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Contemporary American Essay

Subject code


Course Number




T. Pickens

Course Long Title

Contemporary American Essay


This course explores various essays from the mid-twentieth century to the present. Students focus on topics, publication histories, and, of course, craft. They read a few canonical essays as well as some lesser-known essays and lesser-known writers. In order to improve their own writing, they read contemporary news sources and texts about the craft of nonfiction writing. Several questions guide the course: What topics are appropriate for nonfiction and how did they get to be socially understood as such? How do authors navigate difficult topics within the essay form? What ideas, tips, tricks, hacks, and styles might we learn from these essay writers to create our own essays?

Writing Credit


Class Restriction

Exclude Sophomores, Exclude Juniors, Exclude Seniors, 05