There are four main goals of English 1020:
1.To understand writing as a conversation, not an individual, isolated process.
2. To create and maintain a research project based on sincere inquiry and curiosity.
3. To identify ways things and places make arguments in our local environment.
4. To apply the systems that honor authorship and creativity.
This semester our mission is to conduct an inquiry into our immediate surroundings and learn how to write about what we find. The QUALITY of your writing is not what is primarily at stake in this semester. Instead, you will be evaluated on your curiosity, your willingness to commit to an idea, and your responsible treatment of information online and in hard copy. The good news: STYLE is NOT the thing that will earn you an ‘A,’ although it certainly helps. The bad news: if you are used to writing something with little to no effort and passing easily, well, that same talent doesn’t work in the same way here. Research ethics and pursuit of knowledge matter more.
This semester you will research and write an argument about a landmark, town, or place in the vicinity of AUM. What this involves is looking at the infrastructure and inner workings of a physical location so that you might think more responsibly about how to protect resources.That said, your project does NOT have to be about saving the environment. Sometimes the best way to argue for improvement is to suggest ways to revitalize a town, to market it in a way that tourists will want to come and spend money in local businesses. If you are INTERESTED in pursuing a topic that involves sustainability and environmental awareness, that is great, but it is NOT a requirement of the course. The main focus is learning how to conduct research and learning how you can make an impact on or improve your immediate surroundings.
[Examples: taking an abandoned place and arguing for repurposing it, improving on the ways a town attracts tourists, suggesting a new way to improve the infrastructure or management of certain resources, building awareness about a place that many have overlooked in the past, and so on]
It may be that a traditional research document is the best way to make your case, but it may also be that a brochure or documentary will be a better approach. We’ll talk about the genres you may play with, explore, and polish this spring.