2022 – Spring

Writing Place

Course Number: JOUR-GA 1182.016

Day & Time: Fri | 10:00 AM – 1:40 PM

Location: 20 Cooper Square, Room 652

Instructor: Joshua Jelly-Schapiro

“The writer operates at a peculiar crossroads where time and place and eternity
somehow meet. His problem is to find that location.“ -Flannery O’Connor

Place matters. It’s only in and through place—the places we’re from, the places we move
through, the places we want to go—that we figure out who we are. And if place matters in
these ways to humans, it also matters in profound ways to our literature, and to the
storyteller’s craft. In this course, we will explore how to build “a sense of place” in prose. With
readings drawn from some of our most exemplary writers on place—travel writers, journalists,
novelists, essayists, poets—we will examine what goes into crafting a strong “sense of place” on the page. We will seek to understand how place can act as a container for story or driver of
action; a setter of mood or index of mental weather; a shaper of what’s possible. And we will
write pieces that explore how the places that matter to us—whether the towns we grew up in,
the neighborhoods we live in now, or the places from which we’ve reported or want to––have
shaped the stories we want to tell.