Undoing Silence: Tools for Social Change Writing: Louise Dunlap
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Teaching & Writing

Louise began teaching writing during the Berkeley Free Speech Movement in 1963, continued during her graduate years, then taught composition and literature on the new Boston campus of the University of Massachusetts. In the late 1970s, she began to focus on writing in practical fields like business and public administration and then, in the 1980s and 90s, in Urban Planning programs at MIT, U.C. Berkeley and others. She currently visits planning departments around the United States and teaches regularly in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University.

As a popular educator, she works with community activists to create writing that will bring change in troubled times. At the Boston Social Forum in 2004 she offered a workshop for women. Her workshop at the 2007 US Social Forum in Atlanta drew 35 social justice writers. She also works with labor, peace, women’s and environmental groups including the Sierra Club.

After the end of apartheid, Louise taught in university and activist settings in South Africa, where her approach struck a chord and became part of the Civicus writing toolkit used with grassroots activists, world-wide. In 2008 and 2009 she offered extended trainings for civil society activists in South Africa and the Horn of Africa.

Louise’s work analyzing political dimensions of writing on the job has appeared in books by the Modern Language Association and Urban Planning educators. It has been discussed in the Review of Radical Political Economics. While teaching at MIT, she wrote, with Lawrence Susskind, The Importance of Nonobjective Judgments in Environmental Impact Assessments, [Environmental Impact Assessment Review, Vol. 2, No. 4, December 1981.] Outside the university setting, Louise volunteers her time writing the letters, reports, media releases, op-ed columns, and public testimony that sustain citizen activism. She has published over 100 articles for movement and community publications like the American Friends Service Committee’s PeaceWork, the Buddhist Peace Fellowship’s Turning Wheel, and the Harvest Newsletter of her local food co-op. Yes! Magazine has also published her work.

She often returns to the theme of racial justice within social movements, reviewing books on this subject for the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Intolerance.

 

Louise Dunlap •
March 9, 2010