Writing Program

Wesleyan offers students a vibrant writing community and a multitude of ways to pursue their interest in writing. Writers, editors, and publishers visit campus throughout the year, and students support more than 20 magazines, journals, and literary groups. The curriculum emphasizes academic writing in many subject areas and also offers courses in fiction writing, creative nonfiction, poetry, screenwriting, playwriting, and mixed forms. The establishment of the Shapiro Creative Writing Center at 167 High Street signals the importance the University attaches to writing. The Shapiro Center serves as a hub for writing activities and provides a venue for readings, workshops, colloquia, informal discussions, student-generated events, and receptions. Its lounge is open to all students enrolled in creative-writing courses. The Shapiro Center also houses writing faculty, including fiction writer Amy Bloom, the Distinguished University Writer-in-Residence.

The creative writing concentration in the English major. This concentration allows students to pursue creative writing at a high level in the context of advanced literary study. The concentration fosters the study of the history and practice of individual genres and of new hybrid forms and offers students the opportunity to work closely with the University’s full-time writing faculty: the Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing, the internationally renowned poet Elizabeth Willis; Lisa Cohen, a writer of creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry; and editor Anne Greene. Recent visiting faculty includes such distinguished writers as Hilton Als, Andre Aciman, Paul La Farge, Douglas A. Martin, and Clifford Chase. Enrollment in creative-writing courses in the English Department is not limited to English majors.

Creative writing in the College of Letters. Creative writing has long been an important component of the College of Letters curriculum, with an entry-level and an advanced course offered every year and open to students in all majors. COL majors are encouraged to write creative honors theses.

The Writing Certificate. The University’s Writing Certificate, essentially a minor, is open to students working in any major who wish to make writing an area of concentration. Courses that may count toward the certificate are drawn from many departments. They range from fiction writing, poetry, and creative nonfiction to journalism, biography, arts and film criticism, translation, and writing about science. In addition to fulfilling the coursework requirements for the certificate, students create a portfolio of their work and present their writing in public. The certificate sponsors a number of courses that carry the WRCT designation.

The Writer’s Block. This small residential community provides an opportunity for first-year students and upper-class students with a particular interest in writing to live together and collaborate on formal and informal programs.
 

Faculty

Rachael Barlow
MA, Indiana University Bloomington; PHD, Indiana University Bloomington
Associate Director for Assessment; Adjunct Assistant Professor of Academic Writing

Amy B. Bloom
BA, Wesleyan University; MSW, Smith College
Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing; Professor of the Practice in Creative Writing; Professor of the Practice, English

Elizabeth Ann Hepford
BA, University Of Kansas; MA, Arizona State University; PHD, Temple University
Assistant Professor of the Practice in TESOL; Assistant Professor of the Practice, English

Douglas Arthur Martin
BA, University of Georgia Athens; MFA, The New School; PHD, CUNY The Graduate Center
Assistant Professor of the Practice in Creative Writing; Director, Creative Writing; Assistant Professor of the Practice, English

Lauren Silber
BA, University of Connecticut; MA, University of Massachusetts Amherst; PHD, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Assistant Professor of the Practice in Academic Writing; Assistant Professor of the Practice, English

Visiting Faculty

Tess Bird
BA, University of Connecticut; MSC, Oxford University; PHD, Oxford University
Visiting Adjunct Professor in Liberal Studies; Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow for Writing in the Social Sciences

Amity Gaige
BA, Brown University; MFA, University of Iowa
Visiting Scholar in the Shapiro Center for Writing at Wesleyan University

Ariel Victoria Levy
BA, Wesleyan University
Visiting Scholar in the Shapiro Center for Writing at Wesleyan University

Gregory Pardlo
Visiting Scholar in the Shapiro Center for Writing at Wesleyan University

Said Sayrafiezadeh
Visiting Scholar in the Shapiro Center for Writing at Wesleyan University

Salvatore Scibona
BA, St. John's College; MFA, University of Iowa
Visiting Scholar in the Shapiro Center for Writing at Wesleyan University

Brando Skyhorse
BA, Stanford University; MFA, University Calif Irvine
Visiting Scholar in the Shapiro Center for Writing at Wesleyan University

WRCT110F Academic Writing in the US for International Students (FYS)

This course is designed to prepare international students for U.S. academic writing including academic vocabulary, essay structure, and content expectations in all subjects. Students will focus on increasing their academic vocabulary, enhancing their analytical writing, and improving the cohesiveness and mechanics of their writing. They will also read and write essays in a variety of genres. The course is recommended for international students and students who immigrated to the U.S. after middle school.
Offering: Host
Grading: OPT
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-ENGL
Prereq: None

WRCT112F The Logistics of Climate Change (FYS)

