Literary Arts Toolkit: Writing and Reading Contemporary Prose


Spring 2016 quarter

Taught by


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.

In this advanced critical and creative writing and literature program, students will develop and hone the skills, practices, and theories of literary study. We posit critical and creative writing as mutually enabling processes. In other words, students will work on essays that are inventive and lyrical, and stories that are critical and theoretically informed. Students' writing practices will be honed through a focused reading practice.

Workshops and lectures will enable students to develop skills needed for writing critical essays about literature and for close analysis of texts. Writing assignments will include storytelling exercises and experiments in generating cross-genre essays. The program includes discussion of the formal conventions of major literary genres as well concepts such as: relationships of literary texts to histories and cultures, the formation of canons, literary movements, and theoretical perspectives that inform literary analysis. Students will read widely and diversely so as to gain fluency in the history, aesthetics, social uses, and distributions of fictive and non-fictive prose works. Our reading will include a range of authors and theorists with an emphasis on queer literature and contemporary writers working in experimental and post-genre registers. Our reading list may include Pierre Bourdieu, Eve Sedgwick, Herman Melville, Jean Genet, Jane Bowles, and Anne Carson.

This program is designed to enable students to become versed in the elements of strong and lively prose, to understand the complex relationship between language and rhetoric, and to develop literary-critical fluency. Students will develop their own writing strengths and then build on those skills to formulate their own questions for research and discussion and generate writing topics. Program work will entail a focus on individualized writing and research projects and will include several individual tutorials. This program will provide a supportive environment for growing as a writer in community and will include a weekly seminar, weekly small group writing workshops, study and research groups, lectures, and occasional screenings and guest authors.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

engagements involving writing, literary arts, and cultural studies.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day and Evening


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Online Learning

No Required Online Learning

More information about online learning.


Date Revision
February 12th, 2015 Eirik Steinhoff will teach with Miranda Mellis.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Spring)

Class standing: Junior–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 50


Course Reference Number

Jr - Sr (16 credits): 30122

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