his course considers the way graphic narratives often mediate traumatic historical events through seemingly simple images. Symbolic representations of moments of violence, conflict, and transformation can shape the way history is told—whether it is the history of an individual, a family, or a nation. This course challenges assumptions about the simplicity or childishness of comics and considers graphic narratives as a nuanced medium for representations of war, imperialism, and depression. Comics often balance humor with a rhetoric of heroism—even while representing personal or political conflict. The course compares cartoons and graphic narratives across a wide range of historical, national and linguistic contexts. The course analyzes ways in which texts construct an internal grammar of images to make sense of violence, alienation, and conquest. The course compares the ethical stakes of looking at “graphic” war photography, drawings, and textiles with the ethics of graphic memoir and serialized comic books. We will examine the ways these images make meaning and the complications of translating words and images.
Comics Studies Minor courses present students with an international, historical, and critical perspective on the art of editorial cartoons, comic books, and graphic novels, and how these forms communicate, inform, and emotionally engage their audiences. Students will be required to think outside of accustomed disciplinary boundaries, and to analyze and experiment with the interaction of both visual and linguistic systems of meaning.