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HCOM 3700: Performing Personal Narratives on Identities and AIDS

I taught this course at the University of Denver in Spring 2009. This was a mixed graduate and undergraduate level class. Below you'll find a link to information about the course, including references, and the course description and objective, as well as pictures of the soapbox we created as a class.

Click here for more information about the course including references.

Course Description:
This course exists at the intersections of communication, activism, and art and aims to provide theoretical and practical context for understanding how identities, cultures, and AIDS have been related in recent and contemporary history. Drawing from performance studies, cultural studies, communication, and other fields, the course will offer a background in histories, theories, and methods that inform our study of personal narratives and AIDS. After we have developed a working knowledge-base and context for our area of inquiry, we will exceed text-based learning by engaging, as a class, in the process of creating a public cultural intervention whereby students will share original personal narratives relating to cultures, identities, and AIDS. These personal narratives will be delivered on a literal soapbox designed and artistically rendered by the class. Throughout this process, students will reflect on being intellectually, emotionally, and physically involved in the research process through class discussion and written journal entries.


By the end of the course students should be able to:
• Articulate connections between theory, method, and practice in relation to performance studies and personal narrative,
• Recognize how power works to influence cultural identity and perception,
• Recognize that identities are complex intersections influenced by (but not limited to) race, class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and health/illness,
• Discuss the ways in which we, as everyday actors, can perpetuate and resist certain aspects of culture,
• Launch theoretically and practically informed cultural critiques using honed critical thinking skills,
• And appreciate the challenges and rewards of action-oriented learning.

Pictures of the soapbox we designed and built as a class, from which my students delivered their final personal narratives.

Click on the thumbnails to view larger pictures.