Core courses are generally offered each semester. A selection from each Area (I, II, and III) is offered each semester, and specific Area courses are generally offered in a two-year cycle. For additional information on upcoming course offerings, please contact the graduate director. For a complete list of course descriptions, please visit the Writing Studies course catalog, located here.
Below please find the list of the Fall 2015 Writing Studies Course Offerings.
This course is designed as an introduction to the Writing Studies M.A. Program, and it allows students to explore a variety of genres while they explore career options within the writing/publishing world. Students will literally "walk in the shoes" of different writers, playing the role of columnists, reporters, editors, poets, and fiction writers. At the end of the course, students will reflect on these different roles and begin brainstorming a possible thesis project in one area. (Core class)
From the horrors of Hell in Dante's Inferno to the meta-narrative of Joss Whedon's and Drew Goddard's The Cabin in the Woods, this course explores the production, reception, aesthetics, politics, and evolution of the horror genre in both fiction and literature. In this course we will explore the shifts in the genre's paradigm as landmark films and books are considered and contextualized. We will read the literary works and films against the historical, political, and industrial settings in which they were produced. The course will move in chronological order through the films, beginning with the classic films of the 1930s and 40s. We will next examine Cold War politics and how it influenced the genre, then the apathy of the Clinton '90s as reflected in such films as I Know What you Did Last Summer and Scream. We will conclude by considering the trauma of lost bodies in both Dante's Inferno and such post-9/11 films as Speilberg's War of the Worlds, George Romero's The Land of the Dead, and the 2006 remake of The Omen. The literary works of Dante, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, Colson Whitehead, and the films of Alfred Hitchcock, Roman Polanski, Brian DePalma, David Cronenberg, Joss Whedon, and Mary Harron, among others, will be studied. (Area I)
Most of all, I have tried to understand the politics of they, why human beings fear and stigmatize the different while secretly dreading that they might be one of the different themselves. Class, race, sexuality, gender—and all of the other categories by which we categorize and dismiss each other—need to be excavated from the inside. —Dorothy Allison.
In contemporary literature, “realism” is often used as shorthand for “literary.” The implication, of course, is that serious writing only happens within a faithful representation of reality. But this is a strictly modern idea... and a false one. Literature is historically filled with ghosts, gods, magic, talking animals, and the walking dead. Some of the most powerful and popular storytelling of our time has examined the nuances of the human condition in our own future, in alternate realities, and on other worlds. In this course, we will read and discuss different kinds of fantastic literature, and use those influences to tell our own stories. Students will learn techniques to help them weave their own supernatural tales, bust through genre tropes, and explore their obsessions. Throughout the semester, we will be reading and discussing a variety of published pieces of speculative fiction. These examples are not meant for intimidation or rote imitation: instead, think of them as small flames illuminating certain parts of a dark room, in which you too will be lighting your own candle. You will be encouraged to consider how these authors approach character, form, description, dialogue, setting, and plot, and also how you might do the same in a fresh and exciting way. (Area III)
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