Blog 1: Your English Story. 600-800 words. Include at least 1 image and 3 links (use linked text, not URLs):
This first few weeks of Beyond English serve as a sort of bridge. They offer a space to reflect on why we are here–why we have committed to this area of study–in a way that suspends the question of the viability of literature for the world of work. Instead, we remain for a while to reflect on the values of literature for the world more generally: what it means to be human, present, empathetic and aware; what it means to be less filled up with ourselves and more filled up by others.
This first blog post asks you to linger in this space, to write your own defense of the literary and the life of reading and thinking. Like the readings we’ve sampled, you can take any number of approaches: philosophical, psychological, personal, political. I just ask that you directly engage, in some way, at least 2 of the selections we read for this week, placing their ideas alongside your own. The core of the post is you, not an an analysis or summary of these articles. But I do want your voice to intersect with these voices at times by incorporating at least one quote. You are also welcome to do some searching of your own and find perspectives on literature and literary study that speak more powerfully to you.
Blog 2: Using Literature to Navigate Life: 600-800 words. Include at least 1 image and 3 links.
In our reading and listening, we have attended to Ross Gay’s Book of Delights as well as a selection of poems and close-reading engagements via the Poetry Unbound podcast. For this blog post, you have a few options. You can Choose 1 delight (or 2-3 ones that relate in some way for you) and offer a careful close reading of it that draws out the ways the most minute details and encounters can suggests more profound core values that are also relevant to the capacities for reading, attention, and empathy that we develop as English majors. Alternately, if you would rather not engage the analytical response, you can compose your own delight. And alternately, again, you can choose a poem or prose passage that speaks to you and unpack it in the style of the Poetry Unbound podcast. You are welcome to create a podcast episode in this style, or simply to offer the transcript version.
Blog 3: Academic Work Inventory. 800-1000 words. Include at least 1 image and 3 links
During our fourth full week, we are transitioning from the values of English to its real-world viability. As we make this transition, we will begin the work of collecting past work from our classes that reflects these values even as these works suggest this sense of real-world viability. In a sense, what we are doing here is developing and applying a vocabulary that speaks to the values and viability of the English major as a whole.
In this post, begin my making a case not just for how English has been valuable for you personally, but for how you think English will be viable for you professionally. Here, you should draw on our readings from Anders, Madsbjerg, and others.
After you’ve set the stage, please discuss at least 3 projects (ideally for which you have some physical or digital record) that embody this sense of viability. Be clear in connecting the things you discuss earlier in the post to these concrete projects. Take a paragraph or two for each of these projects. Conclude briefly by reflecting on the ways in which the English values you noted in your first blog post also might find their ways into your present engagement with the viability of an English degree. That is, consider how value and viability are often closely connected. Note that these projects can be interdisciplinary. If they are beyond English, you should note how they resonate with the core ideas related to the viability and importance of certain humanistic ways of thinking and being.
Blog 4: Your English Story: Personal-Professional Narrative: 800-1000 words; include at least 1 image and 3 links.
You can find the expanded assignment sheet for this longer post here.