Where We Live Now: Civic Engagement Through Creative Nonfiction

In this course, we will explore what it is like to arrive in Canton and become a citizen of a new locale.  It turns out that creative nonfiction—a flexible genre that incorporates many different kinds of writing besides the familiar essay--is well-suited to the project of getting to know a new home.  Using creative nonfiction models, we will write our ways into understanding the Town of Canton and Saint Lawrence County.  We will get to know the civic underpinnings of our town and county by attending a council meeting, hearing from speakers about local services, reading local accounts of the area and pursuing at least one self-directed visit to a local office or agency.  Students will identify a civic or social justice issue that animates their imagination, compile questions to guide their exploration, then drill down on the topic through short writing assignments, two oral presentations and a larger culminating piece of finished creative nonfiction that makes use of descriptive, expository, discursive, interrogatory and emotional modes of writing. This course fulfills the FYP general education requirement.

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