Name: Nick Sanders
Date published: 2021
Course level: First-Year
Course title: Writing as Inquiry: “Writing Selves/Writing Futures: Language, Power, & Socialization
Course description: This section titled “Writing Selves/ Writing Futures: Language, Power, & Socialization” critically interrogates the intersections among our individual literate histories and socializations– how we were taught what “good” or “bad” writing and language use is– and power– how these socializations reflect much larger and complex participation in cultural systems of power, including class, race, gender, disability, sexuality, and location and so on. Thus, we follow Audre Lorde’s call and critique about the power of language and the possibility of speaking silence into language and action. Taken differently, Lorde compels us to deeply understand and critique the social systems that constrain and afford our learning, practice intimate reflection around our goals, values, and practices (in Lorde’s words “what you need to say,”) and, always practice language and writing as anything but mundane but an avenue for social, personal, and cultural change. In addition to the core practices of reflection, revision, and inquiry, this course also centers criticality, developing theories, practices, and analysis that work to understand how social systems shape and are shaped by individual people, their beliefs, and their values.
Course philosophy/motivation: “Framed by Black, queer feminist orientations to education as the practice of freedom, my teaching philosophy positions the classroom not as a place of arrival, but one of departure and worldmaking. I see the classroom as a site where we can interrogate our positionalities and cultivate critical consciousness about our participation in social systems in order to dismantle and disrupt them. For me, writing is central to this mission as the world, and ourselves, have been unfairly written, and we must rewrite these stories and structures to redress harm. Heavily influenced by critical antiracist and feminist pedagogies, antideficit frameworks, and multimodal writing pedagogies, my teaching ultimately works to challenge the everyday practices that sustain inequity, including assessments that prioritize the linguistic and rhetorical practices of middle and upper class whiteness. To combat these autonomous views of learning, I structure moments of curiosity and inquiry and moments of reflection throughout my courses to invite students to problematize their understanding of course material and their own experiences and practices. Further, I am intentional to create feedback loops that work to challenge students’ preconceived understandings and to discover new ways of understanding the world in order to meaningfully change it.”