Speaker 4: Jill Belli
In "The Composition of Happiness: Freshman Writers' Assessment of Well-Being in Higher Education" Jill Belli offers as a model a learning community on CIty Tech's campus that included her freshman writing course. Inspired by Sara Ahmed's work, Belli's students developed a critical cultural and rhetorical perspective on happiness when they compiled a "happiness archive." To do so, writers responded to self-help literature concerning happiness and discussed current movements toward measuring emotions under the rubric of the quantified self. They also investigated the affective milieu of spaces on and near their urban campus, conducting interviews with fellow students and campus staff members, administering surveys, and making first-person observations. All of this they shared in Open Lab, City Tech's online learning environment. Belli places her students' work in the context of recent interest in happiness on the part of both academia and the corporate world. Increasingly, Belli reminds us, happiness is measured and mapped across spaces and social networks, with students' happiness seen as a resource for themselves and the universities they attend.