May 1, 2013

Service-Learning Opportunities this Summer

This summer, the Department of English is offering two very special courses through Open Minds, the partnership between Virginia Commonwealth University and the Richmond City Sheriff’s Office.  These courses enable college students to take dialogue-intensive, service-learning courses with residents of the Richmond City Jail.  If you are interested in these courses, please contact the instructors listed below. Or for further information about the program, please contact David Coogan at dcoogan@vcu.edu.

English 366: Writing and Social Change: Crime Fiction
Summer Session: 5/21/13-7/11/13, TR 1:00-3:40pm

Fiction has a long history of influencing social change through powerful depictions of real-world issues such as slavery, corporate corruption, poverty, and government abuse of power. In this class, VCU
students and residents of the Richmond City Jail will come together to explore the potential for change in individuals and society through reading and writing crime fiction. Students will generate a portfolio
of work that is enriched by a deeper understanding of the criminal justice system and the people involved in it. Professor Crawford is a published crime writer and a private investigator.

This course is a part of OPEN MINDS, a partnership between the Richmond City Sheriff’s Office and Virginia Commonwealth University offering dual enrollment classes held at the Richmond City Jail. These classes challenge all students, incarcerated and free, to think critically about the social problems surrounding crime. All students learn to dialogue respectfully and imaginatively about their shared
humanity; to write creatively and analytically in search of common ground; and to link the liberal arts to personal experience and ethical ways of living.

Students must apply in writing to be considered for this course and (if selected) meet with the course instructor, Professor Crawford, and the program co-directors, Dr. Coogan (English department, VCU) and Mr. Dooley (Education Department, Richmond City Jail) as a part of the application process.  In 2 -3 paragraphs explain what you hope to learn from this course and what you hope to contribute. Send your application essay to Professor Crawford at crawfordml@vcu.edu by Friday April 26 2013. All OPEN MINDS students must pass a background check and comply with the rules and expectations outlined by the Richmond City Sheriff’s Office.  See www.openminds.vcu.edu for more details. Direct any questions about the program to Dr. Coogan at dcoogan@vcu.edu.

 

English 391: Topics in Literature: Political Prisoners, Political Literature Summer Session: 5/21/13-7/11/13, MW 1:00-3:40pm

The course engages the most enduring dilemmas facing prisoners in 20th century Europe, Great Britain, Africa, Asia and the Americas; people whose lives are interrupted by incarceration as a result of political upheaval and persecution. How do they overcome the isolation, injustice, racism and deprivation to write and publish? What can their writings teach us about politics, spirituality and survival? Readings may include selections from the works of Reinaldo Arenas, Leonard Peltier, Nawal El Saadawi, Jean Genet, Eugenia Ginzburg, Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn, and Mila D. Aguilar.

This course is a part of OPEN MINDS, a partnership between the Richmond City Sheriff’s Office and Virginia Commonwealth University offering dual enrollment classes held at the Richmond City Jail. These classes challenge all students, incarcerated and free, to think critically about the social problems surrounding crime. All students learn to dialogue respectfully and imaginatively about their shared humanity; to write creatively and analytically in search of common ground; and to link the liberal arts to personal experience and ethical ways of living.

Students must apply in writing to be considered for this course and (if selected) meet with the course instructor, Professor Reed, and the program co-directors, Dr. Coogan (English department, VCU) and Mr. Dooley (Education Department, Richmond City Jail) as a part of the application process.  In 2 -3 paragraphs explain what you hope to learn from this course and what you hope to contribute. Send your application essay to Professor Reed at kreed@vcu.edu by Friday April 26 2013. All OPEN MINDS students must pass a background check and comply with the rules and expectations outlined by the Richmond City Sheriff’s Office.  See www.openminds.vcu.edu for more details. Direct any questions about the program to Dr. Coogan at dcoogan@vcu.edu.