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Featured Courses

Fall 2015

210A: Performance Studies I :Devised Theatre

Prof. Gigi Jennewein

Devised Theatre is co-created theatre. It starts with a blank space and artists - actors, musicians, visual artists, writers, dancers, directors, filmmakers and dramaturgs - who unite to create an experience that addresses the compelling stories of their lives and times.  The form speaks to Internet-age multitaskers, encouraging makers to discover the process that best fits the goal. There are no prerequisites, however, students taking the class are expected to be willing and active participants, comfortable with discovering - rather than being directed in - the rules for the project.   Ultimately, this course aims to give students both knowledge and tools to “get comfortable in the uncomfortable” from which great ideas can emerge (Francis Whitehead, DPU presentation, March 2015).  For more information on devised theatre go to


291A: Tps: Communication and Role Playing the Past: Greenwich Village and Frederick Douglas

Prof. David Worthington

In this class students will split the semester participating in two role playing games.  The first, set in 1913 Greenwich Village, will engage students in issues of Women’s Suffrage, Labor Rights, and other pertinent political stances.  In the second half of the semester students will focus on the intellectual and cultural clashes between “Defenders of the Constitution”—the entrenched, respectable defenders of American slavery—and the Abolitionists—a small but dedicated movement calling for slavery’s immediate and universal abolition.  In this pedagogy many class sessions are run by students and students learn by taking on roles, informed by classic texts, in elaborate games set in the past; they learn skills—speaking, writing, critical thinking, problem solving, leadership, and teamwork—in order to prevail in difficult and complicated situations. 


Comm 291B: Histories of the American Press

Professor Kevin Howley

American journalism is at a crossroads. Rising public mistrust of the profession, coupled with the advent of digital technologies and, most ominously, government persecution of journalists and their sources, represent a unique challenge to the Fourth Estate. This course places the contemporary crisis of journalism in historical context. Specifically, this course examines the role of journalism in recording as well as shaping US history. As such, the course tells the story of the democratization of American society. In addition to covering the standard history of US news media, the course explores the long but often neglected history of advocacy and activist journalism in US social, political, and cultural life. Furthermore, by calling critical attention to the untold stories of journalism practiced by racial, cultural, and political minorities, this course examines the relationship between “alternative” and “mainstream” journalism.

Comm 291C: Muckrakers, Scandals and Scamps

Professor Meg Kissinger

At its best, journalism comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable. It holds the power to set innocent prisoners free and bring presidents to their knees. But what happens when all that power goes to their heads? The class will explore journalism's greatest triumphs and most cringeworthy failures. We'll review work of the Muckrakers of the late 1800s to the Pentagon Papers and Watergate, Walter Reed, WikiLeaks and the NSA. And we'll examine what happens when reporters "break bad:" Janet Cook, Stephen Glass, Jason Blair, Brian Williams.

Expect weekly quizzes, a mid-term paper and a final paper.  

Comm 315A: Gender & Theatre

Prof. Susan Anthony

This class explores ways in which theatrical works (drama, theatre, and popular entertainment) reflect, reinforce, challenge or disrupt sex and gender roles throughout various historical periods. Topics will include depictions of women and men in drama and theatre, LGBT performance, and performance art. Students will read and discuss dramatic texts, theatrical/dramatic theory, work on research, writing, and speaking skills, and attend live performances.


Comm 325A: Family Communication

Prof. Susan Wilson

Family is integral to who we are.  The kind of communication enacted and repeated by our families contributes to our sense of self, our values, our interactions with others, etc.   In this course we will examine the scope and function of family communication.  Importantly we will look at the research about family, particularly in the areas such as conflict and negotiation, changing demographics,  siblings, and co-cultural and cross-cultural variations.

Comm 328A TPS: Race, Gender, and Domination: Rhetorics of Hierarchy and Scapegoating in the United States

Professor David Worthington

This course will focus on US history read across the documents, speeches, and literature that shaped American attitudes towards Race and Gender.  Beginning with the introduction of permanent European settlements in North America (particularly John Winthrop’s “City Upon A Hill” speech) and moving forward to the contemporary age students will investigate American rhetoric that has shaped attitudes towards race and gender.  The class will ask students to understand the way hierarchy and scapegoating are rhetorically constructed.  Furthermore, students will engage difficult rhetoric that argued for slavery, against women’s rights, and for Jim Crow and internment.