Literary Theory Trading Cards

The Assignment

This project followed on the heels of an Introductory Essay Assignment (II), which asked students to perform independent research and gather information about a particular literary critic or theorist. Students were then tasked to translate some of that information and to create literary theory "trading cards" for their particular critic. The finished trading cards were designed to highlight allegiances between individual theorists by casting them into "teams" (i.e. poststructuralism, psychoanalysis, etc.).

The Process

Students were instructed to create their trading cards using pre-designed Photoshop templates. This required uploading and modifying the templates, adding imagery (photos of their critic, team "badges," etc.), and selecting information from their research to add to the back of the card. It also required them to consult with their peers in order to figure out who might figure amongst their critic's "friends" (allies) and "foes" (critical rivals). Thus, collaboration and in-class discussion were likewise key components of the project as students worked to draft "teams" based on methodological commonalities.

After students completed work on their trading cards, they presented their designs to the rest of the class, arguing in favor of the information or graphic elements they had chosen. Each student then received a printed "deck" of the class's trading cards, which they were able to keep and take with them. [Many of the cards, however, wound up popping up in various locations throughout campus (bathroom stalls; organizational bulletin boards; campus mailboxes, etc.) as part of a subsequent, student-led effort to "theory bomb" UND ...]

Sample Results