Why PhDs Need to Study Creative Writing
To reach audiences outside the ivory tower of academia, one must care about the storytelling as much as the sociology.
Don’t Look Up,
The Latinos of Asia: How Filipino Americans Break the Rules of RaceGQColorlinesLos Angeles Times,New York Times, The AtlanticThe New Yorker
The Latinos of AsiaWould a Filipino college student be able to understand this? Better yet, would my parents be able to understand this?
Creative writing has freed me. Memoirs were my blueprints to help navigate systems of power. Fiction helped me reimagine my future when the present felt unbearable. Poems shepherded me to—and through—unknowable things. Ultimately, creative writing has made me a better sociologist; the tools it offers me—dialogue, sensory detail, rhythm, pace, the speculative—means I can render the beautifully messy contradictions of the human condition, especially for those who are systematically dehumanized. Like Kate Dibiansky, I’ve found that research can save lives, so long as the rhetoric in which it’s packaged resonates with those who need to hear it the most.
Anthony Ocampo is the author of two books, "The Latinos of Asia: How Filipino Americans Break the Rules of Race" and "Brown & Gay in LA." His writing has appeared in GQ, Colorlines, Gravy, Life & Thyme, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. He has received fellowships from the Ford Foundation, VONA, Tin House, and Jack Jones Literary Arts. He is a Professor of Sociology at California State Polytechnic University-Pomona. Twitter: @anthonyocampo | IG: @anthonyocampo.phd
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