Writing on Contemporary Issues: Social and Ethical Issues

This is a photograph of a 12 year old girl, Addie Card. She worked as a spinner in the North Pormal [i.e., Pownal] Cotton Mill.

Photograph of Addie Card, 12 years. Spinner in North Pormal [i.e., Pownal] Cotton Mill. (Image courtesy of wikipedia.org)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Spring 2010



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Course Description

This course provides the opportunity for students-as readers, viewers, writers and speakers-to engage with social and ethical issues they care deeply about. Over the course of the semester, through discussing the writing of classic and contemporary authors, we will explore different perspectives on a range of social issues such as free speech, poverty and homelessness, mental illness, capital punishment and racial and gender inequality. In addition, we will analyze selected documentary and feature films and photographs that represent or dramatize social problems or issues. In assigned essays, students will have the opportunity to write about social and ethical issues of their own choice. This course aims to help students to grow significantly in their ability to understand and grapple with arguments, to integrate secondary print and visual sources and to craft well-reasoned and elegant essays. Students will also keep a reading journal and give oral presentations. In class we will discuss assigned texts, explore strategies for successful academic writing, freewrite and respond to one another's essays.

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Andrea Walsh. 21W.730 Writing on Contemporary Issues: Social and Ethical Issues, Spring 2010. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), http://ocw.mit.edu (Accessed). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

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