J-Session 2021-22 Courses

3240 Crafting the Short Story (WRIT, Discovery Tier - Individuals and Communities)

101 Online Professor Gerry Canavan

Course Title: Crafting the Short Story

Course Description: This section of “Crafting the Short Story” blends together literary study and the creative writing workshop to produce what I hope will be a singular and formative intellectual experience for its students. The first segment of the course is built around the approach to the short story outlined by Tom Bailey’s anthology On Writing Short Stories (2nd edition), which combines a vibrant anthology of twentieth-century short stories with writerly reflections on the mechanics of short story construction and the craft of creative short story composition. After that, students in this class will write, workshop, and revise their own short stories. Students will share their stories with me and their peers in a supportive workshop environment, receive both due praise and constructive critical feedback, and then craft revisions of their stories that they feel proud of for their final portfolio.

3751 The Art of War (WRIT, Individuals and Communities)

101 Online Professor Leah Flack

Course Title: The Art of War

Course Description: Nearly three millennia ago, the Western literary tradition began with Homer’s pair of epic stories about war and the agonizing return to peace. In our own era, we face the urgent problems of escalating global warfare, which prompts us to become informed citizens with a critical awareness of how war is represented and justified. To this end, we have much to learn from the literary tradition.  

This course will teach students to become empowered readers of war narratives through an intensive study of short stories, novels, and films about war and peace, most of which were written in the past 60 years. We will explore several features of representations of war in literature: the celebratory, commemorative, and protest functions of literature; representations of the body in war narratives; representations of various forms of psychological, physical, and cultural damage caused by war; the difficulty of return and recovery from war; and war’s challenges to traditional narrative forms as writers struggle to define, as Tim O’Brien writes, “how to tell a true war story.”  

2951 British and Irish Drama on Stage (Study Abroad)

Professor: Tyler Farrell
Course Title: British and Irish Drama on Stage

Online work: Dec. 20 - 31st, 2021 (with the 24th and 25th of December off) 
In London: January 3rd-14th, 2022

Course Description: This J-Session course will introduce students to drama live, on stage and take an in-depth critical look at how theater is interpreted in all forms from written and spoken mediums. Students will see roughly 5 to 7 plays at various theaters in the historic theater district of London and reflect through writing, critical interpretation, and class discussion. We will also take theater tours of some of London’s famous theaters including: Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, The Royal National Theater, The Old Vic, The Harold Pinter Theater, and the Kenneth Branagh Theater Company at the Garrick. Plays will be based on availability. Based on what dramas we see, the class will discuss drama from its beginnings until present day and look at conventions of how and why drama took shape in the world as well as its impact on literature and art. We will examine Aristotle’s six definitions of tragedy and inform our thinking about many conventions of drama such as: plot, character, dialogue, and conflict. We will also address questions about the spoken tradition of drama and act out/discuss scenes from various plays to hear words/ideas expressed aloud, to hear and see the world created in a given play. The class will utilize discussion questions about each play to expand our thinking as well as methodologies of literary criticism to understand the symbolic nature of works of drama. We will also examine literary history and look at ways in which social contexts and literary traditions helped shape the theater of different eras. We will partner with the City University, London or King’s College, London for housing and classroom space for students and faculty. We will also experience London itself through walking tours and tube travel.

Contact hours will be met with in-class work and discussions, writing assignments, theater trips, play going, and lectures.

Assignments: Two critical papers, presentation, daily reading and writing assignments, daily discussion, tours and activities, group projects, and a final writing project that will involve both critical and creative components.