Fall 2022 Special Topic: Reading in All Directions: Comics & Graphic Narrative
“Reading happens in all directions,” says Hilary Chute about the study of comics and graphic narrative. In this course, students will learn to read images and texts from all directions: up, down, horizontally, vertically, across panels and jacket flaps, in seriality on paper, and digitally on the web. The seminar will read primary sources in relation to comics scholarship, visual culture & rhetoric, history, photography, artistic creation, and contemporary theories (addressing race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, trauma, affect, the postcolonial, other). Foundational questions include: What are graphic narratives? How do you analyze them? How is analyzing this medium different from analyzing literature or film? What issues benefit the most/least from comics’ unique format? How is race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, history (public and private), heroes, and trauma imagined and thus imaged in graphic narratives? Requirements: short informal papers, one formal research paper, class presentations. Comics: Flowers’ Hot Comb (with a Zoom lecture and comics workshop by the artist); Spielgelman’s Maus I & II; Ferris’s My Favorite Thing is Monsters; Small’s Stitches, and others TBD.