Fall 2022

  1. This course registers an outgoing exchange student into a pre-approved LAS course which is taken at the exchange school. Successful completion of the course will result in a "T" grade once receipt of the official transcript from the partner school has arrived at Registrar's Office.
  2. Taught by a working professional actor/director, this introduction to acting will lead the beginning student through the artistic process involved in acting for the stage and other media. Through exercises, study of technique, scene work and improvisation, the student will work to develop natural abilities and will become familiar with the working language and tools of the modern actor. Emphasis in this class will be on the physical self, mental preparation, the imagination, and discipline. Written work will include keeping a journal and writing a character analysis. Perfect attendance in this course is vital and mandatory. Open to sophomore and above.
  3. While the writing of fiction involves only the writer and the page, the group workshop affords the writer the opportunity to explore, develop and refine his or her work in a small community focused on a single goal. This environment of craft and creativity is particularly critical to the beginning writer. As with any craft, revision is the key to effective storytelling. The revision process will be emphasized. Short fiction by leading writers will be read and discussed; elements of craft will be explored; students will learn to deliver criticism in a supportive, constructive way; but learning by doing will comprise the majority of the class. Writing will begin in the first class, leading to small, peer-driven workshop groups and culminating in a full class workshop at semester's end. Students will produce three stories throughout the semester, all of which will be workshopped and revised. The student's engagement in the course, participation and attendance, will drive the final grades.
  4. The Beginning Poetry Workshop is an elective course introducing students to the art of poetry writing. The course sequentially addresses major commitments of poetry including form/content, sound, line, voice, image, language(s), tradition/convention, experiment, audience, revision, performance, collection, publication, and distribution. Workshop is the heart of the course, animating the practice, discourse, critique, audience, community, and mentorship vital to poets. Every class will also include close reading, discussion of assigned texts, and writing. We will attend public readings, curate and participate in community readings, and welcome poets to our class, when possible. Work can be developed in a range of styles, traditions, and languages. You will leave this class with a collection of workshopped and revised poems, which you will design, self-publish, and distribute in print and/or digital form. The Beginning Poetry Workshop is a prerequisite for the LAS-E421 Advanced Poetry Workshop in the Spring.
  5. The Gothic tradition in literature has a wide and varied history. It is filled with contradictions that create a kind of uneasy unity; the natural world and the uncanny; patriarchal structures and strong women; and the awful beauty of the sublime. It also goes hand in hand with the vampire tales, that Nina Auerbach says "have been our companions for so long that it is hard to imagine ourselves living without them." This course will explore the places vampire and Gothic novels, short fiction, and film intersect and diverge, as well as the way these genres approach representations of the monstrous feminine. We will consider these works of fiction in their cultural contexts using frameworks from gender studies, and feminist and post-colonial theory. Texts will include vampire stories from around the world, the European origins of the Gothic, and contemporary work that challenges the boundaries of both genres. As seminar participants, students will take an active role in class meetings, and produce research and project-based work.
  6. A Collaborative Study Project (CSP) allows two students to work collaboratively to complete a faculty supervised project of independent study. Usually, a CSP is supervised by two faculty members, but with approval it may be supervised by one faculty member. Its purpose is to meet individual student needs by providing an alternative to regularly offered courses, though it is not a substitute for a course if that course is regularly offered.
  7. Epic narratives seem antagonistically devoted to their predecessors in the genre and to the cultural mythologies of their own times. Students in this course will read a series of epics written from antiquity to the present and consider as well the genre's incursions into film. Texts might include: Homer's Iliad or Odyssey, Virgil's Aeneid, Dante's Inferno, and Walcott's Omeros. There will be midterm and final examinations, an independently researched essay, and regular short writing assignments.
  8. An introduction to literary study that helps students develop the skills necessary for college-level reading, writing, research and critical thinking. Through exposure to a variety of literary forms and genres, historical periods and critical approaches, students are taught how to read closely, argue effectively and develop a strong writing voice. The course is reading and writing intensive and organized around weekly assignments. Required for graduation for all undergraduates, including transfers. There are no waivers for LAS-E101 except for transfer students who have taken an equivalent college course. For the Fall semester, freshmen are pre-registered into this course. Students should contact the Academic Programs Coordinator to add or drop this course. Transfers and upperlevel students, please contact the Academic Programs Coordinator for registration into one of the evening sections of E101 in either the Fall or Spring semester. questions.
  9. Cultural studies has made its mark in the humanities as a structured discipline since the 1960s. It emerged from a dissatisfaction with traditional literary criticism and sought to widen the latter's focus on aesthetic masterpieces of "high" culture by incorporating "low," popular, and mass culture in an interdisciplinary analysis of "texts," their production, distribution and consumption. Varied "texts" from the world of art, film, TV, advertising, detective novels, music, folklore, etc., as well as everyday objects, discourses, and institutions have since been discussed in their social, historical, ideological and political contexts. This course will provide an introduction to the field and its concerns. It will also encourage students to practice some of its modes of analysis.
  10. Horror stories are a literary & artistic expression of anxiety. It's not odd at all that we still write about ghosts when we're busy churning up & examining the crimes of our ancestors, or that we write contagion stories (zombies!) during a pandemic, or apocalyptic horror as we face the effects of climate change. Horror stories can be-as is true of any literature-artful, profound, entertaining, and -as Ezra Pound would say-news. We'll read a selection of stories-fundamental classics, lesser-known but influential stories, and contemporary attempts-to identify genre characteristics and to locate elements that define the genre's power. We'll also read works written about horror by horror authors and test their claims. To deepen our understanding of the genre even further-in addition to essays & exams-students will have the option to try their hand at writing an original horror story. Open to sophomores and above.
  11. A review - nay, a good review, the kind you are sure to find in the art, entertainment, and culture sections of reputed newspapers and magazines, certainly engages with the study & makeup of the art work it is reviewing, but is also able to consider it as a palpable cultural production existing in the same universe as TikTok videos and endless Twitter discourse. It revels in and pokes fun at fandom, appreciates influence and also legacy, and is able to transition easily from critical theory to breathless pop culture breakdown. In this class, we will understand what makes for a good review, while also learning to fashion a parallel writing project as critics of the craft that we're developing. This is a class designed to develop the artist as a serious discerner of craft and a writer having fun with wordplay. Open to sophomores and above.
