Literary Arts Toolkit: Writing and Reading Contemporary Prose


Spring 2016 quarter

Taught by

fiction, nonfiction, and contemporary literature


a strong foundation in expository writing, demonstrated by a minimum of 32 college credits earned in some combination of college writing/literature/humanities coordinated studies programs or courses. Prior study of college writing must have included thesis-based arguments, original analysis of evidence, and synthesis of variant ideas.

This advanced critical and creative reading and writing program is designed for students who want to take ten weeks to develop and deepen their theories and practices of literary study in relation to a dynamic constellation of contemporary writing. Some organizing questions for these ten weeks include: What is a text? What can we do with a text? What can a text do with us? How have these questions been asked and answered historically? What new questions should we ask --- and how might we try to answer them now?

We hypothesize that critical and creative reading and writing are mutually enabling processes. Our practice as writers will accordingly be sharpened through a practice of careful reading, and we will study an expansive range of genres, texts, styles, and modes --- from slogans and sonnets and sc-fi to novels and epics and law --- the better to enrich our repertoire of ways in the world of words. What key elements do these various forms involve? We will seek to determine this inductively as a means of theorizing our practice. All of which is to say that students can anticipate a challenging quantity of reading and writing.  

Each week will involve a mix of workshops, seminars, and lectures. Our proceedings will be punctuated by   intensive on-campus “residencies” that will allow students to develop and pursue their own specific reading and writing projects. We will participate in the Art Lecture Series and Anthropocene Lecture Series, and are looking forward to class visits and/or guest lectures by four contemporary writers: Donna Haraway, an interdisciplinary scholar of feminist studies and science and technology studies; Dean Spade, a law professor and founder of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project; Rob Halpern, a poet and critic (and Evergreen alum); and Amanda Davidson, who teaches at the Pratt Institute and writes experimental fiction.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

engagements involving writing, literary arts, and cultural studies.

Academic Website

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day and Evening

Advertised schedule: First spring class meeting: Tuesday, March 29 at 11am (Sem 2 C1105)


Buy books for this program through Greener Bookstore.

Online Learning

No Required Online Learning: No access to web tools required. Any web tools provided are optional for students.


Date Revision
March 11th, 2016 This program will now accept Sophomores.
February 9th, 2016 Description has been updated.
February 9th, 2016 This program will accept enrollment with faculty signature.
February 12th, 2015 Eirik Steinhoff will teach with Miranda Mellis.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Spring)

Class standing: Sophomore–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 50


Signature Required

If you are interested in taking this program, please send a brief letter of introduction to both Miranda Mellis ( ) & Eirik Steinhoff ( . Your letter should be no longer than 2 paragraphs sent in the body of the e-mail (attachments will not be read), and should describe the following: (a) why you want to take this reading- and writing-intensive program, (b) what experience has prepared you to participate fully in it (prior coursework in particular), (c) any independent projects you might want to pursue during our “residencies” (perhaps including a preliminary bibliography), and (d) anything else that seems important to include. Having an independent project already in mind is not a requirement for taking this program; students will be given a chance to develop these in the course of the quarter. Priority will be given to students who send their letters by Friday, 4 March 2016.

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16 credits): 30122
So - Sr (1-16 credits): 30620

Go to to register for this program.

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