Making Monsters: Childrens’ Literature and Contemporary Arts – A New Course Design

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipients: Elizabeth Marshall, Faculty of Education

Project team: Robert Kitsos, School for the Contemporary Arts, Linnea Gwiazda and Rowan Shafer-Rickles, research assistants

Timeframe: January 2017 to March 2018

Funding: $5300

Courses addressed:

  • FPA 305 – Making Monsters in Popular Culture: Normal/Abnormal & Pedagogy
  • EDUC 391 – Challenging "Normal": Youth, Popular Culture & Contemporary Arts 

Final report: View Elizabeth Marshall and Robert Kitsos' final report (PDF)

Description: This project is a new course model we will pilot on the summer intersession of 2017. We want to find out how student learning is influenced by an interdisciplinary teaching model drawn from literary/cultural studies and contemporary arts.

We want to introduce multiple modalities that require students to use literature, film and seminar practices as well as the arts and embodied learning to interrogate familiar (and often stereotypical) representations of dis/ability. One class a week students will work in a lecture/seminar format and the second class will meet in the Woodwards studios. Each class meeting will include both instructors/researchers as a way to build an interdisciplinary and collaborative classroom setting for students.     

Questions addressed:

  • How do students assess different aspects of the course design in relationship to their learning experiences in lecture and studio sessions?
  • How do students’ understandings of “normal” develop over the course of the semester?

Knowledge sharing: We will give a presentation to faculties of Education and Contemporary Arts about the process, possibilities and pitfalls of interdisciplinary teaching and share the research at conferences. 

Marshall, E., Kitsos, R., Gwiazda, L., & Shafer, R. (2019). Embodying fairy tales: composition training in narrative, image, and performance. Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, 10(1), 38–50. 

Keywords: disability, interdisciplinary teaching, representations of normal, stereotypes, stereotypical representations, embodiment, composition, fairy tales, children’s culture