  12. This class examines Asian American and diasporic literature to understand key social issues and historical events that have affected immigrant and diasporic communities in the US. These events include but are not limited to the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, Japanese internment, the civil rights and women's rights movements, the Vietnam War, and the LA uprising. Students will engage with scholarly, literary, and visual responses to these historical developments, which articulate the field of Asian American and diasporic studies around the following challenges: 1) how to secure the civil rights of Asian Americans as a racial minority group; 2) how to mediate ethnic, sexual, and socioeconomic differences among Asian Americans and between other racialized groups; 3) how to know and respond to the racial injuries of being Asian in America.Offering students a historical grounding in Asian American and diasporic literature and culture, the course additionally asks students to question the relationship between multiple cultural forms (the short story, autobiography, novel, play, epistolary, and graphic novel) and their impact in shaping Asian American and Diasporic studies.
  13. The Independent Study Project (ISP) allows students to supplement the established curriculum by completing a faculty supervised project for credit in a specific area of interest. Its purpose is to meet individual student needs by providing an alternative to regularly offered courses. Permission of Instructor and GPA of 3.0 or higher is required. Register by completing the Independent Study Application available on the Registrar's website; the course is not available via web registration.
  14. The word "liary" references the seven volumes of Anais Nin's diaries, which, upon their publication, were denounced by Nin's friends as utter fiction, as the "liary." This course will treat this insult as the basis for a literary genre: the fiction of life itself. We will focus on the production of liaries: fiction using real life - your own. But rather than thinking about lived experience as the raw material of fiction which finds expression through words, we will think about words themselves as the medium through which the fiction of life can be constructed. In this course, we will be fully invested in the materiality of words and the functionality of fiction. We will collide with words as if they were a particularly willful batch of clay, to find different ways in which fictionality is created when a word is imagined to give contour to the slippery moments of living.
  15. This discussion-based course surveys major and minor works of British literature, mostly poetry, from the late Middle Ages to the Eighteenth Century, with emphasis on the way these works relate to broad cultural phenomena in other areas, including philosophy, theology, and visual arts. Regular homework emphasizes independent critical and investigative reading of complex texts and images; formal writing assignments develop your ability to combine your own insights with those gained from casual and scholarly research, open-book midterm and final exams allow you to demonstrate your ability to analyze unfamiliar works and place them in context with those we have studied. Readings include (mostly short) works by Chaucer (3 Canterbury Tales), Spenser, Sidney, Shakespeare (Sonnets andThe Tempest ), Donne, Marvell, Herbert, Herrick, Milton, Bunyan, Butler, Behn, Rochester, Locke, Dryden, Pope, Hogarth, Gray, Boswell and Johnson.
  16. Literature is one facet of culture. The significance of a literature can be best understood in terms of the culture from which it springs, and the purpose is clear only when the reader understands and accepts the assumptions on which literature is based" (Paula Gunn Allen-Laguna Sioux poet). This course will explore value systems and aesthetics that are from very diverse Native cultures, focusing on the ways in which indigenousness relates to literature and storytelling. The critical methodologies developed by Native critics such as Gerald Vizenor (Anishinaabe writer and scholar), and Craig Womack (Muscogee Creek-Cherokee author and professor of Native Studies) will enable us to study Native frameworks and new ways to regard literature/histories. We will explore questions such as can Native American theory/literature transform or challenge non-Native critical theoretical strategies. Our discussions, which may take a variety of directions, will also examine such issues as American Indian identities and communities as well as the impact of colonization on tribal peoples.
  17. This class brings together in a productive, practical conversation three lines of aesthetic interest: Italian Neo-realism, contemporary influence of Neo-realism, and emerging medium of cell phone cinema. At its center, the class consists of an intensive exploration of Italian Neo-realism through an analysis of their films, the often contentious, always expansive writings of those practitioners, and the writings of their acknowledged cultural compatriots. The workshop uses both cultural studies methodology to reveal the archeology of a social movement and its possible supports for present practice as well as traditional humanities analysis into the limits and depth of an aesthetic expression. Some of the Neo-realist issues considered will be: the relation between documentary and reality; the function of story in realism; the use of time that is, screen time or as Rossellini called it waiting, vs. plot; the cinema of encounter vs. the cinema of escape; the cinema of the ordinary vs. the cinema of spectacle; the ethic of curiosity vs. the ethic of astonishment; and National-Popular content and technology. One of the only facts of Neo-realism is that it was first a practice born of necessity moral, political, and technical and, it was second an aesthetic manifesto. In keeping with that history and Neo-realism's Gramscian ideal of a National-Popular art in terms of content and form, the final assessment will consist of neo-realist films produced by the students in the birth place of the movement using their mobile phones. This final experiment insists that students engage in Neo-realism as not only a fixed historical debate but also as a fluid on-going conversation. To this end, there will also be readings in contemporary expressions of Neo-realism and filmmaking aesthetics of cell phone cinema.
  18. A workshop-style course which combines English with a studio project for students with an interest in children's picture books. Students will learn to develop storytelling skills (imagination, language, plot, character, and voice) and illustration techniques (characterization, setting, page, layout) by studying picture books and completing writing and illustration assignments. For their final projects, students will be expected to produce an original text, sketch dummy, and two to four finished pieces of art. The class will also include an overview of publishing procedures and published writers/illustrators will be invited to share their experiences and critique students' work. Students must plan and register for both LAS-E416 and ILLUS-3612 and will receive 3 studio credits and 3 liberal arts credits.
  19. This course will look at the gothic and romantic elements in the works of Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne with a special emphasis on the contributions each author made to the development of short fiction. The virtuosity of Poe's inventiveness in verse, short and longer fiction, and various kinds of formal treatises will be examined. Selections from Hawthorne's sketches, tales, prefaces, and romances will be studied for the distinctive alchemy of their art.
  20. The professional Internship provides valuable exposure to a professional setting, enabling students to better establish a career path and define practical aspirations. Internship proposals are carefully vetted to determine legitimacy and must meet the contact hour requirements listed in the RISD Course Announcement.
  21. This course examines twentieth-century Black British writing. We will focus primarily on works written by the 1940s to 1960s Windrush generation-the large, mid-century influx of Caribbean peoples to the United Kingdom (UK)-as well as Asian British authors who are often included under the umbrella of blackness. Reading such authors as Claude McKay, Mulk Raj Anand, Una Marson, George Lamming, Samuel Selvon, V.S. Naipaul, Hanif Kureishi, Zadie Smith, and Shola von Reinhold, we will explore also the colonial forebears and contemporary afterlives of the Windrush moment. There are a wide variety of often conflicting ways that blackness circulates in Britain, then and now. Both racist and reclaimative evocations of blackness demand our attention. Our course will circulate, then, around two core questions: 1) How do Black British writers' refigure blackness as a positive, empowered force and voice integral to British modernity, and 2) How do we contextualize this vital community of Black voices in Britain within the history of extractive imperialism that was and is buoyed by white supremacist conceptions of blackness in the British popular imagination. Across all the authors we will read, Black Britons succeed in reimagining what home means amidst the racialized environments of (un)belonging-rescuing it from exile, diaspora, and displacement and claiming their place at the heart of the British metropolis and within its literary canon.
