Creativity and Diversity in American Culture: Art and Narrative in Response to Place


Fall 2013 and Winter 2014 quarters

Taught by

visual arts, creative writing, poetry
literature, writing, storytelling

How does culture affect the worldviews and visions of writers, artists, storytellers, and filmmakers? How does place affect culture? We will explore these questions and connections through careful reading and analysis of literature, film, and art history which reflects a multicultural perspective. As students of diversity in American culture, we will examine the way in which place, and migration from place, shapes cultural production of texts and art, as well as how our connection to the natural world affects creativity.

Over the course of the year we will study works by a diverse group of writers, artists, and filmmakers, including African American, Native American, Asian American, European American, Chicano, Latino writers, and other cultures. We will take field trips to museums and cultural events. Guest speakers from diverse communities will share their perspectives about their practice as writers, artists, and scholars.  Workshops in writing, composition, poetry, and art will provide the opportunity to develop a creative practice and create art, poetry, and various forms of narrative. All students will work on improving their academic and writing skills so by the end of the program they can write and work towards publication.

Fall quarter, we will study works by a diverse group of American writers, artists, and filmmakers, beginning with Linda Hogan's novel, Power.  A multi-day field trip to the Makah Nation in Neah Bay, on the northwest tip of the Olympic Peninsula will allow us to study the artifacts from Ozette, a village on the Pacific Coast buried by a mud slide during the 17th century, some of whose artifacts carbon date from the 1500s. We will meet with contemporary artists, and cultural experts, from the Makah Nation and learn about their relationship to place. We will also study works by African American, Chicano, Jewish American, Armenian American, and Arab American writers and filmmakers.  Students will explore the role of art, film, literature, storytelling, and filmmaking as they begin their own artistic practice.  They will participate in workshops on creating narrative and visual art and will write weekly synthesis essays that reflect on texts and integrate the various materials we are studying.

Winter quarter, students will continue to explore creative works and anthologies by diverse writers, including texts by a variety of Asian Americans, European Americans, and other Native Nations and cultural groups.  We will also continuie our study of the works of diverse artists and filmmakers.  In addition to field trips and workshops on poetry and art, students will write two five-page expository essays and one ten-page research paper.  Students will continue to participate in creative workshops and complete two creative projects that grow out of our work over the past two quarters.  They will present their creative projects for their classmates and friends on campus.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

literature, education, art, and cultural studies.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day

Advertised schedule: Schedule will change for field trips and other class activities off campus.


Buy books for this program through Greener Bookstore.

Online Learning

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

Off Campus Location

We will take field trips to the Makah reservation, to Museums, galleries, cultural performances, readings, and other events in Seattle and Portland.

Required Fees

$210 in fall and $75 in winter for museum entrance fees, overnight field trips, and supplies.


Date Revision
February 28th, 2014 This program will end after winter quarter. Interested students should refer to the new program Art and Narrative in Response to Place.
July 29th, 2013 This program is now open to students of all class levels (freshmen through seniors).
June 7th, 2013 This program is now open to students of sophomore standing.
April 26th, 2013 Fees have increased.
April 3rd, 2013 New opportunity added.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Fall); 16 (Winter)

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

Maximum enrollment: 40


Course Reference Numbers

Fr (16 credits): 10266
So - Sr (16 credits): 10367

Go to to register for this program.


Accepting New Students

Course Reference Numbers

Fr (16 credits): 20217
So - Sr (16 credits): 20258

Go to to register for this program.

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