First-Year Writing

https://firstyear.barnard.edu/first-year-writing

417 Barnard Hall
212-854-2116

Mission

First-Year Writing is designed to cultivate powerful expository writing. Reading and writing assignments focus on major works of literature from one of three traditions: Legacy of the Mediterranean; Women and Culture; or The Americas. In addition to teaching critical reading and the process of writing, the First-Year Writing program is responsible for training students to conduct interdisciplinary research and document sources, thereby fostering proficiency in courses across the curriculum.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this one-semester course should be able to:

  • analyze the thematic structure of literary works through close reading
  • translate critical reading into elegant and persuasive expository writing
  • conduct interdisciplinary research to ground literary works in historical contexts
  • document sources and incorporate scholarship into original analytical arguments
  • avoid plagiarism and other academic violations of Barnard's Honor Code
  • develop a sense of literary history
  • gain confidence in speaking as well as writing skills in a small seminar setting
  • appreciate the value of incisive writing in courses across the curriculum

Director: Wendy Schor-Haim, Lecturer in English

Every Barnard first-year student is required to take First-Year Writing (formerly known as First-Year English) during her first or second semester at Barnard.  Students choose to study one of three rubrics: I. Legacy of the Mediterranean features a curriculum of classic texts representing key intellectual moments that have shaped Western culture; II. Women and Culture features a more global curriculum exploring the role of women in literature and culture; or III. The Americas features a curriculum of texts that exemplifies the dynamic relationship between North, South, and Central American literatures. All three literary traditions are historicized in interdisciplinary contexts to foster better writing across the curriculum.

Transfer students who did not pass a satisfactory course at their previous institution are not required to take First-Year Writing, but must take ENGL BC3103 The Art of the Essay or ENGL BC3104 The Art of the Essay or a 3-point literature course (not a creative writing course) from the Barnard English department offerings.

Cross-Listed Courses

English (Barnard)

ENGL BC1204 First-Year Writing (Workshop): Critical Conversations . 4 points.

(Formerly called "First-Year English: Reinventing Literary History (Workshop).") Close examination of texts and regular writing assignments in composition, designed to help students read critically and write effectively.  Sections will focus on Legacy of the Mediterranean or Women and Culture and meet three times a week.  For more information on the curriculum, please visit the course website: http://firstyear.barnard.edu/rlh

Fall 2017: ENGL BC1204
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ENGL 1204 001/06169 M W F 10:10am - 11:25am
404 Barnard Hall
Mary Kolisnyk 4 10
ENGL 1204 002/03033 M W F 11:40am - 12:55pm
102 Sulzberger Annex
Penelope Usher 4 13
ENGL 1204 003/08212 T Th F 11:40am - 12:55pm
403 Barnard Hall
Cecelia Lie 4 13
ENGL 1204 004/05833 T Th F 1:10pm - 2:25pm
406 Barnard Hall
Shelly Fredman 4 14

ENGL BC1210 First-Year Writing: Critical Conversations: Women and Culture. 3 points.

Literary History often portrays women as peripheral characters, confining their power to the islands of classical witches and the attics of Romantic madwomen. This course offers a revisionist response to such constraints of canonicity, especially as they pertain to the marginalization of female subjectivity in literature and culture. The curriculum challenges traditional dichotomies—culture/nature, logos/pathos, mind/body—that cast gender as an essential attribute rather than a cultural construction. Fall term readings include Gilgamesh; Hymn to Demeter; Sophocles, Antigone; Ovid, Metamorphoses; Sei Shonagon, The Pillow Book; Marie de France, Lais; Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales; Kebra Negast; Shakespeare, As You Like It; Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, selected poetry; Aphra Behn, The Rover. Spring term readings include Milton, Paradise Lost; Leonora Sansay, Secret History; Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman; Lady Hyegyong, The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyong; Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights; Emily Dickinson, selected poetry; Sigmund Freud, selected essays; Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway; Gertrude Stein, Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights; Yvette Christiansë, Castaway.

Fall 2017: ENGL BC1210
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ENGL 1210 001/05989 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
407 Barnard Hall
Vrinda Condillac 3 13
ENGL 1210 002/07047 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
407 Barnard Hall
Vrinda Condillac 3 14
ENGL 1210 003/07970 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
117 Barnard Hall
Monica Cohen 3 15
ENGL 1210 004/08599 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
403 Barnard Hall
Elizabeth Auran 3 14
ENGL 1210 005/07753 T Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
308 Diana Center
Vrinda Condillac 3 15
ENGL 1210 006/03946 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
407 Barnard Hall
Meredith Benjamin 3 15
ENGL 1210 007/06891 T Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
407 Barnard Hall
Meredith Benjamin 3 15
Spring 2018: ENGL BC1210
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ENGL 1210 001/05989 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
Room TBA
Elizabeth Auran 3 15/15
ENGL 1210 002/07047 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Room TBA
Vrinda Condillac 3 15/15
ENGL 1210 003/06266 T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
Room TBA
Vrinda Condillac 3 15/15
ENGL 1210 004/07970 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
403 Barnard Hall
Vrinda Condillac 3 15/15
ENGL 1210 005/08599 T Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
118 Barnard Hall
Meredith Benjamin 3 15/15
ENGL 1210 006/03564 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
308 Diana Center
Meredith Benjamin 3 15/15

ENGL BC1211 First-Year Writing: Critical Conversations: Legacy of the Mediterranean. 3 points.

