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Writing and Politics

ENGL 124.401
instructor(s):
W 5:15-8:15pm

This is a course for students who are looking for ways to use their writing to participate in our democracy. We don't just talk about it; we do it, in real time. Student writers will use many forms--short essay, blogs, social media posts, mini video- or play scripts, podcasts--and consider lots of topics as they publish with #VoteThatJawn. This multimedia platform popped up in 2018 to support youth registration and voting in Philadelphia's midterm elections. Registration of 18-year-olds that year doubled: from 3,300 to nearly 7,000. Then in the 2020 election, #VoteThatJawn continued to hype Philadelphia 18-year-olds. Our youngest voting cohort followed up strong registration with even stronger turnout--70%; that's 4% higher than older voters!

Imagine a Creative Writing class that answers our desire to live responsibly in the world and to have a say in the systems that govern and structure us. In the process students learn to write with greater clarity, precision, and whatever special-sauce Jawn your voice brings. The course is designed as an editorial group sharing excellent, non-partisan, fun, cool, sometimes deadly earnest content for and about fresh voters. We'll plan and stockpile for the next election. In addition, you will gain experience in activities that writers in all disciplines need to know: producing an arts-based event and social media campaign, working with multimedia content, and collaborating with other writers and artists. This initiative has already effected change. How will your writing help take it to the next level?

Because #VoteThatJawn performs a civic service, it is listed as an Academically Based Community Service (ABCS) course. Don't sit out history. Your work can bring other youth to the polls.