SUFFER THE CHILDREN: Designing Fear in Interactive media & Games
Looking abstractly at art games, indie games and "serious" interactive experiences that attempt to create playful spaces that subtly and/or overtly calls attention to tensions or conflicts in our everyday live, our class will be free to explore more fluid definitions of this evolving game classification. The course will function as a studio/workshop space where we will play, design, prototype and analyze games as we grow more confident in our craft as designers.
How do we see the act of making through the lens of technology, race and socio-cultural authority? Pulling from notions of “craft” as a functional technology, this course will revel in the visible and invisible, the real and imagined, the assigned, maligned and misunderstood notions of how creation and identity are woven into the fabric of technological advancement. Focusing on two centuries of technocultural advancement, we’ll consider race as an active craft, an alchemical skill fraught with potential and prone to eliciting dangerous reactions as often as it has opened spaces for innovations in human capacity.
This course introduces students to the complex relationship between interactivity and storytelling. Students analyze how an interactive structure creates narrative. Works explored in this course range from nonlinear novels, experimental literature, audio narratives, theater/performance to film as narrative databases and games. The study of the structural properties of narratives that experiment with digression, multiple points of view, disruptions of time, space, and storyline is complemented by theoretical texts about authorship/readership, plot/story, and characteristics of interactive media.
"Meat is like pornography," says Melinda Vadas, "before it was someone's fun, it was someone's life." In our rapidly globalizing world -- where illegal foods become black market delicacies, and video games spark romantic realities -- what pleasures and dangers lie in consuming the unfamiliar? In this seminar, we will map out global intersections of consumption; from the titillating literature that paved the way for the transatlantic slave trade, to tours of murder sites; from cookbooks to hip hop; from capitalism to zombies. Following discarded bodies as they are digested and reanimated, we will consider "corpses" not just as dead organisms but also as entire mythologies of race, technology, politics, sexuality and play. Essays, videogame play blogs, and analytical responses will provide innovative outlets for our analysis.
Ghostfaces: Persona in the Black Americas
*course adapted from Douglas Kearney's class at CalArts
Despite the importance placed on authenticity and “keeping it real,” a multitude of authors, visual artists, theorists and politicians have consciously constructed personas in order to develop entire mythologies and create social critique that expands the limits of their aesthetic practices. Our class is meant to be an investigation into diverse modes of representation, both of the self and of others, by exploring the layers of experience involved in constructing and deconstructing performed identities.
The glue of this course will be the literary texts that we will use as benchmarks and wayfarers into specific “zones” of understanding. This is not a class about the exclusivity of Blackness as racial category or about Blackness defined simply as fact. This is a class deeply rooted in questioning the histories, pressures and expectations that have (and continue) to inspire people to make and unmake themselves. That said, our “texts” will be as diverse as our subject matter: We'll look at paintings, literary texts, analytical essays, interviews, speeches and music. If we have time we'll delve into video games, films, and a guest lecture or two.
Intro to Creative Writing: Workshop
This is a course designed to increase your confidence in the writing, reading, and analysis of fiction and poetry. We will look at many examples of good writing as springboards for our own creative pieces and will learn and practice the tools of the trade. Together, we will create a community of writers whose exchange of ideas will be encouraged and nurtured.
As writers, the best things we can do is to read and write extensively; therefore this class requires a serious investment of your time and creative energy. If you aren’t committed to challenging yourself and others, sharing ideas, and listening to the ideas of your fellow writers, you will not find your time in this class productive. Writing well requires a great portion of humility and strength. Writing may often be a solitary venture, but workshops are where we begin to develop a sense of community and work toward our common goal: Great writing!
Great New Books
Great literature in English goes back several centuries but some of it is being written right now. What are the great new books of the 21st century and how do we know? What role do reviews, prizes, book clubs and movie adaptations play in establishing the appeal and prestige of new literature? These are some of the questions we’ll explore as we read, discuss, and write critical essays about several of the most acclaimed books published in the last ten years.
Hip Hop: Beats, Rhymes & Life
University Courses at Cornell are designed to teach students to think from the perspectives of multiple disciplines, across departments, and among diverse fields of study. All these courses foster intellectual discovery, promote debate, and address complex issues. By taking a University Course students participate in coursework with students from across the university and examine engaging subjects through new and different lenses.
In this course undergrads investigated hip-hop history from several points of entry: chronological, political, aesthetic, industrial and others. Team-taught by faculty from Africana Studies, English, and Music, Hip Hop: Beats, Rhymes, and Life fostered a dynamic exchange among different disciplinary viewpoints. The historical focus of the course located hip-hop both as a personal/interactive expression and as an expression of culture: how hip-hop affects, and is affected by, notions of ethnicity, class, nationalism, art, gender, and genre. Throughout, we focused our inquiry by listening to historical recordings, reading first-person and critical narratives, viewing a variety of media, and writing creatively and reflectively. Students developed research, writing, performing, and productions skills associated with hip-hop’s major elements: break-dancing, graffiti writing, MC-ing, DJ-ing, and knowledge. Informing this, the course made use of Cornell’s Kugelberg Hip-Hop Archive (the largest such archive in the United States) to query hip-hop as material culture.
Tales of Contemporary Latin America
[*Taught as an offering of the Prefreshman Summer Program (PSP) - The Prefreshman Summer Program is designed to help students prepare for the challenges of the freshman year at Cornell. Students must be invited to participate.]
My role in this course was as a Teaching Assistant to Brett Troyan, Ph.D. I built a two-week curriculum which introduced students to plays, short-stories, films, novel excerpts, speeches, critical theory and news articles exploring the Latino diaspora. Specifically, my seminars focused on Afro-Cuban, Dominican, Mexican and Brazilian history and cultural creations.