Composition I

Purposes/Objectives: In this course, we will be exploring the interrelations between identity and writing, identity and the language(s) we speak, identity and the stories we tell (or don’t tell). Our readings will include, but not be limited to, a variety of contemporary Hawai’i-centered texts—websites, essays, plays, poems, autobiography, and fiction—by authors who are concerned with these interrelations. You will have the chance to experiment with and respond to these authors’ ideas, writing styles, and strategies in your own writing. I have designed this course to give you room to experiment with language and to learn to write with clarity and a sense of purpose. I hope you will develop a sense of the importance and power of writing, both as an individual, and as part of a community of writers.

Essay Assignments: You will write seven essays for this course. One of these will be a revision of a previous writing assignment and one will be an in-class essay. Most of these essays will be quite short (2-4 pp.); one—a research paper—will be longer (8-10 pages) and will allow you to build on previous assignments. I have designed this course to give you room to experiment with different genres and voices: in addition to a research paper, you will write persuasive, analytical, reflective, and autobiographical essays; you also will produce an interview and a book or movie review.

Because I believe that writing is a process that works best communally, I will be placing you in response groups of 3-4 to help each other with your essays.

For each of the writing assignments, you will submit your final, polished draft, along with original sketches, free writings, revised drafts (dated) and assigned peer- and self-evaluations that contributed to your final draft. Because this course will focus on writing as a process, turning in thesis statements, outlines, and rough drafts, when requested to do so, counts as much as meeting deadlines for final drafts.

Grading: Grades will be determined by the following components: essays and writing assignments leading up to essays (70%); response group work, informal writings, and other in-class activities and participation (25%); portfolio (5%). Percentages given here are approximate. Attendance is mandatory; missed classes or failure to attend required conferences will negatively impact your grade.

Tentative List of Required Texts (to be ordered through Revolution Books):

  • Alani Apio, KAMAU