English R1B

Reading and Composition: Writing Politics

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
10 Fall 2021 Wang, Jacob
MWF 1-2 122 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Possible texts/authors include: Zong! by M. NourbeSe Philip; How to Do Things with Words by J. L. Austin; Port Huron Statement; Amanda Gorman; George Orwell; Winston Churchill


When we think of politics, we probably picture politicians debating, people organizing, or some sort of voting process. But are there other ways of “doing” politics, other appropriate verbs? This course will think about how we can associate the verb (or noun) “writing” with political processes and actions. What makes writing political – its content, context, intention, style, effects? What does writing do with regards to politics – represent, critique, persuade, legislate, inform, demand, inspire? Are there certain genres of writing more amenable to politics than others? Does it matter if politicians are good writers? We’ll explore these questions by looking at writings in a variety of genres (poetry, novel, essay, legal document) and media (performance/speech, newspaper, pamphlet, Twitter), and thinking about how, or if, they are political. To do so, we’ll also want to reflect on what it means to be political in the first place.  

The primary aim of this course is to develop your skills as a reader, writer, and researcher – someone who engages with other people’s work and investigates the conditions of the world around them in order to shape their own thinking and writing. We’ll achieve this aim through a regular series of shorter writing assignments that will culminate in longer essays.

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