Aliens, monsters, killer androids, mutants…. Such metaphors may express cultural fears of the “other” that underlie social prejudice, intolerance, and discrimination. But viewers and fans may also read against the grain of normative cinematic images, finding identity and affirmation in the misunderstood and maligned. This course introduces students to critical thinking about the representation of “otherness” in speculative film and television media, including adaptations from comics. We will explore how binary structures of knowledge define social categories and how science fiction, fantasy, horror, and other non-realistic genres may simultaneously challenge and affirm what we “know” about gender, sexuality, class, race, ethnicity, nation, and ability. We also examine the contexts of media production and the diverse social positionings of viewers and fans that prompt (un)conventional readings of cinematic entertainment. The course incorporates a range of theoretical paradigms from film theory, queer theory, transgender studies, critical race theory, reception theory, and science fiction studies. ENG 381 satisfies the Arts and Letters group requirement, as well as the Identity, Pluralism, and Tolerance multicultural requirement. It also satisfies certain degree requirements in English, Comics Studies, Cinema Studies, and Journalism.
Media, Folklore, and/or Culture courses focus on print and non-print media to explore culture and its processes of creative expression.
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.