Advanced Writing of Nonfiction Prose: Writing from Material Traces
Writing from Material Traces
In this course we will read, analyze and produce writing based on documentary traces of lives, eras, or events. Such traces can be a file of archival documents, a map, a shoebox of memorabilia, a record collection or personal library, a bundle of family letters, a diary, a cookbook with notes, photographs, or even legal papers. In addition to our consideration of past documents, we will also turn our attention to living research by conducting and writing on the basis of interviews, conversations, and observations.
As part of our work together, we’ll be reading primary texts that either take documents or interviews as their starting points or that use them in startling way. We will also consider important critical/theoretical texts on the subjects of archives, collections, and oral history. Most importantly, though, you will craft your own texts based on documentary materials, research, and reflection.