2008-09 Catalog

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Program Description

Critical Experiments

NEW! Last Updated: 05/18/2009

Spring quarter

Faculty: Julia Zay Media Arts, Film and Visual Culture Studies, Gender and Queer Studies

Faculty Signature Required: Interested students should send a completed application (which includes a written proposal for a spring project) to Julia Zay at jzay@evergreen.edu. Applications are available by email from Julia Zay and will be accepted until the program fills, with priority given to applications received by the Friday after the winter academic fair. Qualified students will be accepted until the program fills.

Major areas of study include Film and Media Studies, Visual Culture, Gender Studies, Queer Studies, Critical Theory, Writing

Class Standing: Juniors or seniors; transfer students welcome.

Prerequisites: Minimum 2 quarters of sophomore-level or above college study in the humanities

What is the role of form in contemporary visual culture and writing? What is the force that arranges images, sounds and words into particular ideas and impressions that circulate through time and space? Though we often think of form as the thing that constrains what can be said, it is also the thing that enables us to speak and be understood by others. Specific forms, like genre in popular film (melodrama or science fiction, for example), function as familiar, popular languages, and in doing so also provide sanctioned space for addressing social and political realities that otherwise often can't be spoken about safely or easily in mainstream culture. Many filmmakers and writers working in the more marginal areas of culture also engage with form and genre not only in order to comment on its social status or historical meanings but also to imagine new audiences and reconfigure our very ideas of speech and expression themselves.

In this program we will study the concept of form and specific uses of form and genre in 20th and 21st century film, writing, and visual culture in mainstream, popular and marginal contexts, and we will create work that deliberately sets out to explore questions of form and genre. At every turn, our investigations of and experiments with form will be intricately informed by the discussions of authority, identity, and power so central to queer theory, gender theory, and critical race studies. Our subjects will range from film, video, and digital media forms to poetry and prose, and from critical theory and essays to photography and visual art. We'll model some of our workshop exercises on those outlined in Eve Sedgwick's essay, "Teaching 'Experimental Critical Writing,'" and we'll explore the "essay" as a hybrid form that's been explored and refined by historical and contemporary writers, filmmakers, and photographers.

This is an advanced program for students who are interested in pursuing small-scale individual or collaborative projects within the context of a program structured around supporting that work through screenings, presentations, workshop, critique, and seminars on common readings. Students will plan independent work for the quarter under faculty guidance. Students will also share in leading class sessions that may include regular work-in-progress presentations, seminar facilitation, and other presentations of research related to program themes. Projects supported: critical/creative writing (we will do our best to blur the line between these) and writing for the moving image or performance. Projects in video/media, photography, and other visual arts are welcome if students have substantial prior skills, and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

We will also plan field trips to screenings and lectures in the area, including possible trips to the Experience Music Project 2009 Pop Conference and The Seattle International Film Festival.

Credits: 12 or 16 per quarter

Enrollment: 25

Books: www.tescbookstore.com

Special Expenses: $50-$75 for field trip expenses.

Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in Film and Media studies, communications, writing, visual culture

Planning Units: Culture, Text and Language, Expressive Arts