  22. Although it dovetails with LAS E211, usually offered in the fall, this discussion-based course can be taken by itself. It surveys major and minor works of British literature, mostly poetry and prose fiction, from the late 1700s to the early 20th century, with consideration of the way these works relate to broad social and cultural phenomena including philosophy, gender politics, aesthetics and visual arts. Regular homework exercises emphasize independent critical and investigative reading of complex texts and images; formal writing assignments develop your ability to combine your insights with those gained from research, open-book midterm and final exams allow you to demonstrate your ability to analyze unfamiliar works and place them in context with those we have studied. Readings include (mostly short) works by Charlotte Smith, Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Percy and Mary Shelley ("Transformation"), Tennyson, Elizabeth B. and Robert Browning, Hopkins, Housman, Yeats, Stevenson (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), Conrad ("The Secret Sharer"), and Lawrence.
  23. Why does film seem obsessed with the figure of the artist? How are art histories told through such biopics? Why do such films have such popular effect? What do these representations have to do with longstanding myths about artistic production and artists? What is the cultural role of such "tellings" of "making"? And, most importantly, how do these films reproduce, or maybe subvert, the colonial, patriarchal, and racialist figurations of the artist that dominate Western culture still? What happens when film, history, myth, and art intersect? This course examines the intermediality of film, historical narrative and the arts through a selection of artist biopics from feature film and documentary. Centered around questions of the representation of artistic myths (of "genius" or "bohemian suffering," for example) in relation to the construction of popular art histories, this course will ask what happens when film attempts to "tell" the story of art, how audiences receive such stories, how cinema obsesses upon the relationship of film to other media, and how these constructions of artistic "culture" tend to subvert or reproduce gendered, classist, and neo-colonial assumptions of artists, artistic process, and history itself. Various theoretical approaches on the subject will also be studied, from Panofsky to Berger (Doris and John) to theorists of historical film and theorists of popular culture and the intersection between the visual and literary arts (visual cultural theorists like WJT Mitchell and Nicholas Mirzhoeff). We'll focus upon ten films in our journey through these questions, from three films about Van Gogh (Minelli, Schnabel, Kurasawa), to the 90s Hollywood productions like Pollock and Basquiat and documentary responses to them (Hans Namuth on Pollock) to the issue of gender in the genre of artistic biopic (Seraphine, Artemesia, Camille Claudel, Frida), to the "querying" of these lines in queer artist biopics like CARRAVAGGIO (Derek Jarman), to a final decolonizing analysis of films about Gauguin and Turner. Students will explore these questions through weekly short essays and a longer final essay (10-12 pages) that asks them to explore one film from outside the syllabus (from a list provided). Also offered as THAD-C708; Register in the course for which credit is desired.
  24. Michel-Rolph Trouillot proclaims, "The past-or, more accurately, pastness-is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." What is the relationship between history and haunting? How does the narration of troubling and troubled memories (or images of the future) draw attention to the gaps, assumptions, and limits of historical representation? Who is granted the power to tell stories and who is worthy of having stories told about them? How might texts, films, and other creative mediums not just represent about the dead, but actually conspire with them? The past has an ever-deepening relevancy to contemporary life, and the intimacies that structure our understanding(s) of the past, present, and future produce powerful terrains for study. This course engages these fraught terrains of historical narration; the absence presence of figures of the past; and the vexed representation of traumatic memory in social life. This course will center a wide range of texts, films, and other modes of cultural production that examine how history, haunting, and memory are contoured by of race, gender, sexuality, queerness, diaspora, colonialism, and temporality. Tacking between historiographic theory and literary, poetic, documentary, and ethnographic accounts of relations with the dead and other uncanny forces, we will wrestle with the silences, gaps, and erasures within particular historical sites and problematize representations of the past. We will pay particular attention to texts that highlight the incoherence and instability of the historical record; engage processes of suspension, seep, and spill; and demand nuance, in-betweenness, and queer temporality from our analyses.
  25. This course will investigate the era of freak shows and ethnographic displays in the parallel realms of science and show business in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. From World's Fair Exhibits, to the streets of London, to the displays in PT Barnum's Museum, to Buffalo Bill's Wild West Shows, human beings were placed on display for the purported amusement and instruction of the public. Through the artifacts of these exhibitions, we will examine the ways that human bodily display enacted ideas about race, ethnicity, gender and the body, and explore the extent to which these ideas still shadow our present moment.
  26. To be a lesbian, according to Monique Wittig, seems the simplest and most complex mode of desiring: "she who was interested in 'only' half of the population and had a violent desire for that half." In a world overcrowded by the voices and bodies of men, how does a lesbian carve out physical and imaginative space to let her desires free? This course will explore how this question has been addressed by daring, renegade lesbian writers who have used the medium of textual narrative to produce both history and future. Rather than reading these novels as historical document, sociological artifact, or even personal testaments, we will digest them as performance, wish-fulfillment, blueprint for a world in which love and sex between women reign.
  27. From the beginning of the publication of this commodity called Children's Literature, critics and philosophers have argued over its proper forms and uses. The debate surrounding children's literature has always been based in cultural understanding of what a child is and what a child's needs are. The two goals of children's literature "to instruct and to delight" have dominated discussions about Children's Literature, but what a child needs to be instructed in, and how, has changed over time, as has our thinking about what entertains children. In this course we will read a variety of texts from the past 300 years of Children's Literature including early chapbooks of Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes, Isaac Watt's "Divine Songs," Heinrich Hoffman's "Struwwelpeter," and Fairy Tales from around the world. We will also look at contemporary movements towards representation and diversity in Children's Literature and consider how they conform to and subvert the lessons from the past.
  28. This course, besides revisiting the traditional narrative elements of spy and detective fiction, considers a selection of the increasing number of late twentieth- and twenty-first-century transnational, diasporic, postcolonial, and minority/ethnic authors from around the world who adapt spy and detective fiction conventions for the purpose of social critique. In focusing on issues related to identity, "culture," ethics, human rights, justice, and knowledge construction narrated by these fictions, we will examine carefully, for example, the figure of the spy or detective as outsider to and observer of society as well as, in the works at issue here, frequently an immigrant or cultural or social "other." In the process, we will also engage questions central to reading, interpreting, and comparing fiction in a global context.