According to the World Bank, an increase in global temperatures of more than 2°C by the year 2100 will likely submerge coastal cities from New York to Shanghai beneath rising seas. Yet as many theorists note, the global supply chains the World Bank helps facilitate also fuel global warming. How do we make sense of economic institutions warning us of disasters their actions may hasten? Why is there so much disagreement among scholars concerning the quickening pace of climate change alongside the emergence of supposedly postindustrial economies in the developed world? And what can we do about that pace today? This class surveys two sweeping transformations of social life in recent decades to pose such questions. Climate change, we will wager, can't be understood apart from the logistics revolution that made globalization possible: The massive freeway systems, ports, algorithms, microprocessors, and container ships transporting goods and money from one corner of the globe to another. Along the way we will pay particular attention to the uneven racial and gender dynamics governing who lives where, who acquires what they need to survive, and how they survive in a world arranged by the logistics revolution driving climate change today.
Offering: Host
Grading: OPT
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-WRCT
Prereq: None

WRCT113 A Nation of Immigrants?

America is a nation of immigrants. This ideological epithet has come to define the American experience as one of opportunity, advancement, and national incorporation. This course will interrogate the popularity of this story: How did the American experience become defined through an immigrant experience? What experiences does this narrative absorb and what experiences does it erase?

To answer these questions, we will practice close reading, critical thinking, and consistent writing in order to exhume narratives embedded in a variety of texts such as legal documents, political speeches, poetry, social movements, and short stories in order to explore how this particular American experience is constructed, deconstructed, and reconstructed in the social and cultural imaginary. The first part of the course will historicize the narrative of "America as a nation of immigrants" and investigate how it developed throughout the 20th century. We will then consider what stories this national narrative mutes by exploring how contemporary writers take up, challenge, and change the story of America as a nation of immigrants.
Offering: Host
Grading: OPT
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-WRCT
Identical With: ENGL113
Prereq: None

WRCT114F Why You Can't Write (FYS)

As anyone who has ever sat at a keyboard knows, writing can be frustrating. And intimidating. Even the most successful writers often doubt themselves and feel frightened of the blank page. As John Warner points out in his 2018 book "Why They Can't Write," schools and other institutions often stress approaches to writing that seem designed to limit rather than enable a writer's skill and creativity. In this First Year Seminar, students will explore and develop their writing strengths as we join scholars and thinkers like Warner in investigating what writing means and how it functions both inside and outside of higher education. Reading widely in composition studies, rhetorical studies, literacy studies, and critical university studies, students will explore ideas about the writing process and practice, multilingualism, code-meshing, and pedagogy that will require us to consider the purpose of education and communication quite broadly. Students can expect to write weekly reading responses, produce a personal literacy narrative, develop writing assignments, and practice conducting research during the semester.
Offering: Host
Grading: OPT
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-WRCT
Identical With: EDST114F
Prereq: None

WRCT116F The Literature of Travel (FYS)

Travel literature has been one of the most fundamental subgenres of writing since humans first began to explore and record their thoughts. Much of what was first known about the world as we know it comes down to us from travelogues of early explorers, and this rich subgenre explores issues of identity and race, knowledge and power, while also often being alternately infused with longing for home or longing for difference. The literature of travel, exploration, and foreign milieus actually falls under various categories including journalism, nonfiction writing, and fiction. Any study of travel literature prompts us to ponder the theoretical problem of understanding people and places that are alien to us. This seminar will expose students to a wide variety of 'travel literature,' including novels, essays, travelogues, and documentaries. Throughout this course, we will compare received, conventional notions of particular places with what we discover through our readings. Come prepared to read and write intensively.
Offering: Host
Grading: OPT
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-WRCT
Prereq: None

WRCT120F Uncertainty and the Future (FYS)

The world we live in is full of risk and uncertainty. Science, politics, and economics all tell us that this is a hazardous era in which great changes are inevitable and catastrophes are possible. How do people manage living in such an uncertain world? This first-year seminar introduces students to research and writing in the social sciences by studying a driving factor in the human search for knowledge: the uncertainty of the unknown future. We will consider how the ways in which humans define, relate to, and experience uncertainty influence social well-being and the production of the future. We begin with the anthropological study of uncertainty, which is rooted in the study of ritual and magic, and then consider perspectives in psychology, economics, and ecology. While we will reflect on the "negative" side of uncertainty, such as risk, precariousness, and insecurity, we will also examine the way the creative management of uncertainty is sometimes romanticized and consider the opportunities for creativity, adaptation, resilience, and imagination in uncertain times.
Offering: Host
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-ENGL
Identical With: SISP120F
Prereq: None

WRCT121F Are You a Feminist? (FYS)

