What I'm Learning This Week

I've had this stuck in my head for a few weeks now - I should do another 'what I'm learning post!' I was stoked to write up one and read the ones from the past...and then I realized...I've only written one. For some reason I thought I had written 4-5 over the past year. Guess not! Anyway, with a new batch of classes, this is what I'm learning!

african american literature.
Oh, three hundred level lit classes. I specifically took this course because one of my favorite professors was teaching it. She's tough, but worth it. Right now we're still hovering around abolition and reading mostly slave narratives or early works of Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington. To be completely honest, I'm ready for something a bit more modern, but in the meantime, it's nothing I can't handle. The best part is that, living in Boston, we're right in the middle of a historical goldmine. We recently went on a walking tour of all the historical sites and got to see where a lot of the people we're reading lived! 

the art of nonfiction.
I'm actually taking two nonfiction-based courses this year: one that's a literature class and one that's a workshop. This is reading-based: lots of handouts and long, rambling essays. Again, we aren't staying very modern and most of what's been handed to us is good, but not intriguing. Class discussion is always lively. I'm aching for some David Sedaris, but I have a feeling the professor isn't someone that would be inclined. In the meantime, I'm hoping he lets us do more writing exercises in class. Always the best part :]

sexuality, gender, and the american media.
Okay, this is a weird class. We watch a lot of music videos and tv shows and our screenings are AMAZING. It's a block class, meaning I have it once a week for four hours...which is a lot for a gender class. I'm taking it as an interdisciplinary requirement, and it fuses visual/media arts and marketing in such a weird way. By far the coolest part was watching Miss Representation, which is all about the cultural image we report to girls and how they make sense of it while also trying to see how they can be leaders in the world. They interview lots of high-profile businesswomen and politicians, who all have amazing input. I swear, I could talk about gender norms for DAYS.

nonfiction workshop.
Currently we're reading The True Story of Henrietta Lacks. It's all about the immortal HeLa cells, which are responsible for cancer research, the polio vaccine, and much more. And, they all came from one African-American woman in the 1950's - without her consent. It's an excellent work of nonfiction, combining profile writing (of Henrietta Lacks and her family), travel writing (the author following the story all over the North and South), and personal essay (the author inserts herself and actively describes how she stumbles upon these different topics). It's truly a wonderful book. On top of that, I have to write my first of three essays...and I have no ideas. None at all. Why do professors give writing prompts this broad!? Maybe i'll just turn in my blog...

What were your favorite things  you learned in school? 

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