What are the relationships between writing and freedom? What does it mean to write from confined spaces like prison, jail, or other institutions that limit movement and choice? Is such writing spectacle, artistic expression, therapy, or rehabilitation? How might gender, racial, and cultural identity influence how such writing travels and gets published? These are some of the questions that drive and define the scope of this special topics course on literature and language with a focus on stories of freedom and confinement. We will make, interrogate, and disrupt connections between texts written in and about freedom/confinement and the material world as we read within historical and sociocultural contexts of our shared journey. We will stretch our thinking about how a global set of confined writers approach and use writing as creative expression, literary journalism, and human connection. In this way, our primary goal is to consider the role of language in constructing identities within discourse communities beyond the academy and conventional literary canon. Our exploration will include memoirs, images, essays, poetry, film, and critical writing as well as texts drawn from regional writing projects sponsored by organizations in some of our port cities. Course assignments will include short response papers, written exams, a field class project and a justice journal.
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