English 165

Special Topics: Telling Stories: The Power of Narrative in Academic Writing

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2016 Donegan, Kathleen
MWF 1-2 note new location: 242 Dwinelle

Book List

Fish, Stanley: How to Write a Sentence; Hayot, Eric: The Elements of Academic Style; Sword, Helen: Stylish Academic Writing


This seminar is dedicated to the principle that because narrative is at the core of how we come to understand the world, narrative is also an especially powerful method of scholarly practice. We will study the art of storytelling as it is practiced in several academic disciplines – literary criticism, cultural studies, history, anthropology, psychology, medicine – to learn how scholars combine story and argument, imagination and analysis, vivid perspective and broader provocation.  Through discussions and workshops, students will develop individual research projects that experiment with narrative as a stylistic choice, as vehicle for analysis, and as a method for asking deeper questions by sinking into the place where so many questions begin: the story.  We will read works concerning (among others) poets and housewives, kidnapped Africans, 16th century French workers and peasants, early psychiatric patients, and survivors of modern disasters natural and perpetrated.  There will be a rich collection of texts available in a course reader, and a few books to purchase on the craft of writing.

This small seminar will be limited to twelve students.

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