This course is designed as an editorial group to share excellent, nonpartisan, fun, cool, sometimes deadly earnest, content for and about fresh voters. English 3306 will sometimes work directly with diverse populations of youth from other colleges and high schools throughout Philadelphia.
We will practice many forms that writers today must learn to tell stories or publicize longer-form work: blogs, social media posts, short videos, podcasts. Then we'll publish your work in real time during the mid-term election season of 2022 with the multimedia platform #VoteThatJawn and regional partners. Launched in 2018 after March for Our Lives urged youth to register and vote, #VoteThatJawn greatly helped amplify youth voice and increase registration in Philadelphia in 2018 and 2020.
Student writers will also write posts to participate in and promote at least one registration or election event with area youth.
As it performs a civic service, this class is listed as an Academically Based Community Service (ABCS) course. This course is cross-listed with Africana Studies.
Voting Writes Prospectus
Wednesdays 5:15-8:15 pm
Faculty: Lorene Cary
Voice Mail: 215.746.3762
Zoom Mtg ID: 215.746.3762
Text and voice: 215.498.0668
Thursdays 12-3pm and by appointment
Registration and voting are our subjects. You will act as storytellers on digital platforms for#VoteThatJawn. This storytelling is strategic and multidimensional. #VTJ’s successful mission since 2018 has been to increase 18-year-old voter registration in the Philadelphia region. Therefore, our writing and posting is solutions-oriented and encouraging. Not naïve, but youthful, smart, considered, fact-infused, attractive, fun to read.
Occasionally, we also have to respond quickly to the news--youth news and youth voters' groups news. The clearest example of that is #VoteThatJawn’s origin story: my UPenn students responded to the 2018 March for Our Lives with a feature that pointed toward the Parkland activists’ message: activate youth vote.
The core of this “voting writes” project is joyful learning and joyful sharing, despite and even because of the heaviness of our current politics. If it’s not fun, we will not keep at the work--improvise, create new, risk, fail, make better--until it is so good it must be shared. The rest is relationships. And if the platforms do not catch and hold youth minds and hearts, then they will not be encouraged to vote, only frightened or bullied…
During this election season, students will
Hear from out-of-town and local speakers for refreshment and to provide work for us to learn from, write about, and post.
Create a social-media to support PA Youth Vote whose two-year campaign for a to register 18-year-olds in Philly schools succeeded last Spring--and now needs curricular implementation.
Prepare for and help plan a hybrid event to amplify National Voter Registration Day, September 20, 2022.
Create a bank of individual projects that #VoteThatJawn will release throughout Fall--and through the next year.
N.B. Through#VoteThatJawn, AFRC/ENGL 3306 performs a civic service; it is listed as an Academically Based Community Service (ABCS) course with the university.
Workflow and assessment
You will be assessed on two bodies of work. The first will come from projects we create together as a class or in groups. Altogether, between 30 minutes to an hour/day, three to five days/week. Because you are writing for publication, I’ll require that you revise until your work is publishable.
The second will be a term-long project of your choosing in your particular area of interest or passion. With me, you will create a work plan with do-able, weekly goals. In essence, you write (and re-write) until your work earns the equivalent of B+ or better. In addition, we’ll pass your work through #VTJ editors, for writing and, where appropriate, for social media.
Voting writes. And connects. Like the people who do it, voting fights, makes mistakes, progresses, and regresses. Voting wrongs people, and voting can right those wrongs. Your writing will welcome new adults to political adulthood.
We will communicate with each other through the class Canvas site, over email, by informal channels you may choose; by phone, voice and text; and through shared Docs. Also some messaging through our platforms. We may meet at voter registration drives.