Taking our cue from Beyoncé and the debates her music has produced, this First Year Seminar investigates the meaning of feminism by considering how writers, artists, activists, academics, and public intellectuals discuss the topic. Students' curiosity about feminism - as topic, politics, identity, and practice - will guide class meetings where we will discuss readings by prominent feminist writers, scholars, and critics. Students will leave the course with a clear sense of themselves as writers and thinkers, as well as an understanding of the ways in which gender and sexuality intersect with race, class, and other social identities and of the multiplicities of feminisms in our contemporary moment.
Offering: Host
Grading: OPT
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-ENGL
Prereq: None

WRCT130F Living within the Bio-Logical (FYS)

How do biology and society relate to each other? This first-year seminar provides an introductory overview of how the biosciences have been entangled in social contexts, from the Enlightenment to the current technoscience era. We will examine contemporary case studies where society impacts biology and biology impacts society, particularly those that show the complex interplay between the body and the environment. We will look at how rates of obesity relate to inequality and insecurity, consider the impact of toxins on the body and environment, and discuss emergent research that challenges longstanding beliefs about medical science. This anthropologically informed course provides ethnographic accounts that give crosscultural context to the questions posed. Throughout the course, students will learn to discuss the interrelation of the biological with the social, political, and economic, and we will critically reflect on the influence of politics and economics on human biological agency.
Offering: Host
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-WRCT
Identical With: SISP121F
Prereq: None

WRCT135 Writing about Research: U.S. Style

This course is designed to prepare non-native speakers of English to write about research in U.S. academia. Students will focus on the structure, cohesive devices, citation styles, and academic vocabulary commonly used in literature reviews, theoretical papers, and primary research studies. As a topic of common interest, example readings will focus on language research including statistical analyses of language learners; anthropology studies of how gender, race, and socioeconomic group affect language; and overviews of theories about language acquisition. Throughout the course, students will learn organizational skills for longer papers, summarize numerical and theoretical data, and practice the mechanics of writing.
Offering: Host
Grading: OPT
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-WRCT
Identical With: ENGL135
Prereq: None

WRCT140 Teaching English as a Second Language

This course explores theories and teaching methods related to learning English as a second language (ESL). Students will critically examine current and past "best practices" for teaching ESL and the seminal theories they are based on. In addition, we will discuss the various needs of English language learners including both children and adults coming from a variety of social and cultural backgrounds. Students will be asked to apply what they've learned by creating their own lesson plans and activities, critiquing ESL textbooks, and giving teaching demonstrations.
Offering: Host
Grading: OPT
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-WRCT
Identical With: EDST140
Prereq: None

WRCT140L Teaching English as a Second Language

This course explores theories and teaching methods related to learning English as a second language (ESL). Students will critically examine current and past "best practices" for teaching ESL and the seminal theories they are based on. In addition, we will discuss the various needs of English language learners coming from a variety of social and cultural backgrounds, at varying levels and varying ages. As a service-learning course, students will have the opportunity to actively work with ESL students at the Woodrow Wilson Middle School. They will be asked to apply the theories and pedagogical techniques they are learning to their sessions at the school and reflect on their experience. They will also critique ESL textbooks, give teaching demonstrations, and develop an activities resource for all of the ESL tutors.
Offering: Host
Grading: OPT
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-WRCT
Identical With: EDST140L
Prereq: None

WRCT150 The Science Behind Popular Scientific Literature

The Science Behind Popular Scientific Literature. This course focuses on academic STEM writing and is an exploration of the scientific literature in the reference list of Elizabeth Kolbert's "The Sixth Extinction." Assignments will consist of numerous low-stakes writing prompts with extensive peer and instructor feedback, and a term project paper constructed along the lines of a STEM review paper. This course fulfills a key need in developing science literacy and teaching students how to find and use reliable sources to critically evaluate popular science writing.
Offering: Crosslisting
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: NSM-CIS
Identical With: CIS150
Prereq: None

WRCT150F The Science Behind Popular Scientific Literature (FYS)

The Science Behind Popular Scientific Literature. This course focuses on how to present material to a scientific audience and is an exploration of the scientific literature in the reference lists of Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring." Assignments will consist of numerous low-stakes writing assignments with extensive peer and instructor feedback, and a term project paper constructed along the lines of a STEM review paper. This course fulfills a key need in developing science literacy and teaching students how to find and use reliable sources to critically evaluate popular science writing.
Offering: Crosslisting
Grading: OPT
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: NSM-CIS
Identical With: CIS150F
Prereq: None

WRCT200 Integrative Learning Project 1: Reflecting About the Liberal Arts

The Integrative Learning Project is a .50 credit course that allows students to learn to describe in a coherent and engaging narrative the various academic and non-academic activities, projects, and experiences that have been important for them while in college and to practice doing so for a variety of audiences (e.g. employers, graduate schools, etc.). Participants should be students who are interested in crafting a narrative about their personal and intellectual development, and who want to be able to talk about what skills they have cultivated during their time at Wesleyan and what they still want to learn.

