UNIT 1: Place-Based Narrative Writing and the Argument

Place-Based Narrative Writing and the Argument

Ana Zalyubovskiy

In this unit students explore and practice narrative as a foundation for rhetoric, the art of persuasion. Introducing some of the foundational topics within the Ecology of Place theme, the work includes representative narrative essays that invite questions about natural and urban spaces and our place within them. Although narration may also play a part in more formal argumentative essays, the readings and other media in Unit 1 are especially applicable to using primarily narration as the mode of discourse and will be helpful models for studying narrative technique and eliciting discussion. Themes include environmental justice, climate change, animal cognition, indigenous knowledge, geography’s effect on people, and the benefits of spending time in nature.

Unit 1 Readings

Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi: “The Danger of a Single Story,” TEDGlobal, ted.com, July 2009. (Video: 18:34 min.)

Birch, Tony. “Recovering a Narrative of Place: Stories in the Time of Climate Change,” excerpt from “First Things First,” 60th edition of Griffith Review, The Conversation April 26, 2018.

Cooper, Christian. It’s a Bird. Represent 2020 (Click link to search title and download a FREE copy).

Dillard, Annie. “Living Like Weasels,” Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters, Oct. 13, 2009, HarperCollins.

Finney, Carolyn. “This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land: People and Public Lands Redux.” The George Wright Forum, Vol. 27, No 3, 2010, pp. 247-254.

Kimmerer, Robin. “Take What is Given to You.” Robin Kimmerer, Bioneers Reader: Intelligence in Nature, Bioneers.org, 2014.

Lopez, Barry. “The invitation.” Granta 133, November 18, 2015.

Lopez, Barry. “A Literature of Place.” Portland Magazine, Summer 1997.

Mason, Ron and Charles Massey. “Holding Up the Sky.” (Excerpt) Granta 153, November 19, 2020.

Nurnberger, Kathryn. “Against an Apocalyptic Vision.” Brevity Magazine. brevitymag.com. September 3, 2021.

Shiva, Vandana. “Everything I Need to Know I Learned in the Forest.” Yes! May 3, 2019.

Swanson, Heather Anne. “The Banality of the Anthropocene.” Society for Cultural Anthropology. February 22, 2017.

Rafeyenko, Volodymyr. “Signs of an Approaching War.” Granta. granta.com. London, UK, July 28, 2022.

Wallace, David Foster. “Consider the Lobster.” Gourmet Magazine, 2004 (excerpt from Consider the Lobster and Other Essays, Little, Brown and Co. 2005.


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