Seminar – (required for first-year nonfiction students) The seminar provides an introduction to research in archival, electronic, reportorial, and other worlds. Interviewing and unconventional methods of gathering information are discussed, as are questions of interpretation, systems for organizing research materials, and the ethical issues raised by research and reporting. Students bring to the seminar a subject they want to explore in depth. Assignments, which leave students entirely free to pursue their topics, include independent reading (from a highly focused list compiled by the student), a face-to-face interview of a source relevant to the research topic. The course aims to give nonfiction students the skills and the time to complete a significant amount of research from which to write during their second year of MFA study. The final paper is a 10-page narrative incorporating a significant portion of the research done during the semester.
Class meetings: For the first few weeks, the whole class will meet together. After that, students will meet in small tutorial groups (of four or five students) every other Thursday morning. The schedule for the tutorials will be announced as soon as the roster is complete.
*** Prerequisite: a discussion with the professor before registering for the course, to define the topic(s) to be investigated and the work(s) likely to be written from the research. Please phone Prof. O'Toole (212) 861-5623 by November 15. ***
Students with extensive research experience (as journalists or academics, for example) may apply for a waiver. Please phone to discuss.