Writing As Activism: Finding Your Voice in Difficult Times

Instructor(s): Jonatha Kottler

Course Description

There is no doubt that we are living in extraordinary times. On any given day things are happening in our world that terrify, excite, inspire us, and deflate our hope. There is so much going on that sometimes we feel paralyzed and powerless to impact the world, or to even make sense of it to ourselves. This course will examine many first-person accounts of difficult times in history. We will model our own writing on that of great writers who used their rhetorical skills, their passion and their fears to make meaning of times of chaos for themselves and others. We will make opportunities for ourselves to find sense in our own world, one word at a time, creating artifacts that will be valuable to us, to our peers, and ultimately, to history.


On LEARN, selections from:

Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War

The Good Immigrant

Letter from Birmingham Jail

Telling Tales (a refugee reimagining of The Canterbury Tales), Agbabi

Full texts:

Between the World and Me, Coates

Wain: LGBT Reimaginings of Scottish Folklore, Plummer

Carry: A Memoir of Survival on Stolen Land, Jensen

Sabrina and Corina, Fajardo-Anstine


Student requirements:

Weekly reaction papers

Weekly in-class writing assignments

Workshop responses

Oral presentation

Final Portfolio

No Video

About the Instructor(s): Jonatha Kottler

Jonatha Kottler is an alumna of Honors and holds an MA in Liberal Arts from St. John's College. She has written comic books, short films, and her nonfiction writing has been anthologized, (Nasty Women) and appeared in New York Magazine’s The Cut, The Guardian