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First-Year Writing Seminar: Walking and Writing in New York City

Semester and Year FA 2012
Course Number FIRST-UG384
Section 001
Instructor Helena Ribeiro
Days Tue,Thu
Time 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Units 4.0
Level U
Foundation Requirement


Open to Gallatin first-year students only.


Writing and walking are both peripatetic activities: we wander through our ideas, making observations along the way, often taking a detour or two before arriving at our conclusion. This class will take the streets of New York as its starting point—our “primary text” will be the City itself—and we will read the ways in which it has been walked through on paper, often in the form of descriptions of seeing it for the first time, or re-seeing it as if it were the first. Through a series of writing assignments, including informal journals and analytic, revised essays, students will contextualize and historicize their journeys through these texts–and through the city–as we come to understand how New York City got from “there” to “here.” Readings may include works by Paul Dunbar, Gloria Naylor, Walter Benjamin, W.J.T. Mitchell, Michel de Certeau, Walt Whitman, Edgar Allan Poe, Diane Di Prima, Joyce Johnson, Rita Mae Brown, James Baldwin, Charles Brockden Brown, Henry James, José Martí, Hart Crane, Frank O’ Hara, Nathanael West, Jacob Riis, and others.



Course Type

First-Year Program: Writing Seminars (FIRST-UG)

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New York University
Gallatin School of Individualized Study
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