ENGL1100: Composition and Rhetoric
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SCW syllabus / YU only
Advertising surrounds us: on street signs, sides of buses, insides of subway cars, on our mobile devices, televisions, radios, webpages and, soon, in our computer glasses. Most ads we ignore. Some grab our attention. Some evoke opinions. Some even make us buy products we wouldn’t otherwise buy. Even more extreme, some ads, in the form of propaganda, can lead us into battle. Advertisements are just one form of images that bombard us all day long. Unlike other pictures, however, ads are read and not just seen. That is, ads have a language and vocabulary all their own. It is a language we all understand, but we rarely contemplate it deeply. We read ads like we read most things: passively, uncritically. If we stopped to analyze every advertisement we came across, we wouldn’t get far down the block or through one click of a mouse, just as if we read critically every piece of language we encounter we would never get through a newspaper, respond to a text message, or cook from a recipe. Critical reading is an essential skill, however, and this course is designed to make us more careful and attentive readers, in the hope that this makes us more careful and attentive writers. For our subject we will take advertising and its language, practicing critical readings on ads that we can then apply to other forms of language, and in turn generating our own language—in the form of short writing assignments and longer essays—about those ads.
Wachtell, Cynthia. (2021, Fall), Syllabus, ENGL1100: Composition and Rhetoric, Stern College for Women, Yeshiva University.