Course Descriptions

Term:  

Fall Quarter

Dept Course No and Title Instructor
LIT JRN (F21)20  INTR LIT JOURNALISMDEPAUL, A.
Reading of selected texts to explore the ways in which literary journalism and related nonfiction modes formulate experience. Students write several short papers and one final project. The required prerequisite for either section of LJ 20 is satisfactory completion of the lower-division writing requirement.
LIT JRN (F21)20  INTR LIT JOURNALISMCOLE, M., SIEGEL, B., & PIERSON, P.
Reading of selected texts to explore the ways in which literary journalism and related nonfiction modes formulate experience. Students write several short papers and one final project. The required prerequisite for either section of LJ 20 is satisfactory completion of the lower-division writing requirement.
LIT JRN (F21)21  REPORTING LIT JOURNDEPAUL, A.
To write convincingly and tell powerful stories that resonate, writers need to be meticulous, thorough reporters. LJ21 teaches students how to report their literary journalism articles accurately and thoroughly, focusing on the three basic means of gathering information for a story: interviewing, observing and reading. Early in the quarter, students will select a topic, or beat, as it is known in news parlance, from which they will develop contacts and story leads. Students will cover an event, conduct an interview and generate articles related to their beats, also learning ways to use Internet resources and databases to find facts and information and examining investigative and legal documents. The required prerequisite for either section of LJ 21 is satisfactory completion of the lower-division writing requirement.
LIT JRN (F21)21  REPORTING LIT JOURNDEPAUL, A.
To write convincingly and tell powerful stories that resonate, writers need to be meticulous, thorough reporters. LJ21 teaches students how to report their literary journalism articles accurately and thoroughly, focusing on the three basic means of gathering information for a story: interviewing, observing and reading. Early in the quarter, students will select a topic, or beat, as it is known in news parlance, from which they will develop contacts and story leads. Students will cover an event, conduct an interview and generate articles related to their beats, also learning ways to use Internet resources and databases to find facts and information and examining investigative and legal documents. The required prerequisite for either section of LJ 21 is satisfactory completion of the lower-division writing requirement.
LIT JRN (F21)101BW  ART OF RECONSTRUCTNSIEGEL, B.
In some quarters, the practice of "reconstructing" a story is seen as suspect if not impossible. How can you write about events if you weren't present when they happened? How can you know what other people think or feel? Doesn't reconstruction border on fiction? In this workshop, students will explore such questions­ and learn just how literary journalists manage to practice the art of reconstruction in entirely ethical, accurate ways. Students will read exemplary models of reconstructed narrative by writers such as Jon Krakauer, Laura Hillenbrand and Michael Paterniti. They will see why reconstruction plays such a crucial, honorable role in the field of literary journalism. They will also do a good deal of their own reconstruction (learning, along the way, what Tom Wolfe meant when he said that "entering people's minds" was just "one more doorbell a reporter had to push.") This course is an advanced writing workshop: students will regularly share their work with classmates in a constructive process of peer-review, then revise based on that feedback. By the end of the quarter, students will have produced a major example of reconstructed narrative writing.
LIT JRN (F21)101BW  PERSONAL ESSAYWILENTZ, A.
This workshop for Literary Journalism majors will explore the personal essay, its tradition and how it has developed into its current form. We know why the personal essay is popular and compelling: it takes the reader right into the mind of the writer, and ostensibly lets the writer discuss what matters most to him or her. But what makes a personal essay good and important? We'll talk about the function of narrative sweep in the personal essay, and how suspense and secrets are particularly important to this form. We will talk about the concept of "broadening out" -- that is, making our own story meaningful in a wider context. Our mantra in this class: "It's not just about you." Writers we'll read include, among others: Mark Twain, James Baldwin, Maxine Hong Kingston, M.F.K. Fisher, Lorrie Moore, Norman Mailer, Joan Didion, Wole Soyinka, Philip Roth, Susan Orlean. We will investigate how the personal essay can vary, allowing a writer to address personal experience and write with sensitivity about others. We'll use research, interviews and of course, the world outside us. "It's not just about you." We'll look at tone and point of view, and the varieties of first-person writing. One theme will be the conflict between the private self and the public act of writing. We will criticize each other's work constructively in this workshop, and try to figure out ways to resolve questions in our writing. Be advised: although we are writing personal essays, this workshop will not be a psychological group session. Students will write one or two short pieces for this class, and a final, longer article.
