Undergraduate concentration in Literary Arts and Studies

RISD offers a 24-credit undergraduate concentration in Literary Arts and Studies (LAS) designed for students who wish to complement their studio major with more in-depth studies in literature, critical theory and writing. 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.

All RISD BFA or BArch candidates are eligible to add an LAS concentration, which can be completed within a typical 4- or 5-year degree program. 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.

Learning outcomes

Concentrators are able to:

  • exhibit competence in close reading skills and other literary and cultural studies methodologies for engaging with texts and media
  • explain the rhetorical, theoretical and social functions of language
  • assess research sources for authority, accuracy and appropriateness; analyze, synthesize, employ and document multiple sources in their writing
  • analyze, situate and interpret texts in a variety of media and material practices with respect to relevant aesthetic, cultural, critical, ethical, historical, material and/or political contexts
  • articulate the relationship between literary texts and cultures and other forms of cultural production
  • develop a clear and effective writing voice and be able to produce original work that engages other texts, practices and the world in an informed way
  • demonstrate the ability to listen and respond to the comments of other students in ways that respect differences of opinion

Undergraduate concentration requirements

The LAS concentration consists of eight courses for a total of 24 credits and includes the following:

  • First-year Literature Seminar (LAS-E101; three credits)
  • From Literary to Cultural Studies (LAS-E501), Contemporary Critical Theory (LAS-E502) or an approved equivalent (one course, three credits)
  • Seminar in Literature or Creative Writing Workshop (one course, three credits)
  • Literary Arts and Studies electives (five courses, 15 credits total)