Personal Narrative and STEM Research
9 units (3-0-6) | third term
This course focuses on personal narrative and memoir writing by STEM researchers. STEM research strives for objectivity and replicability, and key genres of STEM research writing require that writers repress their subjectivity and individuality. However, a researcher's experience of inquiry is often deeply personal and emotional, and some researchers choose to write about those experiences in personal essays and memoirs. We will analyze a wide variety of this narrative writing, and we will examine connections between the narratives' formal features and the rhetorical effects they might have on readers. Drawing on what we learn, students will compose an excerpt of their own memoir or a stand-alone personal narrative essay. The course will also explore current approaches to spoken storytelling sometimes utilized by researchers, such as the Moth story and the TED talk. Satisfies the Institute scientific writing requirement and the option oral communications requirement for humanities majors.