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All Levels. What distinguishes an essay from a memoir or other work of nonfiction? What formal methods do essayists have at their disposal? Whether you’re a seasoned essayist or simply trying to get a basic handle on the craft, this class will give you a thorough introduction to the genre through guided readings of some of its most loved incarnations. Weekly readings will include James Baldwin, Roland Barthes, Joan Didion, Audre Lorde, Friedrich Nietzsche, Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf, and many others.
Week 1 – Truth in a Post-Factual Age
Week 2 – Global Tribalism, Social Injustice
“We Refugees,” Hannah Arendt
“The Anger of the Damned,” Orhan Pamuk
“A Modest Proposal,” Jonathan Swift
“Violence, Mourning, Politics,” Judith Butler (in Precarious Life)
optional: Butler interview on Black Lives Matter
Week 3 – Black Lives Speaking
“Down at the Cross: Letter from a Region in My Mind,” James Baldwin
“Eulogy for Nigger,” David Bradley
“The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism,” Audre Lorde
Exchange with a racist Twitter troll on Martin Luther King Day, January 19, 2015, Ijeoma Oluo
Week 4 – Manifestos: The Rhetoric of Proclamation
“The Communist Manifesto,” Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
“First Manifesto for Surrealism,” Andre Breton
“The Privileges,” Stendhal
“A Cyborg Manifesto,” Donna Haraway
“The SCUM Manifesto,” Valerie Solanas
Week 5 – Meditations
Week 6 – Food for Thought
“A Dissertation Upon Roast Pig,” Charles Lamb
“How to Boil Water,” MFK Fisher (from How to Cook a Wolf)
“Steak and Chips,” Roland Barthes (from Mythologies)
“With or Without a Lake of Melted Cheese,” Bethany Jean Clement
Due to COVID-19, all classes will take place online-either through Zoom or through Wet Ink, our asynchronous learning platform-through Spring quarter 2021.
All times are listed in Pacific Time.
Class Type: 6 SessionsNonfiction
Start Date: 03/04/2017
End Date: 04/08/2017
Days of the Week: Saturday
Time: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm PST
Minimum Class Size: 5
Maximum Class Size: 15
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$295.00 General Price:
Class has begun, registration is closed.
Jeff Encke taught writing and criticism at Columbia University for several years, serving as writer-in-residence for the Program in Narrative Medicine while completing his PhD in English. His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Barrow Street, Black Warrior Review, Boston Review, Colorado Review, Fence, Kenyon Review Online, and Salt Hill. In 2004, he published Most Wanted: A Gamble in Verse, a series of love poems addressed to Saddam Hussein and other Iraqi war criminals printed on a deck of playing cards.