Curriculum: Nonfiction Writing Courses Spring 2015

These course descriptions are for ENGL0110, 0130, 0160, 0180, 1050, 1180, & 1190 for Spring 2015.

For all other English course descriptions, see our 2014-15 Course Prospectus.

ENGL0110   Critical Reading and Writing I:  The Academic Essay

An introduction to university-level writing. Students produce and revise multiple drafts of essays, practice essential skills of paragraph organization, and develop techniques of critical analysis and research. Readings from a wide range of texts in literature, the media, and academic disciplines. Assignments move from personal response papers to formal academic essays. Fall sections 01, 02, 03, 08, 09, and 12 are reserved for first-year students. Spring section 01 is reserved for first-year students.  Enrollment limited to 17. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGL0110 S01   (section reserved for first-year students)  CRN:24735
B Hour (MWF 9-9:50 am)
Michael H. Stewart

The primary goal of this section is to help you develop a personal academic voice. To this end, most of our time will be spent in workshops and private conferences. Our discussions will explore questions of authoritative language and rhetorical strategy, and we will look at research as a creative process as well as an essential element of academic writing. The readings will be a blend of contemporary and modern essays, which will be used not only to develop your talents as a writer, but also to make you a stronger critical reader. Enrollment limited to 17 undergraduate students. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGL0110 S02   CRN:24736
B Hour (MWF 9-9:50 am)

Robert P. Ward

In its various forms, the essay allows scholars to put forward ideas and arguments, to shift ways of seeing and understanding, and to contribute to ongoing intellectual debate.  This course offers an introduction to the style and purpose of writing and gives you the opportunity to work on three essay forms. You will read and discuss an eclectic range of personal and academic essays and participate in workshops, critical reviews, and symposia. You will develop an understanding of the techniques of scholarly work and acquire academic skills that will enable you to engage successfully with the challenges and opportunities of studying at Brown. S/NC.

ENGL0110 S03    CRN:24737
G Hour (MWF 2-2:50 pm)

Steven Swarbrick

The goal of this course is to equip students with a clearer understanding of the critical reading and writing practices particular to the academic essay. The course will canvas a variety of disciplines and genres in order to exercise students’ ability to write effectively and with style. Assignments will include weekly writing exercises, short essays, and a final research paper. S/NC.

ENGL0110 S04   CRN:24738
E Hour (MWF 12-12:50 pm)
Anna Solomon

This section will help prepare students to read, write, and think with confidence and pleasure – at Brown and beyond. Working to demystify the writing process, we’ll harness everyday skills, such as analyzing, questioning, and arguing, as the basis for intelligent and engaged academic writing. Emphasis will be placed on learning to read as writers, gaining control over the writerly choices we make, and developing concrete tools and techniques for pre-writing, drafting, research, and revision. A broad range of interdisciplinary texts as well as daily and long-term research and writing assignments will build around themes of family, place, and society. Frequent private conferences and peer-to-peer workshops will encourage rigorous, imaginative critical expression. S/NC.

ENGL0110 S05   CRN:26046
C Hour (MWF 10-10:50 am)

Andrew Naughton

This course aims to improve students’ academic and professional writing.  Working on critical skills in reading and writing—including elements of style, organization, research, and revision—students are encouraged to cultivate and apply argumentative thinking in their work.   In addition to classroom discussion, students will complete response papers, a research paper, and a final portfolio of the semester’s work. S/NC.

ENGL0130   Critical Reading and Writing II:  The Research Essay

For the confident writer. Offers students who have mastered the fundamentals of the critical essay an opportunity to acquire the skills to write a research essay, including formulation of a research problem, use of primary evidence, and techniques of documentation.  Topics are drawn from literature, history, the social sciences, the arts, and the sciences.  Writing sample may be required.  Enrollment limited to 17 undergraduate students. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGL0130 S01   CRN:24739
E Hour (MWF 12-12:50 pm)

Robert P. Ward

This course guides you through the process of writing a research essay in various academic disciplines. We will discuss, practice, and refine a number of key skills, including the formulation of a research question, identifying, using, and documenting appropriate scholarly evidence, as well as planning, revising, and structuring an extended piece of critical work. The class is a collaborative and supportive setting that will also enable you to improve your research writing through regular peer-review, conferences, academic debate, and research symposia. S/NC.

