Most English 1A sections include an “umbrella topic” for the research paper and the reading of a minimum of two full-length works.
Since these vary from instructor to instructor, this page contains information from professors on their course reading and themes as an aid to deciding which English 1A section best fits your needs and interests.
The central themes of my English 1A are love and marriage, and the course as a whole is devoted to literature and literary analysis.
Students will be expected to read Shakespearean love sonnets and seventeenth century poems in the carpe diem tradition, as well as Shakespeare’s romantic comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Jane Austen’s comedy of manners Pride and Prejudice.
The major assignments include two summaries of poems, a synthesis of the play and background sources, and a research paper and revision based on Pride and Prejudice, and critical essays about the novel.
My class examines American culture by looking at historical and literary movements of the late nineteenth century that have influenced American society today.
Readings and films will explore American realism and naturalism as a reflection of society.
Students will read two novels, Crane’s Maggie: A Girl of the Streets and Norris’s McTeague, as well as short stories by other writers, including Kate Chopin, Eudora Welty, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Susan Glaspell, and Flannery O’Connor.
Two short papers will be written on the novels. Additional writing assignments include a long summary, two critiques, and a ten-page research paper which focuses on analyzing the origin of some change in an element of American society (women’s rights, treatment of minorities, class divisions, labor movements, advances in technology, entertainment) and how that change has influenced American culture or society today.
Our focus will be on information competency, also known as information literacy. We live in a world of rapid technological change and countless information sources, many of them unreliable, either through deliberate bias or sheer incompetence. We are confronted with diverse news and entertainment media, including the Internet; corporations’ public relations departments; advertising agencies; political and other special interest groups; and more. Too often we do not closely question the authenticity, validity, and reliability of our chosen sources. Both the dubious quality and increasing quantity of information pose challenges that we, as inhabitants of one of the world’s superpowers, must face. The mere proliferation of information does not result in an informed citizenry if citizens do not possess the abilities necessary to understand and use information effectively. We will be studying and practicing information competency skills as we look at the American food system and the impact of corporations, advertising, media multinationals, and news media. We will read Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, Kelsey Timmerman's Where Am I Eating? An Adventure through the Global Food Economy, and, for the literature component of the class, we will focus on a collection of short stories by the noted author Raymond Carver: What We Talk about When We Talk about Love. Students will write two research papers. The first will be a minimum of 1,000 words, drawing on a minimum of three scholarly sources. The second will be a minimum of 1,600 words, drawing on a minimum of five schoarly sources. There will be a variety of shorter writing assignments throughout the semester to help students hone their writing and analytical skills.
It had all the ingredients for one of those summer blockbuster disaster movies — a hurricane, collapsed levees, citizens killed or trapped in their flooded city, and an ill-equipped government response. We were transfixed by the news coverage, and at times outraged and horrified by the images we saw.
My English 1A will explore media coverage and interpretations of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. We will read 1 Dead in Attic: After Katrina by acclaimed columnist Chris Rose; After the Storm: Black Intellectuals Explore the Meaning of Hurricane Katrina, edited by David Dante Troutt; and we will view Spike Lee’s award-winning documentary, When The Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts.
The readings will be the basis for in-class essays in the Humanities’ computer lab, as well as a short paper, as students learn how to cite sources to avoid plagiarism. Students also will learn how to find their own college-level research through the Bakersfield College library for a ten-page paper.
The common thread running through my English 1A course is social issues that include prejudice, aging, sexism, raising children, the United States’ role in the world, and the American dream.
The United States’ role in the world and the American dream are explored with the two novels used in the class: Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
The other themes are explored through short essays, poetry, lyrics, and video clips.
The research paper topic is left to the student to decide with the approval of the instructor. Students are encouraged to research a topic that is relevant and important to them.
My English 1A focuses on the themes of masculinity, society, and sanity and the connections between these themes as exemplified in literature and film.
The course focuses on seven major works of fiction--Fight Club, Shawshank Redemption, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Lolita, Of Mice and Men, The Godfather, and Dracula--and explores the literary aspects of the novels as well their adaptations into film.
We will be reading scholarly articles pertaining to the novels and films and viewing portions of the relevant films in class. In addition to the intense reading schedule, students will complete a short analytical paper for each of the seven novel/film pairs, as well as a seven-page research paper that deals with a topic pertinent to our readings.
The umbrella topic for my English 1A course is “Gender Issues and Conflicts.”
Course readings, discussions, and essay assignments will focus on definitions of masculinity and femininity in American culture (and in other cultures as well), both now and in the past, and also on prominent issues that highlight the differing expectations and treatment of each gender.
Students will read Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms; each author provides intriguing insights into the motivations and behaviors of men and women.
The research paper will be based on a “gender issue” selected by the student and approved by the instructor.
My English 1A course explores contemporary issues in varied academic disciplines through essays, movies, fiction, and non-fiction created by a diversity of authors.
Students exhibit their understanding of course concepts in writing assignments including summaries, a critique, essays, and a synthesis. Throughout the quarter, students learn the research techniques and the process of researching, writing, and presenting a research topic.
The course culminates in an 8-10-page research paper.
