Spring 2023 - ENGL 114W D100

Language and Purpose (3)

Class Number: 3919

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 4 – Apr 11, 2023: Tue, 12:30–2:20 p.m.



Introduces students to the relationships between writing and purpose, between the features of texts and their meaning and effects. May focus on one or more literary or non-literary genres, including (but not limited to) essays, oratory, autobiography, poetry, and journalism. Includes attention to writing skills. Students with credit for ENGL 104W may not take this course for further credit. Writing/Breadth-Humanities.


Mapping Public Controversy

Writing and reading help to shape our experience of controversy. Before contributing to a debate, expert writers seek to understand and synthesize the perspectives of the writers who have come before them. What arguments have they made and how do they work? What are the particular issues that matter to them? How do they define the problem? Which cases have captured their attention? Where do they stand in relationship with other writers in the debate? These are the kinds of questions that will guide us in this course as we map a public policy debate together. We will learn a rhetorical framework for analyzing arguments and controversies, a set of specific techniques for exploring issues, defining problems, and synthesizing debates. Though our debate in the course concerns public policy, the techniques we learn are portable, useful and relevant across many professional and public domains. Throughout the course, students are challenged to reflect on their own writing processes, as productive self-reflexivity is one of the qualities that distinguishes expert from novice writers. With this in mind, all writing assignments and class discussions emphasize planning and revising. The course provides students the opportunity to practice inquiry, a crucial skill of public and professional literacy.


  • Argument Analysis Paper (~1000 words) 30%
  • Spans Chart (1 chart) 10%
  • Synthesis Tree (1 tree) 10%
  • State of the Debate Paper (~2000 words) 40%
  • Participation 10%



Selected articles, available on Canvas.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

IMPORTANT NOTE Re 300 and 400 level courses: 75% of spaces in 300 level English courses, and 100% of spaces in 400 level English courses, are reserved for declared English Major, Minor, Extended Minor, Joint Major, and Honours students only, until open enrollment begins.

For all On-Campus Courses, please note the following:
- To receive credit for the course, students must complete all requirements.
- Tutorials/Seminars WILL be held the first week of classes.
- When choosing your schedule, remember to check "Show lab/tutorial sections" to see all Lecture/Seminar/Tutorial times required.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html