “Internal Revision.”

Murray, “The Maker’s Eye: Revising Your Own Manuscripts.”

Peck, Flowers, Higgins.  “Community Literacy: Can Writing Make a Difference?”

Salvatori, M. “The Elements and Pleasures of Difficulty.”

Jack Selzer: Rhetorical Analysis: Understanding How Texts Persuade Readers





Course projects.

Unit 1. Discourse Community Project, 5 weeks, includes 2 reflection writings. Due Feb 24.

Assignment 1. How do personal and family relationships fit into larger, external discourse communities? Write an essay or 3 mini-essays of 1600-2000 total words. You can use the two reflection writings you have done to build your essay or mini-essays. This is a discussion of Diaz’s Drown along with a reflection on your own experience.


Part 1. 600-800 words.

In Diaz’s Drown, Yunior has a close bond to his mother. They communicate, sit together, hold hands. Their closeness has no other social or public purpose. Yet when they interact outside of this intimate mother-son relationship, the outside world intrudes and they must display different roles. Analyze the language they share. Discuss how their mother – son relationship changes when they go to a fiesta and interact with other people, when they go shopping, and especially when the father is present. Contrast the difference between a private relationship vs a public discourse in which you display the relationship to and interact with others.

The masculine display of the father and of the brother seem to be a model for Yunior, and they seem to be very important to him. Yet much of Drown is concerned with Yunior’s internal conflict between being a victim himself and victimizing others, dominating or committing violence against others. How does masculine show of domination fit into the public discourse of how people see men and how they talk about men and how men should or shouldn’t act to fit into the community? How do men communicate their masculinity? Who are they communicating this to? Is this a discourse community? Quote the text and comment on Diaz’s descriptions. Use examples of language and gesture from your own experience.

Yunior was best friends with Beto. Yet when Beto gets too close, Yunior does not want their relationship to be known. In fact, he ends their friendship. Why? Analyze this friendship and rejection in terms of personal relationship vs. discourse community. What would happen if Yunior went public and told people about what happened? There is a gay bar in the area, which the boys reject and ridicule. Are gay and straight separate discourse communities? What are the rules of each group? What are the modes of communication, language, gestures that separate the communities? Is common ground possible?  For Yunior, the answer seems to be no. What do you say?


Part 2. 500-700 words. Compare and contrast a personal or family relationship of yours vs. a discourse community that you are a part of. It could be a job, school, or an informal group of friends who have some activity and purpose in common and about which you discuss, or write or communicate and share information. Discuss the language specific to this discourse community. Can other people join this group? What genres of writing or types of documents do you produce? Texts, Emails, Chats, Notes. Reflect on the difference between a discourse community vs a personal relationship. Compare to Diaz.


Part 3. 400 to 600 words. Diaz as writer. Who is his audience? Is he only writing for the D.R. immigrant community? Or is he reaching out to a wider audience? What does the audience do in response to a text? Do some research on Diaz. What kind of writing do you now do and how has that changed over time? Compare your personal writing genres texts, emails, journals, schedules, calendars to any writing you do at work or in school.   What are the differences and the common features?


Unit 2 for 1121 Spring 2020

Research as Inquiry project. 2200-2800 words. Due April 7. Supported by 2 reflection writings. This unit begins with a reading of Hannah-Jones and Wilentz on slavery and the US Constitution, then has the student do additional research and apply to and reflect on personal experience, previous reading


  1. During this unit we will write 2 short metacognitive reflective essays on our readings and additional supportive research; in these ungraded writings, you will be invited to reflect on the inquiry, discovery, and writing process regarding new knowledge and information, how you have changed the way you look at the topic and set of subtopics.


  1. Building from your reflections, Write a review of 4 articles that includes a summary, rhetorical analysis, and your basic assessment of the argument of the article. This review should include Hannah-Jones and Wilentz and 2 other articles or sources from Cuny Electronic library or open source web (journalism or blogs).   You can also draw from our earlier readings and, later, include additional class readings (Shaara, Cirillo) when you repurpose this review and produce your multi-modal project. Each review should be 400-500 words for a total of 1600-2000 words.


