This cluster is based on the theoretical and interdisciplinary work that suggests that humans think in the form of stories. If experiences are understood and communicated through storytelling, understanding their structures and how they work is integral to the human experience. Should narratives be limited only to words? As story readers, we become better equipped to understand the lives and experiences of others; as story tellers, we become better equipped to share our perspectives and experiences with others. This course cluster focuses on a broad variety of storytelling mediums, including memoirs, short stories, films, documentaries, essays, comics, songs, novels, murals, and performances that are all examples of how we tell stories in the digital age. It is often assumed that advanced communication technologies have made our possibilities endless, but we are equally interested in how constraints, whether bodily, geographic, linguistic, or stylistic, help to produce these stories. Participants will not only analyze these media, and think about how the constraints of form affect how a story is told, but they will participate in creating narratives using some of these forms to engage directly with the idea of constraint as an essential ingredient of creativity.
Storytelling in the Digital Age Courses
EALC 310 Advanced Readings in the Graphic Narrative
This advanced seminar, taught by Shiamin Kwa, focuses on critical and theoretical approaches to the graphic novel. In the past several decades, a genre of "auteur comics" has emerged from the medium that are highly literary with a deep engagement between form and meaning. This seminar focuses on weekly close readings of such graphic novels with rigorous analysis of form and content. Primary text readings are supplemented with readings from literary theory, visual studies, and philosophy. Participants are expected to be comfortable with the application of literary critical theory and visual studies theory to texts.
FREN 219: Diasporic Voices: Voyages and Identity Narratives
Erin Mouré's quote "once you cross a border, the border is not the same any longer" raises the question of identity and interrogates territorial integrity, wondering how people and communities morph after such life changing events. In this course, students will question the very notion of experience and being through travel; as well as its meaning in terms of identity, locus, and language. Through the works offered, we invite students to approach icons, visual and written texts with new theories and fresh eyes to interrogate the ethics of travel writing, filming and documenting, looking for ways to empower readers about history and migrations. Students will reflect on the types of travels: temporary or voluntary travels, migration under various forms of duress (violence, war, economic penury, persecution for reasons of religion, politics or sexual identity). The works read and seen will encourage discussions about reasons for leaving home and invite a scrutiny about how travel writers and filmmakers gaze and inscribe it on the page or the screen. We will then examine narratives dealing with the relationship of former colonies with its "métropole," reading texts from various regions including France, raising the question of identity. Taught by Agnès Peysson-Zeiss.