Our scriptorium, a “place for writing,” will function as a class for beginning writers and for those students who want to improve their essay skills. We will read to write and write to read. Much of our time will be occupied with writing probatively, as essai means “trial” or “attempt.” This class will explore anthropologist Mary Douglas’s idea: “Just as it is true that everything symbolizes the body, so it is equally true (and all the more so for that reason) that the body symbolizes everything else.” We will read model examples of theory and criticism on the body with a focus on race, sexuality, and gender studies. As we practice various essay structures with the aim of developing a persuasive, well-supported thesis, we will also revise collaboratively, improve our research skills, and study grammar. Our aim is to learn to write with complexity, imagination, and accuracy. Readings may include texts by Virginia Woolf, Roland Barthes, John Berger, Judith Butler, Claudia Rankine, Laura Mulvey, Michel Foucault, Monique Wittig, bell hooks, Herman Melville, Donna Haraway, Zora Neale Hurston, Trinh T. Minh-ha.