I attended the Adventures in Worldmaking extra credit event on April 30th. This event had a group of graduate students from two different English classes in the graduate program speaking about work they have done in the semester thus far. The first group of students that presented were from the African Bildungsroman class with Dr. Kim Stone, and the second group was from the Feminist Worldmaking class with Dr. Danica Savonick. Students from the first class read papers that they had written about different books they had read throughout the semester. The second class presented some of the assignments and presentations they had done throughout the semester. Each person that presented brought something new to the conversation and brought up different topics and points of view.
The first group of students that presented were from the African Bildungsroman class. They each read a paper they had written about one of the books they had read in that class throughout the semester. Some of the books that were presented were Nervous Conditions, The Small Island, and Americana. They explained that African Bildungsroman books are African coming of age books. Each book that was talked about was an African Bildungsroman and had main characters that were confused or struggling to come to terms with their culture and where they stood in life. Some of the characters discussed were mixed race, some not, all from varying countries in Africa. Mostly all the characters traveled to other countries and had to figure out how to live and thrive in these countries. The main theme of these books were all coming to terms with one’s culture, with many secondary themes including education. Many of the books talked about compared the education systems of one country to that of another. I thought the students did a great job presenting their papers and introducing this genre of literature. I had never heard of the African Bildungsroman genre, but listening to the grad students present their papers and analyze these novels sparked an interest in the genre for me. I thought all of the presentations were very professional and all the papers were very well written.
The second group of graduate students that presented were from the Feminist Worldmaking class. Each student presented something different based on an assignment they had to do for class. There were two presentations that really stood out to me. The first was a woman who read what she called her manifesto, and showed her collage images. She brought in a collage of words to pass around, had a collage at the front of the room, and clicked through pictures of her collages on the screen. While she flipped through the pictures, she read her manifesto allowed which had to do with why she was a type of witch. She connected her collages and making collages to one’s identity. Her entire presentation was very relaxing and pleasing to listen to. The second presentation that stood out to me was a woman who presented an exquisite corpse exercise she had designed for their class to do. Each person in the class answered different questions in relation to making a new fantasy world for a novel, however students were unable to see the answers before them after a certain point. Each student created different aspects of the world like location, government, and technology all without seeing the answers that came before them. The presenter read some of the final worlds that they had come up with in their class and they were incredibly creative and imaginative. I thought this activity was extremely creative and interesting and made me want to try this out with friends and see what we could come up with. I really enjoyed this idea of creating a world by only having control over one part of it. It created some very interesting worlds. I thought all of the presentations from this class were very interesting and creative.
The Adventure in Worldmaking event is one of my favorite extra credit events I have been to. Each presenter talked about something different and added something new to the conversation. Every presenter kept my interest and made me think about things I hadn’t thought of before. This event introduced me to a new genre of literature and many new ideas about identity and worldmaking. I thought all of the graduate students did a great job presenting and really showcased the classes and their work well. I learned a lot from this event and I’m very glad I went.