Nonfiction Writing Courses Spring 2022

These course descriptions are for ENGL0900, 0930, 1030, 1050, 1140, 1160, 1180, & 1190 for Spring 2022.

For all other English course descriptions, see our 2021-22 Course Prospectus for fall 2021 and spring 2022.

ENGL 0900 (formerly 0110) 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. Spring sections 03 and 04 are reserved for first-year and sophomores only.  Enrollment limited to 17. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGL0900 S01 CRN 25042
E Hour (MWF 12-2:50 pm)
Austin Jackson
This course considers the central role of language within popular struggles for social justice. We will explore intersecting rhetorics of race, class, and gender in society, examine writing as an act of political activism, and experiment with various modes of argumentation and persuasion, writing in various modes or genres, for multiple audiences and different rhetorical situations.

ENGL0900 S02 CRN 25043
B Hour (MWF 9-9:50 am)
Lawrence Stanley
“Re-visioning Writing” encourages a meditative and reflective approach to language. It will familiarize you with the processes of close and intertextual reading, with different modes of analytical thought, and with the practice of translating reading and thinking into writing. We will carefully examine essays that cover a range of issues from ideas about reading and writing to culture and identity; writing assignments, which stress revision, will explore the articulation of your perceptions and thoughts with the rigor and discipline necessary to university studies. This section is reserved for first-year students. Enrollment limited to 17 undergraduate students. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

 

ENGL0900 S03 (reserved for first-year and sophomore students) CRN 25044
B Hour (MWF 9-9:50 am)
Arnav Adhikari
This course is designed to introduce students to all facets of the writing process at the university level, from ideas and research to argumentation and style. Focusing on the concept of “the global city” and its socio-cultural and political manifestations, we will think collaboratively about contemporary urban issues and how to write critically, reflectively, and attentively about them.

ENGL0900 S04 (reserved for first-year and sophomore students)  CRN 25045
E Hour (MWF 12-12:50 pm)
Christopher Lasasso
What is possible with language, image, sound? How can studying theories of violence in the 20th and 21st century influence our introduction to university-level writing? Students will produce and revise multiple essay drafts, hone critical thinking skills, learn to develop persuasive arguments, to use evidence, and conduct research. Assignments include personal reflection papers, academic essays, and research papers.

ENGL0900 S05 CRN 25046
F Hour (MWF 1-1:50 pm)
Brianna McNish
An introduction to academic writing and methods. Students will delve into popular media and cultural criticism spanning various mediums, including films, literature, and television, and analyze their representational strategies to hone research, academic writing, and critical analysis skills. Course readings include Baldwin, Gay, Moore, and Hartman.

ENGL0900 S06 CRN 25047
F Hour (MWF 1-1:50 pm)
Tara Holman
This course teaches research, analysis, and writing for the university and beyond through the personal, persuasive, and research essay. Through class discussion, workshopping, and student conferences, students will create complex arguments and will gain practice in research, style, and grammar. Students will engage black women’s political critique and self-imagining and consider the interrelated issues of race, class, sexuality, and gender. 

ENGL0900 S07 CRN 25048
G Hour (MWF 2-2:50 pm)
Geophrey Darrow
This course thinks critically about persuasion in academic and nonacademic discourses. As such, it focuses on a variety of persuasive, informative, and theoretical texts to (re)consider terms like opinion, debate, and privacy, which inform how students think and write about important issues relevant to university-level research and composition.

ENGL 0930 (formerly 0180) 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. Spring section 03 is reserved for first-year and sophomores only.  Enrollment limited. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGL0930 S01 CRN 25030
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, technique and voice in many subgenres including: the personal essay, literary journalism, travel writing, science writing and memoir. Student work will be discussed both in full-class workshops and conferences. There will be weekly short assignments during much of the semester and at the semester's end students will turn in a portfolio with several polished shorter pieces and one longer essay. Enrollment limited to 17 undergraduate students. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGL0930 S02 CRN 25031
K Hour (T/Th 2:30-3:50 pm)
Jonathan Readey
This course introduces students to the practice of writing in a variety of creative nonfiction genres, particularly in the personal essay, memoir, and feature writing (including literary journalism, historical narrative, and writing about travel, science, or nature).  Readings include works by Joan Didion, Annie Dillard, Steven Pinker, David Sedaris, Zadie Smith, Henry David Thoreau, John Edgar Wideman, and others.

ENGL0930 S03 (section reserved for first-year and sophomore students)   CRN 25032
E Hour (MWF 12-12:50 pm)
Elizabeth Rush
In this course we will read, write, and workshop creative nonfiction essays in a number of different forms––lyric essay, memoir, and literary reportage among others. We will explore how to write works that are connected to actual affairs in the world and that appear as art, as motivated by something beyond the simple desire to transmit information. While creative nonfiction writers cannot conjure up events they wished had happened they can create a set of literary relationships that encourage readers to gain insight into something they might not have otherwise had.