  1. Discuss a problem and a subset of related questions or issues that arise from1. our readings (Diaz, the Constitution, the historical novel of the battle of Gettysburg, and the Gettysburg Address and the 1619 Project and responses) and 2. your reflection writings and how it relates to your experience or one of the discourse communities you belong to. 600-800 words


  1. Collect and select 3-4 audio or video sources or illustrations related to your topic and set of problems or questions you want to ask or present. Write a brief intro or caption for each file.


Questions to keep in mind for the rhetorical analysis of texts. What was the social/political exigency which caused the “framers” to write the Constitution? What is the social/political situation which motiviates the 1619 project and the response of Wilentz.   Remember: writing aims at a specific audience, seeks to create an effect, and fills a perceived need in a discourse community. What is the goal of the 1619 project? Is it a call to action or is it a call to rethink history? What is the discourse community it seeks to reach or perhaps constitute?


Possible starting point for your path of inquiry. What questions come to your thought process? How does this relate to your life and social context? How has new information changed the way you think about these problems or topics? You should include this in your reviews and discussion of a problem and set of problems.


For example, possible research paths of inquiry include racism in the U.S. today. How is it related to slavery and the Civil War? Is the U.S. (society, economy, form of government) based on racism/slavery?   Analyze the form of this question. Is the U.S. constitution and form of government based on racism/slavery? What about the achievement of the abolition of slavery in the civil war and the long struggle and victory of civil rights? Is this part of the U.S. constitution and form of government? Was the civil war a second founding of the United States? How does this relate to your experience and your discourse community?


How this assignment facilitates the student’s progress towards the Learning outcomes.


This assignment is focused on Learning outcome 3, research as inquiry, with special emphasis on the practice of initiating and carrying out a path of inquiry.


This assignment also introduces search for materials for Learning outcome 6.


This unit is also a significant immersion in Learning outcome 5.


We continue to apply practices such as reflection writing and rhetorical analsyis leading to Learning outcomes 1, 2, and 4.



Unit 3. Multi-modal Electronic display of your research / inquiry project and Final Portfolio with final reflection.

Due May 13. Supported by one reflection writing.


Translate and repurpose the knowledge you’ve acquired/produced and the understanding you now have from you research as inquiry project into a genre that your discourse community uses / interacts with. Includes a written reflection (#5) on multi-modal and design process of authoring a work and the knowledge acquisition/production process involved therein. Multi-modal project must incorporate audio or visual presentation. Multi-modal project must be preserved on electronic file.


1200 words plus images and audio.


Consider the Rhetorical situation. To whom do you want to communicate the knowledge you have acquired? Genre awareness. What form or genre should it take? What texts, images, and audio files will communicate your ideas most effectively to the audience you are addressing?


Final Metacognitive reflective essay (#5) on entire course. How has your understanding and practice of writing and reading changed over the semester? 1000 words.


Examples of Multi-Modal projects

Essay with photos/ audio soundtrack or video component.

Essay with graphics.

Website with musical sountrack

Video montage with verbal and musical soundtrack

Business template for website or product or brand

How to essay or video with soundtrack

Video of yourself and partner



Magazine article with images


This assignment asks the student to repurpose the work accomplished in Unit 2 and create a multi-modal text including audio and video. It focuses on Learning outcome 6.


Final Portfolio of all projects and reflections. 6000 words total including Final reflection essay. Electronic file version of multi-modal project.

Revision and proofreading. We will work together and in peer groups to create a final portfolio of the best possible at the time final polished drafts of your work, including an electronic display of your Unit 3 multi-modal project. The entire portfolio will be put on an electronic file.