ENGL0130 S02   CRN:24740
B Hour (MWF 9-9:50 am)

Carol DeBoer-Langworthy

“The Science Research Essay” -- This course explores how science, as an academic way of thinking and a method, is important in the development of critical thinking and expression of culture. Students will write three research essays on scientific topics and explore various “dialects” of scientific discourse in readings and discussion. Differing protocols and modes of expression for each form will be explained and explored. Writing sample may be required. Enrollment limited to 17 undergraduate students. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGL0160   Journalistic Writing

An introduction to journalistic writing that focuses on techniques of investigation, reporting, and feature writing.  Uses readings, visiting journalists, and field experience to address ethical and cultural debates involving the profession of journalism. Writing assignments range from news coverage of current events to investigative feature articles. Prerequisite: ENGL0110 or equivalent. Writing sample required.  Enrollment limited to 17. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGL0160 S01  Journalistic Writing  CRN:24741
AB Hour (Mon/Wed 8:30-9:50 am)

Thomas Mooney

This course teaches students how to report and write hard news and feature stories for newspapers. Students learn to gather and organize material, develop interviewing techniques, and hone their writing skills.  Students must meet deadlines; writing drills assigned virtually every class. The first half of the semester focuses on “hard" news: accidents, crime, government, and courts. Second half is devoted to writing features, profiles, and the art of narrative story telling. Writing sample required.  Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

 

ENGL0180   Introduction to Creative Nonfiction

Designed to familiarize students with the techniques and narrative structures of creative nonfiction. Reading and writing focus on literary journalism, personal essays, memoir, science writing, travel writing, and other related subgenres. May serve as preparation for ENGL 1180. Writing sample may be required. Fall sections 01 and 03 are reserved for first-year students.  Spring sections 01, 03, and 05 are reserved for first-year students.  Spring section 06 is reserved for first-year and sophomores only. Enrollment limited. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGL0180 S01 (section reserved for first-year students) CRN:24742
J Hour (T/Th 1-2:20 pm)

Elizabeth Taylor

This section of Introduction to Creative Nonfiction is for students with a serious interest in writing narrative essays based on fact, research, interviews, and memory. Through assignments and revisions, students will hone their investigative, analytical, and creative skills, inspired by close readings of 20th century nonfiction writers, including Jamaica Kinkaid, Annie Dillard, John McPhee, and David Foster Wallace.  May serve as preparation for ENGL1180. Enrollment limited to 17 undergraduate students. Writing sample may be required. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGL0180 S02 CRN:24743
C Hour (MWF 10-10:50 am)

Ed Hardy

This workshop will explore the range of narrative possibilities available under the umbrella term "creative nonfiction." We'll be looking at questions of structure and technique in a number of subgenres including: the personal essay, literary journalism, travel writing, science writing and memoir. Student work will be discussed in both workshops and conferences. At the semester's end students will turn in a portfolio with several polished shorter pieces and one longer essay. May serve as preparation for ENGL1180. Enrollment limited to 17 undergraduate students. Writing sample may be required. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGL0180 S03 (section reserved for first-year students) CRN:24744
B Hour (MWF 9-9:50 am)

Susan Resnick

Creative Nonfiction is true writing with personality. In this section, we will read the masters of the genre, such as E.B. White, Frank McCourt and Nora Ephron, and learn to write many forms of Creative Nonfiction, including essay, memoir and immersion  journalism. Assignments will include in-class  writing, short profiles and articles, and longer essays and pieces of reportage.  S/NC.

ENGL0180 S04 CRN:24745
G Hour (MWF 2-2:50 pm)

Ed Hardy

See description for Sec. 02, above.

ENGL0180 S05 (section reserved for first-year students) CRN:24746
F Hour (MWF 1-1:50 pm)

Kate Schapira

How can nonfiction also be creative? In this course, we'll look at writing that's inventive rather than invented, examining and imitating the tactics writers use and the risks they take to convey what happened, what's happening, and what they hope or fear will happen. Writing and rewriting (reportage, cultural critique, literary response, opinion, memoir) will form a key part of the course, and students will rework a number of pieces for a final portfolio. Authors considered include, but are not limited to, Antjie Krog, Richard Feynman, M.F.K. Fisher, James Thurber, Naomi Klein, John Lahr. May serve as preparation for ENGL1180. Enrollment limited to 17 undergraduate students. Writing sample may be required. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGL0180 S06 (section reserved for first-year and sophomore students) CRN:24747
F Hour (MWF 1-1:50 pm)

Susan Resnick

See description for Sec. 03, above.

