Critical and Reflective Inquiry. Writing in Place
Theme: Writing in Place
"The world offers itself to your imagination." -- Mary Oliver
In this seminar, we will explore many questions: What is the relationship between where we are and who we are? What connects locality to identity, landscape to language, place to self? How does the world offer itself to our imaginations? What does it mean to write from a certain place? How do particular places affect us: cities, woods, rooms, vehicles, mountains, farms, schools, deserts, hospitals, bodies of water? What kinds of places and spaces do we share with other people? What are the possible connections between our writing and the places it emerges from? What are the diverse ways we can write, map, illustrate, or document our lives and the contours of our personal, social, and ecological geographies? What happens to us when we encounter places or spaces, or ways of thinking and being, that are unknown, unfamiliar, or strange to us? To help us examine these questions, we will read a novel, personal narratives, academic essays, and a book on writing. We will do lots of writing exercises and keep a Book of Questions. We will do research, write personal reflection essays and research papers, and give presentations to the class. Our assignments will encourage us to get out and about, look around, investigate, see what we can learn in the field, outside, in places themselves, and in the places that live inside us. At the heart of our collective explorations and investigations will be a spirit of curiosity and wonder about our diverse lives on this planet and their deep and surprising connections to the places we live in, travel through, and imagine.
Texts: Sandra Cisneros, THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET; Natalie Goldberg, WRITING DOWN THE BONES; Ruth Ozeki, A TALE FOR THE TIME BEING.
Credit/Evaluation: Faithful attendance, completion of all the readings and assignments, and participation in class discussions, activities, and all individual and group work. Quality of written assignments and reflection essays, including the Research Essay, the Writing in Place Project, a Book of Questions, and a Writing Plan.