Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Course Description

GLS 592: The Life and Works of Yoko Ono

Instructor: Amy Anderson

Tunafish Sandwich Piece

Imagine one thousand suns in the
sky at the same time.
Let them shine for one hour.
Then, let them gradually melt
into the sky.
Make one tunafish sandwich and eat.
-From Grapefruit, Yoko Ono

“Many did talk, of course, and one of the things I noticed was how difficult it was, in many cases, to keep the interviewee on the subject of Yoko Ono.  I had to remind people that I was writing about her, not him.  John Lennon was an undeniable and unavoidable presence.  I knew how Yoko felt all those times when she wished people would look at her.”

- Jerry Hopkins ix


In this course, we will examine the life and works of Yoko Ono – the artist.  We will research social, political and historical contexts to gain insight on her works and discuss them critically.

Required Text:

Woman The Incredible Life of by Alan Clayson

I will provide excerpts from:


Read – Each week, you will have a reading requirement from the book and other provided files.  At times, I will require further assignments to expand upon certain notions (for instance, a documentary on Hiroshima to set the scene, but I expect you to further research any topic that interests you and bring that to discussion in your weekly posts).  For ex, Yoko’s Buddhist practice is mentioned in passing several times but never expanded on.  If you have studied Buddhism and see a direct connection in her works or life choices, bring it up in your post.

Write –Your posts need to be well-written and thoughtful responses.  These are not informal text messages or tweets.  Grammar matters.  The floor is open to your individual sincere response to each reading/watching/feeling/doing section.  In studying artworks, it is important to bring in as many informed connections as possible to fully grasp a concept.  Be sure to include your own background knowledge of subjects the author may breeze over to help us better understand Yoko’s position.

Provide a well-written thoughtful response to at least two of your peer’s posts per week.

Final – Creative Liberty

Brainstorming options:

Creative piece in reaction to or in the spirit of yoko (p 89)

Write a critical review of her work

Trace a line you find interesting and present to the class - for ex. the evidence of zen belief system in her works, or the effect of her placement in history on her works, or examine her works from a feminist standpoint, etc.

Visit a piece

Last Updated: April 2, 2018