Pasadena City College

English 1A:  Reading and Composition

Special Theme:  Modernism, Fall 2005


Instructor:  Dr. Kathleen Green

Office:  C156D          

Office Phone:  585-7497

Office Hours:   Mondays 10-11:30;  Tuesdays 9:30-10; and Wednesdays 10-12 and 1-2:30


Course Description: This composition course is designed to help you improve your reading, writing, and thinking for college-level coursework.  Upon completion of English 1A, a student should be able to:


1.  read critically, identifying the thesis, supporting points, structure, reasoning, and underlying assumptions in arguments


2.  write clearly, using accurate diction; forming correct grammatical sentences; sustaining a unified and coherent college-level argument; smoothly integrating quotations in support of the thesis; documenting sources correctly


3.  understand and demonstrate the process leading to the writing of an essay based on a thesis.


In this course, the process of writing itself is understood to be a way of learning.  You will learn how to write different types of formal academic essays, but you will also learn how to use writing techniques to figure out what you have to say, how you want to say it, and to whom you want to communicate.  While we will discuss the mechanics of writing (e.g. grammar, punctuation, style, and the like), much of our focus will be on larger issues such as idea development, organization, and argument.  Essays will be evaluated in terms of the quality of their ideas as well as the proficiency of the writing.  Finally, you need to be aware that the writing you do for this course is considered public writing and will be shared with others.  You should not write about anything that you prefer to keep private.  By the same token, you should consider the sensibilities of your audience as you write.


Articulation:  English 1A is an articulated university-level course.  This means that it transfers as the equivalent of a similar specific course at colleges in the University of California and the California State University systems, as well as at other colleges and universities.  The general rule of thumb for the amount of time spent studying for university-level courses is two hours outside of class for every hour in class.  For English 1A, this means you will spend on average about eight to ten hours outside of class each week.  Please take this into consideration when scheduling other commitments this semester. 


Modernism:  This section of English 1A has a special theme.  Throughout the semester, we will be studying the historical period known as modernity and the aesthetic, philosophical, and, to a lesser extent, scientific movements that were happening at this time.  We will study modernism to see how and when it arose and what different forms it took, with some emphasis on cubism and futurism.  With this special focus, this section of 1A will be most interesting to students of art, cinema, architecture, history, and literature.  We will be examining a great deal of non-representational art and avant-garde literature and cinema, so the course requires an open mind and a sense of curiosity.


Co-Requisite: English 1000X is a co-requisite for English 1A.  You must attend English 1000X once per week to pass this class (see more below).  If you are not already registered for English 1000X, go immediately after this class to the Writing Center in C341 in order to add 1000X.


Required Books:  (available at the PCC Bookstore)

Sigmund Freud.  On Dreams.

Franz Kafka.  “The Metamorphosis” (any version is fine)

Stephen Kern.  The Culture of Time and Space.

Jane E. Aron. The Little Brown Compact Handbook (custom edition for Pasadena City College)

James Joyce.  “The Dead” from Dubliners  (any version is fine)


Required Materials:

Computer discs for word processing

Folder or organizer of your choice for drafts (Do not throw away any of your work this semester!  This includes work for English 1000X.)

Money for printing and/or photocopying.


Required Work and Grades:

Class participation and homework for first half of the course 10%

Class participation and homework for second half of the course        5 %

This includes active and regular participation in discussion and group workshops, regular attendance (without tardiness), and any in-class writing, pop quizzes, presentations or homework that may be assigned.  Excessive absences may result in a zero for this section of the grade.


Midterm (in-class essay test)                                                              10%

Essay one (4 pages)                                                                            10%

Essay two (6 pages)                                                                            20%

Research Paper (8-10 pages; topics variable)                                                20%

These papers will involve multiple drafts and other assignments.  All drafts written out of class should be prepared on a word processor. Students who do not participate fully in an in-class group workshop will have 5% deducted from their grade on the final version of that essay for each workshop that they miss.

Final Presentation (on last day of class)                                             5%

Final Exam (in-class essay)                                                                15%

Successful completion of English 1000X                                            5%

English 1000X is a required concurrent course for English 1A.  This means that you must spend time each week to complete the assigned exercises in the Writing Center.  Students will be assigned a grade for the number of sessions they attend and complete:  0-1 absences = A; 2 absences = B; 3 absences = C; 4 absences = D, 5 absences = F.  Students who miss 8 or more sessions of English 1000X will have to repeat English 1A.


Grading and Late Work:  The grading scale for the course is as follows:  100-90%=A; 89-80%=B; 79-75%=C;  74-60%=D, below 60%=F.  Students who are concerned about their progress should set up an appointment or visit my office hours to discuss the matter.  I am very eager to help you earn the best possible grade, but this is something that is best discussed before you turn in a paper, and often at the very earliest stages of topic generation and brainstorming.


