WGSS 361
Writing about Bodies Fall 2018
Division II Writing Skills
Cross-listed THEA 361 / ARTH 361 / WGSS 361 / INTR 361
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. Among possible readings: Roland Barthes on cultural theory and representation; Claudia Rankine and Robin Coste Lewis on black bodies; Tamar Garb on portraiture; Elaine Scarry 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; Marvin Carlson and Terry Castle on haunting; and Bill Brown and Mark Doty on things. In addition to readings, assignments include performances at the ’62 Center and works on view at WCMA, as well as selected tapes of live performances as well as films and selected tapes of live performances.
The Class: Format: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 1030
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; one to two group meetings
Prerequisites: ARTH 101-102, or permission of instructor; a writing sample that conveys the kind of subject you might be interested in pursuing
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
THEA 361 Division I ARTH 361 Division I WGSS 361 Division II INTR 361 Division II
Attributes: AMST Critical and Cultural Theory Electives

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