Welcome to the School of Writing, Literature, and Film at Oregon State University


There is no such thing as a world
without story. Everything we do, every action we take, everything we think about,
we tend to construct in narrative terms. In the School of Writing, Literature and
Film we teach our students to become experts at seeing through the stories
that construct human experience, and in seeing through those stories, we see most importantly, how they might be rewritten. We are the people who can make patterns
and coherence within difficult texts, who understand how the material substance of different media interact in the construction of meaning. These are things that
I think we use not only in many career paths; we use them in our lives. Through
literature you can get access to other times and places lived from the inside.
Literature gets people outside of their own heads in ways that enable them to relate
to others more richly and intuitively. I use storytelling as a way to get closer
to the world. There are temendous professional opportunities that come from
the study of storytelling. The introductory creative nonfiction classes
that we teach here at Oregon State are the mode of creative writing that you’re
going to be able to use the most in the world. The biggest challenge for English
majors is understanding how language works in the media landscape of the 21st
century. But it’s also incredibly exciting to be the people who give
meaning to complex data and information. We can study literature and continue to
ask some of the same questions, but we can bring new approaches to that study
and rethink the relationship between literature and technology.
Film storytelling through audio-visual experience introduce students to an
inquiry into what it means to be human and to see how others engage with this
question. One of the most important things about Medieval Literature is that it
shows us what a long history so many aspects of what we think of as modern
culture or postmodern culture have. Anytime we take up a question from a
21st century perspective, if we don’t look back at how it’s been treated at earlier times,
we’re taking a very foreshortened view of the present. Chaucer has a good line where he says
“Out of all these old fields from year to year comes new corn, and out of all
these old books comes all the new science that men learn.” I think that that
sort of sums up what medieval English and Old English are trying to do.
They’re trying to show the relevance true to today’s world that old stories
contain. In order to create a better society, we need to question why things
are happening and how to improve them. The study of rhetoric urges you to not
swallow information whole but to always continue to question. Always
assuming that there is that underlying meaning makes you a critical and an
ethical citizen of the world.

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