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Course Information

Instructor Info:Michele Hardesty
Office Extension x5490
TA Info:Rachel Skorupka
Term: 2013S
Meeting Info: Tuesday Thursday
10:30 AM - 11:50 AM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 107
10:30 AM - 11:50 AM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 107

Graphic narrative has become a potent medium for narratives of witness. Wars, occupations, revolutions, uprisings—both past and present—have become of the subject of a large swath of comics (and non-comics) publishing today. In this course, we will read work by several of the most “canonical” creators of graphic witness—Keiji Nakazawa, Art Spiegelman, Marjane Satrapi, Joe Sacco, and Kyle Baker—ranging from memoir, to comics journalism, to historical reimagining.

This course begins with readings that will help us consider the politics and ethics of witnessing—both for comics creators and for their readers—as well as with critical readings that will help students learn concepts and vocabulary for analyzing comics. At various points during the semester, students will read and present on additional graphic narratives in order for us to discuss a wider range of material. In the last third of the course, students will write a research paper or create a nonfiction graphic narrative on a related topic of their choosing.

Some of the questions we will ask include: what makes graphic witnessing different from textual, verbal, or photographic representation? What are its possibilities and limitations? How do creators use varying levels of realism, abstraction, visual metaphor, and caricature to represent serious stories? What do these narratives make visible/legible? What are the politics of these narratives? Who are their readers, both intended and unintended?

Evaluation Criteria:

See PDF syllabus for all evaluation criteria and additional information.