HC 444H/431H: Calderwood Seminar in Public Writing: Nothing About Us Without Us – Writing About Disability

Professor: Judith Raiskin

4.00 credits

• CRN 17005: Thursday, 0900-1145 @ This course will be held remotely

Calderwood Seminars in Public Writing are advanced-level, writing-intensive courses that engage students in a review of areas of special interest. These seminars emphasize public writing—the ability to translate complex arguments and professional jargon to a broad audience— which is a central feature of a liberal arts education. These seminars will have a collaborative format, with students writing frequently and rewriting their work in response to comments by their professors and input from classmates. You have learned how to write for college, now learn how to write for life.

Disability Studies challenges our naturalized understandings of bodies, ability, disability and illness and explores how those beliefs affect all our lives, whether we are disabled or not. In this class we will examine texts (essays, books, films) that challenge stereotypes about different types of disabilities. The textual focus of the course will be on social, as opposed to medical, models of disability and difference and will highlight intellectual and political interventions led by people with disabilities. Disability Studies is an academic discipline that has grown out of and has close ties with disability activism, a social justice movement that relies on education and outreach. Acknowledging the mantra of the disabled community, “Nothing about us without us,” we will engage with ways of writing ethically about disability in public arenas.  In this Calderwood Seminar in Public Writing, students will learn how to reflect on academic and technical writing by Disability Studies scholars, bioethicists, and legal scholars and then to translate these for a wider audience. Students will hone their skills in writing op-eds, short magazine pieces, book and film reviews, blogs, and interviews. This course will be useful for students who want to learn to write effectively and persuasively about controversial issues for a public audience and who want to use these skills to foster social change. The course will also introduce students to the publication process of different outlets and help identify possible venues for future publication.