Courses and Teaching


Vision and Revision: The British Literary Tradition and New Media

This course is the primary course that I teach at The Westminster Schools and is taken by juniors. In some ways the class functions as an overview of British literature, but with the addition of contemporary revisions of canonical narratives and themes across a variety of media. Literature and narrative thrive when ideas and stories are refashioned, molded, and transformed by other writers and creators. The course, then, addresses film, digital media, video games, and even tabletop games as contemporary areas of inquiry to spark students’ engagement with the study of stories.

Remembering the Sea: Nostalgia and Adventure

This course will help students to hone their abilities in multimodal (WOVEN) communication through an examination and discussion of nautical and maritime narratives. Stories set on the open sea have long been a staple of literature and drama. In this class we will focus our attention on nineteenth-century stories in order to consider how these narratives frame particular understandings of the sea (as adventurous, dangerous, mysterious, as well as many others). Readings will include works from Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Edgar Allan Poe. From these beginnings we will trace how nostalgic representations of the sea have found their way into contemporary interactive narratives of the sea, particularly in video games and films like Sunless Sea and Master and Commander.
Syllabus

"Dublin Bay." (1853) Edwin Hayes, National Gallery of Ireland. via Wikimedia Commons

“Dublin Bay.” (1853) Edwin Hayes, National Gallery of Ireland. via Wikimedia Commons

Narrative in Video Games

This course asks students to develop communication strategies through narrative analysis in a variety of interactive media and video games, as well as develop practical skills in presentation, collaboration and multi-modal design. To refine their approaches to LMC’s WOVEN (written, oral, visual, electronic, and non-verbal) communication modules, students will design and compose unique artifacts that respond to material on games and narrative theory. In order to provide a context for the production of these artifacts, this class will examine narrative and virtual ecosystems in a variety of media: we will address the book and the process of reading as a formal experience, but our primary area of emphasis will be the form, function, and experience of narrative in video games and other interactive media. Co-taught with Joshua Hussey.
Course Website

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Narrating Criminal Memory in Literature and Culture

This course is a composition and communication course in which students hone their strategic processes for communicating in multiple WOVEN modes (written, oral, visual, electronic, and nonverbal) by examining the relationship between memory and crime in fictional narratives. In the context of the legal system, the question of how memory relates to testimony has been important to narratives that offer imaginative representations of crime. The frailty of memory is central to this question; in 1825, the philosopher and legal theorist Jeremy Bentham claimed that memories are both lost in forgetfulness as well as created through “false recollections.” The course examines a variety of narratives that seek to represent the uncertainty that often accompanies testimonial memories of criminal activity. The work in this class will explore why these concerns remain so central to much of the cultural and creative discourse surrounding narratives of crime.
Syllabus

Brocken Spectre, via Wikimedia Commons

Brocken Spectre, via Wikimedia Commons

Narrative Poetry from Milton to Browning

This course examines narrative poetry beginning with John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667) and concluding with Robert Browning’s The Ring and the Book (1868). While the two hundred years between these two works have widely been seen as the period of the novel’s ascendancy, this class focuses on the ways that long-form poetry continued to function as a narrative medium in the face of the novel’s rising popularity. Many students are familiar with long prose narratives, but few have experience with poetic narratives. This course allows us to consider the particular ways in which narrative poetry tells stories through this period.
Syllabus

Gustave Dore, Paradise Lost engraving

Gustave Dore, Paradise Lost engraving

The Play’s the Thing: Argument and Rhetoric in Video Game Culture

This class approaches the teaching of introductory composition through the lens of video games. Students are encouraged to explore such questions as whether video games are art, entertainment, distractions, or something else, and what role video games might play in the culture at large.
Syllabus

Journey (2012)

Journey (2012)

Testimony and Memory in Victorian Culture

This course uses texts from nineteenth-century literature as a conduit for students to consider the intersections of testimony and memory within legal and psychological contexts. Through readings of The Woman in White, In Memoriam, and The Kreutzer Sonata, this class examines the relationship between memory, evidence, and testimony.
Syllabus

Prinet, "The Kreutzer Sonata"

Prinet, “The Kreutzer Sonata”