ENGL 728-01 Public Sphere Writing
As humanists, we study language, literature, and culture not only for their value in the academy but also because we believe they matter to society. For us and for those outside of the academy, the ideas and texts that we explore help us understand the world and prepare us to act in it. The question is, how can we deploy humanities-based knowledge beyond the academy and even beyond the classroom? How do we use it in the public sphere? This course will explore some of the ways that humanists work in public settings, with a focus on writing and multimedia communication. We’ll begin with some discussion of what we mean by “the public sphere” and “public rhetoric,” but we’ll spend most of our time analyzing and producing genres that are commonly used in public-facing organizations, like grant-writing, or to engage non-academic audiences, such as op-eds, podcasts, social media, and web-based exhibits and resources. You’ll choose the genres you most want to work in, and you’ll draw on your scholarly interests as you develop your projects. Along the way, you’ll have opportunities to talk with professionals about how they use their humanities training in public settings. This course is open to students in any humanities graduate program; advanced undergraduates may enroll with the instructor’s permission.