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Academics . Liberal Arts . Courses

Liberal Arts Courses

Science Fiction & Fantasy

Course No. WRHC 310  Credits: 3.0

The genre (or sub-genre) of science fiction may, on one level, be seen as a variety of Romanticism, as an extended collective response to features of modernity, specifically scientific discoveries and innovations, as well as elements of the Industrial and technological revolutions. Science fiction, in its astonishing number of permutations, has filled a vast canvas of imaginative possibility, discovering a range of responses and forms that range from the dystopian, pessimistic, even nihilistic, to the utopian. We hear and see, in the voices and imaginations of different science fiction writers and artists, warnings and celebrations, but at the bottom, questionings of what it means to be human and of what kinds of possibilities may lay before us. Science fiction is also a remarkably popular genre; it's vitally manifested in books, television shows, films, toys, games. In this class we will investigate some of the space(s), both literal and metaphorical, that science fiction (and popular ideas of science) offer to the imagination. The course's center, however, is the students' own writing and their own ideas, and will be conducted in workshop format, with relatively brief lectures by the instructor presenting relevant literary, historical, theoretical and biographical backgrounds and contexts. During the semester, students will present two to three original works-in-progress (either creative or critical) to the class, distributing photocopies of their work a week in advance to the members of the class and to the instructor. Prerequisites: WR203. 3 credits.

Poetry Writing Workshop

Course No. WRHC 311  Credits: 3.0

This class will focus on the creation, revision, oral and visual presentation of poems. Because good writing requires deep reading, we’ll also be reading and responding to poems from an anthology throughout the semester. Students will be required to keep a journal that responds to anthology poems in the form of imitation poems, commentary, letters to the poets, or illustrations. Class time will be spent doing writing and revision exercises, small-group work, discussing poems from the anthology, playing with various aspects of poetry, and workshopping poems written in class. The final project will entail creating a chapbook of poems written during the semester. Prerequisites: WR 203. 3 credits.

Writing About Material Culture

Course No. WRHC 312  Credits: 3.0

How is the material world understood in human culture? What do "things" mean -- and why? Students will investigate various disciplinary approaches to material culture, through Freudian, semiotic, sociological, Marxist, and archaeological studies. Interdisciplinary approaches will be emphasized. In addition, the course will illuminate our personal attachments, the hidden history of things, our experience of material consciousness (as artists and designers), and the scholarly "packaging" of objects in support of cultural/art history. Prerequisites: WR 101 and WR 102. 3 credits.

Interactive Fiction

Course No. WRHC 314  Credits: 3.0

This class focuses on writing branching narratives and other nonlinear stories, and it’s ideal for students who want to write digital or tabletop games. This is a workshop class, which means that" after an introduction to interactive stories and techniques"the course will focus on reading and critiquing stories made by students in the class. Texts will vary by semester, but students should expect to read and analyze analog games like Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective, Tales of the Arabian Nights, Legacy of Dragonholt, and Gloomhaven. We’ll also explore digital narratives like those made in Twine, ChoiceScript, and other formats. Students will also read essays and books like Koster’s A Theory of Fun for Game Design and Crawford’s On Interactive Storytelling. We’ll also explore some classic nonlinear and experimental narratives like Borges’s “The Garden of Forking Paths,” Coover’s “Heart Suite,” and Shelley Jackson’s “Patchwork Girl.” Prerequisite: WR 203. 3 credits.

Creative Writing

Course No. WRHC 315  Credits: 3.0

Courses with the Creative Writing designation will cover a specific kind, or genre, of creative writing. Examples might include travel writing, interactive fiction, writing Young Adult (YA) fiction, memoir, nature writing, novel writing, and emerging and experimental forms. The topic covered in specific courses designated as such will be listed when students register. At the beginning of the course, students will read published examples in the area, read craft essays to understand vocabulary and technique, and complete writing exercises to learn and practice. After the first, reading-intensive phase of the semester, the class will workshop student writing. “Workshop” means that everyone in the class will read drafts by all students, provide each writer with written feedback, and discuss the work thoroughly in class. The main goal of the class is for all students to write their own original work. Other assignments include reading responses, writing exercises, and feedback to peers. Prerequisite: WR 203. 3 credits.

Graphic Narratives

Course No. WRHC 319  Credits: 3.0

Are you fascinated by the graphic novel or graphic memoir? Interested in making designed or visual texts? In this class, we will investigate a variety of ways that texts and images interact to tell stories: how the visual and the verbal engage and catalyze each other, how they can reflect and inflect, reinforce, strengthen and gesture to each other in compelling, powerful and meaningful ways. To this end, the class will examine and practice different graphic storytelling methods used in telling fictional, jounralistic and/or personal stories. The course will also involve the history of graphic narrative and the differnt ways that graphic and visual narratives have been and may be theorized. Assignments will include critical and creative responses to our readings and a creative project involving an integration of writing and visual media. Primary readings are likely to include comics, film and video, visual essays and full length graphic novels and memoirs. 3 credits. Prerequisites: WR 203.

Writing Across Gender

Course No. WRHC 324  Credits: 3.0

This course is designed to outline the contributions of women and non-binary authors to the origins and development of literature from antiquity to the present time. It will focus on the role of gender performance and visibility in literary space and explore questions like "What was 'women's writing' in the 19th century? What is "trans writing" today? It will inquire into the areas of race and social class as they are directly relevant to (or feature as tropes within) the literature comprising our reading list. It also introduces some of the basic theoretical questions that trans and feminist scholarship has raised in connection with gender and writing. Through selected readings, research, and critical discussion, members of this class will become familiar with contemporary literature that thinks about and performs gender, its social/ historical contexts, and some of the critical approaches through which it has been considered. Prerequisites: WR 203. 3 credits.

Story Hour

Course No. WRHC 330  Credits: 3.0

Students in this class will work as the editors of CIA’s annual online literary magazine, Story Hour, which publishes original short stories, sci-fi, fantasy, graphic narratives (comics), nonfiction essays, visual and illustrated essays, and experimental work by emerging and established writers from around the country. Student editors will learn to evaluate work submitted for publication, accept work, reject work, and correspond with writers. Student editors will learn to proofread and copyedit accepted work (using the The Chicago Manual of Style), prepare manuscripts for design and production, and work with art directors to pair writing with illustrations, photography, and other visual art images by CIA students, faculty, and staff. The class is ideal for students who want to sharpen their storytelling skills from an editorial perspective, as well as for any students who are considering careers that combine image and text. Prereqisites: WR 203. 3 credits.

Meet Your Faculty view all

David Hart

David Hart

Associate Professor | Assistant Chair of Liberal Arts

David Hart is an Associate Professor of Art History in the Liberal Arts Department. He taught African-American...more

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