Current Courses

Courses are designed primarily for undergraduates and listed in departments and programs such as Education, English, History, Theater and Performance Studies, PWR, Oral Communication, LifeWorks, and American Studies. Register through Axess.  Many courses are offered in alternating years see also our Past Courses.

Fall 2021


MEETING THE MOMENT: INNER RESOURCES FOR HARD TIMES

LIFE 105
Instructors: Colleen Hallagan Preuninger, Andrew Todhunter and Jonah WIllihnganz
Fall 2021, Fridays 1:30-3:00 pm
1-2 units

In the face of social, economic, environmental, and public health upheavals, many of us are experiencing an unprecedented degree of uncertainty, isolation, and stress affecting academic and day-to-day life. Challenging times ask us, in a voice louder than usual, to identify sources of strength and develop practices that sustain and even liberate. In this experiential, project-oriented class: Explore practices to find true ground and enact positive change for self and community; Cultivate natural capacities of presence, courage, and compassion; Develop resources to share with one another and the entire Stanford community.

  SOUND & MUSIC: THE RHETORIC OF MUSIC DOCUMENTARIES

PWR 2
Instructor: Tiffany Naiman
Fall 2021, Tuesday and Thursday 9:30-11:15 & 11:30-1:15
4 Units

Film and music have been linked since the invention of moving pictures accompanied by organ music in theaters. But what does it mean when the film is all about the music, its creators, or musical events, or cultures? This course introduces you to the rhetoric, history, and aesthetics of music documentaries by helping you to cultivate the research-based writing and speaking skills to investigate how music documentaries develop their claims about a musical artist’s creativity or place in musical history (i.e., Beyoncé: Homecoming). The influence of music documentaries is immense, as they reinforce or contest the attitudes and values of different communities and cultures (i.e., Woodstock, Rumble). You will learn in particular how arguments are created through narrative strategies and structures, and how music and the visual combine to make these arguments. We’ll consider, for example, how female artist’s stories get told versus male and we’ll ask how movements such as punk, folk, and Afrofuturism use music as social commentary. A background in film or music is in no way required or essential for this course.

Winter 2022


FIGHT THE FUTURE: SPECULATIVE FICTION AND SOCIAL JUSTICE

ENGLISH 29SF
Instructors: Jonah Willihnganz
Winter 2022, Wed 2:30-3:50, Screenings Tue 5:30-8:00
4 Units, WAYS WR-2
Imagining the future has been one of the most important ways humans have assessed their present. In this salon-style seminar we’ll focus on modern speculative fiction as social critique, especially of regimes of patriarchy, racism, and capitalism. The first three weeks will be devoted to the work of Margaret Atwood, who will visit the class. The remaining seven weeks will explore other speculative fiction, broadly defined and across era and geography, that also engages with oppression and freedom, sex, love, and other dynamics of power. Student will write and present research essays on authors and topics of their choice. Guest lecturers will discuss the work of authors such as Octavia Butler, Samuel R. Delany, Franz Kafka, Philip K. Dick, Ursula LeGuin, and others. Note: This course will share some lectures and workshops with its companion course, English 9SF, where students will write speculative fiction stories. Prerequisites: PWR 1. Preference given to students who have not yet completed the WR-2 requirement.

Meeting the Moment: Inner Resources for Hard Times

LIFE 105
Instructors: Colleen Hallagan Preuninger, Andrew Todhunter and Jonah WIllihnganz
Winter 2022, Fridays 1:30-3:00 pm
2 units

In the face of social, economic, environmental, and public health upheavals, many of us are experiencing an unprecedented degree of uncertainty, isolation, and stress affecting academic and day-to-day life. Challenging times ask us, in a voice louder than usual, to identify sources of strength and develop practices that sustain and even liberate. In this experiential, project-oriented class: Explore practices to find true ground and enact positive change for self and community; Cultivate natural capacities of presence, courage, and compassion; Develop resources to share with one another and the entire Stanford community.

