Making Texts Work: Life Writing, Media Affordances, and Circulation
Dates: 28 February; 6, 13, 20, 27 March 2024
Instructors: Anna Poletti (UU), Erin La Cour (VU)
Location: Utrecht University, plus field work in Amsterdam
Contact: email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org
Credits: 6 ECTS
This course works with Stuart Hall’s fundamental insights into the circuit of culture to consider how stories of lived experience are encoded and decoded in specific media forms, how those forms are circulated and exhibited, and what meanings are collectively made (or not) from them. We will examine the affordances of select analogue and digital forms of mediation used by life writers, and track their production, circulation, exhibition, and reception. The course will introduce two important methodologies which, combined with close reading, allow us to understand life writing within the circuit of culture: 1) To better grasp the role of media affordances in the process of encoding personal stories, this course includes creative workshops in which we make media objects (zines and comics), and 2) To develop skills in observing and analysing circulation and reception, we will visit a variety of spaces in Amsterdam in which life writing is exhibited and sold. Participants in the course will learn how to combine scholarly discourse on life writing with the methodologies of cultural studies and creative practice, and will have the opportunity to develop an independent research project based on their own interests in the role of personal storytelling in cultural debates.