The Mediterranean is a site of exchange between three different continents. How do individuals from North Africa, West Asia, and Southern Europe navigate questions of national and regional identity at these geographic crossroads? We will explore the way that graphic narrative – as a genre of crossroads – constructs Mediterranean identity and the impact of visual media on present-day regional conflicts. We often think of comics in terms of American popular culture, but in this course we will examine Italian, Egyptian, and Palestinian traditions among others as we investigate how visual culture shapes the Mediterranean world. Beyond studying the engagement of comics with stereotypes and representations of violence, we will also grapple with the role of translation in these texts. Our discussions will stem from a foundation in comics theory as we compare a variety of graphic narratives – from horror to political thriller, adventure to coming-of-age stories against a backdrop of social unrest and war – in order to better understand the unique capacity of comics to illustrate and complicate the tension between national and regional identities in the Mediterranean today.
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.