College Writing: Cultural Identity

Instructor: Rachael Benavidez | rachael.benavidez@qc.cuny.edu
Class Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 6:40 p.m.–8:30 p.m. in Kiely Hall 416
Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 4:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. or by appointment | KP 340

In this course, you will learn the expectations and strategies of academic writing by writing about cultural identity. We typically value cultural identity as integral to who we are as individuals, but in contemporary society, we all “belong” to multiple cultural identities at once that include complex combinations of race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, nationality, and class. As noted by cultural theorist Stuart Hall, we assume various identities and behaviors to transform ourselves into what is appropriate to locations and social situations. But even though these multiple cultural identities can provide opportunities for individuals to fit within communities, they can contradict one another and lead to internal, interpersonal and intergroup conflict. You will learn that writing is a thoughtful conversation and develop the confidence to enter such conversations, or, even better, start ones of your own.

Image: The Block (1971) by Romare Bearden (1911-1988) is a tribute to Harlem, the community in which he established his first studio. Bearden was a social worker from the mid-1930s through 1960, and much of his work reflects his concerns for social issues (beardenfoundation.org).

How do the various pieces in Bearden’s collage affect your perception of the image as a whole?

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