Grading calculation

Final Portfolio = 50%

Reflection writings and unit projects turned in on time = 40%

Attendance and class participation/discussion = 10%


Course policies

Word count. 6000 total written words are required in the final portfolio. Students are required to turn in a minimum of 6000 finished words in order to successfully pass the class. Students who don’t meet the word count requirement will receive a grade of F.


Attendance. Participation in the academic activity of each course is a significant component of the learning process and plays a major role in determining overall student academic achievement. Academic activities may include, but are not limited to, attending class, submitting assignments, engaging in in-class or online activities, taking exams, and/or participating in group work. Each instructor has the right to establish their own class participation policy, and it is each student’s responsibility to be familiar with and follow the participation policies for each course.

If you do not attend class at least once in the first weeks of the semester, the instructor is required to assign a grade of “WN”.

Lateness. Classes begin promptly at the times indicated in the Schedule of Classes. Arrival in classes after the scheduled start time constitutes lateness. Latecomers may, at the discretion of the instructor, incur an official absence.


Missed Work and Late Papers. There is a one-week late paper period.


Open Lab. Students must register with City Tech Open Lab and join this course. It will be the student’s responsibility to learn the navigation of the class website.


Course Load Expectations. You will be in class for 2.5 hours a week. Plan to spend on average 7.5 hours per week on homework.



Class schedule


Unit 1. Discourse community project. What is the social context of writing?


Week 1 Jan 27.  Mon. Discourse community, genre, fiction and non-fiction based on personal experience and memoir. Social groups and modes of communication. Wed. Readings, Diaz. “Ysrael,” (p.3-20). Class discussion.


Week 2 Feb 3. Mon. Discourse community, inside and outside the text. Rhetoric. Audience. Diaz readings continued, “Fiesta 1980,” (p. 23-43). “Aurora,” (47-65) Wed. Secondary reading: Peck, Flowers, Higgins.  “Community Literacy: Can Writing Make a Difference?”


Write a 400-600 word reflection (#1) on discourse community, your reading and writing process and how you understand role of and modes of communication in a discourse community, and how your understanding has changed through our reading and discussion. What is the social context of your writing, in and out of academia.



Week 3 Feb 10. Mon. U.S. Constitution, “Preamble,” overview of Articles 1, 2, 3. Form of Government; Rhetoric, genre. Social context of writing. Wednesday college closed Lincoln’s Birthday


Week 4 Feb 17.; Monday college closed President’s Day. Wed. Diaz readings continued, “Agauntando,” (p.69-88) “Drown,” (91-107). Class discussion on discourse community in relation to text and compared to personal experience.


Write a 400-600 word reflection (#2) on U.S. Constitution, discourse community you belong to, relation to previous readings, and role of communication and writing


Week 5 Feb 24. Mon. U.S. Constitution, discussion. Overview. Question of whether the U.S. Constitution is pro- or anti-slavery;  Wed. 1619 Project, Hannah-Jones. Discussion continued, rhetorical analysis, audience, genre; academic vs journalism. Discourse Community Paper Due 1500-2000 words.



Unit 2. March 2-April 7. Mon. Research as Inquiry: write a research memorandum with subsections and summaries of multiple sources both academic (Cuny electronic library) and non-academic; this research memorandum will serve as a final draft proposal / plan for the Unit 3 multi-modal project. We will be studying Slavery in the U.S., the U.S. Constitution, and the consequences of the Civil War, mainly the Battle of Gettysburg. Students will choose topics from the readings.


Week 6 Mar 2. Mon. 1619 Project, Hannah-Jones and Wed. Responses, Wilentz. Discuss topics for research. Discuss rhetorical analysis of texts we are reading. Genre. Audience. Discourse community. Argument. Practice and calls for action. What is the social context of writing? How do you as reader respond?


Week 7 Mar 9. Mon. Slavery and the U.S. Constitution. Readings: 1619 Project, Hannah-Jones. Wed. Readings. Responses, Wilentz. Continue discussing topics for research, texts, and project proposals.


