(Re)Orienting Identity: Image/Text Collaborations

Spring Open
Class Standing
Catalina Ocampo
Rosario Gordon

“To be disoriented in space is to be en nepantla. To be disoriented in space is to experience bouts of disassociation of identity, identity breakdowns and buildups.”

- Gloria Anzaldúa, “Border Arte: Nepantla, el lugar de la frontera”

This one quarter creative writing/visual arts program will focus on ways in which writers and artists have combined image and text to (re)orient themselves and others through what Anzaldúa calls “nepantla states”: transitions or negotiation between identities. We will thematically address concepts of dis/re-orientation through the use ofbothwriting and visual arts, and discuss the concept of disorientation not as negative, but as a place where identities are created. Our readings will focus on work by BIPOC and/or LGBTQ+ artist/writers, including comics, zines, visual poetry, collage, installation, performance art, and bookmaking by authors and artists like Gloria Anzuldua, Sarah Ahmed, Cecilia Vicuña, Victoria Chang, Be Oakly (GenderFail), Rafael Soldi, and Genie Tran. We will explore how these artist/writers usebothtext and image to navigate gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity, and assume agency for articulating their own identity. Texts/visual art examples will serve as inspiration for our own image/text combinations: we will strengthen skills in poetry and personal narrative, drawing and sequential imagery (ex. comics), and a sculptural approach to book arts, using these to articulate identity and navigate through our own “nepantla states.”

No prior art or writing experience will be necessary and students will be encouraged to dive into the disorientation of the unknown with enthusiasm and a strong work ethic. A 12-credit option is available to students at all levels of visual arts and creative writing experience who want to explore and deepen knowledge of collaborations between creative writing and visual arts. A 16-credit option is available to intermediate-advanced students who want to develop an individual or group project that combines image and text. Students should prepare to set aside about 30 hours per week for class time, reading, writing, and projects on topics relating to dis/orientation, identity, and intersectionality (plus 10 additional hours for 16-credit students). Class time will include lectures, seminars, creative writing workshops, and studio time. Assignments will include reading, written responses, creative writing, and studio projects. Students in this program will earn credits in Visual Arts, Creative Writing, Gender Studies, and Ethnic Studies.

Anticipated Credit Equivalencies:

3 - Visual Arts

3 - Creative Writing: Multimodal Writing

3 - Ethnic Studies: Literary and Visual Arts

3 - Queer and Gender Studies: Literary and Visual Arts

4 - (For 16-credit students) Advanced Projects: Literary and Visual Arts


Course Reference Numbers
Sr (16): 30204
Sr (12): 30205
Jr (16): 30206
Jr (12): 30207
So (16): 30208
So (12): 30209

Academic Details

Preparatory for intermediate/advanced studies and graduate work in creative writing, visual art, with a focus in print, paper, book, ethnic studies, and gender and queer studies. This program also builds cultural competencies for working with diverse communities in a broad range of professional fields.


The 12-credit option is open to students at all levels in creative writing and the visual arts who want to explore collaborations between creative writing and the visual arts through lectures, seminar, written assignments, creative writing workshops, and studio projects.

The 16-credit option is for intermediate-advanced visual arts or creative writing students who are interested in developing an individual or group project related to themes studied in the program. Students in the 16-credit version of this program will participate in a 4-credit module to support intermediate-advanced projects in creative writing and the visual arts, and should arrive with ideas for proposed projects.


$185 fee covers an overnight field trip fee that would cover food, lodging, and entrance fees to museums ($135) and a supply fee that covers a tookkit through the bookstore and include: bookmaking tools (awls, needles, waxed thread, etc), pencils & pens, x-acto knives, and bookmaking paper ($50).


In Person (S)

See definition of Hybrid, Remote, and In-Person instruction

Schedule Details
SEM 2 E1107 - Workshop