Course Description – Seasons (11.1)

English 5450 (Special Topics in Creative Writing)

Mixtures and Margins: An Introduction to Multimodal Composition

Welcome to English 5450, a special topics course that explores writers’ efforts to shape and reflect our diverse and rapidly changing media textscape. We’ll investigate connections between different media forms and modes of representation, including film, music, electronic literature, visual art, performances, and installations. You will have opportunities to create new media texts that combine audio, visual, and interactive elements. We’ll also examine and create work that exists in multiple forms, such as printed poems that also occur as audio files or videos in conversation with text-based material. After a brief introduction, we’ll discuss the theories and historical antecedents of contemporary multimodal work. Each section of the course has associated readings, tools, and writings, which will help inform your efforts on major assignments. The first of these assignments asks you to translate and transform a text-based piece of your writing into a multimedia artifact.  Next, you’ll create a multimedia piece from scratch.  The third major assignment is a performance or installation.  Your efforts on these assignments will be supported by readings, explorations, and class visits from writers who work in both text-based and multimodal directions.