Readings (30 minutes)

This week, you’ll look around your world and identify social issues you encounter in your day-to-day life. In addition, you’ll do some freewriting about your own background to try and unpack which issues are most important to you because of who you are.

#1: Who are you? (15 minutes)

In her book Evocative Objects, Sherry Turkle interviewed several accomplished artists and engineers to find out about an object they loved and how it defined them. Take ten minutes to read one of the following essays by Sherry Turkle or Paul Auster. As you read, keep the following questions in mind:

Key Questions:

Which objects ground you and have helped you form your own identity?

What does that object say about your lived experience and your positionality in society?

After you read, take five minutes to free-write a response to one or more of the key questions. This response is just a way to collect your thoughts for discussion later - you never have to share the text of your free-writing with the group! Feel free to handwrite or to open a separate Google Doc for this exercise.

#2: What is the social issue that you care about? (15 minutes)

Next, let’s identify a social issue that you care about.

Take ten minutes to read one of the following essays to help you explore the social issue you will focus on during this course. Peter Elbow explains the use of writing as a tool for thinking and growing ideas, and Herb Kohl demonstrates how the world is the best classroom and how not-learning can spark social change. As you read, keep the following questions in mind:

Key Questions:

What issues in the world around me am I connected to?

What are the problems that I engage with in my life that I want to tackle?

After you read one of the articles, take five minutes to free-write a response to one or more of the key questions above to collect your thoughts.


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