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The 2008 Presidential Primaries

ENGL 162.301
W 2-5
fulfills requirements:
Elective Seminar of the Standard Major
Creative Writing Seminar Requirement of the Creative Writing Track

The 2008 election may well be the most consequential political event of our generation - and it all starts with the primary season, which will span the spring semester calendar, from January to April. In this new course, students with a passion for both writing and politics will have the unique opportunity to track the news as it unfolds week by week, to critique it in class, and, most importantly, to write about it in a variety of formats, ranging from "straight" news to informed opinion. Students can expect spirited class debate about the elusive nature of "objectivity," the often thin line between truth and rumor, the challenges of fact-checking a candidate's "spin," the challenges of writing responsibility in an era when even facts seem to be polarized, the challenges of analyzing primary results and writing about it effectively, the growing pressure on journalists to reveal their political beliefs, and much more. Some of the writing will happen in class; students will view excerpts from debates and Sunday shows, and file their reports "on deadline." Some of the class sessions will focus on the hottest news of the moment. And students will also have a chance, in class, to critique some of the nation's best political writers - reporters, feature writers, columnists, bloggers - as they too track the 2008 primary season.