All sophomores, juniors and seniors are welcome in this course. This course requires a willingness to discuss one's strengths, achievements, weaknesses, and failures. Students will not only engage in reflection about their skills and experiences, but will also have the opportunity to design an online portfolio in WordPress, the world's most popular content management software, and test the portfolio with different audiences by employing user experience design (UX) principles and research methodologies. Students can take this course more than once, but only once per academic year.
Offering: Host
Grading: Cr/U
Credits: 0.50
Gen Ed Area: None
Identical With: RL&L250, AFAM250
Prereq: None

WRCT202 Pedagogy for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Tutors

This course offers an introduction to pedagogical techniques and theories for teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). The class is ideal for students considering a career in K-12 education, as the number of students whose first language is not English is rising in the U.S. every year. Students enrolled in this course will gain practical experience by committing to volunteering at Middletown public schools while taking this course and are encouraged to continue their service afterward. There is a volunteering commitment of 2 hours/week minimum during the semester.
Offering: Host
Grading: Cr/U
Credits: 0.50
Gen Ed Area: HA-WRCT
Identical With: EDST202
Prereq: None

WRCT204 Extreme Landscapes of the Anthropocene

The "Anthropocene," a term coined to categorize the current geological epoch, has become a way in which social scientists can critically and creatively engage with the impact of humanity on the ecological well-being of the Earth. The interdisciplinary and uncertain nature of this subject matter provides space for experimental writing styles, innovative approaches to documentary film, and critical discussion and debate. In this course, we will consider texts that investigate extreme worlds, from the far north and Antarctic to the forests of the Amazon, and discuss the ways these texts incorporate ethnography, social ecology, political economy, history, biology, and technology. In addition to extreme landscapes, we will dive into social, political, economic, and scientific "scapes," from race and migration to late liberal ideology to corporate/industrial influence on science. This course is designed to explore and challenge the term "Anthropocene" as well as tackle the question of probable futures versus fictional ones, questioning how narrative and drama are entangled in the dissemination of complex truths.
Offering: Crosslisting
Grading: OPT
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: SBS-SISP
Identical With: SISP204, ENVS204, ANTH204
Prereq: None

WRCT205 English Language Learners and US Language Policy

This course explores how explicit and implicit language policies in institutions of power affect businesses, schools, and the legal system. More specifically, the course investigates how language choices, translations, and the policies regarding both affect ESL programs in K-12 education, bilingual businesses, immigration policies, and the U.S. legal system. We will also discuss the recommendations of scholars for increasing multilingualism in business and education, improving education for English-language learners, and efforts to improve non-native English speakers' ability to navigate the legal system. The course is recommended for non-native speakers of English and anyone considering working with English-language learners such as teachers, tutors, NGO personnel, and legal or business professionals.
Offering: Host
Grading: OPT
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-WRCT
Identical With: AMST227, EDST205
Prereq: None

WRCT223 Translating a Story

This course aims to survey the process of "translating" an experience into a creative written work. With an emphasis on creative nonfiction, students will consider how a real-life event becomes most alive on the page. What parts are best transformed into scene? How do we choose the right language for dialogue, time period, or a work's mood or tone? What should, or can, we omit? In reading writers who have used both fiction and nonfiction to present a given autobiographical experience, and practicing writing an experience for different audiences, students will compare the craft tools that make a story work within its given form. Concurrently, the class will pursue exercises in translation from other languages into English to assess these same language and narrative choices in microcosm.
Offering: Host
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-WRCT
Prereq: None

WRCT224 Science & Environmental Journalism

This course will concentrate on the challenges of reporting on scientific and environmental news as well as on writing about complex scientific subjects for the non-science reader. It will also address the rapidly changing nature of journalism and the new forms of story-telling.
Offering: Host
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-WRCT
Prereq: None

WRCT225F Writing Biography: Denis Diderot, a Case Study (FYS)

How does one re-create someone else's life, in words? How does one conjure up the historical context that surrounds a far away existence? How does one bring together different forms of evidence--from the archive, primary sources, secondary sources, and written shreds of a life--to create the illusion of knowing the dead? In this course, we will ask these questions about the most fascinating figure of the French Enlightenment, Denis Diderot (1713--1784). In addition to editing the greatest encyclopedia of the 18th century, this would-be priest turned atheist also dreamt of natural selection before Darwin, the Oedipus complex before Freud, and a form of genetic manipulation centuries before Dolly the Sheep was born, all the while making significant contributions to art criticism, dramaturgy, natural history, and political philosophy. His private life, which includes affairs and prison, is also worthy of scrutiny and examination. While reading about his existence and studying a selection of his works, students in this class will undertake a series of biography-related written exercises that seek to resurrect various aspects of this intriguing thinker or members of his cohort. This course and readings are in English.
Offering: Crosslisting
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-RLAN
Identical With: RL&L225F
Prereq: None

