Writing the Half-Known World
In this course we'll approach the writing process as a journey through what writer Robert Boswell calls the "half-known world" -- an approach in which the writer invites the unknown into the writing process, where, through revision, the written work teaches the writer what it "wants" to be about.
You'll have the opportunity to creatively and critically write in a variety of genres, from fiction to nonfiction. We'll read a wide variety of nonfiction and fiction (from realism to magical realism, from memoir to critical essay) from a variety of American and international writers. Along the way we'll investigate the fertile crossroads of thinking "critically" and thinking "creatively" -- we'll debate the critical elements of creative writing and the creative elements of critical writing. If a difference exists between thinking critically and thinking creatively, what is this difference? What can the creative/critical writing process teach us about the world we live in -- and about ourselves? One of the primary goals of this course will be to sharpen a skill that will prove useful to you throughout college: critical and creative investigation through critical and creative writing.
Pop & Protest
Despite frequent calls to simply "shut up and sing," popular artists have always been vital catalysts for change.
This course investigates the roles and responsibilities for musicians within popular culture, giving particular attention to their engagement with social and political movements. How have groundbreaking songs and performances influenced and inspired their historical contexts? A larger goal relating to the first year experience lies in a dialogue regarding how modern American society "sees" each other. What defines our identity and how in turn do we identify others? How do discussions and disputes over race, class, and prejudice present a challenge for living an examined life? Do social constructs exist that influence our impressions and decisions? Through an examination of creative works we will explore and challenge the values of modern society as well as our own.
Discovery of Expressive Self
This course offers an introduction to acting intended for the student with or without stage experience. Looking closely at our own creative process and the performances of other artists in different fields, we will develop critical thinking in the "understanding of the limitation of one's own viewpoint as learned through exposure to sharply different perspectives."
Your journal and our class discussion will focus on the characteristics of a performance in a wider sense than only in the theatre. Do all performances take place onstage? Can we develop our creative abilities through the observation of our performances? What are the differences in the performative process while working alone or in collaboration with others? Centered in an experiential model of learning, this course will use workshops in improvisation, writing, acting, movement, and oral presentation to find a perspective on these and other questions. This Foundation Seminar also seeks to broaden the student's perspective by focusing on the social responsibility of the artist.
Masks and Meaning
What is the transformational power of the mask for the contemporary performer? Which societies keep mask traditions alive through religious ritual, community celebration, and/or artistic expression? How do these communities imbue masks with spirit?
Discover the world of masks through this hands-on studio class in mask design and mask making. Movement workshops focus on two contrasting performance styles, Italian Commedia dell’Arte (using the mask you make) and Japanese Noh Performance. Social identity and ritual healing for our contemporary community are explored through collaboratively creating original masks. Your research into the expressive power of a specific tradition – Native American, Africa, Asia, Indonesia, or your own – is shared both through class presentation and your creation of a mask inspired by your study.