Writing in Global Contexts


WRITING 380: Travel Writing: Writing about place, people, transition and transformation

In Western literature, there’s a long history of writing about travel—both the physical and mental journeys taken away from home. From The Odyssey to The Travels of Marco Polo, to accounts of Europeans on “the Grand Tour,” audiences have been drawn to the experiences that others undertake abroad and the way those experiences transform the lives of the people who take them. Today, travel literature remains a popular and enduring form—its variations encompass everything from social media posts and in-flight magazines to influential and best-selling books. Given this over-abundance, what’s an aspiring travel writer to do? How can young authors possibly write something fresh about places that have been written about ad nauseum for centuries, if not millennia? In a world where practically every corner has been mapped, how can travelling and travel writing possibly take the author and reader anywhere new?

The answer that this course proposes is two-fold, with the first being craft. Readers engage with stories about familiar places because the writer’s prose is irresistible—we can’t help but take a second (or third, or hundredth) helping of the same place because what’s on the page is just that good. The second is through insight. Readers engage with familiar places because the ideas are new—the writer manages to show something unexpected out of a world we thought we knew. Such travel-writing often moves beyond the physical, drawing in elements of social critique, memoir, philosophy, history and more.

Writing 380: Exploring Mythologies, Ancestry, & Oral Tradition in Greece

In this Greece Julymester, students will explore the fragmented knowledge of their personal ancestry and how these fragments and gaps can be empowering opportunities to (re)write their own mythologies, bridging the gaps between their personal identity journeys and their familial histories. The reason I’m choosing Greece for this Julymester is because of its historical and cultural significance to oration, storytelling, theater, mythology, and the juxtaposition of the modern digital world existing with the backdrop of ancient relics and ruins. Students will draw inspiration from the deep historical landscape of Greece, touring the many iconic ruins like the Acropolis and the Parthenon, Greek temples, and Greek amphitheaters.

With a mixture of historical excursions, explorations of other Greek islands, creative and scholastic readings, and guided writing prompts, students will reflectively excavate the ruins of their own identity and familial ancestry to develop personal mythologies. Students will engage readings on personal identity, Greek Mythology, and oral tradition to help enrich their writing projects beyond a single genre.

The writing in this Julymester will be multimodal so students can utilize photographs, video, and most importantly, audio to create the deepest work. Students will be encouraged to see themselves as storytellers in the oral tradition, blending genres like essay writing, poetry, and playwriting, to see how hybrid-multimodal projects can provide deeper analytical reflections of identity.



“Global writing” refers to writing strategies that teach students about differences in rhetorical styles around the world and writing for a global audience. In this Julymester course, we will create an immersive study abroad experience in Paris, arguably one of the most dynamic hubs for cultural and social exchange in the world. This course asks students to perform comparative rhetorical analyses of familiar genres in US English and French to identify differences in writing styles and the cultural environments that create them. How and why are specific writing genres stylistically different in other parts of the world? How can students shift their writing away from US-centric expectations and more towards a global audience? In doing this work, students will also gain a stronger understanding of US English rhetorical approaches and the ways in which Englishes differ across the globe. If students are becoming global citizens, they must understand and participate in different writing styles. In short, they must learn to be global writers.

This program is not currently accepting applications



Barcelona has long been a lightning rod for social change. Located on the eastern shores of Spain, the city remains adjacent to many social issues – the migrant crisis, global climate change, right-wing populism, etc. Barcelona is a global city with numerous identities and a long history of activism and social reform. From its vibrant city center to its impoverished margins, Barcelona has its social inequities on full display. Inspired by movements of the past and present, today’s activists and reformers demand change through increasingly dynamic means. Be it organizing in public spaces, building street art installations, or penning buzz-worthy plays, Barcelona’s activists adopt many artforms to assist in their messaging. While in Barcelona, students complete a series of writing projects that evaluate and analyze these cultural artifacts to assess their rhetorical impact. Such artifacts include museum exhibits, murals, theatrical performances, protests/marches, and more. In turn, students use their writing to consider the impact of individual social movements and, in some cases, contribute to the discourses these movements generate. Ultimately, students will consider how to apply what they learned about Barcelona’s social movements to similar movements back home. From homelessness and poverty to climate change and voting rights, many social issues in Barcelona mirror those in Los Angeles. Students will ask each other – How can we take what we learned with us back home to re-imagine and re-invigorate local, L.A. based activism efforts? Students are encouraged to write, ignite, unite!

This program is not currently accepting applications