WRCT226 Ethnographies in Medicine

Biomedicine looks different in different places. Biotechnologies change under new moral frameworks. The same pharmaceutical pill can offer freedom to some and evoke colonialism in others. And in some contexts hunger is more pressing than curing a specific disease. How do we go about challenging our biomedical assumptions and understanding medicine in context? Medical anthropologists have relied on the art and science of ethnography to provide cross-cultural accounts of health and healing that are accessible, provocative, and timely. In this writing-intensive course, we will read exemplary ethnographies in medical anthropology to explore the intersection of medicine, culture, and narrative text. We will explore four themes that cover provocative discourses in the field: the challenges of participant observation during vulnerable encounters with sickness and disease; regimes of power; local-global encounters; and food, eating, and the gendered body.
Offering: Host
Grading: OPT
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-WRCT
Identical With: ANTH227
Prereq: None

WRCT227 Life Writing: Writing About the Self and from Experience

This course will examine both the power and the complexities of writing that derives from personal experience. Topics to be addressed, in turn, are memory (and its reliability); experience (authoritative/reportorial vs. interpretative/symbolic); identity and voice of the narrator; and agency (the degree to which the narrator is in control, or not in control, of the narrative). Types of life writing that will be explored are coming-of-age narratives, illness and trauma narratives, confessional narratives, autobiographical poetry and song lyrics, and interviews/oral histories. Readings and materials include Shadd Maruna, William Styron, Mary Karr, Donna Tartt, James Joyce, and many others.
Offering: Crosslisting
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-COL
Identical With: COL227, ENGL228
Prereq: None

WRCT228 The Art of the Personal Essay

The personal essay is short-form, first-person, narrative nonfiction that encompasses many genres: memoir, reflection, humor, familial and social history, and cultural criticism. Yet even these boundaries often blur within a single essay, and the personal essay can expand to include almost any topic. Writing personal essays--what author and critic Philip Lopate calls "the self-interrogative genre"--helps us find out what we think, often makes us change our minds, and, ideally, leads us to new insights. In class, we will discuss the assigned readings, participate in group responses to each others' writing (workshops), and write in response to prompts. We will study both traditional and unconventional techniques of nonfiction, focusing on the elements of craft: structure, voice, clarity, the use of descriptive detail, and revision.
Offering: Crosslisting
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-ENGL
Identical With: ENGL259
Prereq: None

WRCT250 An Introduction to Data Journalism

This course is designed to familiarize students with the basic principles and tools of data journalism and to provide a wider understanding of the role of basic data analysis in society. To that end, the course will focus on developing a solid familiarity with basic data analysis and visualization software. It will also focus on developing the tools of journalism: retrieving public data, interviewing people and databases, and the basic principles of journalistic writing. By the end of the course, students will be able to analyze data, identify stories within the data, and create a news story complete with data visualizations of publishable quality--a skill transferable to many fields and disciplines. Both online and traditional print platforms will be covered.
Offering: Crosslisting
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: SBS-QAC
Identical With: QAC250, CSPL250
Prereq: None

WRCT250D Topics in Journalism: Writing (and Arguing) About Inequality: How to Make Your Case

In this nonfiction seminar, students will explore how to write about social issues by identifying inequity, understanding the logic and rhetoric used to both defend and criticize it, and developing their own skills to effectively communicate their opinion. Modeled after journalistic work, the course will also develop students' abilities to conduct first-person research and observation and then translate them into written form for use in nonfiction. We will also explore questions of authenticity, voice, and dominant narrative, allowing students to examine what it means to write about communities other than their own--and the issues implicit in doing that work. Work from across the political spectrum will be addressed.
Offering: Host
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-WRCT
Identical With: CSPL250D
Prereq: None

