All we say to America is be true to what you said on paper.
— Martin Luther King, Jr., “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop…”
If you say, I quit or I sentence you or I refuse, you have acted. These are speech acts: speech that, as it is uttered, acts on and in the world. Powerful speech, but also everyday speech. Political speech, but also speech in your home, your classroom, your dorm room. I assert. I promise. I do.
It’s more complicated than that. Speech acts in complicated ways—so does writing. And they act on each other. This is a four-session pop-up class about speech acts: powerful, public speech, everyday speech, and the way we use written and spoken and visual language—on paper and out loud—to act on each other and on the world.
Kara Wittman, Carolyn Ratteray, Kareem Collie