Spring 2017 Topic Seminar: SSCI 219, Writing Culture: The Craft of Ethnography

Spring 2017 Topic Seminar: SSCI 219, Writing Culture: The Craft of Ethnography

SSCI 200: Writing Culture, the Craft of Ethnography, Ruth Toulson, Monday 1-3:45p, B431

The best ethnographic writing captures the beauty and complexity of the world. The writer can feel more alive too, alert and connected to a welling inner source that flows outward toward other lives. This at least is the ideal. But words sometimes refuse to be summoned, leaving a writer sluggish and adrift, or worse, alone and depressed. This class offers inspiration, purpose, and nurturing company for non-fiction writers. Throughout the semester we will engage with the best of new anthropological writing and write a great deal ourselves. Our aim is to improve our ability to describe with vivid accuracy, to lay out ideas with clarity, to make every word count. Writing composed with craft touches readers on several levels—intellectual, emotional, aesthetic—and the impact lingers longer than words dashed off. At its best, strong writing can direct attention to suffering and injustice, deepen compassion and outrage, elaborate imaginative alternatives, and mobilize energies for action. Become a crafter of words.

 

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