How does one write about one's self? How should we understand the truth of such 'autobiography'? How does one attend to the possibility of alternative ways of thinking, and seeing, and even of alternate selves? How does one place the self, spatially and historically, in relation to others? What is shared and gained by engaging in such 'autotopography'? How can we bear witness to the specific and individual places and histories of others? This is a practice-centered class in which we will explore and play with identity, testimony, place, and ethics. We will also draw inspiration from singular examples such as Anna Deavere Smith's performance of her Fires in the Mirror, and autobiography, Talk to Me: listening between the lines, and Spalding Gray's monologue Swimming to Cambodia, as well as from theoretical works such as Deidre Heddon's Autobiography and Performance. Students will be asked to develop, write, and present / perform a personal monologue, the story of another, and a group narrative.
Course taught by
Christopher L. Harris