ENGL0180 S07  CRN25887
C Hour (MWF 10-10:50 am)
Adam Golaski 

Our creative nonfiction course will consider what nonfiction means, especially in light of the idea that what is true, i.e. what is not fiction, is entirely subjective. We’ll explore several varieties of the creative nonfiction essay—memoir, lyric, historical—by reading and writing together. Through class discussion, workshops, and one-on-one meetings, we will develop your writing and critical reading, skills ultimately producing a set of essays rendered with your singular voice. S/NC.

ENGL0180 S08  CRN25888
G Hour (MWF 2-2:50 pm)
Adam Golaski

See description for Sec. 07, above.

(NEW)
ENGL1050 Intermediate Creative Nonfiction

For the confident writer. Offers students who show a facility with language and who have mastered the fundamentals of creative nonfiction an opportunity to write more sophisticated narrative essays. Sections focus on specific themes (e.g., medicine or sports; subgenres of the form) or on developing and refining specific techniques of creative nonfiction (such as narrative).  Enrollment limited to 17. Writing sample required. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval.  S/NC.

ENGL1050D, Lifewriting  CRN:24658
G Hour (MWF 2-2:50 pm)

Carol DeBoer-Langworthy

We explore writing's various forms—memoir, diary, essay, graphic narrative, film, and autobiography—while crafting personal narrative. Students read sample texts, view films, and keep an electronic diary. Projects include a memoir, personal critical essay, and final autobiography, as well as shorter assignments. This is a writing workshop, so students read & critique each others work. Individual conferences with the instructor also provide feedback. Enrollment limited to 17. Writing sample required. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGL1050E, Sportswriting  CRN:24659
K Hour (T/Th 2:30-3:50 pm)

Jonathan Readey

This course introduces students to the practice of sportswriting, including writing sports news, features, and columns. Readings will include works by Rick Reilly, Bill Simmons, Frank Deford, Karen Russell, Allison Glock, Tom Wolfe, Hunter S. Thompson, W.C. Heinz, and others. Students will develop skills in analyzing, researching, writing, revising, and workshopping in the genre. Enrollment limited to 17. Writing sample required. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGL1050F, Micro Essay  CRN:24660
Q Hour (Thurs. 4-6:30 pm)

Michael H. Stewart

The Micro Essay is a course that focuses on short, diverse essays that play with style and content. In the class we will focus on close sentence work and drill-based assignments, as well as aggressive readings of experimental and traditional essays. Enrollment limited to 17. Writing sample required. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC. 

ENGL1140  Critical Reading and Writing III: 
TOPICS IN LITERARY AND Cultural Criticism

For advanced writers.  Situates rhetorical theory and practice in contexts of cutting-edge literary, cultural, and interdisciplinary criticism, public discourse, and public intellectual debate.  Individual sections explore one or more of the following subgenres:  rhetorical criticism, hybrid personal-critical essays, case studies, legal argument and advocacy, documentary, satire, commentaries, and review essays. A writing sample will be administered on the first day of class. Class list will be reduced to 12 after writing samples are reviewed. Prerequisite: ENGL0130, 0160, 0180, 1050, 1140, 1160, 1180, or 1190. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGL1140A,  The Literary Scholar  CRN:24698
K Hour (T/Th 2:30-3:50 pm)

Lawrence Stanley

Why does literature need critical study?  The question might seem arcane; generally we read literature because we enjoy it; yet when we study literature, the pleasures of reading (and writing) fall into the background. To close this gap, we will examine the histories of literary criticism (Wimsatt, Brooks, et alii), literary theory (Saussure, Foucault, Derrida, et alii), and English literature (from Beowulf to Philip Larkin); we will look at reader response theory, stylistics, literary linguistics, rhetorical theory, and philology. Writing in this seminar will range from reforming conventional literary critical discourse to experimenting with nontraditional forms. Prerequisite: ENGL 0130, 0160, or 0180. Class list will be reduced to 12 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGL1140B, The Public Intellectual  CRN:24700
O Hour (Fri. 3-5:30 pm)

Catherine Imbriglio

This course offers advanced writers an opportunity to practice sophisticated, engaged critical writing in academic, personal, and civic modes. Emphasis will be on writing "public" essays (general audience essays that do intellectual work or academic essays that address public topics), ideally in fluid, "hybrid," audience-appropriate forms. Areas of investigation will include (but are not limited to) the review essay, the cultural analysis essay, literary documentary, and the extended persuasive/analytic essay. It will include some brief "touchstone" investigations into rhetorical theory, with the aim of helping to broaden our concepts of audience, analyze the constitutive and imaginative effects of language, increase the real-world effectiveness of our own language practices, and situate our writing within current political, cultural, aesthetic and intellectual debates. Students must have sophomore standing or higher in order to be admitted to the class. A writing sample will be administered on the first day of class. Prerequisite: ENGL0130, 0160, 0180, or a 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Class list will be reduced to 12 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGL1160   Special Topics in Journalism

For advanced writers. Class lists will be reduced after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Enrollment limited to 12 or 17, depending on section. S/NC.

