Writing in the Margins: Race, Performance, Playgiarism
Division I; Writing-Intensive; Difference, Power, and Equity;
Cross-listed as COMP358 / ENGL332 / THEA332
There is no such thing as an original play. So says playwright Chuck Mee. Someone else, certainly, said it before him. What does it mean to own a story? This seminar/studio course proceeds from a historical understanding that writing and performance are, and have always been, practices of plagiarism. We begin by looking at how bodies, thoughts, and words come to be understood as ownable property in the modern era, and how that process of commodification is inextricably tied to colonialism and the production of race. How do performance and bodily practices trouble our ideas about individual ownership? We look to writers and other artists of color who have plundered “classic” texts and radically reclaimed the colonial canon. We will read intertextual works by Suzan-Lori Parks, Young Jean Lee, Salman Rushdie, Cherrie Moraga, and others. Taking these artists as inspiration, students will choose a text as source material and write in the margins of that text to create new, re-visioned work.
The Class: Type: seminar/studio, three hours per week
Requirements/Evaluation: a 5-page paper, a performance analysis, a short creative work, and a longer final creative work
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the fifth course option
Enrollment Preference: If the class is overenrolled, students will submit a letter of interest in the class
Distributions: Division I; Writing-Intensive; Difference, Power, and Equity;
Distribution Notes: DPE: This course approaches questions of ownership, race, and power both critically and creatively. WI: There will be more than 20 pages of writing, both critical and creative in this course.