2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Graduate Center, Room 9207What are the environments that our writing, as scholars, can create? In what environments can our writing thrive? “Writing Next” will focus on the practical questions of creating new written modes for our knowledge. The current moment is in many ways structured by political and institutional precarity, but it is also marked by new access to publishing spaces and an eagerness, on the part of many academics, to reach different audiences with their perspectives and expertise. At the same time, the urgencies of this moment mean that scholars have knowledge that general audiences particularly need. This workshop will be a platform for participants to explore writing and publishing content — from short form opinion pieces to longform cultural criticism — that springs from their specific knowledge base but speaks to broader contexts.
The workshop will focus on specific techniques to use when moving academic argument into new genres. In particular, we’ll discuss and practice strategies for addressing different audiences, specifically: angle, voice, and narrative arc. We will look at actual examples of published pitches, essays, and articles; participants will work with sample pieces of writing to practice the strategies discussed. Students are not required to bring any materials of their own, but are encouraged to come to the workshop ready to discuss their own tastes and interests: what popular or mainstream outlets do you like or admire? What topics or curiosities would you most enjoy writing about for a large audience? What forms of writing might be most sustaining and generative for you?
The aim of the workshop will to be draw on our collective skills as readers to help each of us as writers to see our own work differently, and imagine forms for our expertise beyond what we might envisage individually. Most centrally, we aim in this seminar to create a climate marked by collaboration, experiment, and expansiveness.
Sarah Blackwood (PhD, Northwestern) is Associate Professor of English at Pace University. With Sarah Mesle, she is the co-founder and co-editor of Avidly and the forthcoming short book series from NYU Press, Avidly Reads. She’s finishing a book about nineteenth-century portraiture and inner life, and has published scholarly essays on nineteenth-century literature and art in American Literature, MELUS, and elsewhere. She’s written for The Awl and Los Angeles Review of Books, and currently writes a column about motherhood and literature for The Hairpin.
Sarah Mesle (PhD, Northwestern) is Senior Editor at Large at the Los Angeles Review of Books and Assistant Professor (Teaching) at USC. With Sarah Blackwood, she is the co-founder and co-editor of Avidly and the forthcoming short book series from NYU Press, Avidly Reads. She has written about gender and popular culture for venues ranging from Studies in American Fiction to InStyle Magazine. You can follow her on twitter.