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While other courses at the College build students up, English 53.04 breaks them down — and in that way it acts as a catalyst for real change. The course “Telling Stories for Social Change,” taught by English professor Ivy Schweitzer and women’s, gender and sexuality studies professor Pati Hernández, pushes students out of a traditional method of learning by memorizing theory into understanding through experience.
On Oct. 26, a film documenting ENGL 53.04 called “It’s Criminal” was screened in Loew Auditorium in the Hopkins Center of the Arts. Following the progression of the “Telling Stories for Social Change” class during the summer of 2010, “It’s Criminal” has been screened at various venues across the country since the spring 2017 term. The plot of the film focuses on the transformative experiences of inmates and students as they work together over the course of 10 weeks to write and perform an original play.