LIT JRN (F21)101BW  NARR OFF THE NEWSHAYASAKI, E.
A man jumps from a Manhattan skyscraper and nosedives to his death, a fire ravages a college dorm in the middle of the night, a little girl is murdered by an internet predator, a band of terrorists take an elementary school full of children hostage. For each event, headlines around the world captured the breaking news. But the stories were not over. Weeks after the stories broke, the most compelling details had yet to be reported. Some of the best literary journalists find gripping stories by going back to the scene and interviewing sources weeks, months or even years after the news broke. In this class we will learn to search newspapers and blogs for story ideas that the daily media may have missed and we will learn to go back after a story has become ?old news,? after the daily reporters have left. We will study how literary journalists reconstruct events after they have occurred, and we will read writers like Tom Junod, Robin Gaby Fisher and other reporters who found unique angles on widely reported events.We will also learn to pay attention to news nuggets that are often ignored or quickly dismissed. Students will learn to find story ideas in news briefs, blurbs or items that received only a passing mention on the evening news, keeping in mind that these can often lead to the most riveting profiles and narratives. In this class, students will be expected to work on their narrative writing skills and interviewing techniques, and they will be required to find, pitch, report, and write their own stories off the news.
LIT JRN (F21)103  LIT OF TRUE CRIMECORWIN, M.
True crime, at its best, it not just about cops and killers, but can tell us much about the world in which we live. While the crimes may animate the narratives – which make for gripping reading – the best books transcend the genre by giving readers a strong sense of place,an insight into the criminal mind, a window into the cops’ world, a feel for the agony of the victims, and the impact on the community. Every crime contains three major players that provide the cornerstone for compelling character studies: a perpetrator, a victim, and an investigator. In this class we will discuss the ethnical challenges true crime writers encounter, the difficulties they face during the reporting, and the decisions they make during the writing. We will explore the psychology of criminals; the effect their behavior has on society, the legal world and the criminal justice system; and the social implications of their crimes. Homicide detectives, former prison inmates, and true crime writers will visit the class, give presentations and answer questions. Some writers whose works we will read include David Grann, Norman Mailer, and John Berendt.
LIT JRN (F21)103  CLIMATE CHANGEWILENTZ, A.
For this course on reporting the greatest existential problem facing the globe, we will be reading both the best contemporary nonfiction writers on climate change as well as some cli-fi novels that describe the planet’s current and future predicament.  We’ll try to understand what’s happening to the world and how climate change affects us and our future. We’ll also learn which methods different writers use to cover the story of our shifting environment: personal observation and adventure; conversations with scientific experts and researchers; covering big climate news stories (calving icecaps, burning continents, windstorms and hurricanes), and also individual writers’ historical, scientific, and archival research. We’ll read both books and short pieces. The course will be serious, because the subject is dead serious, but the work will be fun and the readings full of excitement, adventure, and the thrill of attempts to find, if not full solutions for the crisis of climate change, at least mitigating fixes and plausible human adjustments.
LIT JRN (F21)103  WRITING RACE IN USTOBAR, H.
This course aims to be a survey of nonfiction writing about race in the United States of America, from the 19th century to the present. We will examine how writers have tackled issues of racial inequality and discrimination, and constructed narratives centered on the lives of people of color in various nonfiction genres: journalism, investigative reporting, essays, criticism and memoirs. Readings will include works by W.E.B Du Bois, Ida B. Wells, Octavio Paz, Carey McWilliams, Luis Alberto Urrea, Ta-Nehisi Coates and others. As a final requirement, students will produce their own work of cultural criticism or reportage.
LIT JRN (F21)198  STORYTELLING LABPIERSON, P.
This course is an extracurricular, group independent study in which students work with the instructor on a number of hands-on, group and individual projects related to nonfiction narrative and storytelling.  Throughout the quarter, students will help to design student- and community-focused programming for Literary Journalism’s Center for Storytelling and also help develop projects for the Storytelling Lab.  

Portions of the class will be self-directed, including assignments and projects students can complete at their own pace before the end of the quarter.  Students are encouraged to adapt their work for the course to their own professional or academic research interests.  Usually this course is taken for 4 graded units, but please note that in many cases the course cannot be used to replace a degree requirement.