Summer 2016 Classes | Gothic Lit, Internet Journalism, Shakespeare, & Acting

Hi, everyone! So as you may know, I’m staying in Iowa City over the summer in order to take some classes. Taking these twelve credit hours’ worth of courses will hopefully help me to graduate early, in 2018 instead or 2019. My first classes – the first two listed – begin tomorrow, so I thought I’d tell you all about what I’m studying this summer, as I’ve done in the past at the start of previous semesters!

Gothic Literature: Origins to Twilight

This course will wind its way through the origins of Gothic literature, from mid-century “graveyard poetry” to the first Gothic novel in English to its gentle ribbing at the hands of Jane Austen. We will consider the questions of why the Enlightenment gave rise to such dark literature and of what this body of texts reveals about British culture, sexuality, family life, religion, and politics.

Our intensive study of the early Gothic novel will earn us the right to fast forward a bit a by the end. We will read Bram Stoker’s Dracula with a discerning eye, pondering the meaning of the Gothic for the Victorians, and we’ll finish inquiring about the Gothic’s abiding appeal for us today as we read Stephenie Meyer’s blockbuster Twilight.

I’ve actually been meaning to try my hand at Gothic-ish literature sometime this year, so I’m looking forward to this course. It starts tomorrow! I’ve never read Northanger Abbey before but I’m interested in becoming more familiar with Jane Austen’s work, so that should be fun. And I LOVE Dracula. Can’t wait for those class discussions.

Internet and Journalism

This course centers on the most current trend facing journalism today: the Internet’s effect on the content of news media, the work of reporters and the growing importance of social media. The course begins with a survey of open source journalism and convergence culture, examining the collision between old and new media, and the mass amateurization of professional communication.

We will consider the transformation of journalism in the digital age in light of the apparent shrinking size of articles, the reduction in readers’ attention span, and the decline of deep reading, as well as online reading communities and social media.

This is, fittingly, an online course! It’s taught by one of my favorite professors from fall 2015 – I was in his Media History & Culture class, which I really enjoyed. This course takes an in-depth look at some of the subjects that were mentioned in passing during MH&C last year, which I’m super happy about because I meant to research those things and then never got around to it because I got so busy with this spring’s classes… so, yeah. Two of my favorite things, combined into one class.

Shakespeare 400

From Tehran to Tokyo, this year will witness performances and celebrations to mark four hundred years of Shakespeare. This is your chance to join the fun and spend your summer studying abroad – in Iowa. As Thoreau said, even without leaving home we may be “the Lewis and Clark and Frobisher of [our] own oceans,” and so in addition to readings and writing that will fill the standard requirements for an undergraduate Shakespeare course, this class will offer a local take on the traditional summer study abroad program.

We’ll explore the unique resources we have for studying Shakespeare right here in Iowa, including performance, rare books, art, and architecture. How has Shakespeare been read and understood in Iowa? How have his works shaped the lives and land of Iowans, and what does this tell us about the works, their continuing significance, and their place in contemporary culture more broadly?

I LOVE SHAKESPEARE. But it’s so haaaard to study it on one’s own. At least in my experience, anyway? Whenever I try to read one of his plays in order to continue building my Shakespearean knowledge, I lose interest because… I guess because the language used is so different from today’s and I find his writing to be complicated, so I need someone to talk me through it? I’m so excited about the hands-on aspect of this course. We’ll be seeing some plays at the university’s theaters later this summer!

Basic Acting

This course is intended for students who are not theatre arts majors. The course is an introduction to the elements of performance, including exercises in concentration, imagination, observation, communication, relaxation, and sensory awareness. Classes are designed to promote toning the voice and body, freeing creative expression, and developing an understanding of the dramatic situation.

I’ve always wanted to take an acting class! And now I finally am! AHHHH I’M SO EXCITED. This course fulfills the Literary, Visual, & Performing Arts gen ed required for graduation, and I’m really looking forward to it. The small class size – sixteen or so students total – should be a plus, too.


Another reason I wrote this post was to let you know how I’m going to handle posting about my classes! I posted monthly updates during the fall and spring semesters, but since the scheduling system is different for the summer – not all my classes start and end on the same date – I didn’t think that continuing that made any sense for this particular batch of classes.

Sooo… you’ll see occasionally schoolish updates from me, probably about one class at a time. It all depends on what’s got me excited at the moment, really. I am planning to do a month-long Pride-themed post series again this June, so there won’t be any posts about my classes during that month, but there definitely will be afterwards. And probably a few in this month as well. And in August. I’ll be back to my regular, once-a-month class updates this fall, but until then – we’ll just have to see how it goes!

Enjoy your summer! Are you taking any classes over the next few months, or are you free to do whatever you’d like this summer?


About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
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4 Responses to Summer 2016 Classes | Gothic Lit, Internet Journalism, Shakespeare, & Acting

  1. Mom says:

    The Internet and Journalism class sounds very interesting!

  2. Miriam Joy says:

    I’m theoretically taking an online Shakespeare course at the moment, to keep my brain ticking over while I’m away from uni, but I keep getting behind with it and I haven’t done the last two weeks :/ I’ll catch up eventually. Working has been using all my energy, along with The Pain, but I’m only working until the end of next week and then I’m officially an unemployed loser, so I should be able to do lots of Shakespeare things. I’m always available to talk Hamlet if it ever takes your fancy, too.

    We should end up graduating at the same time, if you’re a year early and I’m a year late from our original estimated dates. 🙂

  3. Levi says:

    ah bro acting
    it is my everything i adore theatre so much

    i’m actually going to italy again and then working for the rest of the summer *sigh*

  4. Heather says:

    I know that it is sort of dumb to declare so but I actually loved the Twilight books, so I’m sort of jealous you get to read it for school. XD Still, studying it within a gothic context sounds even better. I’d love to hear what you discuss in that class if you ever feel like an update! Also, I don’t think you can go wrong with Shakespeare or acting, so it sounds like you have some fun learning ahead of you this summer!

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