Class 'Travels' to Mid-East Through Literature

Dr. Andrea W. Herrmann, professor in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing at UALR, offers students a way to tour the Middle East without leaving Arkansas. All it takes is enrolling in her Tuesday evening class, “Reading and Writing in the Middle East.”
“This is a great class because it allows the participants to experience life in the Middle East through the eyes and words of residents — that is, talented writers who have taken some very interesting journeys of discovery during their lives,” Herrmann said. “We see the ups and downs, for example, of being a woman in certain Middle Eastern countries where residents in general and females in particular may have few rights — at least according to our own cultural experiences.”

One of the readings students will understand what it is like to undergo a female circumcision and how that impacts a woman’s life forever after.  The class will read about and discuss lives of committed intellectuals, how they developed intellectually despite their society’s lack of intellectual freedom.

“Students are encouraged to consider issues of ethnocentrism, their cultural assumptions, and to examine more closely their own values and how they acquired them,” she said. “This is a literature course where students learn to see how successful these books works as literature.  And this is a writing course, where students learn to develop their writing abilities by creating a variety of focused and organized essays based on their experiences reading the texts.”

And they will learn about the the Middle East through its literature, Herrmann said.

“We will talk a lot about the Middle East, an area of the world I have a special interest in,” Herrmann said, who lived in Morocco for two years, one year in Iran, and recently spent a month in Turkey.

The class,  “Topics in Nonfiction Writing:  Reading/Writing @ the Middle East, Rhet 4/5347.01, will meet from 6 to 8:40 p.m. Tuesdays this fall and is open to graduate as well as undergraduate students. Contact Herrmann at 501-569-8331

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