 SOUND & MUSIC: THE RHETORIC OF MUSIC DOCUMENTARIES

PWR 2
Instructor: Tiffany Naiman
Winter 2022, Tuesday and Thursday 9:30-11:15 & 11:30-1:15
4 Units

Film and music have been linked since the invention of moving pictures accompanied by organ music in theaters. But what does it mean when the film is all about the music, its creators, or musical events, or cultures? This course introduces you to the rhetoric, history, and aesthetics of music documentaries by helping you to cultivate the research-based writing and speaking skills to investigate how music documentaries develop their claims about a musical artist’s creativity or place in musical history (i.e., Beyoncé: Homecoming). The influence of music documentaries is immense, as they reinforce or contest the attitudes and values of different communities and cultures (i.e., Woodstock, Rumble). You will learn in particular how arguments are created through narrative strategies and structures, and how music and the visual combine to make these arguments. We’ll consider, for example, how female artist’s stories get told versus male and we’ll ask how movements such as punk, folk, and Afrofuturism use music as social commentary. A background in film or music is in no way required or essential for this course.

Spring 2022


COUNTERSTORY PRACTICE IN LITERATURE AND MEDIA

EDUC, LIFE, CSRE 141A
Instructor: Jonah Willihnganz
Spring 2022, Time TBD
4 units, WRITE-2
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. This course will share some lectures and workshops with its companion course, Counterstory in Literature and Education, but this section satisfies the WRITE-2 (PWR2) requirement, so students will focus more intensively on the story creation and writing process.

IT’S THE FREAKIEST SHOW: DAVID BOWIE’S INTERTEXTUAL IMAGINATION

English 14Q
Instructors: Tiffany Naiman
Spring 2022, Monday & Wednesday 10 am – 11:20 am
WRITE-2, WAYS All

David Bowie’s career began in the early 60s with a mix of folk, rock, and psychedelia; he then helped define an era with his performance of a gender bending, glam rock alien prior to engaging with German expressionism and minimalist electronic music; in the ‘80s, he brought a generation to the dance floor with chart topping hits before turning to drum ‘n bass and industrial music for inspiration; he finished his life as an enigmatic but engaged artist releasing poignant albums until his death. Through these many transitions, Bowie had a constant – he was a voracious reader – a practice that informed his work throughout his life. 

In this class students will explore the place of literature in the work of musician, actor, and visual artist David Bowie. They will consider how Bowie’s work embodies, questions, critiques, and engages with “the literary.” This course will focus on the relationship between Bowie’s artistic output and work by other artists, both canonical and Avant Garde such as Andy Warhol, Iggy Pop, W.B. Yeats, T.S. Elliot, and William Burroughs. It will involve close readings of song lyrics and comparative reading of albums with literary forms such as the novel, poetry, and critical essay. We will also consider how Bowie’s music was fueled by and in turn inspires new relationships between music, literature, cinema, and theater. Bowie’s work easily adapts from text to other media including film, painting, and theater. Thus, the story of your research will be no exception: in communicating your findings, you will consider how different modes—writing about your work and presenting it orally—give you varied opportunities and means to persuade.

MEETING THE MOMENT: INNER RESOURCES FOR HARD TIMES

LIFE 105
Instructors: Colleen Hallagan Preuninger, Andrew Todhunter and Jonah WIllihnganz
Spring 2022, Fridays 1:30-3:00 pm
2 units

In the face of social, economic, environmental, and public health upheavals, many of us are experiencing an unprecedented degree of uncertainty, isolation, and stress affecting academic and day-to-day life. Challenging times ask us, in a voice louder than usual, to identify sources of strength and develop practices that sustain and even liberate. In this experiential, project-oriented class: Explore practices to find true ground and enact positive change for self and community; Cultivate natural capacities of presence, courage, and compassion; Develop resources to share with one another and the entire Stanford community.