Words matter. If you’re reading this, I bet you agree. But the world of inclusive language—and language that excludes and does harm—is overwhelmingly big! Not to mention that it never stops changing.
Inclusive Language Explorations takes an exploratory approach to that huge landscape, with bite-sized weekly lessons that emphasize staying curious, listening, caring, and bookmarking solid resources for when we hit unfamiliar waters.
This course is aimed at anybody who wants to improve and grow in this area, including editors, fiction and nonfiction writers, folks involved with business communications, students, and other kind humans who communicate in writing and/or speech with other humans. For intermediate and beginner inclusive language explorers.
What's it like?
Designed for busy people who’d like to spend a little time each a week honing these skills, Inclusive Language Explorations will also leave you with tons to think about and explore long after the 15-week class.
It’s asynchronous, on-demand, and text-based, with a new lesson unlocking each week. You can enroll whenever you like and never need to be online at a particular time.
Each week focuses on a topic area and offers an orientation, lots of resources, and a reflection prompt or other activity.
Goals and approach
After this course, students will have:
- a deepened and broadened understanding of inclusive language: what it is, how it works, and why it’s a lifelong learning process rather than a set of rules we can learn
- skills for noticing word choices, tropes, and other elements that may harm and exclude people
- tools for reimagining those elements to produce more inclusive—and effective—communication
- reliable, useful resources for continuing to learn as language develops
This is not a traditional course in which a teacher might claim to have absolute answers. Instead, I approach this class as a researcher, editor, and student of storytelling and the English language, and above all as a helpful guide in the process of figuring out a) when we should pause to ask more questions and b) how to go about learning more.
Please note that this course focuses on English-language communications in a US context, although many of the ideas explored are more broadly relevant.
Course materials and linked resources include discussions, and in some cases examples, of exclusionary and harmful language and ideas that can of course be painful to confront, exhausting, and trauma-related for members of the groups they’ve been used against.
Course duration and access
The course is 15 weeks long. You’ll have access to the course space and materials for 19 weeks altogether, in case you need a little extra time to bookmark those resources, contribute thoughts, or otherwise finish up.
About the instructor
Eliot West is an independent editor and educator specializing in romance and fantasy fiction, including interactive fiction. Their work is informed by a background in literary studies and deep interests in inclusive language, gender diversity, human sexuality, consent, and trauma and healing. You can find out more at https://www.eliotwesteditorial.com/about.html.