  29. Students will emerge from this class with a thorough overview of Woolf's life, world, and life's work. The heart of the course will be our study of Virginia Woolf's major novels: Jacob's Room, Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, Orlando, and The Waves. However, our reading list will also include short stories, essays, and selections from her published letters and diaries. In particular, students can expect to become skilled readers of the stream of consciousness style of narration that characterizes Woolf's fiction and to engage with themes that run through much of her writing such as the creative process, modern subjectivity, sexuality, gender, domestic space, and war. Open to sophomores and above.
  30. In this course we will discover how struggles of identity and justice interact with representations of the environment in the literatures of Africana, Chicano/a, Asian, and Native American authors. We will investigate and appraise how these authors portray nature as theme, plot, character, and setting to accomplish the environmental aims of their texts.

Wintersession 2023

  1. In this seminar, we will study the ecological and urban phenomena surrounding the problems of Urban Heat Island Effect in Naples and how both natural environmental systems along with underutilized made-made infrastructural systems might be employed to solve the burgeoning problems its urban centers will face under the stresses of global climate change. We will look extensively at how hot earth further compounds the problem of UHIE and how it poses exceptional challenges within the hazards of hydrothermal and hydro-magmatic activity so common to everyday life in consideration of the unique environmental, historical, and cultural context the bay of Naples presents. This is a co-requisite course. Students must plan and register for LAS-W725 and LDAR-W625. Students will receive 3 studio credits and 3 liberal arts credits. Applications open in September. Registration begins in October at a time to be announced. All students are required to remain in good academic standing in order to participate in the WS travel course/studio. A minimum GPA of 2.50 is required. Failure to remain in good academic standing can lead to removal from the course, either before or during the course. Also in cases where WS travel courses and studios do not reach student capacity, the course may be cancelled after the last day of Wintersession travel course registration. As such, all students are advised not to purchase flights for participation in Wintersession travel courses until the course is confirmed to run, which happens within the week after the final Wintersession travel course registration period. Permission of Instructor required. Open to first year students with approval from the Dean of Experimental & Foundation Studies. 2023WS Estimated Travel Cost: TBD ***Off-Campus Study***
  2. A Collaborative Study Project (CSP) allows two students to work collaboratively to complete a faculty supervised project of independent study. Usually, a CSP is supervised by two faculty members, but with approval it may be supervised by one faculty member. Its purpose is to meet individual student needs by providing an alternative to regularly offered courses, though it is not a substitute for a course if that course is regularly offered.
  3. This course asks students to travel back to the 1930s and contextualize the various artistic and cultural movements that comprised the Federal Theater Project and the WPA arts projects. The course will revolve around the 1999 film by Tim Robbins, Cradle Will Rock, and the Marc Blitzstein original, as well as supplementary materials researched by the students involving any aspect of the film, from Brechtian and Documentary drama to Mexican muralism to labor issues to race and gender resistance to LGBTQ histories and on. Students will research toward a final artistic project that comprises the requirement for the course.
  4. This class asks how film - its images, its composition, its materiality and physical properties - might teach us to see and to sense. What does film allow us to perceive about time, space, and story - and how might this be translated to text? This process-based class asks students to conduct language-based narrative experiments using strategies suggested by film. Writing in any genre - including (but not limited to) poetry, prose, and language art - is welcome. In order to conceive of and contextualize these experiments, we will also read theoretical and critical writings regarding film, narrative, and technique, and students will be asked to make use of these materials to respond to both film and text. The course may include films and/or writings by Marguerite Duras, Andrei Tarkovsky, Masaki Kobayashi, Chris Marker, Carl Theodor Dreyer, Gilles Deleuze, Nathaniel Dorsky, and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha.
  5. We are all familiar with the moral of the story that comes at the end of a fairy tale. Charles Perrault's "Little Red Riding Hood" cautions unmarried young ladies not to let "wolves" into their beds, while the Grimm's "Little Red Cap" chastises girls for not listening closely to their mothers. Traditional versions of these tales are conduct manuals, cautionary tales, and homemaking primers for young girls, but they also address the underlying uncertainties associated with growing up and entering adulthood. Over the years, the fairy tale has been retold or reimagined to reflect shifting gender norms, and changing cultural anxieties around the transition to adulthood. Most recently, adaptations on the large and small screens have asked us to consider the motivations of the fairy tale's most notorious female villains in the context of traditional gender roles such as wife and mother. This course will examine tellings and retellings of four classic fairy tales: Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty and Bluebeard. We will read and watch classic versions, contemporary retellings, and film and television adaptations of these texts that both challenge and reinforce ideas of gender normativity, contextualized by readings in feminist theory, gender studies, and psychoanalytic theory. We will also put these western tales in conversation with other similar literary texts and folk tales from around the world, and yes, we will talk about Disney.
  6. Horror stories are a literary & artistic expression of anxiety. It's not odd at all that we still write about ghosts when we're busy churning up & examining the crimes of our ancestors, or that we write contagion stories (zombies!) during a pandemic, or apocalyptic horror as we face the effects of climate change. Horror stories can be-as is true of any literature-artful, profound, entertaining, and -as Ezra Pound would say-news. We'll read a selection of stories-fundamental classics, lesser-known but influential stories, and contemporary attempts-to identify genre characteristics and to locate elements that define the genre's power. We'll also read works written about horror by horror authors and test their claims. To deepen our understanding of the genre even further-in addition to essays & exams-students will have the option to try their hand at writing an original horror story.
  7. The Independent Study Project (ISP) allows students to supplement the established curriculum by completing a faculty supervised project for credit in a specific area of interest. Its purpose is to meet individual student needs by providing an alternative to regularly offered courses. Permission of Instructor and GPA of 3.0 or higher is required. Register by completing the Independent Study Application available on the Registrar's website; the course is not available via web registration.
  8. Stage magic, perhaps because it must conceal any record of its craft, is often neglected among the performing arts. Yet it exerts a powerful hold on our imaginations, and our language is peppered by its terms (prestige, enchanting, smoke and mirrors, pulling a rabbit out of a hat, etc). So what exactly is the allure of magic? What are its cultural functions? And what, in turn, can magic reveal about the fears or wishes of its audience? Through the lens of literature, anthropology, cultural and performance studies, this course will examine the history of magic in the modern world and its place in contemporary culture. We will consider the development of magic as an art form over the course of the 19th century, the dynamics of a magic trick, the bodily and cultural politics of magic performance, and the surprising prevalence of magic in contemporary literature, film, and commerce. Texts will include fiction by Steven Millhauser and Tim O'Brien, films by Orson Welles and Christopher Nolan, and a range of historical, theoretical, and archival materials. Students will complete several shorter essays and a longer researched paper. (No skill in prestidigitation required!)
