Freak accidents, natural disasters, street violence—whether seemingly unique or life-changing, emergencies or news of them enter our experiences daily. This course will investigate emergencies as occasions for writing. Some of the most urgently intentional writing is written in response to a perceived crisis. At the same time, the concepts of “emergency” or “crisis” or “apocalypse” can be interpreted in diverse ways: crises may be pubic, private, fast, slow, political, aesthetic, obvious, subtle, real, imagined, or an overlap of those categories. What counts as a catastrophe for one person may not even register as a problem for another person. How does “emergency” get defined and what kinds of responses—in both writing and action—do different emergencies demand of us? Following the quote above, what purpose, if any, might some emergencies serve? In other words, what emerges from emergencies? An exploration of the language of emergency will center our readings and our own writing projects. Issues that we read about will include the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the New York City housing crisis, and racialized violence in post-9/11 USA. In this class, we will analyze music videos, plays, graphic design, short stories, memes, poetry, film, and nonfiction. We will engage with this material through weekly writing assignments, two medium-sized essays, and a longer research project in which you will choose a topic that relates to the course theme and research its relation to crisis as a rhetoric, or a means of persuasion, that beckons us to understand its influences upon us.


English 2100: Writing 1, Rhetorics of Crisis in Times of Disaster

Section HTRJ-67607 | Fall 2018


Professor: Chad Frisbie, Department of English

Class time & location: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:55am-11:35am

Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays after class (email to set up time)

Office: VC 7-290K (4076)

Email: Chad.Frisbie@baruch.cuny.edu