Here is the beginning:
My “Writing New York” course this term at the New York Institute of Technology invites students to develop greater facility with visual and digital tools as they construct arguments analyzing the role of New York in poetry, prose, and fiction from predominately the first half of the twentieth century.
The students began navigating modernism’s visual history early in the term. While reading Elizabeth Losh, et al.’s Understanding Rhetoric: A Graphic Guide to Writing, the students practiced constructing visual arguments while exploring the relationship between the design of a little magazine published in New York and its contents in our “Visual Literacy and the Modernist Journals Project” assignment. (The digital tasks described here took place during the second half of an eighty-minute class period.) When we read Edith Wharton’s “New Year’s Day” from Old New York (1924), the students interpreted the role of the city in the characters’ interactions in an assigned section of the reading, investigating the significance of their locations using Google Maps. In “Locating Old New York,” the students had unexpected observations, including the number of fires that the novella’s Fifth Avenue Hotel experienced in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This assignment also enabled the students to gain greater familiarity with “New Year’s Day” in preparation for their essays analyzing the role of humanity amidst the machinery of the city in E. B. White’s “Here is New York” (1949), Wharton’s story, or in both texts.
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