ENGL1160A, Advanced Feature Writing  CRN:24701
P Hour (Tues. 4-6:30 pm)

Tracy Breton

For the advanced writer. Nothing provides people with more pleasure than a “good read.” This journalism seminar helps students develop the skills to spin feature stories that newspaper and magazine readers will stay with from beginning to end, both for print and on-line publications. Students will spend substantial time off-campus conducting in-depth interviews and sharpening their investigative reporting skills. The art of narrative storytelling will be emphasized. Prerequisite: ENGL0160 or published clips submitted before the first week of classes. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGL1180   Special Topics in Creative Nonfiction

For the advanced writer. A writing sample will be administered on the first day of class. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed. Prerequisite: ENGL0130, 0160, 0180, 1050, 1140, 1160, 1180, or 1190. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGL1180G,  Lyricism and Lucidity   CRN:24702
I Hour (T/Th 10:30-11:50 am)

Catherine Imbriglio

This course will explore two subsets of the essay that blur or cross boundary lines – the hybrid “lyric” essay and the hybrid “image/text” essay, the latter including but not limited to the “photographic” essay and the graphic nonfiction essay.  With respect to the lyric essay (which draws many of its defining inspirations from poetry rather than from traditional narrative techniques), special emphasis will be given to literary craft and style; with respect to the “image/text” essay, some attention will be given to picture theory, with the goal of mining the creative tensions between image and text.  With respect to both, we will investigate – collapse and play with – opposing assumptions of “artfulness” and clarity that the course title suggests. The class is not open to first year students. S/NC.

ENGL1180J,  Tales of the Real World  CRN:24734
Q Hour (Thurs. 4-6:30 pm)

Elizabeth Taylor

For the advanced writer, this section offers a chance to practice the pleasures and challenges of nonfiction story-telling in the forms of literary journalism, personal essay, and audio narrative. Inspirations include Gay Talese, James Baldwin, Joan Didion, David Foster Wallace, and This American Life. Intensive practice in researching, interviewing, revising, and audio editing. Writing sample required. Prerequisite: ENGL 0130, 0160, 0180, 1050, 1140, 1160, 1180, or 1190. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGL1180R, Travel Writing: Personal and Cultural Narratives  CRN:24707
Q Hour (Thurs. 4-6:30 pm)

Jonathan Readey

For the advanced writer.  Helps students build skills in the growing genre of travel writing, including techniques for reading, observing, interviewing, composing, and revising travel pieces. Students will read the best contemporary writing about national and international travel in order to develop their own writing in areas like narrative, setting, characters, and voice. The course will feature interactive discussions, instructor conferences, and workshops.  Prerequisite: ENGL0130, 0160, 0180, or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course.  Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes.  Preference will be given to English concentrators.  S/NC.

ENGL1190   Special Topics in Nonfiction Writing

For the advanced writer. A writing sample will be administered on the first day of class. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed. Prerequisite for most sections: ENGL0130, 0160, 0180, 1050, 1140, 1160, 1180, or 1190. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGL1190R, Literary Communities  CRN:24651
Q Hour (Thurs. 4-6:30 pm)

Kate Schapira

Students in this course will partner with literary organizations in Providence to support and create programming, research audience and outreach, and assess quality and impact; they may also design an event or program. Writing may include cultural reporting, documentation and analysis, and "tactical" writing like grant proposals and press releases, and a weekly practice of reflective writing. Prerequisite: ENGL0110, 0130, 0160, 0180, or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course.  S/NC.

ENGL1190S, Poetics of Narrative  CRN:24649
H Hour (T/Th 9-10:20 am)

Lawrence Stanley

Narratives are everywhere, simply there, like life itself, Roland Barthes says; we structure our experiences with narratives that we either infer or create. We will read different literary genres to see how narratives work and what makes them poetic and read theoretical texts to understand narrative function and performance. We will write experimentally to experience how stories are constructed. Prerequisite: ENGL0110, 0130, 0160, 0180, or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course.  S/NC.