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Washington and Lee University    
  Feb 23, 2018
2017-2018 University Catalog archived

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SPAN 346 - Poetry in Prison: Immigration. Empathy, and Community Engagement

Credits: 3

Prerequisites: SPAN 240 and 275. This course emphasizes community-engaged learning through readings of Spanish-American poetry, critical theory, and philosophy on empathy for otherness and immigration across the Hemispheric Americas, in concert with a series of intensive, weekly poetry workshops in the most restrictive maximum-security detention center in the United States for undocumented, unaccompanied youth from Mexico and the Northern Triangle. Invoking and testing insights from the texts in the syllabus, undergraduates work with and for the incarcerated children in term-long partnerships, collaborating in the poetry workshops to respond to a diversity of writing prompts examining the intertwined themes of borders and belonging. Students maintain a writing journal wherein they individually engage in sustained reflection on community needs, course objectives, current events, theorizations of justice, concepts of belonging, empathic philosophies, and affective politics. In this manner, students develop their ability to read, write, and converse in multiple regional varieties of Spanish and gain cultural awareness and insights into Hispanic peoples and culture. Michelson.

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