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Language and Identity for Bilingual Writers (English/Spanish) 

Department: Literature: Writing                                  

Instructors: Shelby Driscoll-Salemi and Ana Carrete
Instructors' Emails: 
Prerequisites: None

Course Description

Through the appreciation of contemporary bilingual works of literature and literary theory, conversational hikes through nature, and English/Spanish experimental writing exercises, this course will engage in the exploration of the identity concerns of bilingual contemporary student writers. We will read and analyze texts that cross borders and dimensions of a political nature, but also of time, technologies, space, and genre (gender).  This course will address the examination of identity as a question pertaining to all human beings, but specifically the peculiar challenges in identity development shaped by bilingualism/biculturalism. Student writers are encouraged to work with the lyrical aspects of any literary genre (fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction and playwriting) in any support or platform with an experimental approach to literature. Participants will experience the freedom of writing in a safe bilingual peer collaborative learning environment and will value the significance of the bilingual mind in the exploration of the possibilities of language, and in relation to Wittgenstein’s well-known aphorism: “the limits of language mean the limits of my world”.

Course Goals / Learning Objectives

Students can expect to develop a conceptual framework of ideas and approaches that are involved in the production and critique of bilingual writing. Participants will exercise their ability to engage with the selected readings accompanied by academic reading strategies and to express a personal perspective based on informed arguments. Students are will be expected to understand the significance of identity as a concept and the diverse ways in which it is relevant in the writing practice. Participants will be  encouraged  to  experiment  with form and mediation in order to explore  innovative ways of textual production.


Course Outline

  • Introduction to Bilingual Writing
    • What is Bilingual Writing?
    • Conditions that give rise to bilingual speaker
    • Genre
  • Telling my story
    • Bilingual Experience
    • Identity and creativity
    • Responding critically to creative writing
    • Language and the Conceptualization of the World
  • Postproduction in Bilingual Writing
    • Is Translation a Bad Thing?
    • Editing vs Revision
    • Revision strategies
    • Ready to Publish?


*Courses vary by experience and exposure to content. Instructors have the ability to change content and pace to serve the needs of students. Courses have been modified for online teaching.