English 141

Modes of Writing (Exposition, Fiction, Verse, etc.): “’Race,’ [Creative] Writing, and Difference”

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Spring 2010 Giscombe, Cecil S.
Giscombe, Cecil
TTh 12:30-2 110 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

See below.


This course is an inquiry into the ways that race is constructed in literary texts and a look-by-doing at our own practices as people engaged in creative writing.

The purpose of writing in this course is, broadly stated, to engage public language on one hand and personal (meaning specific) observations and experiences on the other. The purpose of writing is not to come up with answers to the truly vexing problems of racism and economic and political disparity. The purpose here is to pursue consciousness. How one refers to race (one’s own as well as the races of others) is of paramount importance; the fact that there are ways in which American cultural institutions typically quantify and refer to race is of at least equal importance.

The writing vehicle will be, for the greatest part, the personal essay. It’s a peculiar form related to fiction and to autobiography and to poetry. We’ll likely read Michael Ondaatje’s Running in the Family and Audre Lorde’s Zami; we’ll read essays and stories by James Baldwin, Tess Schlesinger, Richard Ford, Jean Toomer. We’ll lean on Philip Lopate’s Art of the Personal Essay.

Writing assignments will broad; that is, they will allow for a variety of responses.

The book list is tentative. Students should come to class before buying books.

Note: This course is open to English majors only.

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