This course investigates key intellectual moments in the rich literary history that originated in classical Greece and Rome and continues to inspire some of the world’s greatest masterpieces. Close readings of works reveal how psychological and ideological paradigms, including the self and civilization, shift over time, while the historical trajectory of the course invites inquiry into the myth of progress at the heart of canonicity. Works studied in the fall term include Homer, Odyssey; The Homeric Hymn to Demeter; Euripides, The Bacchae; Virgil, Aeneid; Dante, Inferno; Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales; Margery Kempe, The Book of Margery Kempe; Shakespeare [selection depends on NYC theatre offerings]; Madame de Lafayette, The Princesse de Clèves; Cervantes, Don Quixote. Works studied in the spring term include Milton, Paradise Lost; Voltaire, Candide; Puccini, La Bohème [excursion to the Metropolitan Opera]; William Wordsworth (selected poetry); Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; Darwin, Marx, and Freud (selected essays); Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness; T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land; Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse; J. M. Coetzee, Waiting for the Barbarians.

Fall 2017: ENGL BC1211
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ENGL 1211 001/07758 M W 8:40am - 9:55am
404 Barnard Hall
Donna Paparella 3 13
ENGL 1211 002/04816 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
403 Barnard Hall
Benjamin Breyer 3 15
ENGL 1211 003/06165 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
102 Sulzberger Annex
Stefan Pedatella 3 15
ENGL 1211 004/03034 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
406 Barnard Hall
Benjamin Breyer 3 14
ENGL 1211 005/07763 T Th 8:40am - 9:55am
405 Barnard Hall
Aaron Schneider 3 15
ENGL 1211 006/07291 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
214 Milbank Hall
Benjamin Breyer 3 15
ENGL 1211 007/01880 T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
306 Milbank Hall
Maureen Chun 3 15
ENGL 1211 008/08081 T Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
117 Barnard Hall
Sonam Singh 3 14
ENGL 1211 009/06760 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
327 Milbank Hall
Andrew Lynn 3 15
Spring 2018: ENGL BC1211
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ENGL 1211 001/04730 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Room TBA
Benjamin Breyer 3 15/15
ENGL 1211 002/02058 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Room TBA
Stefan Pedatella 3 15/15
ENGL 1211 003/08189 M W 8:40am - 9:55am
406 Barnard Hall
Donna Paparella 3 15/15
ENGL 1211 004/06252 T Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
Room TBA
Wendy Schor-Haim 3 15/15
ENGL 1211 005/02446 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Room TBA
Sonam Singh 3 15/15
ENGL 1211 006/04318 T Th 8:40am - 9:55am
227 Milbank Hall
Benjamin Breyer 3 15/15
ENGL 1211 007/09315 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
Room TBA
Benjamin Breyer 3 15/15

ENGL BC1212 First-Year Writing: Critical Conversations: The Americas. 3 points.

This course transcends traditional and arbitrary distinctions separating Caribbean, North, South, and Central American literatures. The Americas emerge not as colonial subjects but as active historical and aesthetic agents.  Emanating from what might be called the geographical site of modernity, American literature is characterized by unprecedented diversity and innovation.  In addition to classic novels, short stories, and poetry, this multicultural curriculum features works ranging in scope from creation accounts to autobiographies, as well as indigenous genres including captivity and slave narratives that belie New World declarations of independence.  No two syllabi are exactly the same, but works studied in the fall term include the Popul Vuh; William Shakespeare, The Tempest; Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, selected poetry; Phillis Wheatley, selected poetry; William Apess, A Son of the Forest; Esteban Echeverria, "El Matadero"; Catharine Maria Sedgwick, Hope Leslie; Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, Written by Himself; Herman Melville, Benito Cereno. Spring term readings include Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson; Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass; José Marti, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, selected poetry; T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land; Pablo Neruda, The Heights of Macchu Picchu; Machado de Assis, Dom Casmurro; William Faulkner, "The Bear"; Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Fall 2017: ENGL BC1212
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ENGL 1212 001/03496 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
406 Barnard Hall
Linn Mehta 3 15
ENGL 1212 002/04330 M W 1:10pm - 2:25pm
404 Barnard Hall
Alexandra Watson 3 15
ENGL 1212 003/08520 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
406 Barnard Hall
Alexandra Watson 3 14
ENGL 1212 004/02776 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
407 Barnard Hall
Alexandra Watson 3 15
Spring 2018: ENGL BC1212
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ENGL 1212 001/06055 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
Room TBA
Alexandra Watson 3 13/15
ENGL 1212 002/02444 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
Room TBA
Alexandra Watson 3 15/15
ENGL 1212 003/03119 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
Room TBA
Alexandra Watson 3 15/15
ENGL 1212 004/04338 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Room TBA
Barbara Morris 3 15/15
ENGL 1212 005/05446 T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
Room TBA
Jennifer Rosenthal 3 15/15