WRCT250G Topics in Journalism: Literary Journalism

In this course, we will explore the art and craft of magazine-length journalism that strives to do something different than reporting the news--it aspires to achieve the goals of literature. While this kind of writing tends to be timely, as almost all journalism must be when it's first published, at its best, it ought to be worth reading for decades to come. Truman Capote, for example, conceived of IN COLD BLOOD, which he first published as a series of articles in THE NEW YORKER in 1965, as a "non-fiction novel": a work of journalism that employed the techniques and artistry of fiction. We will study the writing of new journalists such as Joan Didion, Tom Wolfe, Nora Ephron, and Gay Talese, who pioneered the idea that there is no such thing as unbiased reporting: The writer can't help but bring a point of view to his or her storytelling, so why not admit it? These writers broke with journalistic convention and admitted that there was an "I" behind the typewriter, a mediator between the "true" story and the reader. We will focus on reading and writing two forms in particular, the profile and the essay. While an excellent profile can be a straightforward examination of another person and his or her place in the world, in the hands of a master like Janet Malcolm or George Trow, it can become an eruption of invention. Essays ask a question or argue a point--but how? There are as many ways as there are writers who explore the form, and in this course we will seek to join them.
Offering: Host
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-WRCT
Identical With: CSPL250G
Prereq: None

WRCT250H Topics in Journalism: Writing Op-Ed Pieces and Political Essays

This course offers practice in writing op-eds and political essays in short and long forms. This class may be of interest not only to writers but also to students studying political science, history, economics, ethics, sociology, or an interdisciplinary field, such as American studies. The main goal of this class is teaching students how to engage in debate in the public sphere over the major themes and issues of our time. Other than an intense reading schedule and a writing workshop, the other major component will be guest speakers. They include journalist, essayists, and scholars working in their fields but with an authoritative presence in the public sphere.
Offering: Host
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-WRCT
Identical With: CSPL250H
Prereq: None

WRCT250J Topics in Journalism: Literary Journalism

In this course, we will explore the art and craft of magazine-length journalism that strives to do something different than reporting the news--it aspires to achieve the goals of literature. While this kind of writing tends to be timely, as almost all journalism must be when it's first published, at its best, it ought to be worth reading for decades to come. Truman Capote, for example, conceived of IN COLD BLOOD, which he first published as a series of articles in THE NEW YORKER in 1965, as a "non-fiction novel": a work of journalism that employed the techniques and artistry of fiction. We will study the writing of new journalists such as Joan Didion, Tom Wolfe, Nora Ephron, and Gay Talese, who pioneered the idea that there is no such thing as unbiased reporting: The writer can't help but bring a point of view to his or her storytelling, so why not admit it? These writers broke with journalistic convention and admitted that there was an "I" behind the typewriter, a mediator between the "true" story and the reader. We will focus on reading and writing two forms in particular, the profile and the essay. While an excellent profile can be a straightforward examination of another person and his or her place in the world, in the hands of a master like Janet Malcolm or George Trow, it can become an eruption of invention. Essays ask a question or argue a point--but how? There are as many ways as there are writers who explore the form, and in this course we will seek to join them. The course will be taught by Steve Almond, the 2016--17 Koeppel Journalism Fellow. He has been an investigative journalist in Miami and El Paso and is an award-winning writer of nonfiction and fiction. He is the author of eight books, including several New York Times bestsellers, and is currently teaching narrative journalism at the Nieman Foundation at Harvard.
Offering: Host
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-WRCT
Identical With: CSPL250J
Prereq: None

WRCT250K Topics in Journalism: Writing, Wit, and the Natural World

This course will engage students as readers and writers of essays, opinion pieces, and long-form articles about the natural world. We live in the shadow of climate change and the sixth great extinction event. So when is outrage effective, and when does wit or irony allow a writer to find a more persuasive voice? What's the role of objectivity in a world where everybody seems to be shouting? We will consider the work of such writers as Gerald Durell, David Quammen, Elizabeth Kolbert, and Peter Matthiessen. Students will also write regularly and collaborate together in class to critique and improve one another's work.
Offering: Host
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-WRCT
Identical With: CSPL250K
Prereq: None

WRCT250M Topics in Journalism: Storytelling and Social Change

How did a TV show help reduce the rate of teen pregnancy to the lowest point in recorded history? Why did a new narrative approach to gay marriage enable the movement to go from losing 31 state referendums to suddenly winning? Storytelling, across mediums and social platforms, has the power to change behavior and shift the cultural narrative. This class will explore the nature of "effective" stories, across a wide variety of issues, that engage audiences and often prompt action. We will discuss how this process works and ways to develop social impact campaigns. Students will have the chance to question some of the leading creators/practitioners who will join as guest speakers.
Offering: Host
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-WRCT
Identical With: CSPL250M
Prereq: None

WRCT250N Writing Reality: Journalism in an Era of Polarization and "Fake News"

How should the news media cover Donald Trump? How did the Internet, the 24-hour news cycle, and rising polarization help change the nature of journalism itself, but also lead to an era of "Fake News" accusations in which Americans exposed to different sources of information come away with completely different sets of facts? This class will explore our new digital and highly partisan media landscape, grounded in a close study of current events. We will study the impact and consequences of today's media -- both how to consume it, and how to write for it.
Offering: Host
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-WRCT
Prereq: None

WRCT250P "It's a Mess": An Academic and Practical Look at Digital Media in the Late 2010s

Hot mess. Dumpster fire. Steaming turd pile. Commentators, journalists, and the public have all used these terms to describe the state of American digital media in 2018. While the profession of journalism is more noble in this era than in previous decades, the world of media creation and consumption is far more complicated than ever before. For young people hoping to get their start in the world of digital media in the late 2010s, catching a break is even harder.

