Join Professor David Sherman at JBS this summer for Storytelling as Social Practice, to be held from June 1 – July 31, 2020
“The best argument in the world won’t change a person’s mind. The only thing that can do that is a good story.” (Richard Powers, The Overstory, 488)
This course builds on the vibrant storytelling movement currently traveling across the U.S.
With a focus on nineteenth- and twentieth-century writers such asIrving, Poe, Hawthorne, Twain, Chekhov, Mansfield, Hemingway, O’Connor, García Márquez, Johnson, Wallace, and Moore, this course will help to answer short story questions such as: How did the genre of the short story emerge and what distinctive work has it performed in its long and protean history? And why does the short story still matter?
You will consider the formal features of plots, characters, and narrative discourse, as well as read theoretical accounts of the role that narrative plays in personal identity, community belonging, moral judgment, historical knowledge, and political authority.
You will also participate in workshops to craft and perform stories as part of the Brandeis Storytelling Brigade. Through a series of collaborative exercises and rehearsals, you will develop a repertoire of at least four stories: one fictional story for young children, one folk tale for young children, one story based on historical research for young adults or adults, and one autobiographical or fictional story for young adults or adults.
This course will help you to develop skills in:
- holding stage presence in body and voice
- organizing and promoting performance events
- participating constructively in a collaborative performance team
- designing intricate plots, with a sense of how beginnings, middles, and ends shape human time
- understanding character psychology and development as a part of a character system
- researching the history of folk stories, as a strategy for doing cultural history
- analyzing narrative in theoretically sophisticated ways, including political and philosophical investigations into how stories work and what they do
- writing critically about the short story literary genre, as it has evolved from antiquity to the present
By the end of the JBS program you’ll have acquired a repertoire of stories and skills that can support your work in education, political advocacy, creative writing, theater, stand-up, clinical psychology, and other realms where stories circulate. By knowing the stories that you’re capable of telling, you can learn more about where and how you can be effective in the world.
Visit our application page to fill out a Summer 2020 JBS Application.
If you have questions about the program, please email Prof. David Sherman at: firstname.lastname@example.org.