go to Eric Miller's homepage
Spring 2002
Storytelling: from True-life Stories to Myths.
School of Continuing and Professional Studies,
New York University.


course title and description:


Storytelling is a face-to-face activity in which a person may use voice, body, and external objects to relate a series of events.  There is a basic human urge to gather with others and tell where one has come from, what one has seen, and where one might be going.  Stories, whether they be 'true' or 'made-up,' have been said to be more important even than bread, for stories give meaning and direction to life.

This seminar is both a scholarly course about storytelling as it has appeared historically in various cultures, and an applied course in which instruction will be given in the art and craft of storytelling.  The course is guaranteed to help students learn how to better handle job interviews and all other social situations!

There will be eight five-session segments:

1) Telling True Life Stories
2) Telling Folk Tales (I)
3) Telling Family Stories
4) Telling Community Stories
5) Telling National Stories
6) Telling Religious Stories
7) Telling Folk Tales (II)
8) Telling Magical Realism Stories

Students will work with one story in each segment, and will write about the process of selecting, researching, preparing, and presenting their stories. These essays will include references to: The Hero with a Thousand Faces (interpretation of story), Orality and Literacy (contrasting oral and literary communication), and
Who Says? (essays about storytelling).  The other required text, The Storyteller's Start-Up Book, will be consulted throughout the course.

Topics will include:
__Comparing and contrasting face-to-face, literary, and electronic communication.
__Comparing and contrasting storytelling with other forms of face-to-face communication (including theater).
__The distinction between storytelling as conversation and storytelling as performance.
__Breathing; voice production; tone, rhythm, and melody.
__Movement and gesture.
__Storytelling accompanied by visuals (including electronic painting and websites).
__Storytelling through videoconferencing.
__The videotaping of storytelling events.
__Storytelling and healing (of individuals and communities).
__Storytelling and education.


course title and description:

Face-to-Face and Videoconferenced Storytelling: Pre- and Post-Literary Communication

The comparing, contrasting, and combining of face-to-face and videoconferenced storytelling.
This is both an analytic and a studio course.

Students Will Study, and Receive Training In:
1)  Face-to-face (oral) storytelling.
2)  Videoconferenced 'storytelling'
      (quotes are there because it is questionable
      if this activity really can be described as storytelling).
      Including the composing and mixing of video images;
      the use of electronic painting and text in a videoconference;
      and the configurating of screen images and electronic equipment,
      as well as of furniture, participants, etc.