This course analyzes situation comedy as a form that women writers use in and beyond television. Reading sitcom scripts, stand-up transcripts, and situation-based comedic essays, we watch and rewatch episodes and routines and study television theory, history, and criticism as we practice interpreting representations of gender, sexuality, and more. Using queer and trans feminist approaches to popular culture, we examine the use of the situation comedy form to explore race, class, ethnicity, ability, and age. We consider authors outnumbered by men in writing teams and writers’ rooms, and also discuss what it means to co-author a character through performance, without penning any stories or dialogue. The course may include archival research assignments and a case study of Lifetime’s late-1990s Susan Beavers series “Oh Baby.”
Multicultural, Identity, Pluralism, and Tolerance (IP) courses examine the social construction of collective identities, the emergence of representative voices from varying social and cultural standpoints, and the effects of prejudice, intolerance, and discrimination. The purpose of courses in this category is to analyze the general principles underlying tolerance, or the lack of it.
US: Difference, Inequality, and Agency courses focus on race and ethnicity in the United States by considering two or more racial and ethnic groups.
Media, Folklore, and/or Culture courses focus on print and non-print media to explore culture and its processes of creative expression.
Gender, Ability, Queer Studies, and/or Sexuality courses focus on the ways that issues of sexuality, gender, queerness, and disability are represented, critiqued, and developed in media and literature.
English Minor courses offer students centuries of cultural experience and representation in poetry, prose, drama, film, TV, new media, and folk artifacts. The English minor can focus and extend the values of a liberal arts education, while also providing extensive training in writing, speaking, and critical thinking.