  9. This course focuses on the intersectionalities of race and queer subjectivities in queer cinema. We will trace this development from the historical cinematic 1990s of New Queer Cinema (NQC), an era that encompasses an explosion of "gay film visibility," to an exploration of present day queer cinema and the ways in which queer representations and queer identities are portrayed. We will study the stylistic developments and controversies of queer film, examining major innovations and changes as compared to films from the NQC era. Such questions as what's at stake in films that contest and re-imagine new queer subjectivities will be addressed during the course.
  10. This Liberal Arts Elective is a hands-on investigation of the development of Latin handwritten letters from about 200 BCE to about 1500 CE, analyzing scripts and script families from Roman cursive and monumental letters to the Renaissance letters that were the basis of most modern fonts. The emphasis of the course is on dynamic analysis of letters as written rather than static forms, though we will also explore the implications of the Platonic and later organic/evolutionary models that are the traditional means for understanding the history of letterforms. Students will master a basic Italic hand; study and write versions of a dozen or more historical scripts originally executed with styli, brushes, and reed, quill, and metal pens; make pens from river reeds and other materials (and write with them); and investigate the properties of papyrus, wood, vellum, and paper as writing surfaces. The class will visit at least one museum, spend extensive time outside of class practicing letters, and write two papers involving the historical contexts, paleographic characteristics, and calligraphic/graphic procedures for particular handwritten manuscripts. Although all the scripts studied were originally written right-handed, left-handed students have excelled in the course.
  11. Photography and Literature are often seen as separate, yet kindred, disciplines, each working to depict, contest, alter, and reframe that which we think of as reality. This course will explore various ideas about the melding of photography and literature by looking at texts that work to create dialogue between the two mediums, as well as theoretical writings that offer ways of contemplating such fusions. We will study texts by writers/photographers such as: Walker Evans, James Agee, W.G. Sebald, Sigmund Freud, Roland Barthes, Teju Cole, John Berger, Sophie Calle, Paul Auster, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, and Lance Olsen. Students will write several short essays about the readings, as well as a longer project, which will combine photography and writing. Also offered as THAD-W508; Register in the course for which credit is desired.
  12. What does it mean to live well in a place? And what do stories have to do with it? This class will examine the struggle to create just, reciprocal relationships with our own human and biotic communities. To do so, we will read essays, memoirs, and novels that define, diversify, and complicate a sense of place and a connection to home, community, and environment. Authors may include Sarah Broom, Barbara Kingsolver, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Providence-based Elizabeth Rush; in all cases, place and storytelling will be central to the authors' projects. Finally, by exploring oral histories and student publications on RISD's Digital Commons, we will research and think together about the place we share. In addition to regular reading and writing assignments, as well as outings into our Providence community, this course will culminate in a project that creates a class archive of the communities, histories, and landscapes in which we are embedded.
  13. A subculture characterized as part youth rebellion, part artistic statement, punk has lingered and transmogrified in popular discourse since its heyday in the 1970s. In this class we'll delve into the history of social, musical, and aesthetic manifestations of punk in the U.S. and UK and investigate the connections between punk's DIY, anti-authoritarian ethos and the politics of the late-twentieth century. We'll embrace a cultural studies framework to examine punk production in its various material and discursive forms-- music, fashion, film, manifestos, revolutions, etc. Throughout, we'll turn a critical eye towards investigating expectations and performances of gender, race, and class in a range of punk communities (i.e. Queercore, Riot Grrl, etc). Our discussions and your writing will be informed by scholarly books and articles, narrative accounts of punk, film screenings, and a lot of loud music.
  14. This course will give students the chance to read exemplary works of contemporary masters, including John McPhee, Jo Ann Beard, Denis Johnson, David Foster Wallace, Ta-Nehisis Coates, Leslie Jameson, Zadie Smith, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Joan Didion. Reading closely, students will gain broad exposure to a range of styles and concerns, which in turn may inform the nonfiction writing they do in this class. Students will have the option of working on a single long piece of approximately 20 pages or two pieces, 10 pages each. The work will be expected to do more than merely recount lived experience. At the heart of the writing should be an issue the writer is working to fathom.
  15. In this writing workshop, we will explore the short story, working to put into words what we--as individual readers and writers--hope to find in it. We'll consider what makes a story a story, while acknowledging that it is often something ineffable, indefinable. We'll read a range of contemporary and classic writers and will also read essays on craft. A significant amount of class time will be devoted to in-class writing and peer workshops. At the end of the term, students will be expected to submit a portfolio made up of reflections, rough drafts, and revised stories.
  16. What does it mean to read in black and white? To remember in red, exalt in yellow, grieve in green or blue? This is a rigorous introductory fiction course that adopts the conceit that to write is to color the world. Fiction is a synesthesia of sound and shape-language as pigment, image as text-a phenomenological art of which sense and metaphor are its mortar and brick. Over the course of the semester, we'll examine novels, short stories, essays, poetry, music, film, theory, and visual art that are especially 'colorful' and aware of their status as such. We'll be studying: Renee Gladman, Anne Carson, Dionne Brand, Sergei Parajanov, Karen Tei Yamashita, Johannes Itten, Saidiya Hartman, Carole Maso, Yasunari Kawabata, Teju Cole, and others. We'll pay particular attention to how language might be structured in terms of the visual-line by line, across space, through relations between figure and ground. We'll endeavor to notice things; to heighten our observational practice; to attend to our senses as bodies, emotions, places, memories; and we'll explore strategies for rendering all via fiction-in weekly writing prompts, and a larger project to be workshopped by the group.
  17. Longtime professional actor/director Fred Sullivan (Boston critics Norton award winner, 35 year Trinity Rep veteran, Gamm Theatre, Commonwealth ShakespeareCompany and Lyric Stage) will guide an ensemble of students interested in making a play through a workshop process of producing a live original work for the stage. This process will culminate in a two public performances of the production. Students in this course will be asked to: rehearse and perform assigned roles; accept assigned duties on graphic, projection and property/costume design, construction and stage management crews; commit to a flexible rehearsal schedule outside of class meetings, We will pursue a guided study of the dramaturgical elements, unique performance techniques and production requirements of the work produced. This is a very popular class. Sign up, put on some comfortable clothes and come to the first class ready to play. Waiting list will be curated by the instructor.

