Readings are also listed by class session.

Wherever possible, the book citations below reflect the specific editions used in the course.


Watters, Ann, and Marjorie Ford, eds. Writing for Change: A Community Reader. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 1994. ISBN: 9780070686151.

Moser, Joyce, and Ann Watters, eds. Creating America: Reading and Writing Arguments. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2004. ISBN: 9780131443860.

Lunsford, Andrea A. Easy Writer: A Pocket Guide. 2nd ed. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, 2002, 2005. ISBN: 9780312433093.

Additional Readings

Atwood, Margaret. The Handmaid’s Tale. New York, NY: Anchor; 1st Anchor Books edition, 1998. ISBN: 9780385490818. (Excerpts)

Carson, Rachel. Silent Spring. Mariner Books; 104 edition, 2002. ISBN: 9780618249060. (Excerpts)

Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol . New York, NY: Penguin Classics, 2003. ISBN: 9780140439052. (Excerpts)

Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed: On (not) Getting by in America. New York, NY: Henry Holt Paperback, 2002. ISBN: 9780805063899. (Excerpts)

Friedan, Betty. The Feminine Mystique. New York, NY: Norton, 2001. ISBN: 9780393322576. (Excerpts)

Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. London, UK: New York, NY: Harper Perennial Modern Classics; Flamingo Modern Classics, 1998, 1994. ISBN: 9780060929879. (Excerpts)

Kaysen, Susanna. Girl, Interrupted. New York, NY: Vintage Books, 1994. ISBN: 9780679746041 (Excerpts)

Kozol, Jonathan. “Are the Homeless Crazy? " Harper’s Magazine 277 (September 1988): 17-19.

Orwell, George. “Politics and the English Language.” Selected Essays. Toronto, ON: Penguin Books Ltd., 1957. (Excerpts)

———. 1984. New York, NY: The New American Library Inc., 1961. ISBN: 9780451524935. (Excerpts)

Sister Prejean, Helen. Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States. New York, NY: Vintage; 1st Vintage Books ed edition, 1994. ISBN: 9780679751311. (Excerpts)

Online Readings

Susan Sontag, On Photography (excerpt)

Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions

Girl, Interrupted (excerpt)

The Ultimate Punishment: A Defense” - E. Van den Haag


A Christmas Carol.

Rosenblum, Nina. America and Lewis Hine. 1985.

Hampton, Henry. Eyes on the Prize. 1987.

Mangold, James. Girl, Interrupted. 1999.

Killing Us Softly. 1999.

Robbins, Tim. Dead Man Walking. 1995.

Readings by Class Session


Unit One: First Essay; Writing Focus: Personal Narrative


Intro to the Class as a Writing Community

Writing about Social and Ethical Issues



Reasons to Believe: The Roots of Ethical and Social Values

Introducing Personal Essays

In Writing for Change:

Edelman, Marion Wright. “A Family Legacy.” pp. 24-30.


Reasons to Believe and Act



Developing and Sustaining Ethical and Social Values
The Personal Essay: Crafting Engaging and Effective Introductions

In Writing for Change:

Kennedy, John F. “Inaugural Address.” pp. 89-92.

Buckley, William F. “A Call to Arms.” pp. 125-133.

King, Martin Luther, Jr. “A Letter From Birmingham Jail.” pp. 285-299.

Alexander, P. W. “Christmas At Home.” pp. 100-103.

Taylor, Jeremy. “Service Learning: Education with a Purpose.” pp. 193-199.

Film Clips: Eyes on the Prize.


The Writer as Social Activist: A Literary Tradition



Writing Workshop, Draft Essay 1; The Craft of Revision


Unit Two: Second Essay; Writing Focus: Investigative Essay/Comparative Analysis


Representing Social Issues and Problems; Images



Narratives of Poverty and Homelessness

Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol. (Selection)

Kozol, Jonathan. “Are the Homeless Crazy?”

In Writing For Change:

Marin, Peter. “Helping and Hating the Homeless….” pp. 270-283.

Film Clip: A Christmas Carol


The Writer as Witness, Participant and Investigator: Inside the World of Poverty and Low-wage Labor

Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting By in America. (Excerpt)

Film Clip: America and Lewis Hine.


The Writer as Interpreter of Social Issues: The Value Of Comparative Analysis: Research Strategies



Writers Engage With Media Culture and Beauty Imagery

In Writing For Change: (student essay)

Morgan, Amanda. “When Beauty Is the Beast.” pp. 356-363.

Film: Killing Us Softly 3


Writers Address Contemporary Debates: Race, Gender and Issues of Equality

Approaches to Comparative Analysis: Options in Introductions/Conclusions

In Writing For Change:

Takaki, Ronald. “Breaking Silences: Community of Memory.” pp. 219-232.

Faludi, Susan. “Blame It on Feminism.” pp. 238-250.


Writers Confront Contemporary: Educational Inequality, Past and Present: Individual Portraits

In Writing For Change:

Angelou, Maya. “Graduation.” pp. 155-165.

Kozol, Jonathan. “Corla Hawkins.” pp. 176-181.

Rose, Mike. “I Just Wanna Be Average.” pp. 165-176.


Writing Workshop, Draft, Essay 2


Unit Three: Third Essay; Writing Focus: Investigative/Advocacy Essay


Writers as Investigators and Advocates: Modern Classics in the Literature of Social Change

Excerpts from:

Friedan, Betty. The Feminine Mystique.

Carson, Rachel. Silent Spring.

Orwell, George. “Politics and the English Language.”


Reading Films Critically

Film: Girl, Interrupted.


Writers Explore Contemporary Issues: Mental Health

Kaysen, Susanna. Girl, Interrupted. (Excerpt)

In Writing for Change:

Thompson, Tracy. “The Wizard of Prozac.” pp. 347-356.

Film: Mangold, James. Girl, Interrupted.


Writers Define Contemporary Issues and Advocate Solutions: Education

In Writing for Change:

Hirsch, E. D. “Cultural Literacy.” pp. 188-193


View Dead Man Walking

Film: Dead Man Walking.


Writers Debate Policy Issues: Capital Punishment

Incorporating Personal and Public Voices

Film: Robbins, Tim. Dead Man Walking


Writers Debate Policy Issues: Capital Punishment

Incorporating Personal and Public Voices (cont.)

Film: Robbins, Tim. Dead Man Walking.


Approaches To Advocacy

In Writing For Change:

Randy Fitzgerald. “Owls Are Not Threatened, Jobs Are.” pp. 419-423.

Hamilton, Cynthia. “Women, Home and Community: The Struggles in an Urban Environment.” pp. 412-418.


Writers as Visionaries: Fiction as a Laboratory for Utopian Ideas and Dystopian Critiques

In Writing For Change:

Callenbach, Ernest. “Ecotopia.” pp. 440-446.


Writers as Visionaries: Fiction as a Laboratory for Utopian Ideas and Dystopian Critiques


Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World.

Orwell, George. 1984.

Atwood, Margaret. The Handmaid’s Tale.


Revision Strategies for Advocacy Essays



Advanced Revision/Publication Workshop



Advanced Revision/Publication Workshop (cont.)



Presentations and Course Evaluation



Last Class: Celebration


Course Info

Learning Resource Types

assignment Written Assignments
assignment Presentation Assignments