Exploring Oz: Wizard to Wicked

Full Course Title: 
Exploring Oz: From the Wizard to Wicked

Follow the yellow brick road! Explore the worlds of Oz in books, movies, and song, as we pull back the curtain on diverse inventions of the classical American fairy tale The Wizard of Oz. Written by L. Frank Baum in 1900, the tale endures through hundreds of books, comics, movies, theatrical productions, songs, and even a theme park located near Boone. Starting with the original book and moving toward the Broadway play Wicked, we will work our way through decades of diverse interpretations to explore the single idea of multiple meanings by examining this single issue through the multiple perspectives of the many diverse interpretations of Oz. Through the process we will connect the local to the global and back again as we cultivate intercultural competencies by examining the many cultural frameworks within the Oz universe. Oz is not always the happy-go-lucky image of childhood. We will take a darker look at Oz interpretations including themes of death, alienation, revenge, loss, oppression, duplicity, political corruption, environmental degradation, animal abuse, and ethnocentrism. By exploring Oz, we will connect the inner worlds of these fictional stories in a quest to understand ourselves, our communities, and each other better, and in the process discover our own home, and why there may be no place like it.

Course Details
Course Number: 
Section Number(s) and Day/Times Taught: 
712: MW 2:00pm-3:15pm
713: MW 3:30pm-4:45pm
714: MW 5:00pm-6:15pm
Fall 2024
The Arts

William Purcell

For more than 20 years, Dr. William H. Purcell has taught a wide range of classes at Appalachian State University, most recently as a senior lecturer for the Department of Communication. As a graduate of App State, Purcell worked as a journalist before returning to his alma mater in 1998 to work in public relations for University Advancement and later as Director of Public Relations and Marketing for Business Affairs. He earned a master's degree and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His research interests center on disability, auto-ethnography, and storytelling. In his spare time, he enjoys bluegrass music and traveling in an RV.