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  • Seminar
  • Online: Zoom
  • Advanced

Toward an Anti-Racist Writing Workshop: Why and How Culture, Ethnicity, Race, Nationality Matter in Workshop - IU Workshop Session II

No Longer Enrolling

  • $0.00 Non-Member
  • $0.00 Member

Class Description

Please note: This session is open to GrubStreet instructors only. This session will also be recorded.

Commitment: Pre-session readings: (hyperlink for readings * Listed below)

This session draws from the recent, groundbreaking book by Felicia Rose Chavez, The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop, quoted below, and discusses and unpacks the values, mechanics, and toolbox for an anti-racist writing workshop:

  • co-creating an archive of living and contemporary BIPOC authors and authors with intersecting identities;
  • educating workshop participants to read BIPOC writers through discussion and practice of specific craft elements such as voice, characterization, imagery, and arrangement (Chavez), and with awareness of their positionality/situated knowledge in the reading experience;
  • discussing racialized content through the same specific craft elements;
  • centering trust - and earning trust - when facilitating workshop discussions;
  • co-creating a shared lexicon of craft that de facto levels the playing field of the workshop by dismantling assumed ( often vague) and thus inequitable knowledge of craft;
  • co-creating shared intercultural critique guidelines centered on the writer's agency and experimentation (rather than the workshop comfort and familiarity or judgment)

To delve more deeply into these complex topics with vulnerability and shared language, we invite participating instructors to read the texts below before attending the session and to bring questions and reactions.

  • Claudia Rankine “In Our Way: Racism in Creative Writing”
  • Ch. 5 "Owning the Language of Craft”, Felicia Rose Chavez, The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop.

*Assigned Readings

Certain experiences are said to belong to sociology and not to poetry…to write beyond the white imagination’s notion of normality and normality’s traumas is to write “political poetry”...For in order for poetry to be poetry white readers must find it relatable and only then can it transcend its unrelatable “nonwhite” writers.

[Yet] white civility, intelligence, and imagination and beauty included having slaves, building reservations and internment camps, lynching people, witholding the right to vote and incarcerating large segments of non white population.

Claudia Rankine in Chavez, p. 93-94.

Viewed as such, the white imagination is profoundly political, and (....) contingent to nonwhite imagination.

Chavez, p.94

Workshop leaders’ treatment of [POC authored] texts is rooted in sociology, artfulness comes second, if at all. But if there is no such a thing as neutrality - if all art is political art - then why do identity politics only surface when reading writers of color? Why aren’t workshop leaders scrutinizing authorial race and racialized content when it comes to white writers and their (presumably) white characters (for a lack of racial tagging automatically translates to “normal” and white, right?)

(...) Exposure (of white students to James Baldwin) is a tired, lazy, self-congratulary approach (...) Enough with this fumbling, lopsided consideration of content. Isolating writers of color as Other, necessitates exhaustive analysis lest white readers feel lost, is the equivalent of parading the exotic specimen at the fair.

(...) I remember an hourlong workshop in which my peers fixated on guilty my essay made them feel about their white privilege…I left workshop with no revision notes and a certainty that I’d bury my essay, because if white readers didn’t like it, then noone would, right?

Chavez, p. 123-124

Class Format

This class will take place using Zoom videoconferencing. About 15 minutes before your class is scheduled to begin, you'll receive an email from your instructor with a link to join the class meeting!

Scholarships Format/Location

Thanks to the excellent literary citizenship of our donors, scholarships are available for all GrubStreet classes. To apply, click the gray "APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP" button. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your application at least one week before the start date of a class. Please await our scholarship committee's decision before registering for the class. We cannot hold spots in classes, so the sooner you apply, the better. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

For more detailed information about GrubStreet scholarships, including how to contribute to scholarship funds for other students, click here.

This class will take place using Zoom videoconferencing. Please visit the Resources tab to access the video-conference link.

Zoom Participation:

Students are not required to turn their camera on, but are encouraged to participate any way they feel comfortable through functions such as the live chat, emoji reactions, and unmuting the microphone. Learn more about using Zoom here.

Zoom Accessibility:

We ask that instructors enable closed captioning and send a transcript of the session after class. You can also enable closed captioning at any time during the meeting. If your instructor forgets to send the transcript, just send ’em an email!