Writing as a Way of Being in the World


Course Description

It is often remarked upon that language differentiates human beings from the rest of the animal world. The ability to transform complex thoughts and emotions into language and transmit those ideas to others is fundamental to the human experience. So fundamental perhaps, it may be taken for granted. If we lost the ability to communicate, our minds would be trapped in our skulls—we as human beings would be imprisoned within our bodies. Language is the way by which our thoughts escape that prison, and the way by which our thoughts may enter someone else’s mind. In other words, language is what keeps us from being alone—it is our way of being in the world.

 

Do to the ubiquitous nature of electronic messaging such as texting, blogs, and facebook, people in the twenty-first century write more often and in more ways than ever before. New technology means a great deal of our interpersonal communication and self-expression now takes place through writing—writing has become a primary means of being in the world. 

 

During the semester, students practice writing across various genres and platforms, from personal essays to blog posts, and even the micro-formats of facebook and twitter updates. They also examine how medium affects their message, learn the grammar of visual communication, study the subtext of commercial advertisements, and practice creating multi-media messages.


Assignments


Readings

Required Texts:

1.  The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present

      by Phillip Lopate

2.  Crafting The Personal Essay  by Dinty W. Moore

3.  Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little  by Christopher Johnson

4.  The Elements of Style  by Strunk & White (any edition)


Writing as a Way of Being in the World

If we lost the ability to communicate, our minds would be trapped in our skulls—we as human beings would be imprisoned within our bodies. Language is the way by which our thoughts escape that prison, and the way by which our thoughts may enter someone else’s mind. In other words, language is what keeps us from being alone—it is our way of being in the world.

 

Do to the ubiquitous nature of electronic messaging such as texting, blogs, and facebook, people in the twenty-first century write more often and in more ways than ever before. New technology means a great deal of our interpersonal communication and self-expression now takes place through writing—writing has become a primary means of being in the world.   read more