One could say that most comics are about the human body, in all its variations, exaggerations, erotics, poses, powers, and vulnerabilities. This course looks at the human body in contemporary comics with particular attention to disability and gender. We’ll read 4 comics genres: anime, memoir, fantasy, and superheroes. We’ll also read disability and gender studies to discover how comics represent identity through fantasy, visual metaphors, and good storytelling. Popular texts like Tokyo Ghoul, Hyperbole and a Half, Axe Cop, El Deafo, Hawkeye, and Daredevil offer a portal into key questions of self and diversity. You will do some drawing in class and as homework for this course. Your drawings will be judged not on their artistic talent but on the degree they reflect an understanding of comics.
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.
Multicultural courses focus on race and ethnicity in the United States by considering two or more racial and ethnic groups; or examine the social construction of collective social identities and voices; or study world cultures in critical perspective, or analyze worldviews that differ substantially from those that prevail in the present-day United States.
Folklore/Ethnic/Women’s Literature courses focus on works in Folklore, ethnic American writing, and writing by women.
Gender, Ability, Queer Studies, and/or Sexuality courses focus on the ways that issues of sexuality, gender, queerness, and disability are represented, critiqued, and developed in media and literature.
Disability Studies courses focus on how ableism (anti-disability prejudice) operates in different nations and how disability intersects with other forms of identity like gender, class, nationality, and race in complex and varied patterns. Courses draw from fields like international development, health professions, design, sign language interpreting, education, and non-profit management.
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.
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.