Tell Your Story


Emi Tsuji, Staff Reporter

ENG 480 Special Topics in English: American Autobiography is offered for Fall 2020. Margaret Albrinck, who is a vice president of academic affairs and dean of school of humanities & fine arts, will teach this course. 

ENG 480 is the course to learn critical approaches for the writing genre such as fiction, poetry, and drama. In Fall 2020, it will focus on the genre of autobiography, which is a form of writing about their own life story. Albrinck describes this course, “I think rather than making up a story, hearing about how one tells the story of one’s own life can be very interesting. From a literary perspective, we have to do a bunch of shaping and we cut things out and we highlight other things when we tell our own stories and so it’s interesting to see how that happens in a book,” Albrinck stated.  

This course is also recommended for book-lovers. “I’m still working on the book list, but we’ll be doing a combination of analysis and personal writing in this class.  We’ll be looking at the Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, by Gertrude Stein, portions of The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston, and The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, by Benjamin Franklin.  We will also be reading one graphic narrative and viewing one autobiographical film by Ross McElwee.  I’m also planning to include one contemporary autobiography by an African-American author, but I’m deciding between Sarah Broom and Ta-Nehisi Coates right now,” Albrinck mentioned. 

Albrinck explained that this course helps students to develop. “I think it helps us just as human beings to become more sensitive and empathetic. And we do that by really listening to each other’s stories. I also think it helps one become a better listener, and a better reader, and a better writer, and that is helpful no matter what career one goes into,” Albrinck stated. 

She ended up leaving a comment for the students who are interested in this course. “I really encourage students who have an interest in telling their own story to consider the class. And, I heard students who are really interested in learning about it think it could be good for students in any major. Really, I don’t think you have to be an English major or writing major to enjoy and appreciate the work we do in the class,” Albrinck mentioned. 

The prerequisites for the course are taking at least one 200-level English course before and being junior or higher standings. According to Albrinck, english and writing major students are recommended to take this course, but it is open for all students in any major.