How do we organize and understand our perceptions of the world? How do we look at objects? At paintings and photographs, advertisements and films? What do we see, and not see, when we visit a new place, or when we encounter an animal? And, importantly, how do we perceive and comprehend each other? This 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, following the originator of the form, Montaigne. Much of our time will be occupied with writing probatively, as essai means “trial” or “attempt.” We will practice various essay structures with the aim of developing a persuasive, well-supported thesis; in addition, we will revise collaboratively, study grammar, and learn how to do research. Readings may include texts from Barthes, Berger, Butler, Chang, Dijkstra, Gilman, hooks, Kincaid, Lorde, Mulvey, Plato, Rankine, Scarry, Sontag, Tompkins, Woolf.