Creating Dangerously: Experiments in Feminist and Diaspora Art


Fall 2013, Winter 2014 and Spring 2014 quarters

Taught by

international feminism, Middle East studies, English
media arts, media and film, experimental media

"Dangerous creations" emerge out of adverse political conditions and embody new creative strategies and possibilities. This program will explore how writers, media makers, artists and community activists use experimental modes of address to challenge dominant narratives and formal structures, and to confound notions of "the real." With an emphasis on multiculturalism, identity and especially African and Arab Diasporas, this program will examine the histories of slavery, colonialism and Empire and how art, media and literature have been used as tools of both conquest and resistance. We will draw on theoretical tools  to analyze the "politics of representation" in popular media, including critiques of Orientalism, the Africanist presence and the gaze. And we will explore how diasporic communities, particularly feminists of color, "talk back" to these representations—by creating dangerously. That is, how do these artists use experimental forms to challenge fixed notions of individual and communal identity, as well as the consumerist system of media and literary production?

Through the study of diasporic cultural production, African and Arab American literature and film, Third World Cinema and queer and feminist film theory, we intend to foster critical thinking about race, class and gender identities, and how they are negotiated. We will also explore how certain models of cultural-mixing, hybridity, and border-crossing have created a dispersal of identities and strategic possibilities for solidarities and connections across community struggles.

In fall and winter quarters, students will learn to read cultural texts, including film, visual art and literature, to understand the relationships of people and communities, their sense of identity and possibilities for solidarity across differences. Students will develop skills in visual and media literacy, creative and expository writing, analytical reading and viewing, literary analysis, and the terminologies and methodologies of cultural and gender studies, film history and theory. Through workshops, students will also learn a range of community documentation skills, including photography, video, interviewing and oral history. In spring, students will have the opportunity to work on in-depth independent projects in autobiographical representations either through moving image or narrative writing. With faculty guidance and small group workshops, students will write proposals, conduct research and engage in critique groups to produce a major individual or colloborative creation. 

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

visual studies, film studies, cultural studies, literary studies, African-American studies, Arab/Middle East studies, gender studies, community organizing and advocacy, and education.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day


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Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning: Access to web-based tools required, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

Required Fees

$150 in fall, $100 in winter and $150 in spring for museum entrance fees, overnight field trips and photography/video supplies.


Date Revision
January 31st, 2014 This program will not accept new enrollment spring quarter.
November 19th, 2013 Preparatory work for students joining the program in winter quarter has been clarified. Winter fee has decreased (from $150 to $100).

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Fall); 16 (Winter); 16 (Spring)

Class standing: Freshmen–Sophomore; 50% of the seats are reserved for freshmen

Maximum enrollment: 40


Course Reference Numbers

Fr (16 credits): 10160
So (16 credits): 10161
Fr - So (1-16 credits): 10487

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Accepting New Students


Students should either meet faculty at the Academic Fair or contact them via email for some brief reading and an interview activity over the break. 

Course Reference Numbers

Fr (16 credits): 20145
So (16 credits): 20146
Fr - So (1-16 credits): 20294

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Enrollment Closed

Course Reference Numbers

Fr (16 credits): 30125
So (16 credits): 30126
Fr - So (1-16 credits): 30254

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