2018 - Fall

Writing Trouble/Journalistic Tradition

Course Number: JOUR-GA 1023.001

Day & Time: Thursday, 6:00pm-9:00pm

Location: 7th Floor Library

Instructor: Eliza Griswold

We will explore the history of writing and reporting on issues of social justice in America and beyond, beginning with Ida B. Wells’ writing about lynching in the 1890s, through Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers, an exploration of the underclass in India today. Each week, we will read through history about how a certain literary writer used the finest tools of non-fiction reportage to write compellingly and bring about change. The course will require a certain rigor: in addition to reading, students will be asked to work independently on building a spine for their own reporting project, which will include finding and interviewing sources, writing and reporting scene, and learning the basics of pitching. Assignments will include active reporting and research in order to write a pitch for a long-form piece of literary reportage rooted in social justice. This is not a writing class. It is a research and reading seminar designed to engage students in close reading of social justice narratives and to help them build a necessary reporter’s tool kit.