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Summer SAVY Session 3, Day 1 – Theory, Criticism, and The Force: An Academic Study of Star Wars

Posted by on Monday, June 26, 2023 in blog, SAVY.

Day 1:  Students of Theory, Criticism, and The Force:

Thank you for an energetic, engaged, and thoroughly entertaining first day! I’m so excited about the work ahead and for the fun we are going to have.
We began with a game designed to stretch students’ collaborative skills, as well as encourage them to seek what Nikos Kazantzakis referred to as the “hidden meaning” of all things. We shared names, stories, and some of those details that make us special. There are so many artists, athletes, and animal lovers in our little “city-state,” and I suspect that if we started a garage band, we could book gigs for the rest of the summer.
I’m glad that we’ve set our classroom agreements. I’ll see to it that these are posted in a prominent location, but for your reference, these are: 
  • Be honest. 
  • Be willing to have The Conversation. 
  • Be brave. 
  • Be kind.

A hefty chunk of our day was spent on an overview of course content. Students have already dipped their toes into the waters of Structuralism, Semiotics, and Post-Structuralism, as well as a host of other disciplines and philosophies. I’ve confidence that we’ll be diving deep in no time!

And, as evidence to that last: boy, did we make a meal of Formalism! Students compiled observations about Star Wars numbering in the dozens, and they were able to advocate for why those selections met formalist criteria. The class played two different games designed to amplify their understanding of this lens; I hope they will teach their family and friends how to play Impostionary — and I hope they can help me to come up with a better name than that because my portmanteau of Impostor and Pictionary doesn’t quite roll off the tongue.
I anticipate we’ll add “portmanteau” to our list of Ephemera and Abstractions (our running documentation of complicated vocabulary). Bonus points tomorrow to whoever asks what the term means, and double-bonus points to the first person able to define it!
Oh, and — lest I bury the lede — we watched about twenty minutes of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. Students began compiling lists of major events in the Fabula, as these will be essential as we shift towards the Monomyth and Blake Snyder’s Beat Sheet. Tomorrow, we’ll see if Luke gets around to cleaning those droids up before supper…
Thank you again for being part of this class. If you ever have questions/concerns/funny jokes, please let me know. I’m eager for where we are headed!