The Mythic Life

Spring Quarter, 2019
Martin Shaw, PhD
Wednesdays, 6-9pm
OralComm 1753-units, WAYS-CE

Why in the twenty-first century do many of our most acclaimed and popular stories carry narrative forms that are thousands of years old? Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Titanic, Batman – all are deeply informed by ancient myth, folklore, and oral traditions. One reason is that the deep stories of myth and folklore act as a bridge between our personal lives and the profoundest aspects of the human condition. They offer a way to understand our lives and how to live them. 

This course offers an in-depth study and experience of myth and folklore, the roots of modern story and the roots of our own stories. You will hear these myths live, as people have for thousands of years—from Trickster folk tales to the medieval Arthurian grail epic Parzival. You will also draw from these epics to create and tell a mythic story of your own. This will give you an appreciation for myth as a living principle, not just something from a long time ago. It will also help you become a good storyteller by developing your memory, improvisation, and image-based thinking. This ability to tell a story well is at the root of authentic leadership and helps us bring a powerful, embodied perspective to championing a cause or just debating over coffee.


Doing Environmental History

Spring 2019, Tues/Thurs, 1:30-2:50
History 200B, 5 units
Instructors: Jake Warga, Richard White

WAYS-CE, WAYS-SI

This will be a hands-on course that will emphasize how to do environmental history. It will be multidisciplinary, but will emphasize the different formats — photography, film, podcasts, digital representations, and writing — in which the history can be analyzed and presented. This course forms part of the “Doing History” series: rigorous undergraduate colloquia that introduce the practice of history within a particular field or thematic area.


Tools for a Meaningful Life

Fall 2018, Tues/Thurs, 3 pm-4:20
LIFE 101, 3 Units
Instructors: Jonah Willihnganz, Andrew Todhunter, Fred Luskin, Farshid Oshidari

Explores the foundational skills for a meaningful life. Features lectures by faculty from across the university and labs for experiential practice. Draws on research and practices from fields related to psychology, philosophy, literature, and neuroscience, as well as wisdom traditions from around the world. Focuses on developing human capacities necessary for a meaningful life including; attention, courage, devotion, resilience, imagination, and gratitude. Exposure to these capacities influences personal growth and its development in communities.


Introduction to Podcast Storytelling

Spring 2019, Fridays, 11:30-12:50
ORALCOMM127, 2 units
Instructors: Jonah Willihnganz, Jenny March

WAYS-CE

This introductory course is designed to teach you the fundamentals of creating stories for new media, especially podcasting. You will learn how to develop and produce pieces across a variety of genres, from memoir to reported pieces, and you will learn the entire process, step-by-step, from pitching and interviewing to scripting and audio (and sometimes photo and video) editing. The course combines a traditional seminar format with a practicum where we workshop work in progress for fiction and nonfiction podcasts produced by the Storytelling Project. Though we focus on audio stories, the craft skills you learn here are transferable to making stories for any medium, from print and performance to web multimedia and film.
May be repeated for credit.


Your American Life

Winter 2019, Tues/Thurs, 3:30-5:20
ORALCOMM 130, 4 Units
Instructor: Jake Warga

This small seminar is designed for students interested in creating audio stories for radio or podcast. You will examine the craft elements of the medium, popularized by programs like This American Life, Radiolab and Serial, and then produce your own documentary, memoir, or investigative story. We will explore the basic principles of strong storytelling, and you will learn how to develop your material, choose an effective structure, blend dramatization and reflection, ground insights in concrete scenes, create a strong narrative arc, and manage elements such as characterization, description, and dialogue. We will also examine craft elements unique to the audio form, and you will learn skills for interviewing, scoring, and audio editing. Students will have the opportunity to work with special guests from some of the best narrative podcasts in America. No prior experience with story craft or media required.


Counterstory in Literature and Education

Winter 2019, Wednesdays 1:30-4:20
CSRE 141E, EDUC 141/341, LIFE 124, 3 Units
Instructors: Anthony Antonio, Jonah Willihnganz

Counterstory is a method developed in critical legal studies that emerges out of the broad “narrative turn” in the humanities and social science. This course explores the value of this turn, especially for marginalized communities, and the use of counterstory as analysis, critique, and self-expression. Using an interdisciplinary approach, we examine counterstory as it has developed in critical theory, critical pedagogy, and critical race theory literatures, and explore it as a framework for liberation, cultural work, and spiritual exploration.


Oral Documentary Workshop

Fall 2019, Fridays 10:30-12:20
ORALCOMM 126, 1 Unit
Instructor: Jake Warga
This workshop will lead students through the process of turning interviews, archival tape, and other recorded material into an accomplished audio documentary suited for public radio and major podcasts. Students will learn how to build story out of their materials, design and create a script, edit and mix sound, and distribute their final product. Suited especially to students returning from summer documentary and oral history research projects. Instructor Permission Required