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The Jacobson Center Writing Counselors teach sections of English 118, Colloquia in Writing. Conducted as writing workshops in sections limited to 15 students each, these courses provide systematic practice in reading and writing, with emphasis on academic argumentation. Consult the Smith College Course Catalog for specific meeting times.

Diversity, Community, and the Complexities of Difference (Fall)

Reading and writing analytic texts about the development of racial identity and related issues. Topics include ethnic identity, racism, naming and identity, affirmative action, and the model minority myth.
Instructor: Julio Alves

Riding the Wave: The Women's Movement, 1968-79 (Spring)

Reading and writing about the women’s movement of the late 1960s and 1970s, often called Second Wave Feminism. Readings will include primary documents, secondary sources, and statistical data. Writing will include scholarly essays, biography, and mixed genres. Regular library research and oral presentations.
Instructor: Julio Alves

Mixing Memory and Desire: Language and the Construction of Experience

This is a writing course designed specifically for international students whose mother tongue is not English. Such students more directly and obviously experience language as a tool that they shape for their purposes, rather than as a transparent medium. This special awareness will work to their advantage in this course. The theme of the class is the complex relationship between words and worlds. How do words work to articulate a depth in experience, and at the same time, how do they manipulate and frame that "truth"? What is expressed, and what is erased? We will explore the dangers and delights of language's transfigurative power both in our own writing and in short works by authors from a wide variety of cultures. We will become more conscious readers and writers by investigating "commonsense" definitions and by unmasking the hidden assumptions in our own and others' arguments. In a final research paper we will analyze variable constructions of the same experience: in a memoir, and in independent accounts of the memoirist's life. Our goal is to come away from any piece of writing with a deeper awareness of what is constructed, what is revealed, and what is missing. Where are we informed, and where are we manipulated? Where do we inform, and where do we manipulate, both our readers and ourselves?
Instructor: Melissa Bagg

Clearing Customs: Locations and Dislocations in Travel Literature

The readings for this course include a variety of texts by writers exploring and reacting to unfamiliar lands, cultures and customs. Students will respond to the challenges posed by these texts and analyze the ideas they contain. Four short essays, a research paper and an oral report are required.
Instructor: Debra Carney

The Politics of Language

Reading, thinking and writing about the forces that govern and shape language. A series of analytical essays will focus on issues such as political correctness, obscenity, gender bias in language, and censorship.
Instructor: Holly Davis

The Last Laugh: Writing About Humor

Reading and writing about humor and its significance in our lives. Several informal and formal analytical and argumentative essays will explore topics such as the definition of humor, the forms of humor, and the cultural, political, and social functions of humor.
Instructor: Mary A. Koncel

Writing, Identity and Culture

Practice in writing essays of observation, analysis and argument. Readings cover a range of subjects from questions of personal identity to public issues of culture and politics. A strong focus on working with sources and developing research skills.
Instructor: Brian Turner




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