Text, Image, Sound - Journals, Diaries, and Blogs

CLLC-L 110 / CLASS 33331 — Fall 2020

Foster Shea 012A
Days and Times
Tu/Th 9:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m., 3 credits
Course Description

“The journal,” the young Susan Sontag wrote, “does not simply record my actual, daily life but rather—in many cases— offers an alternative to it.” This course examines why and how we keep diaries and journals, asking: what is the purpose of journaling? How can we understand life-writing as a form of contemplating and constructing self and identity? Can journals be artworks? We will study a range of "diaries" produced by women, queer artists, and writers of color; readings include Sylvia Plath’s diaries and selected poems, Helen Oyeyemi’s “if a book is locked there’s a good reason for that don’t you think,” Peter Hujar’s photobook Speed of Life, as well as blogs, podcasts, and vlogs. Coming from a variety of media used for first-person storytelling, these texts will also ask: what other forms—beside the written—can we use to create diaries? How do we choose to express ourselves and what are the history, politics, and ramifications of our choice of selfexpression? We will supplement the critical reading of our texts, seminar-style discussion, and formal writing assignments with field trips and workshops. And of course, we will be keeping journals, documenting our responses to our reading and binding the finished product in beautiful marbled paper—just like the authors of Virginia Woolf’s Hogarth Press.


Instructor: Laura Tscherry

Collins Seminars: Selected by Board of Educational Programming (BOEP)