ENG385 202002 Undergraduate

Winter 2021
ENG 385
Applies To: 
Graphic Narratives and Cultural Theory

Helen Southworth

Helen Southworth profile picture
  • Title: Professor
  • Phone: 541-346-2642
  • Office: 323 Chapman Hall
  • Office Hours: F21: not teaching ENG courses; no office hours
Department Section Description: 

In this course we’ll explore graphic narratives as a mode of life writing (biography. autobiography, memoir, coming of age narratives). We’ll discuss the ways in which the graphic narrative lends itself particularly well to these kinds of stories. Themes will include: the process of life-writing; representing time and space; representing bodies/disability; narrating difference and “the comic’s long history of ‘powerful marginality’”; reader response; fiction vs non-fiction; “verbo-visual strategies,” “cross-discursive form[s]”; trauma; feminism; experiment; texture; race and more. Texts will include Art Spiegelman’s Maus, Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, Lynda Barry’s One! Hundred! Demons!, Thi Bui’s The Best We Could Do, Guy Delisle’s Hostage, Emil Ferris’ My Favorite Thing is Monsters, and Joe Sacco’s Paying the Land.


A & L

Arts & Letters (A&L) courses create meaningful opportunities for students to engage actively in the modes of inquiry that define a discipline. Courses are broad in scope and demonstrably liberal in nature (that is, courses that promote open inquiry from a variety of perspectives). Though some courses may focus on specialized subjects or approaches, there will be a substantial course content locating that subject in the broader context of the major issues of the discipline. Qualifying courses will not focus on teaching basic skills but will require the application or engagement of those skills through analysis and interpretation.


Theory/Rhetoric courses teach media theory, the major modes and schools of criticism and theory, and theories and techniques of reasoning, rational discourse, and argumentation.


Media, Folklore, and/or Culture courses focus on print and non-print media to explore culture and its processes of creative expression.

English Minor

English Minor courses offer students centuries of cultural experience and representation in poetry, prose, drama, film, TV, new media, and folk artifacts.  The English minor can focus and extend the values of a liberal arts education, while also providing extensive training in writing, speaking, and critical thinking.

Comics Studies Minor

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.