The purpose of this class is twofold: It will introduce students to the larger issues spanning digital media--from a lack of diversity and inclusion to problems with monetization and "Fake News"--while also giving them the chance to walk through what it's actually like to pitch, write, and edit for an internet publication. Students will have the opportunity to write for a class blog using strategies that the digital media world uses today, and they'll spend time giving and receiving feedback on writing.
Offering: Crosslisting
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: SBS-ALLB
Identical With: CSPL250P
Prereq: None

WRCT250Q The Journalist as Citizen

In this weekly writing seminar, we will explore how journalists exercise their roles as citizens and, in turn, how journalism affects the functioning of our democracy. Using historic and contemporary examples, we will examine how, at its best, the media exposes inequity, investigates wrongdoing, gives voice to ordinary people, and encourages active citizenship.
Offering: Host
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-WRCT
Prereq: None

WRCT250R First Person Singular

This course will examine the techniques and skills of first person reportage, where the writer is present and part of the story. We will find and hone your own voices and points of view. We will examine the myth of objectivity; issues of fairness, accuracy, and moral relativity; the perils of cultural appropriation; the savior complex; and exoticism.

The course will include several short essays and one longer final project. It will draw on readings from The London Review of Books, The New York Times magazine, National Geographic magazine, Granta, Paris Review, The New Yorker, and the following authors: Lyn Freed, Rian Malan, Jonny Steinberg, Doris Lessing, Ryszard Kapuscinski, W.G. Sebold, Bruce Chatwin, VS Naipaul, Justice Malala, George Orwell, Zawe Ashton, Julian Sayararer, Cathy Renzenbrink, Sisonke Msimang, Thomas Paige McBee, Ahmet Altan, and Peter Godwin.

This course is offered by 2019 Koeppel Journalism Fellow, Peter Godwin. He is the author of five nonfiction books and is an award-winning journalist, war correspondent, and documentary filmmaker. Godwin's bio can be found here: https://petergodwin.com/about/
Offering: Host
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: None
Prereq: None

WRCT256 Writing for Television

This demanding, writing-intensive course focuses on (1) the creative development of a script, individually and collaboratively; (2) scene structure, character development, plot, form and formula, dialogue, and the role of narrative and narrator; and (3) understanding the workings and business of television. Each student will conceive of, synopsize, and pitch a story idea with their "producing partners" to "network executives." Each student will also serve as producer and as an executive for others. After absorbing the feedback, students will construct a detailed beat outline and will turn in an original script at the end of the semester.
Offering: Crosslisting
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-FILM
Identical With: FILM455
Prereq: None

WRCT264 Creating Children's Books I

In this course each student will create and illustrate a children's book, at the picture book or illustrated chapter book level. Assignments include examining a variety of children's books (from 1930 to the present) and emulating specific authors and illustrative techniques as we develop original work. We will discuss both text and illustration in published picture books, and the creative assignments and workshop discussions will focus on both components, and their interaction. We will look at a range of questions: What is this book for? Who is it for? Does it appeal to children and adults in different ways? What assumptions does it make about the world of childhood and the relationships children have? How does it obscure, reveal, comment on, or attempt to change the truths of life--things like love, desire, satisfaction, hurt, difference, sickness, and death? What values or norms does it establish--or subvert? What do the words and pictures do to each other? What values or expectations are at stake as the story or pattern unfolds? We will use questions like these to help drive our experiments and revisions as we workshop all stages of our books.
Offering: Host
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-ENGL
Identical With: ENGL297
Prereq: None

WRCT300 Integrative Learning Project 2: Senior Capstone

The Integrative Learning Project is a .50 credit course that allows students to learn to describe in a coherent and engaging narrative the various academic and non-academic activities, projects, and experiences that have been important for them while in college and to practice doing so for a variety of audiences (e.g. employers, graduate schools, etc.). Participants should be students who are interested in crafting a narrative about their personal and intellectual development, and who want to be able to talk about what skills they have cultivated during their time at Wesleyan and what they still want to learn.