Our class topic is “Reality and Crime Fiction.”
We will read one police procedural novel, Buried Strangers by Leighton Gage, that looks at the relationship between the federal police and the local police in solving crimes in Brazil. We will also read a number of short stories that reflect both the history and the forms of detective fiction. Our research will focus on answering questions regarding the social impact of crime fiction. Why has the genre remained a major seller since the days of Poe? What about crime draws people in? How does the fiction reflect the various social and cultural truths of its society? How does crime fiction teach us about ourselves and our society?
Our class topic for English 1a is “Racial Paranoia in America During World War II.”
We will read one romantic, historical novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, by Jamie Ford. This story focuses on Japanese Americans at the beginning of World War 2 and those people’s struggles with white Americans, Chinese Americans, and black Americans. These complex relationships are an important part of our nation’s history and are similar to issues that continue in this country today. We will also read a number of essays that discuss similar topics in our modern time. Our variety of readings will show that both fiction and non-fiction can be very effective tools in understanding important social issues. Our research will investigate significant points that arise in our discussion of these readings and their reflection of life in our twenty-first century multicultural society.
Advertising and Hollywood have us working jobs we really don’t want, just to buy things we don’t really need. With this philosophy, Fight Club’s Tyler Durden tries to shake the sleeping giant of America awake and into action.
While this advice comes from the novel we’ll study in my course, it is the focus of much scholarship and criticism surrounding mass media and popular (consumer) culture.
This English 1A class will look at how multinational corporate giants have gained control of our airwaves and checkbooks to further their own agendas. We’ll study the scholarship and fiction surrounding consumerism, ad techniques, and threats to democracy.
We’ll spend the first half of the semester looking at Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal to see exactly what is wrong with the American food supply, and we’ll read Fight Club and some other literature that examines problems with the typical American over-consumerism and corporate greed.
The course theme is food. Students will explore the ethics of food choices, how workers in the food industry are treated, the safety of food additives, and the environmental consequences of factory farms. The two short research papers and group presentation allow students to delve into those and other issues, such as country of origin labeling, genetically modified foods, slow food, or corn sweeteners. Assigned readings are Where Am I Eating? An Adventure through the Global Food Economy and articles from The Eater Reader.
The organizing topic of this course is the US prison system. Although English 1A is first and foremost a research writing course, the subject of the prison and the larger system of criminal justice will provide the context for our research and writing. In fact, there is an on-going conversation about the purpose of the prison and whether or not our current system of criminal justice is working. Many experts and scholars have approached the topic from a wide range of perspectives, and they have published articles and books in order to argue their positions in the hope that their writing might bring about a transformation of our justice system. Your task will be to do the same; you will enter into the current conversation, you will agree and disagree with other scholars, and you will posit your own argument or thesis about how our system of punishment should be changed. In order to begin this discussion, we will read Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (2010). In her book, she informs her readers why this issue deserves attention, "The fate of millions of people—indeed the future of the black community itself—may depend on the willingness of those who care about racial justice to re-examine their basic assumptions about the role of the criminal justice system in our society."
My course explores the archetype of the Hero's Journey in Greek myth, Medieval legend, various religious traditions and into the modern American novel, autobiography, and film.
We will explore this journey on two levels: as Joseph Campbell's "monomyth," a pattern of mythic and literary tradition found in all cultures throughout recorded history; and as a tool to help you navigate your own life's path. You will read Joseph Campbell's The Hero With a Thousand Faces and Carol Pearson's The Hero Within. These books will help us identify and explore our personal archetypal patterns and Writing Worth Reading (3rd ed.) will assist in the structural portion of the research paper on our topic.
The central topic for my English 1A course is the public perception of science.
We will cover some related topics, such as technology and social media, science education, and the current state of American science literacy, but we will focus our attention for much of the course on famous controversies and breakthroughs in science and engineering and what those have meant for Americans.
The research paper assignment will ask students to examine public and official government responses to contentious issues such as genetic modification of foods, cloning, stem-cell research, the exploration of space, climate change, and the teaching of evolution in public schools.
My English 1A focuses on the theme of journeys and quests, the search for meaning, achievement and knowledge.
Starting with Joseph Campbell’s ideas on the hero’s quest, the course deals with short readings from an anthology called Thresholds by J. Sterling Warner, and two full-length works. One, Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, traces one young man’s tragic pursuit of the perfect wilderness experience and what, for him, constitutes the most meaningful life. The other book, Animal Dreams, by Barbara Kingsolver, a novel, tells the story of a woman’s search for meaning and belonging in the wake of a very difficult childhood.
The research essay topic is up to the student’s choice of any significant journey, quest, hero or heroine. Students will also need Lester’s Writing Research Papers to help them through the course.
The umbrella topic for my English 1a class is interconnectedness. The course attempts to look beyond America to see how our actions affect the entire world—socially, culturally, and environmentally—and, conversely, how the actions of people all over the world affect us. To this end, we will read Kelsey Timmerman’s Where Am I Wearing? as well as a variety of articles related to interconnectedness. Student research topics may explore issues related to globalization, technology, communication, consumerism, social media, world culture, the environment, and public health as these deal with global interconnectedness.