ENGL-290 Writing and the Museum
Fall for 2017-2018
"Curating" has become a buzzword that extends beyond museums to the realm of thrift-stores, performances, blogs, and other venues. This course explores a range of literatures that utilize curatorial strategies and navigate "object lessons" in writing. Drawing upon museum studies, visual culture, and cultural studies, we will ground ourselves in a historic rhetoric of wonder (via global explorations, memory palaces, curiosity cabinets, natural and artistic collections), visit museums around Georgetown and Washington D.C., and examine fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and hybrid genres that imitate museums, enact curatorial gestures, and/or try to dismantle such structures. What objects and genres constitute these collections? How do authors and/or readers become engaged and implicated in the forms and contents of their projects? As students adopt the role of curators, projects will include writing an object biography, writing a field guide and ethnography of a museum, and imagining a hypothetical exhibition.
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