Writing

The writing for this course will be a bit different: you will write one piece; that is you will work on one singular piece throughout the course.  This piece will begin immediately and the first installment is due September 21, the second October 12, the third October 30 and the fourth and final installment, November 21.  Each Monday you’ll get back my comments.  You will then revise, but continue to add to the piece as per the prompts (broad ideas), below.   Thus, by the end of J-Term, you’ll have approximately 20 – 30 pages of work; this work will likely be memoir-like, academic and reflective, engaging the personal and public.

What is relevant is how deeply and creatively you engage with the ideas you’re putting forth — are you lingering on an idea and looking at its every side?  are you finding relevant and clear examples to illustrate ideas?  Like that.  I’m looking to see how, in language, you think; how you are able to maintain a reader’s interest; how you move from the personal to the public; that is, how you make what you know and have experienced relevant to the rest of us. This is writing.  Achieving all these intricate and interesting levels guarantees an “A.”  I don’t compare one writer to another.  What you give me week 1, then, has to be really strong so that I can see where you are in writing; this enables me to then establish benchmarks for you, goals.  How you reach these goals for yourself establish the grade range.
After each writing, and below each prompt, you must take the short survey, please.

General Prompts, week – by – week:

September 21: This piece, like all others, should be handed to me.  Consider the following:  when did you first become aware of issues pertaining to the environment?  how old were you? where were you?  Make a full description.  What happened, psychologically, emotionally and intellectually to you after you became aware?  Did you pursue readings?  Did you get involved in any campaigns, like 350.org, for instance?  Also, at what stage in your life did you become aware that we live in a class-based, racialized society and that our social policies can be horribly ungenerous?  After experiencing the reading and listening materials of Week 1, how do you feel? Can you find one or two ideas in the texts that can, perhaps, engage you in such a way as to add ideas, questions and concerns to your evolution as a citizen that is concerned about class and the environment?

Click here to take survey

October 12: Revise and add to your first piece, based on my comments.  Take three ideas from any of the texts in Week 2 and now move your story along: how do you feel? what do you see? what are the challenges, concerns, obstacles and what might be some solutions to our condition?  Can you actually use these ideas, the three ideas you’ve found, and describe the world as you see it? Are you hopeful?  Pessimistic?  Is it all too overwhelming?

Click here to take the second survey

October 30: Continue to revise based on my comments, some of which may reach back to week 1′s work since you’ve changing the context, after week 2.  Can you describe our world in terms of a struggle, following any ideas in the texts of week 3? That is, how are we constructed or manufactured or made along class, economic and environmental challenges that are sometimes given to us in terms of tensions?  Do we live in tension?  Where does it come from?  Why? How?  You are a college student: how do you see yourself living once you graduate? That is, what kind of quality of life do you see you having and what are you willing to do for it?  How do we get from here to there?

Click here for the 3rd survey

November 21: Purposefully, I’ve only assigned something for the first two days of the week.  The rest of the week, we will look at what we’ve studied, what we’ve talked about and written about and try to come up with a “whole earth catalog” of our own, one which defines where we are but that also projects where we want to go — and how we get there.  This last writing is a long, perhaps even poetic reflection and projection.  You’re finally answering only ONE question here: Knowing what you know now, how are you going to live?



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