About English 110

Critical Reading and Writing

The aim of English 110 is to help you write in interesting ways about texts and ideas that matter to you. Critics are people whose own creativity is bound up with the texts they read and watch and listen to.  To write as a critic is to respond to the work of others, to place your thoughts in relation to theirs. Reading and writing, writing and reading. And.

English 110 is set up as an academic seminar—that is, a course in which a group of students reads a set of books and articles together and then shares what they think and write about them with each other. In a seminar everyone brings their work to the table. You can thus expect to read much of the writing your classmates are doing and to have them read your work too. This sort of give-and-take is a key aspect of working as a critic, of responding to the ideas and writings of others. You might think of this course, then, as a kind of conversation—one that takes place in both speech and writing, and that includes both our own voices and those of the writers we read.

While all sections of  English 110 share the same course goals, individual teachers work toward those goals in their own particular ways, centering their sections on readings and questions that they find important and engaging. And so, while you will do similar amounts of work as the students in other sections of English 110, you will likely find yourself reading and writing about different topics and questions. In my own courses, for instance, I change the texts I assign and the questions I ask students to think about every semester I teach English 110. It’s part of what makes the course exciting for me to teach.

I hope that you have a good semester in English 110, that you find the work you are asked to do as a writer both challenging and fun. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you’d like to talk about your experiences in the course.

~Joseph Harris

Professor and Director of Composition