Undoing the Silence: Six Tools for Social Change Writing (Paperback)

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Undoing the Silence offers guidance to help both citizens and professionals influence democratic process through letters, articles, reports and public testimony. Louise Dunlap, PhD, began her career as an activist writing instructor during the Free Speech Movement of the 1960s. She learned that listening and gaining a feel for audience are just as important to social transformation as the outspoken words of student leaders atop police cars. "Free speech is a first step, but real communication matches speech with listening and understanding. That is when thinking shifts and change happens." Dunlap felt compelled to go where the silences were deepest because her work aimed not just at teaching but also at healing both individual voices and an ailing collective voice. Her tales of those adventures and what she knows about the culture of silence -- how gender, race, education, class, and family work to quiet dissent -- are interwoven with practical methods for people to put their most challenging ideas into words. Louise Dunlap gives writing workshops around the country for universities and social justice, environmental, and peace organizations that help reluctant writers get past their internal censors to find their powerful voice. Her insight strengthens strategic thinking and her "You can do it " approach makes social-action writing achievable for everyone.

About the Author

Louise Dunlap, PhD, began her career as an activist writing instructor during the Free Speech Movement of the 1960s. She trains citizen groups as well as university scholars in the United States and internationally in writing for social change. She is currently a lecturer at Tufts Universiity Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning and member of the Cambridge Peace Commission.

Praise For…

"Undoing the Silence offers six tools to help us write. They are: The Freewriting Tool, The Process Tool, The Thinking Tool, The Audience Tool, The Feed-Back Tool and The Word-Power Tool. As I read through the explanation of each tool and tried the exercises, I noticed that, by trial and error, I have used some of them when I tackle a writing project. However, my employment of such techniques has been pretty haphazard. This toolbox is a wonderful resource because it includes strategies to help us overcome the obstacles that stand in the way of effective writing. Dunlap encourages us to step back from the pressure to make our writing perfect on the first attempt and to let a piece sit while we do something else to recharge our minds. I have found that the freewriting tool is quite liberating and has already enriched my writing. Another very important perspective I have gained is an understanding of my tendency to write in the passive voice. One of the exercises helped me to convert my passive verbs into active ones. A statement such as "it is believed" becomes "I believe". It may be scary to put my own opinions and thoughts into words, but they immediately become more powerful when I do.

There are many more wonderful suggestions and tips for strengthening writing in this book. I believe every writer can benefit from reading it and trying them out. With the help of Louise Dunlap, may we all use our voices more effectively to change our communities for the better!"

- Nancy McKinney, Gustavus Myers Center

"Undoing the Silence: Six Tools for Social Change Writing by Louise Dunlap is like The Artist’s Way for social change activists. This book kicks off by examining why we often find it so difficult to put our thoughts, ideas, and motivations into words much less share them with the public even when we’re passionately dedicated and feel strongly about the issues we’re involved with. On top of our own personal fears of inadequacy that lead to self-silencing, we’ve got institutional silencing to deal with The social structures that discourage anyone from rocking the boat."

- Siel, Green LA Girl: Urban Eco Living by the Beach

Product Details
ISBN: 9780976605492
ISBN-10: 097660549X
Publisher: New Village Press
Publication Date: January 1st, 2008
Pages: 229
Language: English