Skip to main content
Social Action

Social Action Writing

Course dates

July 2 to July 15, 2018

Application deadline

THE APPLICATION DEADLINE FOR THIS COURSE HAS BEEN EXTENDED! Please contact the Course Coordinator for information.

  • Use your writing to change the world! Whether you write fiction, poetry, essays, or journalism, work with mentor writers to learn to write well, publish your work, and inspire action.
  • Transform life experiences and political perspectives into literary narratives that inspire readers to take action.
  • Discern various types of social action writing; cross genres and boundaries to place audience and impact at the center of your writing.
  • Learn how your writing can come to audience via online publications, daily news sources, literary and academic publications, and books.
  • Discover how journalism, fiction, non-fiction and personal narrative intersect and explore these intersections with an eye on social impact.
  • Explore how you represent various cultures and develop facility moving into standpoint-specific narrative.
  • Read your work in a public student showcase.


Undergraduate: ENGL 421, 3 units
Graduate/post-baccalaureate: ENGL 621, 3 units




All people with basic college-level writing skills can apply and improve the social impact of their writing. Because students will be focused on their own work, writers at different levels can all progress together.


  • Submit a statement of interest (no more than one page) and a three-page writing sample of any writing form.
  • Submit/upload the materials listed above when you apply online by April 30, 2018.


Professor Kimberly Dark


Kimberly Dark is a writer, storyteller and raconteur, working to reveal the hidden architecture of everyday life one clever essay, poem, and story at a time. She uses humor, surprise and intimacy to help audiences discover their influences, and reclaim their power as social creators. Kimberly teaches in the graduate program in Sociological Practice at CSU, San Marcos and at Cal State Summer Arts.

Kimberly Dark has written award-winning plays, facilitated and performed for a wide range of audiences in various countries over the past two decades. Her essays appear in popular online publications such as Everyday Feminism and Ravishly. Her poetry and prose are available in various literary and academic publications. Her storytelling performances and interactive lectures make big, complex ideas relatable at campuses, conferences, companies and anywhere people seek startling revelations and positive change. Beloved by diverse audiences, Kimberly crosses boundaries to show how we must engage all the wisdom and verve we have to create the most compassionate, fair and inclusive world we can.

Guest Artists

Kiese Laymon

Kiese Laymon –

Kiese Laymon is a Black southern writer, born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. Kiese attended Millsaps College and Jackson State University before graduating from Oberlin College. He earned an MFA in Fiction from Indiana University, and is currently a professor of English and African American Studies at the University of Mississippi, and a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Nonfiction at the University of Iowa.

Kiese is the author of the novel, "Long Division," and a collection of essays, "How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America." He has written essays, stories, and reviews for numerous publications, including Esquire, McSweeneys, The New York Times, ESPN the Magazine, Colorlines, NPR, LitHub, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, PEN Journal, Fader, Oxford American, The Best American Series, Ebony, and Guernica. He is a contributing editor to Oxford American. "Long Division" was named one of the "Best of 2013" by Buzzfeed, The Believer, Salon, Guernica, Contemporary Literature, Mosaic Magazine, Library Journal, Chicago Tribune, and the Crunk Feminist Collective. It was also short-listed for the Believer Book Award, the Ernest Gaines Award, and the Morning News Tournament of Books. "Long Division" won the 2014 Saroyan International Writing Award. Three essays in "How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in Americahave been included in the Best American series, the Best of Net Award, and The Atlantic's Best Essays of 2013. Kiese was selected a member of the Root 100 in 2013 and 2014 and Ebony Magazine Power 100 in 2015. He has two books forthcoming, including a memoir called "Heavy" and a novel called "And So On," both from Scribner.

Sarah Schulman

Sarah Schulman –

Sarah Schulman is a novelist, playwright, nonfiction writer, screenwriter, and AIDS historian. Her nineteen books include The Cosmopolitans, selected by Publisher's Weekly as one of the best American novels of 2016, and Conflict is Not Abuse, now in its 5th printing, winner of the Publishing Triangle Nonfiction Prize.

Sarah is on the advisory board of Jewish Voice For Peace, and is on the advisory board of Claudia Rankine's Racial Imaginary Institute. She is Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at the College of Staten Island, CUNY, and co-founder of their new Institute of HIV/AIDS Studies.

Melissa A. Fabello

Melissa A. Fabello -

Melissa A. Fabello is a feminist writer and speaker whose work focuses on body politics, beauty culture, and eating disorders. Her work has been featured on BuzzFeed, The Guardian, MSNBC, and the BBC, among other outlets. Previously, Melissa worked as Managing Editor of Everyday Feminism, one of the largest independent feminist media websites in the world. She currently works as a digital content strategist, helping individuals and organizations with editorial direction, content creation, social media visibility, and more in order to better utilize the Internet for social change. She is a doctoral candidate in Widener University's Human Sexuality Studies program, where her research focuses on how women with anorexia nervosa experience skin hunger. 

She also holds an MA in human sexuality from Widener, as well as a BS in English education from Boston University. She has more than a decade of experience working with topics like domestic violence, sexual assault prevention, body acceptance, and more. Her online articles and video essays have reached hundreds of thousands. You can find her in various corners of the Internet, usually trying to cause trouble or taking a break from the revolution to cuddle with her cat.

Anthony Blacksher

Anthony Blacksher (Ant Black) -

Anthony S. Blacksher is a poet, professor, and vinyl record collector. Writing and performing under the name Ant Black, he is the associate publisher of San Diego Poetry Annual. He performs regularly with the dance collective bkSoul, producing collaborative theater for social justice and awareness. As a founding member of Collective Purpose and the open-mic Elevated, Anthony helped bring the San Diego spoken word and poetry slam scene to national prominence.

As a part of his research, teaching, and love of poetry, Anthony hosts the blog, using poetry to illustrate the principals and concepts of sociology. His dissertation, Life After Def: New(er) Black Intellectuals in Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam, explores how spoken word poets negotiate their role as intellectuals and performers on a television show.

The Web Part has timed out.