Essays 1 and 2, the research paper, and the midterm and final exams will be graded on a letter grade system, so A=95, A-=92, B+=88, B=85, B-=82, and so forth.  Papers may be turned in late, but they will be downgraded 5% for each business day that they are late.  Students are not able to take the midterm and final exam late, except in the event of an extreme emergency, and then only at the discretion of the teacher.  Students must hand in all papers in order to pass the class.


Homework, in-class writing, drafts, and the like will usually be graded on a check, check plus, check minus system.  The overall first and second half homework grades will be determined holistically.  Homework assignments or in-class activities may not be made up and will not be accepted late. In other words, if you are not in class, you do not receive credit for the activities that were completed on the day you missed. 


Plagiarism will result in a grade of zero for the assignment and may result in more severe penalties.  Students may be asked to submit their papers to, a computerized service that checks for plagiarism.


Attendance:  This is an active classroom where we do significant work in class. You need to be in class.  If you cannot keep up your attendance, you cannot fulfill the course requirements.  You should strive to miss NO classes.  A student who misses more than eight hours of class time will fail the course.  Absences are determined by hour, not by class period.  So if a class meets for two hours, missing the entire class equals two hours of absence.  This policy holds regardless of whether the absences are understandable because of illness, family emergency, etc.  Excessive tardiness will also hurt your grade.  Being tardy (which includes leaving early) can count as one half or one third of an absence, at the discretion of the instructor.  If you do miss a class, it is your responsibility to inquire about work and assignments before the next class meeting so that you will be prepared.


Disability Accommodation:  In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, all qualified students enrolled in this course are entitled to reasonable accommodations upon request.  Please notify me of any special needs during the first week of classes. Students requiring accommodation may not benefit from note taking services or other special arrangements if they are not in class.


English 1A Schedule:  Tuesdays and Thursdays

(Subject to Revision)




8/30                 Introduction to the course


9/1                   Homework:  Read and take notes on Kafka, “The Metamorphosis.”  Think about the questions for discussion as preparation for an in-class quiz on the story.


9/6                   Homework: Read  Kern, “The Nature of Time” (chap. 1) and write a one-page (typed) summary of his main points.


9/8                   Homework: Read  Kern, “Speed” (chap. 5) and write a one-page (typed) summary of his main points.


9/13                 Paper Topics Due—bring 2 copies

                        Bring Aron, Little Brown Handbook to class


9/15                 Rough draft due for writing workshop (bring ___  copies)

                        Bring Aron, Little Brown Handbook to class


9/20                 Paper #1 due

                        Library Orientation One


9/22                 Homework:  Read and take notes on Joyce, “The Dead.”  Think about the questions for discussion in preparation for an in-class quiz.


9/27                 Homework:  Read Kern, “The Past” (chap. 2) pages 36-51

Homework:  Write one paragraph that explains what role technology had in shaping thinking about the past. Write another paragraph that explains the role psychologists had in shaping thinking about the past.  (Total writing 1-2 pages)


9/29                 Homework:  Read Kern, “The Past” (chap. 2) pages 51-64


10/4                 Homework:  Read Freud, pages ________


10/6                 Homework:  Read Kern, “The Present” (chap. 3)


10/11               Homework:  Read Kern, “The Future” (chap. 4)

                        Homework:  Write a one-page summary of the chapter.


10/13               Homework:  Read Kern, “Space” (chap. 6)

                        Homework:  Write a one-page summary of the chapter.


10/18               Preparation for the midterm

                        Read Kern, “Distance” (chap. 8) which will be the topic of the exam


10/20               Midterm examination


10/25               Paper Topics Due for Paper Two (bring 2 copies)


10/27               Paper Three Rough Draft Due for Workshop (bring __ copies)






11/1                 Paper Three Due

                        Library Orientation—Meet in ___________________________________

                        Preliminary Research Day


11/3                 Topic and Research Questions Due (only one page!)

                        Lecture on the research process:  How to evaluate sources for academic papers                               Read Aron chapter 47 and skim chapter 48


11/8                 Rough draft of works cited due:  bring the sources you have found so far

Progress Report Due: Type a note to me about what problems and successes you are having with research

                        Read Aron chapter 49


11/10               Revised (corrected) works cited due:  BRING YOUR SOURCES

Progress Report Due: Type a note to me in which you clearly state your topic and the purpose of your paper in careful detail.  For example, if your topic were boxing in American modernity, you might write:  I will examine the development of professional boxing in the United States during modernity, focusing on the period between the 1880s—when boxing became a popular sport—and the 1910s, when boxing became concerned with race and ethnicity.  In the paper, I will answer the questions “Why was boxing so popular and influential during this time period?” and “What can boxing teach us about the development of American culture, especially racial tension and racial pride?”


11/15               Organizing workshop

                        Read Aron chapters 50 and 51

                        Bring the notes you have so far from your reading


11/17               Homework TBA


11/22               Outline Due (with WC)—bring two copies

11/24               No class—Thanksgiving holiday


11/29               Rough Draft due (with WC)—bring ___ copies

12/1                 Revised rough draft due

                        Drafting the reflective letter


12/6                 Research papers due

12/8                 Final presentations