The “Secret Pittsburgh” Literature class encourages University of Pittsburgh students to explore “secret” and unusual spaces of the city. Discussions require students to consider the interconnections between politics, environment, history, community, and texts. Students learn how to engage and interpret a diverse group of texts and reconsider what “literature” may entail. Readings range widely within and between terms and in the past have included spatial theory, news articles, other guidebooks, promotional websites, archival letters, popular histories, plays, prison memoirs, and novels.
The climax of a semester’s worth of investigation and first-hand experiences is the final project, where students construct entries for this online guidebook. They design and write each entry, using photographs they’ve captured during site visits. The result is a guide presenting firsthand, yet scholarly, site perspectives.
The first Secret Pittsburgh class occurred in the Fall of 2015. That original class had major decisions to make, including website design and navigation, tone of the entries, and the targeted audience (both student population and the greater Pittsburgh community). Their foundation work allows this guidebook to succeed as an ongoing project that will grow each semester as future classes add their own writing and literary connections.
All content is considered Institutional Work under the University of Pittsburgh Copyright Policy 11-02-02 and is owned by the University of Pittsburgh of the Commonwealth System of Higher Education, which may further license or assign the content to third parties.