In the Presence of Beauty: Writing, Healing, Resilience

Fall 2020
Winter 2021
Sophomore - Senior
Class Size: 50
8 Credits per quarter
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This half-time, two-quarter, writing-intensive program will explore ideas and experiences related to the many facets of beauty. Why does beauty matter? How does it influence us? What makes something beautiful? These are questions that different communities and cultures answer differently. What seem like individual “preferences” turn out to be influenced by power and tradition, which impact people in a variety of ways. We’ll study and write about beauty through a variety of lenses, including social justice, the environment, community, and literary art.

Faculty expertise in poetry, spoken word, creative nonfiction, disability justice, and community studies will guide our journey. Students will practice both critical and creative writing. We’ll read and write poems and essays, watch films, experience guided, self-paced outdoor field activities, and study spoken word through videos and live performance. And we'll work to digest these rich materials in seminar. We’ll explore links between literary arts, beauty, and community. During fall quarter, our focus will be on individual expressions and experiences of beauty using the aesthetic theme of color and the socio-political theme of healing. During winter quarter, we’ll focus on community experiences and expressions of beauty through the elemental theme of water and socio-political theme of resilience.

This program will provide significant occasions for individual and collective learning, as we develop a vocabulary around beauty, bridge theory into practice, and work across differences. Students will leave with a portfolio of work related to the many facets and edges of beauty, and an understanding of how this powerful element permeates every aspect of our world.

To successfully participate in this program, students will need access to a computer and Internet. It's best not to use a cell phone, if possible, as activities, readings and assignments are more difficult to navigate.  Students can expect our remote class sessions to be around six hours per week (two three-hour classes, with breaks!) using Canvas and Zoom, and an additional 10-14 hours of coursework (assignments, readings, etc.) per week on their own time. This fulfills Evergreen's general workload expectations for an eight-credit program, with some grace for these unusual times.


Fall 2020 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (8): 10235
Winter 2021 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (8): 20091

Academic details

Preparatory For

Education, communication, public service, nonprofits, public health, counseling, the arts.

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing


In Person or Remote
Remote (F)
Remote (W)
Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting