The Practice of the Everyday


Spring 2014 quarter

Taught by

media arts, photography, visual studies
fiction, nonfiction, and contemporary literature

In this interdisciplinary foundational program in visual studies, literature, cultural theory, and creative and critical writing, we will practice observing, rendering, and reflecting on the ordinary and the everyday.  We’ll study texts, objects, ideas, art and films, aspiring to Henry David Thoreau’s lifelong goal: to be surprised by what we see, in “the bloom of the present moment.”  Slowing down to observe, render, and reflect on what tends to go unnoticed will galvanize curiosity and insights about our basic experiences of embodiment and raise new questions to pursue critically, ethically, and artfully.  We’ll write, read, make images, and perform thought experiments to heighten our awareness of practices often obscured by the habitual and overly-familiar aspects of daily life (for example, calendar time, e-mail correspondence, house-cleaning, eating, and even walking to get from point A to point B – what other kinds of walks might we take?).  By activating our perceptual abilities to make visible and thinkable these quotidian structures, we will in turn consider the ways the everyday constitutes not only our private lives, but also our public and social worlds.
We will study a range of philosophical, poetic, filmic, visual, and fictional texts that theorize and enact the constitution of dailiness. In all our work we will focus on cultivating practices of attention—skills essential to creative and critical engagement – while furthering our abilities to read and view closely, attend to historical and cultural context, and write – academically and creatively – with precision and patience. Class sessions will include lectures, screenings, workshops and seminar. Students can expect to both work individually and collaborate with peers on assignments. Finally, we'll expand our critical and creative lexicons by intersecting with two campus arts and humanities forums: the Critical and Cultural Theory lecture series on Monday evenings and the Art Lecture series on Wednesday mornings.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

Arts, Humanities, Teaching

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day and Evening


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.

Required Fees

$40 for tickets and art supplies.


Date Revision
February 5th, 2014 New spring opportunity

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Spring)

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

Maximum enrollment: 40


Course Reference Numbers

Fr (16 credits): 30408
So (16 credits): 30409

Go to to register for this program.

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