This course is intended for seniors who wish to document and reflect about their work in a single "capstone" experience. This course requires a willingness to discuss one's strengths, achievements, weaknesses, and failures. Students will not only engage in reflection about their skills and experiences, but will also have the opportunity to design an online portfolio in WordPress, the world¿s most popular content management software, and test the portfolio with different audiences by employing user experience design (UX) principles and research methodologies. Students can only take this course once.
Offering: Host
Grading: Cr/U
Credits: 0.50
Gen Ed Area: None
Identical With: RL&L350, AFAM320
Prereq: None

WRCT302 All the Feels: Affect Theory and Cultural Studies

Butterflies in your chest. Perspiration on your upper lip. A racing heart. Every day we manage sensorial and embodied experiences; quite often these negotiations illuminate the ways in which powerful norms and institutions shape our daily lives. This course explores the relationship between the individualized experience of feeling and power by introducing students to the vibrant field of affect studies. A recent "turn" in critical theory, affect theory is interested in embodiment, the senses, and sensorial experience, questioning the dominance of rationality and cognition by exploring the role emotions and feelings play in our social worlds. This course will focus predominantly on affect theory as it emerged from queer, feminist, and racialized minoritarian discourses in order to, ultimately, contemplate the ways theories of affect, feeling, sensation, embodiment, and emotion open up literary and cultural texts.
Offering: Host
Grading: OPT
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-WRCT
Identical With: AMST289, ENGL308, FGSS314
Prereq: None

WRCT303 Artifacts of US Empire: Post-Cold War Narratives of Migration and Multiethnic Literature

This course focuses on post-cold war literature about migrating to the US. By reading diasporic fiction coming out of and about Indian, Iranian, Cuban, Dominican, Filipino, Vietnamese, and Korean diasporas, students will examine how stories of migrating to the US are noteworthy artifacts of US empire. Importantly, we will question the ways in which these texts are tasked with the work of representing empire, imperialism, trauma, violence, and, for that matter, assimilation, meritocracy, and the US as benevolent nation-state. How do they challenge these expectations? Rescript them? Fall into their alluring traps?
Offering: Host
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-WRCT
Identical With: AMST263, ENGL331
Prereq: None

WRCT317 Special Topics: Plot

In this special topics course, we will study classic and contemporary novels, stories, and television dramatic series that immerse the reader and viewer in an absorbing fictional plot. Our priorities will be close reading and watching for the pleasure and enlightenment of the works as wholes, as well as an examination of the choices storytellers make to snag our imaginations, drag them into a fictional world, and keep them there. The study will culminate in new creative work: short stories you will write and the class will critique in a workshop setting.
Offering: Crosslisting
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-ENGL
Identical With: ENGL317
Prereq: ENGL292 OR ENGL296

WRCT347 Special Topics: Day Books, Diaries, Notebooks, Etc.

This class will take as its focus both creatively and critically the daily and episodic tracking of our own and others' insights, observations, inspirations, motivations; incidents and encounters that seem worthy of (personal) note, whether this be for instant gratification, imprint, or later expansion, simple records as well as flights of writing. We will read and keep journals of various kinds. Very little will be out of bounds.
Offering: Crosslisting
Grading: A-F
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-ENGL
Identical With: ENGL347
Prereq: ENGL292 OR ENGL296

WRCT350 Writing Certificate Senior Seminar: Writing and Publishing

This is the required capstone for the Writing Certificate Program. This new version of the course offers you an opportunity to develop your writing, work closely with other certificate seniors, and receive advice from professionals about editing and compiling work for publication. Visiting writers and editors will speak in class and the schedule includes several social occasions--receptions, talks, and dinners. Guest speakers from the world of writing and publishing will talk about their experiences with new media.
Offering: Host
Grading: OPT
Credits: 1.00
Gen Ed Area: HA-WRCT
Prereq: None

WRCT401 Individual Tutorial, Undergraduate

Topic to be arranged in consultation with the tutor.
Offering: Host
Grading: OPT

WRCT402 Individual Tutorial, Undergraduate

Topic to be arranged in consultation with the tutor.
Offering: Host
Grading: OPT

WRCT411 Group Tutorial, Undergraduate

Topic to be arranged in consultation with the tutor.
Offering: Host
Grading: OPT

WRCT412 Group Tutorial, Undergraduate

Topic to be arranged in consultation with the tutor.
Offering: Host
Grading: OPT

WRCT419 Student Forum

Offering: Host
Grading: Cr/U

WRCT491 Teaching Apprentice Tutorial

The teaching apprentice program offers undergraduate students the opportunity to assist in teaching a faculty member's course for academic credit.
Offering: Host
Grading: Cr/U

WRCT492 Teaching Apprentice Tutorial

The teaching apprentice program offers undergraduate students the opportunity to assist in teaching a faculty member's course for academic credit.
Offering: Host
Grading: Cr/U