RCHUMS 334 - Special Topics in the Humanities
Section: 007 Writing in Detroit: Journey to the Interior
Term: WN 2010
Subject: RC Humanities (RCHUMS)
Department: LSA Residential College
Requirements & Distribution:
With permission of instructor.
May be elected twice for credit. May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

The other day a visitor to Detroit noticed a peacock strolling across a dilapidated park, its tail in full colorful spread, and wondered aloud at this remarkable survivor of Detroit’s industrial collapse. Detroit may well have its peacocks, foxes and all manner of wildlife emerging from abandoned neighborhoods, but it also has writers who steadfastly rebuild the city with words. Detroit writers are a hardscrabble lot, gritty but full of love for a city that so generously feeds their creative juices.
During the term we will read the works of several Detroit writers, including Harriette Arnow’s The Dollmaker, a 1954 novel about an Appalachian family’s struggles to adjust to WWII Detroit. It provides a snapshot of the city when its multinational workforce populated factories in full war production, earning Detroit the moniker, Arsenal of Democracy. Then we will read Abandon Automobile, Detroit City Poetry 2001 in order to understand how its writers describe Detroit in its industrial decline. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to attend poetry readings, music sessions and other events off the beaten Detroit cultural path.
When the going gets tough, Detroit writers dig deep into the city’s interior, filter it through their hearts then let the words flow from their fingertips. Detroiters reflect and write, reflect again, talk it out somewhere, then write some more. That’s the process we’ll use in this class, beginning with regular journal entries capturing student reflections on the city, in-class writing exercises, visits with Detroit writers and lots of talking and sharing. The journal entries and writing exercises will then be mined for a final project determined by the student, be it poetry, a short story or a creative non-fiction piece. This course is part of the Semester in Detroit program.

Required Reading:
The Dollmaker - Harriette Arnow
Abandon Automobile – Eds: Melba Boyd & M.L. Liebler

RCHUMS 334 - Special Topics in the Humanities
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
MW 4:00PM - 5:30PM
002 (SEM)
W 3:00PM - 5:00PM
003 (SEM)
M 8:00PM - 10:00PM
W 7:00PM - 10:00PM
M 7:00PM - 8:00PM
005 (SEM)
MW 3:00PM - 4:30PM
007 (SEM)
Th 2:00PM - 5:00PM
Note: Class will meet at the Detroit Center, as part of the Semester in Detroit.
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