ENGL378K - Special Topics in English; Narrating Madness
Syllabus:
Section(s):
0101 - Maud Casey

In this course, we will explore the formal methods by which fiction, and other modes of art, take us beyond psychiatric diagnosis, to offer the inimitable texture of a particular consciousness in extremis. How do fiction and other modes of art shift the question from what is wrong to what is the experience? What role do they play in how we understand the interior subjectivity of mental illness? What role do they play in how we understand neurodiversity? These questions will be central to the course. In order to better understand the mechanisms fiction employs and its effects, we will first consider other modes of narrating “madness”—Freud’s case histories and the DSM 5, among them. Readings may include work by Leonora Carrington, Ellen Forney, Samantha Hunt, Michel Foucault, Henry James, Yiyun Li, Daniel Schreiber, Robert Walser, and Virginia Woolf. We may also consider performances by Hannah Gadsby, music by Daniel Johnston, and visual art from the Prinzhorn Collection. Part of the course requirement is a visit to Red Dirt Studios, an art studio in nearby Mount Rainier, where visual artist Leslie Holt (https://www.leslieholt.net/), will speak to us about her work and teach a course in collage-making. That week, class will be held at Red Dirt Studios on Friday, April 3 from 1-4 p.m. in place of regular class. At the end of the course, students will spend some class time, and perhaps some independent time, working in the English Department's BookLab (3248 Tawes)--our dedicated makerspace, studio, library, and community press--in order to co-produce a zine that incorporates both visual and narrative work.

Note: Repeatable to 12 credits if content differs.