Literary Arts + Studies


  • Liberal Arts Concentrations

    In addition to declaring a studio major and completing the required 42 Liberal Arts credits needed to graduate, all RISD students have the option of choosing a concentration in one of three Liberal Arts departments: History of Art and Visual Culture (HAVC); History, Philosophy and the Social Sciences (HPSS); or Literary Arts and Studies (LAS).

  • Undergraduate LAS Concentration

    The 27-credit undergraduate concentration in Literary Arts and Studies is designed for students who wish to complement their studio major with more in-depth studies in literature and writing. The concentration can be completed as part of a typical 4- or 5-year degree program and is open to all RISD BFA candidates. Students may opt to focus on courses in literary history and traditions, critical theory and creative writing (including workshops in poetry and fiction writing), postcolonial literatures and cultures, environmental humanities, race and gender, film and performance. LAS concentrators may take courses in as many of the areas covered by the department as possible or develop a personal course of study that allows for deeper exploration of a range of literary genres, periods and theoretical approaches. Concentrators often choose to study the development of a particular literary tradition and investigate its relation to other traditions, focus on an issue or genre and investigate its relationship to contemporary critical theories or focus on creative writing (poetry, fiction, new genres), among many other options.

    In addition to providing a strong disciplinary foundation, LAS courses aim to promote understanding of the relationship between literary cultures and other forms of cultural production. To this end, a number of interdisciplinary courses have been added recently, including Dialogue Across the Diaspora: Haiti, South Africa, Art, and Narratives of ResistanceIllustrating Dante’s Comedy, Ekphrasis and Its Reverse: Writing from Art, Art from Writing, Paleography: Western Handwritten Letterforms,Exploring the Art and Science of Biodiversity in Guyana and Savage Iconographies: Art, Race and Public Space from Roger Williams to Barak Obama.

  • Mairéad Byrne | professor + concentration coordinator

    “The value of the LAS Concentration is best demonstrated by the voices of concentrators, examples of their work and what they do in the world as writers, scholars and artists. Students note that through the concentration they become stronger writers, are willing to take more risks and approach their work in a more interdisciplinary way. And once they go out into the world—watch out.”

  • Curriculum Requirements

    1. Introduction to Literary Arts and Studies (1 course / 3 credits):
      • Literature Seminar: Design in Words
    2. One of the following (1 course / 3 credits):
      • From Literary to Cultural Studies
      • Contemporary Critical Theory
      • an approved equivalent course
    3. One of the following (1 course / 3 credits):
      • Seminar in Literature
      • Creative Writing Workshop
    4. Individual program of study (6 courses / 18 credits):
      • selected from LAS electives