Write 400-600 word a reflection (#3) on readings and cognitive knowledge acquisition / production process and understanding. We will focus on 1619 Project and response by Wilentz.


Week 8 Mar 16. Mon. 1619 Project and Responses. Wed. Gettysburg Address. The Killer Angels, “Monday, June 29, 1863,” p. 3-68. Overview. Relation between 1619 and Civil War. Continue discussing topics for research, texts, and project proposals.


Week 9 Mar 23. Mon. Gettysburg Address; Wed. The Killer Angels, p. 3-68 Midterm reports. Discussion of research memorandum project.


Week 10 Mar 30. Mon. The Killer Angels , “Wednesday, July 1, 1863: The First Day” p. 73-150. Wed. The Killer Angels, p. 73-150. Discuss research memorandum project.


Write 400-600 word a reflection (#4) on readings and cognitive knowledge acquisition / production process and understanding. We will focus on the Civil War in relation to the question of slavery and the U.S. Constitution.



Week 11 Apr 6 Mon. reading, The Killer Angels, “Thursday, July 2, 1863: The Second Day.” p. 155-270 Tuesday (follows Wednesday Schedule); Research as Inquiry final draft Review of Sources project due. Spring break April 8-16


Week 12 Apr 13 Spring Break April 8-16



Unit 3. Multi-modal repurpose of knowledge and final portfolio. What do I know about my subject of inquiry and how can I communicate it to a selected audience (discourse community) with what modes?


Week 13 Apr 20 Mon. The Killer Angels, “Thursday, July 2, 1863: The Second Day.” p. 155-270. Wed..


Week 14 Apr 27 Mon. The Killer Angels. “Thursday, July 2, 1863: The Second Day.” p. 155-270. Wed. Discussion of multi-modal projects. Write 400-600 word a reflection (#5) on readings and cognitive knowledge acquisition / production process and understanding.



Week 15 May 4 Mon. The Killer Angels, “Friday, July 3, 1863 p. 275-345.” Wed. Discussion of multi-modal projects. Revision and proofreading of Final Portfolio


Week 16 May 11. Mon. Discussion of multi-modal projects. Revision and proofreading of Final Portfolio. Wed. The Killer Angels, “Friday, July 3, 1863 p. 275-345.” Multi-Modal project due.


Week 17 May 18 Mon. Final Portfolio including final reflection paper on electronic file due. Wed. All work due.



University policies

Accessibility statement City Tech is committed to supporting the educational goals of enrolled students with disabilities in the areas of enrollment, academic advisement, tutoring, assistive technologies and testing accommodations. If you have or think you may have a disability, you may be eligible for reasonable accommodations or academic adjustments as provided under applicable federal, state and city laws. You may also request services for temporary conditions or medical issues under certain circumstances. If you have questions about your eligibility or would like to seek accommodation services or academic adjustments, please contact the Center for Student Accessibility at 300 Jay Street room L-237, 718 260 5143 or


Academic Integrity and Plagiarism Statement

Here is City Tech’s 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 (CUNY) and at New York City College of Technology (City Tech) and is punishable by penalties, including failing grades, suspension, and expulsion.”

What does that mean? Turn in your own work and ideas! When you use someone else’s ideas, cite them properly. Don’t turn in plagiarized work, as it can have serious consequences.


We will talk about proper citation in class, and if you have any doubts related to academic integrity, please reach out to me.


Sanctions for Academic Integrity Violations


In accordance with the CUNY Policy on Academic Integrity, NYCCYT empowers its Academic Integrity Committee and Academic Integrity Officer to process violations of the CUNY Academic Integrity Policy.   As stated in the student handbook, all instructors must report all instances of academic dishonesty to the Academic Integrity Officer.


Lateness. Classes begin promptly at the times indicated in the Schedule of Classes. Arrival in classes after the scheduled start time constitutes lateness. Latecomers may, at the discretion of the instructor, incur an official absence.