Spring 2023

  1. The advanced workshop assumes that students have some experience with writing fiction and are ready for an environment that will challenge them to hone, revise, and distill their craft. A writer begins inspired by dreams, language, a face in a crowd. But inspiration is only the beginning of a writer's work. In this course we'll study form, theme, voice, language, character, and plot. We'll also read and talk about stories by masters of the craft. The aim of the workshop is to help you discover what your stories want to be and fulfill the promise of your original vision. Prerequisite: LAS-E412: Beginning Fiction Writing Workshop or equivalent experience. Permission of Instructor required.
  2. This advanced workshop expects students to have some familiarity with playwriting and/or dramatic literature. Over the course of the semester, each writer will create an original evening-length work intended for live performance. The class will engage in various in-class writing prompts, share work through individual workshops, study revising/editing techniques, and attend local theatre. We will discuss various plays, theoretical texts, and other literary works as material for understanding narrative strategy and performance style. This class asks for a sense of camaraderie between writers as we will be reading each other's work and providing feedback in real time.
  3. The Advanced Poetry Workshop is an intensive project-based poetry workshop for students with previous workshop experience and a portfolio of revised work on which to build. The course centers on workshop: peer critique by students with previous practice in poetry writing, and the shared goal of completing a semester-long publication/performance project. Students are expected to have a strong commitment to active participation in contemporary poetry as readers, writers, curators, performers, and audience. Teaching and learning methodologies include close reading of exemplary texts, experimentation with forms, revision, online/print publication, and performance. Texts will include poetry collections published in 2019 and 2020, as selected by students and instructor. The workshop welcomes work in any language and from any tradition of poetry. To the greatest extent possible, the work should speak for itself. But mediation, translation, contextualization also play a vital role. Permission of Instructor required.
  4. Social practice art, participatory design and design justice all describe evolving practices that bridge the work of cultural production and public or community impact. They are ways of creating that merge studio or curatorial and public practice, that require collaborative and non-extractive relationships with project partners, and that operate in service to equity, justice and social change. While some critics say that these methods are "having a moment," suggesting they are a temporary fad, others see these practices as deeply rooted in global histories of making, and as powerful avenues of political and social activism, policy work, or community place-keeping. This course explores histories, theories, skills and techniques of community practice, centering critical questions about ethics, relationality, perception, and power hierarchies, and considering instances when socially engaged practice can misrepresent or misinterpret community intentions or cause harm. What are ethical guidelines for community practice art and design? What do we mean by the word "community," and how do we situate ourselves as insiders or outsiders in relation to perceived communities? What does it mean to end a social practice project - and therefore sever or curtail the relations that created it? This is a project-based course in which students will participate in a micro-residency with the Snowtown Research Collective, a group of local community historians, archivists, and activists engaged in a multi-year effort to produce new research on this multi-racial Providence neighborhood (steps from RISD) that was demolished towards the end of the 19th century. Students will embed with the collective and will devise their own art/design/action/curatorial projects that engage with Snowtown in some way - whether through memorialization, critical fabulation, or futurist speculation - or through the contribution of new research, visualizations or maps of this once-vibrant neighborhood. Students who are already working on a community practice project of their own or wish to devise their own independent project may do so with the Instructor's permission. This course is open to graduate students in all departments and to seniors with the Instructor's approval; it is intentionally designed to be deeply transdisciplinary and inclusive. Open to seniors and graduate-level students. Open to juniors pending permission of the instructor (Marisa Brown, mbrown04@risd.edu). Also offered as THAD-C355, GAC-355G and GRAD-355G. Register in the course for which credit is desired.
  5. Affects describe the palpable manifestations of feeling--the thoughts, senses, expressions, gestures, and actions that both precede and respond to the gravity of emotions. In this course, we will question the affects that emerge within Asian American literature and film, especially those born from feelings of vengefulness, regret, filial love, and duty. To what degree are these affects unique to Asian American contexts? What narrative conventions and histories produce these affects and how might we chart an ever more expansive tapestry of feeling Asian in America?
  6. This course asks students to travel back to the 1930s and contextualize the various artistic and cultural movements that comprised the Federal Theater Project and the WPA arts projects. The course will revolve around the 1999 film by Tim Robbins, Cradle Will Rock, and the Marc Blitzstein original, as well as supplementary materials researched by the students involving any aspect of the film, from Brechtian and Documentary drama to Mexican muralism to labor issues to race and gender resistance to LGBTQ histories and on. Students will research toward a final artistic project that comprises the requirement for the course.
  7. In this beginning writing course, we will look at contemporary texts that push against the boundaries of traditional literary genres (fiction, poetry, theatre, creative non-fiction, graphic fiction, etc) and blur the lines between those genres as well. Together we will read some of the most exciting contemporary writers who resist our attempts to categorize them. By examining these texts and trying our own creative writing experiments, we will gain a better understanding of what traditional genres are, the techniques they employ, and ways they can be manipulated to create something new.
  8. The 19th-century was a time of prodigious output from women writers. Canonical histories have often relegated these writers to the sub-categories of sentimental or "local color," writing, thus ignoring the enormous influence they had on American literature and culture. We will study such writers as Harriet Beecher Stowe, Lydia Maria Child, Harriet Jacobs, Pauline Hokpins, Fanny Fern, Sarah Orne Jewett and Kate Chopin.
  9. An introduction to literary study that helps students develop the skills necessary for college-level reading, writing, research and critical thinking. Through exposure to a variety of literary forms and genres, historical periods and critical approaches, students are taught how to read closely, argue effectively and develop a strong writing voice. The course is reading and writing intensive and organized around weekly assignments. Required for graduation for all undergraduates, including transfers. There are no waivers for LAS-E101 except for transfer students who have taken an equivalent college course. For the Fall semester, freshmen are pre-registered into this course. Students should contact the Academic Programs Coordinator to add or drop this course. Transfers and upperlevel students, please contact the Academic Programs Coordinator for registration into one of the evening sections of E101 in either the Fall or Spring semester. questions.
  10. A study of the works and influence of J.R.R. Tolkien at the intersection of Postcolonial studies, Classics, and Byzantine and Medieval Studies. Particular attention is paid to themes including: the influence of 19th-century scholarship and its fixation on ideologies of the Volk and the genealogies and wanderings of "nations"; legacies of empire and colonialism; discourses of Orientalism and antisemitism; medieval nostalgias from the Victorian to the Second Elizabethan Era; the Claims of Philology; source criticism and Tolkien's literary/historical influences; distortions and elisions of Byzantium and other cultures in the discursive construction of Western Civilization; and contemporary concerns including racist backlash to the casting of people of color in recent adaptations.