ENGL0930 Sec 04 CRN 25033
B Hour (MWF 9-9:50 am)
Robert Ward
E.B. White once said that writing is an act of faith. The ambition of the course, then, is to enable you to find and grow that faith in yourself as a nonfiction writer. To achieve this, we will work on several creative forms and build a portfolio of revised and crafted written work shaped by a blend of learning activities.

                   NONFICTION WRITING INTERMEDIATE

ENGL 1030 (formerly 0130) 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. Enrollment limited to 17. No pre-requisites. Writing sample may be required. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGL 1030F The Artist in the Archives CRN 25034
I Hour (T/Th 10:30-11:50 am)
Michael Stewart
While artists can benefit greatly from archival work, they are not typically given the tools to make use of these institutions. This writing intensive course takes a two pronged approach to the problem: embedding students in archives both at Brown and RISD to produce creative, lyrical, and multi-media essays; and exploring how artists have used these institutions for information and inspiration. Enrollment limited to 17. Writing sample may be required. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGL 1050 INTERMEDIATE CREATIVE NONFICTION
For the more experienced 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. No pre-requisites. Writing sample required. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGL1050A Narrative CRN 25035
F Hour (MWF 1-1:50 pm)
Ed Hardy
This course offers a broad exploration of the many kinds of essays you can write in creative nonfiction. We will be looking at how authors structure their pieces and the range of narrative techniques they often use. You can expect workshops, in-class prompts and readings by Jamaica Kincaid, John McPhee, David Foster Wallace, Annie Dillard, David Sedaris and others. Enrollment limited to 17. Writing sample required. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGL1050B True Stories  CRN 25036
O Hour (Friday 3-5:30 pm)
Kate Schapira
This class will allow confident writers to explore and develop their creative nonfiction writing. We'll focus on two structures--nonfiction narratives and essays--with occasional forays into other forms. Students will work simultaneously on several small assignments and two larger, self-directed pieces. Readings will include cultural reportage, lyric memoir, science and nature writing, standard and hybrid essays. Enrollment limited to 17. Writing sample required. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGL1050E Sportswriting  CRN 25037
Q Hour (T/Th 4-6:30 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 Line Work: Experiments in Short Form Writing  CRN 25038
Q Hour (Thursday 4-6:30 pm)
Michael Stewart
This class is based on the premise that to improve your writing, you need to write often. By responding to almost daily drills, you will develop a regular writing habit and explore a range of styles. We will take your most successful pieces through a series of workshops, helping you refine your work and ultimately build a writing portfolio. Enrollment limited to 17. Writing sample required. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGL1050H Journalistic Writing (section reserved for first-year and sophomore students) CRN 25039
AB Hour (Mon/Wed only 8:30-9:50 am)
Tom Mooney
This course teaches students how to report and write hard news and feature stories for newspapers and online. Students learn to gather and organize material, develop interviewing techniques, and hone their writing skills – all while facing the deadlines of journalism. The first half of the semester focuses on “hard" news: issues, crime, government, and courts. The second half is devoted to features, profiles, and narrative story telling. Writing sample required. Class list will be reduced to 17 after writing samples are reviewed in first week of classes. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGL1050Q Writing the Family CRN 24599
M Hour (Monday 3-5:30 pm)
Emily Hipchen
“You must not tell anyone” writes Hong Kingston’s auto-fictional narrator—and then a book of family secrets follows. This class examines how authors (authorized or not) use their families as subject matter, storying family and family life. Over the term, we’ll work on developing a practical and theoretical ethics of family-writing while contextualizing and practicing writing nonfiction about the family. Enrollment limited to 17. No prerequisites. Writing sample required. Instructor permission required.

                     NONFICTION WRITING ADVANCED

ENGL 1140  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: ENGL 0930, 1030, or 1050. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGL1140A Intellectual Pleasures: Reading/Writing the Literary Text  CRN 25040
H Hour (T/Th 9-10:20 am)
Lawrence Stanley
Riffing on the generative tensions between intellectual rigor and aesthetic pleasure, this seminar will examine (through the theoretical framework of cognitive poetics) a richly diverse range of literary texts, from Susan Howe to Beowulf. Our objective: to develop an awareness of language that will reshape how we read and how we write literary texts in various genres. Writing centered. Enrollment limited to 12. Prerequisite: ENGL 0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. S/NC.

