ARTH 461
Writing about Bodies Fall 2009
Division I Writing Skills
Cross-listed ARTH 461 / WGST 461 / INTR 461
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

The goal is to think about describing bodies from a variety of disciplinary approaches and genres of writing. Its focus is on living bodies, or bodies that were once alive, with an emphasis on bodies that move i.e., performing bodies–actors, dancers, singers–and what makes them unique. We will also consider objects associated with bodies, and the ways they are animated, including how they are animated when the person who had them dies. The course is meant for juniors, seniors, and graduate students who wish to analyze bodies from different disciplinary formations–art, theatre, literature, anthropology, philosophy–and who have a particular interest in writing. We will read scholarly writing, fiction, New Yorker profiles, as well as memoir/autobiography, and take each as a model through which to write about a person or an object redolent of a person.
Possible readings: Roland Barthes on cultural theory and representation; Zine Magubane and Zadie Smith on othered bodies; Tamar Garb on portraiture; Elaine Scary on the body in pain; Joan Acocella, Hilton Als, Judith Thurman and other writers on the arts; Judith Butler and Peggy Phelan on the performative body; Joseph Roach, Diana Taylor, and Michael Taussig on the body, memory, and ritual; Marvin Carlson and Terry Castle on haunting; and Bill Brown on things. These will be supplemented by selected tapes of live performances as well as films.
The Class: Format: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 1588
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: alternating weekly essays (4-5 pages) and responses (2-4 pages) as well as discussion; a final paper that distills the writer's own project from these cumulative exercises
Prerequisites: ArtH 101-102, or permission of the instructor; a writing sample that conveys the kind of subject you might be interested in pursuing
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills
Notes: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under ARTH; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under INTR or WGST
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ARTH 461 Division I WGST 461 Division I INTR 461 Division I
Attributes: PERF Interdepartmental Electives

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