The Art and Politics of Public Writing HMS-651
Today, everyone has a "hot take"-a piece of commentary that responds quickly to the latest political, cultural, or social event. It competes for public attention in a 24-hour news cycle where journalists, bloggers, and other commentators (amateur and professional) are vying for the public's increasingly divided attention. Because of this, "hot takes" are often disparaged (sometimes deservedly) for substituting a personal opinion and shallow moralizing for thoughtful, deliberate criticism. This course focuses on "the cool take"-commentary that is timely but not hastily produced, a strong individual perspective based on research, data, and revision. In this course, students will learn to identify what constitutes compelling cultural criticism, and employ those same standards while producing their own essays-a piece of writing that puts an exhibition, concert, television episode/series, theatrical production, fashion collection, food trend, or some other cultural production in greater historical, social, political, and/or cultural context.