ENGL1140D Writing Diversity: A Workshop  CRN 25812
G Hour (MWF 2-2:50 pm)
Austin Jackson
This course explores various forms of writing that address the broad spectrum of human experience, including issues of race, gender, varying physical and mental ability, social class, and inequities resulting from colonization, among others. Students will attempt to understand the issues and each other through class readings and articulating personal responses in writing. Writing sample required. Pre-requisite: ENGL 0900, ENGL 0930, or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Class list reduced to 12 after writing samples are reviewed during the first week of classes. S/NC.  DIAP

ENGL 1140E Writing for Activists CRN 25003
Q Hour (Thursday 4-6:30 pm)
Kate Schapira
How can writing support and further change? In this course students will practice grant applications, budget narratives, mission and strategy statements, press releases, position papers, op-eds, and other writing strategies with practical application in activist work. We’ll read examples and theoretical grounding, and guest speakers will introduce us to writings and needs specific to a range of fields. Prerequisite: ENGL 0930 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. Instructor permission required. S/NC.
CBLR, DIAP

ENGL 1160  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.

ENGL1160F Reporting Crime and Justice CRN 25004
M Hour (Monday 3-5:30 pm)
Tracy Breton
Crime and justice stories are people stories. The drama of everyday life is played out every day in courtrooms. This advanced journalism course will get students into the courtrooms, case files and archives of Rhode Island's judicial system and into committee hearings at the State House where they will report on stories that incorporate drama, tension, and narrative storytelling. Prerequisite: ENGL1050G, ENGL1050H or ENGL1160A (Advanced Feature Writing). Enrollment limited to 17. Instructor permission required. Preference will be given to English concentrators. S/NC.

ENGL 1180  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: ENGL0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGL 1180M Special Deliveries: Lettrs and Diaries CRN 25005
H Hour (T/Th 9-10:20 am)
Carol DeBoer-Langworthy
For the advanced writer. While letters and diaries are constrained by "dailiness"--the writer's informal situation in time--they often form the basis of more formal communications, including the novel. We will keep diaries as self-conscious intellectual enterprises and write letters to address their roles in various literary modes. The final project will be an epistolary essay incorporating structures and motifs from both sub-genres. Writing sample required. Instructor permission required. Prerequisite: ENGL0930 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. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor permission. S/NC.

ENGL 1180X Anne Carson, Maggie Nelson, Claudia Rankine CRN 25006
J Hour (T/Th 1-2:20 pm)
Mary-Kim Arnold
This advanced writing workshop will consider hybridity and formal experimentation through the work of three prominent contemporary practitioners. We’ll examine how the range of formal strategies these authors employ resist the limitations of genre and category, invent new ways of reading and writing nonfiction, and create space for a broader, more inclusive, more expansive possibilities for representing lived experience. Prerequisite: ENGL 0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Writing sample will be administered on the first day of class. Not open to first-year students. Instructor permission required. S/NC.  DIAP

ENGL 1190 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: ENGL0930 or any 1000-level nonfiction writing course. Preference will be given to English concentrators. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGL1190C Biography   CRN 25497
N Hour (Wednesday 3-5:30 pm)
Carol DeBoer-Langworthy
Biography, one of the oldest forms of creative nonfiction, tells the life story of a person, idea, place, or thing. We consider old and new forms of biography, experiment with those forms, and practice them as a method of inquiry as well as presentation of self. We also explore biography’s connection to journalism, autobiography, memoir, and history. Prerequisite: ENGL 0930 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. Banner registrations after classes begin require instructor approval. S/NC.

ENGL1190F My So-Called Life: The Art of the Literary Memoir  CRN 25007
P Hour (Tuesday 4-6:30 pm)
Mary-Kim Arnold
The literary memoir offers students inspiration and warning as to the possibilities and limits of using their own experience as text. We study personal essays, narratives, and prose poems by a variety of writers. Advanced writers only. Writing sample required on first day of class. Prerequisite: ENGL 0930 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. Instructor permission required. 

ENGL 1190U Nature Writing  CRN 25002
G Hour (MWF 2-2:50 pm)
Elizabeth Rush
This course seeks to develop your skills as a sensitive reader and writer of the natural world. You will build a portfolio of revised work through a process of workshops, tutorials, and conferences, and engage in discussion of a range of written and visual narratives with reference to their personal, political, and ecological contexts. Writing sample required. Prerequisite: ENGL 0930 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.

ENGL1190Z The Art of the Craft  CRN 25001
E Hour (MWF 12-12:50 pm)
Robert Ward
What can traditional crafts teach us about our writing? How does building a house or stitching a quilt help us appreciate the ways we can build creative texts? We will consider such questions to help us reflect on our writing as a craft, to invest the key tenets of craft in our writing process, style, and form, and to forge an innovative portfolio of work of which we can feel justly proud. Writing sample required. Prerequisite: ENGL 0930 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. Instructor permission required. S/NC.