  11. In this interdisciplinary course, students will engage with storytelling, cultural production, scholarship, and activism focused on imagining and enacting Indigenous futurities. As a class, we will interrogate the ongoing colonial matrix of power and analyze how Indigenous artists, writers, scholars, and community practitioners create possibilities for anticolonial, decolonial, sovereign, and Indigenized futures. The course will dwell with, among others, works of Two Spirit and Indigiqueer futurities, Native feminist futurisms, decolonial environmental and place-based futures, and nonlinear futures seeded in the past and germinated in the present. We will think alongside the artist, and enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes of Fort Berthold, Cannupa Hanska Luger's use of science fiction as a "methodology, a practice, a way of future dreaming." To do so, we will discuss a multi-media collection of works of Indigenous futurity, including novels, films, visual artworks, activist manifestos, music and music videos, short stories, poetry, and theory, to examine the roles form and genre play in imagining and enacting different futures. We will pay close attention to how Indigenous cultural producers both use and subvert science and speculative fiction, climate fiction, and horror genre conventions and tropes to reimagine, rewrite, and remap the future, past, and present.
  12. The playwriting workshop is an introduction to the basic principles of scriptwriting for live performance. Students will examine the form as a storytelling technology, an intervention, an act of embodied vandalism. We will collectively ask: How do you spawn an idea? How do you construct dialogue on the page? Through rhythm, intent, given circumstances? How do we shape that dialogue into character? Narrative? Alongside dramatic action, how do we construct the physical and fictive environments for story to occur? This class intends for the writer to celebrate excess and work from a point of textual abundance. Students will write and write, then take on the roles of sculptor, carpenter, and architect in order to leave the class having developed a single play. Functioning as both a seminar and workshop, the course will introduce students to a variety of play forms by writers including: Aleshea Harris, Reza Abdoh, Guillermo Calderón, Tim Crouch, Sophie Treadwell. We will use these plays to build a toolkit of generative strategies and address writing as a physical task that seeks a three-dimensional home.
  13. This course considers the fiction of the Japanese British Nobel Prize-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro in a world literary context. Based on a selection of his short stories and novels we will discuss, among other things, the different critical perspectives relevant to reading globally in terms of which both the author and his work have often been read, including the manner in which putative signs of "Englishness" and "Japaneseness" have been attributed especially to his early texts. At the same time, we will consider the intriguing ways in which the author's fiction comments implicitly on its own reading as well as ways of reading world literature. The course also has a film component in that we will view and discuss a film adaptation of one of Ishiguro's novels as well as two other relevant films as a basis for examining how the author's adaptive use of certain narrative techniques has helped shape his style and fictional worlds. In this way, the course engages questions related to ethics, knowledge, cultural translation, narrative and cultural representation, as well as interpretation and critique central to both Ishiguro's fiction and the reading of world literature.
  14. The word "liary" references the seven volumes of Anais Nin's diaries, which, upon their publication, were denounced by Nin's friends as utter fiction, as the "liary." This course will treat this insult as the basis for a literary genre: the fiction of life itself. We will focus on the production of liaries: fiction using real life - your own. But rather than thinking about lived experience as the raw material of fiction which finds expression through words, we will think about words themselves as the medium through which the fiction of life can be constructed. In this course, we will be fully invested in the materiality of words and the functionality of fiction. We will collide with words as if they were a particularly willful batch of clay, to find different ways in which fictionality is created when a word is imagined to give contour to the slippery moments of living.
  15. This class can be taken for credit in either LAS or THAD. William Hogarth (1697-1764) was a practical-minded painter and engraver who sought artistic independence from aristocratic patronage and cultural respect for printmaking as an art. His greatest innovation was a form of narrative painting and printmaking, marketed to the public at large, in which he presented original stories, essentially visual novels, that challenged the groups that had until then controlled the content and distribution of art, that is, the religious and political establishments. William Blake (1757-1827) was a profoundly impractical painter, poet and engraver who challenged church, state, commerce, and everything else, including time and space, illustrating his own stories and visions as well as a very large proportion of past literary works in ways that reveal their visionary potential. We will study an array of Hogarth's serial and independent works, as well as several of Blake's "illuminated books," literary and biblical illustrations, and un-illustrated poems. Students will do independent research and write short papers for all class meetings. Also offered as THAD-C221; Register in the course for which credit is desired.
  16. The Aethiopica by Heliodorus of Emesa is the most ambitious novel to survive from the Ancient Greek world. We study the novel and its afterlife from Byzantium to the eve of the Harlem Renaissance. The tale of two lovers and their adventures from Greece to Ethiopia, it had a massive influence on the development of the novel, especially discourses of exoticism, utopianism, and Orientalism. Special attention is devoted to issues of race and gender, and readings include Byzantine literary criticism, excerpts from Early Modern novels, and one of the most important African-American works of the early 20th century, Pauline Hopkins's Of One Blood-in which a secret African civilization makes Wakanda look ordinary in comparison. Requirements include participation in class discussion and four short papers.
  17. Taking its cue from Clint Eastwood who proclaimed, "As far as I'm concerned, Americans don't have any original art except Western movies and jazz," this course will analyze the Western film as an art form in and of itself. We will discuss Westerns in terms of their specific aesthetic and technological influence on the medium, their cultural expression of a national political unconscious, and their global function as the meta-narrative of space. This course will tackle these discussions through a chronological unfolding of the genre starting with the Edison Company's 1898 Westerns and Edwin S. Porter's The Great Train Robbery (1903) through the Golden Age of John Ford and Howard Hawks' films and the reciprocal translation of Akira Kurosawa's epics, and finally, to the variants of the Spaghetti, Revisionist, and genre-bending contemporary and postmodern Westerns of Dennis Hopper, Sam Peckinpah, John Sayles, Jim Jarmusch, Ang Lee, and Wim Wenders. There will be required readings in critical film theory, weekly screenings, analytical essays, and oral presentations.
  18. This course, taught by a working professional actor/director with experience in stage, radio, tv and film, is centered on the belief that speaking skillfully in public is a way to self-discovery, self-improvement and self-confidence. It is also a tenet of this course that skillful public speaking is a fundamental element of a humane society. Students will deliver five major speeches, including self-written speeches of introduction, ceremonial speeches, informative speeches and persuasive speeches. The oral interpretation of literature will also be explored. Each class meeting will require every student's speaking participation in order to develop skills in the areas of voice, diction, managing speech anxiety, research and organization, use of microphones and video, and use of visual aids. The latter phase of this course will focus on concentration, credibility, and familiarity with argument, debate and parliamentary procedure. Attendance at each class is vital and mandatory; furthermore, students will be required to "dress up" for their presentations.
