Writing 101 will introduce you to the key goals and practices of academic writing. Scholars training in a variety of disciplines design and teach Writing 101 courses. Our class is oriented toward history, though it we will attempt to engage our materials with multi-modalities. This class—like all Writing 101 classes—will emphasize writing as a social process and a commitment to helping you, as first-year students, to begin learning how to generate effective academic arguments.
Much of your work at Duke (and for the rest of your life, whatever field you enter) will rely on your ability to communicate ideas. Writing will often be an important medium for expressing your ideas, clarifying your thoughts, and articulating your reasoning. Through this course, our aim is to develop skills in engagement, articulation, and contextualization.
These objectives comprise the course goals for all Writing 101 classes. In this course, engagement with the work of others will consist, in part, in analyzing the purpose and context of specific texts and identifying the tools utilized by authors. You will develop skills in articulation by describing and critiquing the arguments of others, as well as developing your own positions and striving to elucidate new and interesting interpretations. Finally, you will learn how to situate your writing for a particular audience, by doing multiple different kinds of writing for multiple purposes.
In our case, we will learn what types of questions historians ask about the past, how they go about researching those questions, what types of arguments can be made using various types of source material, as well as how to properly cite those sources. If your writing for this class will fall within a particular disciplinary tradition, the processes and skills that you learn are transferrable to a variety of other contexts. The work you do here will provide you with an introduction to a lifetime of conceptualizing questions, figuring out the sources you need in order to answer them, and using those sources to create compelling answers.