Writing the Word and the World (Service-Learning Course)

TTHF2 2:30-3:50 pm

Julie Wilson

This section of College Composition weaves together the service and academic pieces of the Triad, around the topic of incarceration and through the methods of "writing with...about...and for the community"(1). We will complete direct service projects with local agencies, including Earn and Learn, a diversion program for youth with low-level criminal offenses; we will host these youth and their group leader on campus for community service and writing projects. We will critically examine depictions of crime, punishment, and prison in memoirs, television shows, and the news, and we will write our own developing truths about these topics. We will write for both college and community stakeholders around these issues.

Writing can transform. If, as we write, we force ourselves to think deeply about our choices—the right thesis, the right words, the right structure for our ideas—then we begin to see anew. We get clarity on what we think and who we are. This is why Paulo Freire spoke of writing the word and the world(2). Authentic writing, in effect, creates new conditions for living. Think of a novel or essay or poem that profoundly shaped the way you think about the world: those words wrote your world. In this class, we will push ourselves to write the kind of words that write the world.

Please note: We will have a required meeting for students enrolled in this course on Tuesday, November 12, 5-6 pm, to meet with the community partner for the service component of the course. If you enroll and have a prior obligation that will prevent you from attending this meeting, email the instructor: jwilson@warren-wilson.edu.

(1) Thomas Deans, Writing Partnerships: Service-Learning in Composition (Urbana, IL: NCTE, 2000).

(2) Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 32nd ed. (1990; repr., New York: Continuum, 1970).

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