English R1B

Reading and Composition: Writing Politics

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
10 Fall 2022 Wang, Jacob
MWF 1-2 Wheeler 122

Other Readings and Media

Possible texts/authors include: The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli; Hannah Arendt; Virginia Woolf; the Port Huron Statement; George Orwell; Zong! by M. NourbeSe Philip


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 is the relationship between writing/language and politics? 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? I hope thinking about the relationship between writing and politics will allow us to investigate these categories that seem important in our lives but that we might take for granted and therefore not give a lot of thought to. By reflecting on what it means to be political and on what writing does in the world, we will aim to arrive at broader understandings of both types of activities with the ultimate goal of becoming more empowered writers.

The thinking we do in this course will take place in discussions and conversations in class, but it will also take place in writing that you do, both in and out of class. You will use writing to understand, analyze, and engage with the texts we read, and to come up with ideas in response to the course’s questions and theme. Our goal is to become writers who can: accurately write about other texts, communicate effectively with readers, and offer valuable ideas and insights. We will achieve this goal by completing a series of shorter assignments that develop specific writing skills. The series of shorter assignments will culminate in essays that you will write for this course. 


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