Doing Environmental History

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


The Mythic Life

ORALCOMM 175 
Instructor: Martin Shaw, PhD
Spring 2019, Wednesdays, 6-9pm
3 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.


Introduction to Podcast Storytelling


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

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

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.


Tools for a Meaningful Life

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

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.


StoryCraft


TAPS 21, 2 Units, satisfies WAYS-CE requirement
Instructors: Dan Klein and Michelle Darby

StoryCraft is a hands-on, experiential workshop offering participants the opportunity, structure and guidance to craft compelling personal stories to be shared in front of a live audience. The class will focus on several areas of storytelling: Mining (how do you find your stories and extract the richest details?); Crafting (how do you structure the content and shape the language?); and Performing (how do you share your stories with presence, authenticity and connection?).


Documentary Fictions

Documentary Fictions poster
AMSTUD 176B, 4 units, satisfies WAYS Creative Expression requirement
Instructor: Jonah Willihnganz

More and more of the best American fiction, plays, and even comics are being created out of documentary practices such as in-depth interviewing, oral histories, and reporting. Novels like Dave Eggers’s What is the What, plays like Anna Deavere Smith’s Twilight Los Angeles, and narrative journalism like Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, all act as both witnesses and translators of people’s direct experience and push art into social activism in new ways. In this course students will examine the research methods, artistic craft, and ethics of these rich, genre-bending works and then create documentary fictions of their own. Readings will include works by Katherine Boo, G. B. Tran, and Charles Johnson, and author visits will include a master class with Rebecca Skloot. No prior creative writing or journalism experience required.


Sound Stories

Rainbow audio wave with Sound Stories written above

ORALCOMM 129, 4 units
Instructor: Jake Warga

This special seminar is designed for students interested in creating documentary stories for radio, podcast, and other sound media. Students will learn both the core principles of telling strong stories, whatever the medium, and the strategies of telling entertaining, persuasive stories for the ear. Just like film or the novel, sonic stories offer a fascinating mix of constraints and opportunities, and you’ll learn how to invite listeners into an experience or insight that combines theories, facts and feelings into a single space of empathy. This is a hybrid class – equal parts classic seminar and creative workshop – and students will create stories from start to finish and learn skills from pitching and interviewing to writing, editing, and digital production. Students will work in small groups to document places through the stories that inhabit them – from police departments and local shelters to and community centers. Recommended for students interested in creative nonfiction, documentary, film, and even sound art. No prior experience necessary. (Cardinal Course certified by the Haas Center)


Narrative Design


TAPS 176A, 4 Units
Instructor: Jonah Willihnganz

This class examines narrative design in performed storytelling, especially live drama, oral storytelling, and radio, and compares it to narrative design in other forms, such as print, photography, and the graphic novel. After considering what media theory, psychology and neurobiology understand about how different forms of narratives operate on us, students will create a “base narrative” in print and then versions of that narrative in two different other forms. The goal is for students to understand narrative design principles both across and specific to media forms and be able to apply them to move audiences. Students will have the opportunity to meet and work with master storytellers including Anthony Doerr, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, All the Light We Cannot See.