Wonderland Project Guidelines

Project  Guidelines:

The format for this project will be the creation of a website (via WordPress or some open access platform of your choosing.  You cannot use square space or any sit e that only has a free trial unless you plan to purchase the domain.)

Every site must include somehow in its design an “Above Ground,”  “Underground,” and “Wonderland Manifesto”:

Above Ground:

In order for us to appreciate what your Wonderland is doing, we have to have since of how the above ground world works (remember that Harry Potter, Alice, and The Wizard of Oz,  and Where the Wild Things Are all start off in the normal and then go somewhere beyond normal).  An examination of your particular binaries.

  1. Clear articulation of the binary narrative your Wonderland is interrogating. You may give a definition or you may open with a news clip from today’s world that highlights the issue.
  2. An examination of how this binary plays out in the literature we have read over the syllabus  [You should use the material from the first half of your binary papers, but perhaps you integrate the text with illustrations of similar moments in other texts or the news or movies etc. ]
  3. Timeline of how that binary has narrative has been communicated in America to children and/or through children over time.  You should be able to make a timeline from 1776-1996. This is 240 years. For every 50 years on this timeline, you should be able to provide at least 2 textual example of how this binary narrative has been presented to and through children. A textual example means that you provide some text (i.e. a quoted passage, a video clip, a piece of art, a newspaper article, etc). Your textual example should be appropriately  identified and properly cited.  You must accompany your textual example with a brief reading (100-200 words) of how this is an example of the binary narrative being communicated in America to children and/or through children.  You should utilize your group’s binary posts, binary papers, and Alice papers. They are likely historical in nature since the most contemporary text on the syllabus is Harry Potter.


In your underground Wonderland,  you will explore how, where, and under what circumstances that binary narrative is challenged and/or escaped  by children and through children. Your site here we’ll be a mix of texts and visuals and sounds. It will integrate history and contemporary examples.  It will integrate fictive and real examples.  The point here is to design a world that resists and challenges the naturalness of that above ground binary logic.   You will probably need to design a scenario that leads us through the site: Are we like Harry and suddenly on our first day of school in a different world? Are we trying to find an apartment or place to live in a new world?  Are we on a dating services for people in the new world? Or are we watching a parade, religious celebration, birthday, or royal crowning in this other world?  You will want some specific angle (event or scenario) to orient your reader’s position in this new world. Your design should feature at least one child if not a group of children.

  1.  historical texts (at least one per # of people in your group)  historical texts are literary, visual, film, musical, historical, political, etc. that are older than your parent’s life time.  These documents should illustrate a way in which this binary has been escaped by and/or through children. Each text must be appropriately identified and properly cited.  4-5 of these (depending on the number of people in your group) could come from the second part of your binary paper.
  2. contemporary texts (at least one per # of people in your group)  a contemporary text is a literary, visual, film, musical, historical, political, etc. within your and your parents life time.  These texts should illustrate a way in which this binary has been escaped by and/or through children. Each text must be appropriately identified and properly cited.
  3. All (of the above) texts should include a short reading (100-200 words) articulating how the text challenges and escapes the binary by and/or through children.  Note: You must have a variety of texts. You are welcome to use your mess posts and your binary papers as starting material for the historical or contemporary texts.  Make sure though that you provide an actual text.  Meaning you have to give us a quote of the passage.  You should also plan to use your Alice documents.
  4. Wonderland documents (at least one per # of people in your group):  One of the things the literature on our syllabus has shown is that documents tell stories and stories document.   To help tell the story of/bring to life your Wonderland, your group will create at least 5 documents relevant to your wonderland world.  Each member should go back to the document they used for their Alice paper.  Use that document as a template to create your own such document, one that will reveal insights about important aspects of your Wonderland (the premise or one of the texts or something about the main figures).   
  5. Wonderland Art:  Each Individual  is responsible for contributing their own creative contribution to the creation of this underground Wonderland world.  Perhaps it’s a story or a video or a comic or a poem, a song, or an academic paper(yes they are creative!) or a play or a mural.  The only prerequisite for this creative assignment is that it acts as a piece of created from within the Wonderland world you’ve created.  Imagines you were an inhabitant of your Wonderland.   What kind of art might that world spur you to create.  Because what makes your world different from our every day world is the challenge tot he binary, your art should in some way speak to this  interrogation of the binary.

Wonderland Manifesto: 

Creative, Theory, Reflection

The thrust of this assignment is about bringing us down the hole into Wonderland or through the looking glass so we can think critically about the limits of the binary narratives we communicate to and through children.  While most of the narratives we read with alternative worlds do not have an explicit manifesto or theory about the world, they tend to be longer narratives because they take time establishing the implied manifesto of the alternative world (i.e. how it relates to, differs, and challenges our normal world.)  Because you are not writing a long narrative but building a site that pulls us into a moment within this alternative world,  I am requiring that your group produce a Wonderland Manifesto.  In order to create this Wonderland Manifesto you should:

  1. Look again at the details of the binary narrative you’re challenging; look particularly at the timeline of how that binary narrative unfolds over history.
  2. Reexamine how you’ve chosen to challenge that binary with your Wonderland site;  in particular review the (at least 20) historical and contemporary texts you have that challenge this binary and begin to create your world
  3. Consider now not only how they escape the binary, but what alternative story about life they tell.  What I want here is for you to posit a kind of thesis about the world so that the world is not just defined in opposition to the normal world.   So instead of saying this is a world that is not colored/white racist, you can say this is a world where people have to meld into one another every time they interact, so that a person’s form and ethnic identity is only clear when they are alone, and even then it changes over time.   (No, you cannot steal that idea.)
  4. Think about the limits of your world.  As said earlier. Binaries are tricky. Trying to solve one, you run into other problems. What other problems does your alternative world have?
  5.  As a group you should produce your own  Wonderland Manifesto.   This Manifesto should include:
    1. a description of the world
    2. a proactive thesis about what’s most important to this world  (See #4 above)
    3. claim about how this world challenges and/or rethinks some binary told to and through children in our “real” above ground.
    4. a sense of the scenario into which the viewers of the site have entered
    5. an introduction to the child and/or children most prominently featured in this world
    6. the main things your viewer needs to know in order to understand how this world works.
    7. some reference Alice ‘s Adventures in Wonderland  You should use the text  as a place to find a theory (not as the blueprint for your site).   This means you might find a line that resonates with your theme and move from there.  You would probably do well to think about your Alice Paper’s in this part of the project.
    8. Note: Your manifesto can take whatever form your group chooses (i.e. a video, written texts, fictive government document, an imagined news report, a passage out of a fake history book.)

Note: You should be crafting the three parts of this assignment throughout the semester.  Working on one part might mean you have to revise another part, and then when you revise that part, you might have come back to the first.  This process is as organic, collaborative, and experimental as it is analytic, historic, and academic.