The Personal is Political: A Nonfiction Writing Workshop Winter 2023

This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

Since St. Augustine’s Confessions, great political thinkers have crafted personal stories as evidence of and witness to their own political times. Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs told their stories to further the abolitionist movement. W.E.B. DuBois, James Baldwin, and Simone de Beauvoir ushered us through the turbulent 20th century showing how the personal is political, and the political, personal. Today, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Suki Kim, Maggie Nelson, and Claudia Rankine, among others, show us how well-crafted personal stories can bring important political ideas to the forefront of our collective imagination. Anticipating criticism of the form, Beauvoir wrote in the preface to her 1961 autobiography that “if any individual… reveals himself honestly, everyone, more or less, becomes involved. It is impossible for him to shed light on his own life without at some point illuminating the lives of others.” In this workshop, you will do just that, crafting a personal nonfiction story in essay form. We’ll meet for six hours each week, splitting our time between discussions of the published work we’re reading and a workshop-setting discussion of the work you’re producing. Your engagement with this class will occupy significantly more time outside of the classroom-roughly twenty hours a week-during which you’ll be engaged in the writing process and reading for class.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 12
Expected: NA
Class#: 1127
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: 10-page paper
Prerequisites: None.
Enrollment Preferences: Seniors will be given priority
Unit Notes: Julia Munemo directs the Williams Writing Center. Her book, The Book Keeper: A Memoir of Race, Love, and Legacy, tells a deeply personal, political story.
Attributes: SLFX Winter Study Self-Expression

Class Grid

Course Catalog Archive Search



Start Time
End Time