Coming of Age: Gender and Genre (DRA2314.01)

Jean Randich

“You can choose a lighter path, go through that door with nothing on your person, nothing on your back.” –Anna Maria Hong, “H & G”

In this course we will investigate contemporary plays, films, and books in which the protagonists have the courage to question authority, lean into the unknown, survive despite harrowing odds, and allow time to help then unfold their identities. They come of age with a difference, not by graduating out of someone else’s system, but by giving birth to their own narratives of what matters. We will examine stories that fight for the rights of individuals, considering films of Radha Blank, Ava DuVernay, Greta Gerwig, Arthur Jafa, Barry Jenkins, Spike Lee, Steve McQueen, Taika Waitit, and Lulu Wang. We will read plays that challenge old notions of gender and sexuality, including the work of Jocelyn Bioh, Eisa Davis, Mashuq Mushtag Deen, Taylor Mac, Young Jean Lee, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Lynn Nottage, Heather Raffo, Heidi Schreck, Ntozake Shange, and Leah Nanako Winkler. We will consider narratives of the differently abled, as well as P. Carl’s memoir, “Becoming a Man: The Story of a Transition,” and Anna Maria Hong’s feminist revision of a Grimm’s Fairy Tale, “H & G.” We will meet once a week in a long block on Monday afternoon to allow for screening of scenes and full discussions of the plays, films, and books considered.

Following the example of Lynn Hernandez, I will be presenting material and activities that respect equity, inclusion, and diversity. This embraces gender identity, sexuality, disability, age, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race, nationality, religion, and culture.


Learning Outcomes:
Honing ability to analyze and interpret a text or film.
Learning to recognize structures and themes in coming of age stories.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: allowing for participants' experience to affect their reception of the work and to be open to listening to all points of view.
Communication: Ability to respond to the work with questions and in short essay form.
Creation: Students may make short original videos and/or write short plays.
Understanding context and value: Developing a sense of what values are expressed or subverted by the work, and why that matters.



Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 4
M 1:40PM - 5:20PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 16
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: All courses , Drama , Fully In-Person
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