  19. This course will examine some of the classic Golden Age children's books as well as adaptations of the 20th and twenty-first centuries. The Golden Age is so called by 20th century critics who recognize it for its imaginative literary tales for children and for the quality of illustrations that accompanied them and it is notable for producing many classic books for children that continue to be read and adapted into films, graphic novels and even video games. We will read period texts, including Fairy Tales, Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz among others, and question what it means to designate these "Golden Age" stories. We will analyze these texts through consideration of historical concepts of childhood, authorship, and theories of adaptation across different media and culture contexts. Assignments will include a close reading of a recurrent image or theme across multiple versions of fairy tales, an analytical essay on an adaptation that engages with theory and criticism, and finally an original creative adaptation project.
  20. Black life is lived in the context of all that attempts to stamp it out. Black life defies the norms of gender and sexuality. Black being is a creative enactment-it redefines space and time while building otherwise worlds. The course provides an engaging introduction to questions of Blackness and being through critical theory, literature, poetry, criticism, art, and performance. We will think Black life from the overlapping theoretical trajectories of Black Studies, Black Feminist Theory, Queer Studies, and Performance Studies. We will attend to how these fields have produced knowledge about Blackness and being and speculate about what forms of black life might still escape their grasp. We will re-evaluate existing understandings of Blackness; build theoretical frameworks for anti-blackness, diaspora, haunting, and decolonization; and trace what remains in the afterlives of slavery, colonialism, and genocide. All course conversations will be contextualized within contemporary movements for Black liberation and connected to experimental forms of Black cultural production.
  21. Although it dovetails with LAS E211, usually offered in the fall, this discussion-based course can be taken by itself. It surveys major and minor works of British literature, mostly poetry and prose fiction, from the late 1700s to the early 20th century, with consideration of the way these works relate to broad social and cultural phenomena including philosophy, gender politics, aesthetics and visual arts. Regular homework exercises emphasize independent critical and investigative reading of complex texts and images; formal writing assignments develop your ability to combine your insights with those gained from research, open-book midterm and final exams allow you to demonstrate your ability to analyze unfamiliar works and place them in context with those we have studied. Readings include (mostly short) works by Charlotte Smith, Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Percy and Mary Shelley ("Transformation"), Tennyson, Elizabeth B. and Robert Browning, Hopkins, Housman, Yeats, Stevenson (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), Conrad ("The Secret Sharer"), and Lawrence.
  22. In this class, we will explore the future of literature and language art made with and about computers. We investigate the real danger and the revolutionary power of data, software, social media, memes, natural language processing, and artificial intelligence and we will cultivate new ways of relating to digital technology. We will examine the genealogy of writing as a technology in order to gain a better understanding of current and future possibilities. What is the role of the artist in computer-generated artwork? How will the co-evolution of human and machine affect the future of language art? In this course, we will discuss the ethical, aesthetic, and critical dimensions of artificial intelligence and machine learning in relation to the production of new forms of language art. In this class, we examine how artists can use computers as a tool or a collaborator to create the language art of the future. Students will learn to think analytically critically about computer mediated language art and and learn to articulate their process and goals for their work. Students should expect weekly readings, writing and creative assignments that will nourish a final project.
  23. The essay form is broad and, at its core, investigative, as it seeks to examine and disrupt, twist and turn, move and shake. This course will be an exploration of nonfiction writing through some of the various forms that the essay takes. Students will be writing both critical analyses of the texts as well as writing their own nonfiction essays that use the readings as models. We will begin by reading several classic examples and move from there towards more contemporary forms. Some of the writers we will study may include: Hilton Als, James Baldwin, Jo Ann Beard, Eula Biss, Jenny Boully, Mary Cappello, Anne Carson, Ta-Nehisi Coates, William Gass, Maggie Nelson, Claudia Rankine, Rebecca Solnit, Susan Sontag, Virginia Woolf.
  24. From early cultural mythology to contemporary film and television, the "trickster" archetype has surfaced across narrative media, welcoming deviance/formal transgression as a plot device, a political reinforcement, a measure of identity, a tool for invention. Launching from Lewis Hyde's Trickster Makes This World, this seminar will look to a history of literary figures and forms prompted by speed, theft, gluttony, the charismatic, the crossing of the threshold, etc. This course will draw materials from art, theatre, film, literature, and performance studies as an interdisciplinary inquiry into tricksterdom. Beyond a base of indigenous folklore and classic mythology, texts investigated may include writing by Jean Genet, María Irene Fornés, Kathy Acker, Fred Moten, and Italo Calvino amongst others.
  25. What does it mean to be a "thing"? What does it feel like to be a "thing"? We all feel that we know how it feels to be "human": we are not "things," or "inanimate objects." But what we don't often question is the emotional and social valuations put upon the relationship between humans and things. For most of us, to be treated "as a thing" is to be de-humanized, de-valued, the nadir of existence. This course will question that binaristic tradition of conceptualizing objects through the lens of femininity. Cross-culturally but especially within the Western-European world, women have been treated as "things": toys, trophies, dolls, ornaments, are all metonyms for "female." By studying literary and cultural texts as well as art produced by women and women-identified authors, we will rigorously and critically examine the multiple functions, oppressive and subversive, of the linkages between "woman" and "thing," and in turn, re-think the idea of the object.
  26. This course takes its title, "Visionary Fiction," from the term coined by adrienne maree brown and Walidah Imarisha to "distinguish science fiction that has relevance toward building new, freer worlds from the mainstream strain of science fiction, which most often reinforces dominant narratives of power." Through an exploration of a variety of science/speculative fiction (sf) invested in decolonization, liberation, nonlinear time, the environment, and critiques of dominant narratives of power, students will encounter sf short stories, novels, literary theory, personal essays, comics, films, and songs and music videos. This course, in its commitments to visionary fictions, includes Afrofuturist cultural production, Indigenous Futurities, and works committed to Multispecies Futures, Feminist Futures, and Queer Futurity, among others. As a creative extension of their reading in this course, students will generate their own visionary works of sf. A few of the course's framing questions include: Why and how does science fiction lend itself, as a genre, to a critique of the present? How does encountering science fiction through the lens of visionary fiction change, complicate, expand, and/or subvert sf genre expectations and stereotypes? What are the political stakes of imagining the future, and for whom? As readers, what are the implications and embodied experiences of imagining different futures in our current global moment of lingering pandemic, active protest and revolution, continued colonization, capitalism, extinction, and climate change?
  27. In this course we will discover how struggles of identity and justice interact with representations of the environment in the literatures of Africana, Chicano/a, Asian, and Native American authors. We will investigate and appraise how these authors portray nature as theme, plot, character, and setting to accomplish the environmental aims of their texts.