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Viewing: ENGL 127 O: Creativ Writg & World

Last approved: Mon, 08 Oct 2018 19:17:24 GMT

Last edit: Mon, 08 Oct 2018 14:26:32 GMT

First Name Last Name Userid Title Home School Org Short Name
Rachel Zolf zolfr LECTURER B School of Arts and Sciences Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing
Spring 2019
Fall 2018
Creativ Writg & World
A creative writing workshop devoted to writing in and across various social, political, geographical, and historical contexts. Offerings may include Writing Toward Diaspora, Writing the City, Writing and the Environment, or other topics and themes. See the English Department's website at for a description of current offerings.

Sector Requirements

Your department or program fields a variety of courses to meet distinct educational needs. Please explain how this course fits into your department's plan for participating in the general education curriculum of the College. The sector panel will want to know what is distinctive about this course along with the other courses your department lists in the sector that makes them suitable for the sector requirement.
This proposal advocates for a rather different kind of English course from those that presently fulfill this sector: ENGL 127 is an ABCS creative writing course, taught by a major poet. Both the ABCS and creative aspects of the course indicate a natural fit with the elaborated aims of the sector; this course is a showcase for overlapping disciplinary and critical perspectives, and it necessarily connects the theoretical to actual. The attached syllabus is particularly attentive to radical theories of pedagogy and rhetoric that students will have the opportunity to consider and apply within local contexts.
One-term course offered either term
Humanities & Social Science Sector
Rachel Zolf
Part Time Lecturer
Part Time Lecturer
English 127 is an intermediate-to-advanced creative writing course that includes substantial study in theoretical and literary texts in addition to being designed as a creative writing workshop. It is especially appropriate for students taking English or Comparative Literature majors. Students in GSE will also be able to participate in this course via graduate-level independent study. This particular offering of English 127 - Community Writing - is also cross-listed with Urban Studies, and is an ABCS course supported by the Netter Center.
From Community Writing course description:

Community Writing combines theory with practice: students will first study critical and creative writing pedagogy, and then visit a range of Philadelphia communities to write creatively together and form new kinds of community through writing. Students will have the opportunity to work and write with community members from Sayre High School, the FreeWrite Prison Writing Program, Mighty Writers West, the transcribez Writing Group for Trans and Gender Nonconforming Youth, the Write On! program with Lea middle school students, or the Writing a Life program at Kelly Writers House for people with cancer diagnoses. We will study nonhierarchical creative writing teaching techniques, such as spoken word and hip-hop pedagogy, and we will learn how to develop community-appropriate creative writing prompts that inspire people to write. We will also study a number of classic texts in radical pedagogy (by authors such as bell hooks and Paolo Freire) and generate ideas about how to harness the power of education – and creative writing in particular – for personal and social change.

Methods of Assessment

10 writing assignments of 200-300 words each; one 3-week workshop curriculum of at least 10 pages; one 1,200-word process/reflection paper
No exams.
Participate in class discussion, complete assigned readings, complete group work to develop their own teaching workshops, and complete four teaching field trips in addition to required weekly class sessions. Attend final reading celebration at the end of the semester with community participants from Philadelphia, with whom Penn students have been working.

Sector I - Society


Sector II - History and Tradition


Sector III - Arts & Letters


Sector IV - Humanities and Social Science

The course first introduces students to a deep study of critical pedagogical theory before requiring them to apply those theories across a variety of community settings in the city of Philadelphia. Required readings include Paolo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed; bell hooks's Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom; and Christopher Emdin's For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood...and the Rest of Y’All Too.

This course is integrated with community writing programs at Kelly Writers House that I have initiated and supported over the past 3 years.

Community Writing includes visiting speakers such as members of New York's Dialogue Arts Project, which works with community groups on using creative writing to do anti-oppression work; the Black Boy Fly Collective, a Philadelphia spoken-word performance group who will model a workshop and conduct a pedagogical debrief; and Miriam Harris, a teaching artist who will conduct a workshop on curriculum building.
Students are asked to write critical reflections on assigned readings but also to write critical reflections on their own teaching field trips. Students are asked to think critically about their own pedagogical performance, including their own expectations going into the workshop; adjustments made as the workshop proceeded; success working with their peers; and particular responses of their participants to their lesson prompts. Students are then asked to reflect on what they would do differently in their next workshop. In each case students are encouraged to bring their own reflections back into the context of theories of pedagogy. At the end of the semester, students complete a longer process reflection paper (1,200 words) on their pedagogical performance. They are also required to create an extensive curriculum for teaching creative writing to a particular community group, and this curriculum is workshopped throughout the semester.
As a course cross-listed between English and Urban Studies and as an ABCS course, Community Writing fosters the integration of methodological and writing approaches from across English/Creative Writing and the fields of Urban Studies and Education. We expect students from all these disciplines, including graduate students, to be interested in this course.
The course asks students to think about creative writing in several different interpretive contexts: as a pedagogical practice, able to be studied in relation to a number of classic texts in radical pedagogy (by authors such as bell hooks and Paolo Freire); in the context of Urban Studies theories of community building and institutional access (something that is at the heart of its being an ABCS course); and as a means of personal growth, empowerment, and critical thinking. While the practice of creative writing is all too often taught in isolation, this course derives its pedagogy from the theory that all writing is contextual, cultural, historical, and political.

Sector V - Living World


Sector VI - Physical World


Sector VII - Natural Sciences and Mathematics


Administrative Field

Molly Mcglone (mmcglone) (Mon, 08 Oct 2018 14:26:32 GMT): Approved, the HSS panel asked that the instructors make clear that this is an introductory course, no pre-reqs and should not say "intermediate/advanced".
Key: 539