Welcome to ENG215!

As a Tier 2 course in the VCU Core Curriculum, ENGL 215 develops the following skill areas:

Critical Thinking: Critical thinking courses encourage critical self-awareness, helping students apply critical thinking strategies to foster more disciplined approaches to learning.

Writing Proficiency: Writing proficiency courses provide students with substantive and sustained writing experiences to further develop their writing and thinking competencies.

Information Fluency: Information fluency courses help students navigate library-related services (on-line and on-site) as well as evaluate the legitimacy of sources of information.

English 215 is an inquiry into literary texts, emphasizing critical thinking and close reading. To understand a text (written and visual) within its context, we will pay close attention to details such as form, genre, language, presentation, allusions, influences, and publication history. In our section of the course, we will explore the tension between “culture” and “counterculture” as means of better understanding literary texts as products of their particular place and time. Our guiding question will be: “how do members of a culture adopt new communication strategies to resist dominant narratives?”

In search of a better understanding of how culture is created, resisted, and appropriated we will read texts published by alternative presses run by figures like d.a. levy and Paul Coates. To rethink our evolving notion of “canon” we will look at works by authors like Kelly Sue DeConnick, Ta-Nehisi Coates, William Gibson, and Octavia Butler. Our class will offer students opportunities to explore primary and secondary texts, to engage in research using archival materials, and to consider how communities address issues of cultural inclusion through the arts. Because counterculture movements span a range of genres, this section will consider how skills of close reading and textual analysis can translate across genre and medium.