The growing acceptance of comics and graphic novels as “serious” literature owes much to the genre’s embrace as a powerful vehicle for memory, especially by minority writers seeking to showcase “non-normative” accounts of American life: the experiences of being gay, non-white, foreign, non-Christian, etc. This course offers an in-depth examination of one particular group – Asian Americans – which has gained especial prominence in the comics world in recent years. Artists like Gene Yang, Lynda Barry, and Adrian Tomine have begun to demonstrate how the combination of image and text can capture the unique position of Asian Americans as both racially hyper-visible and socially invisible. How do these texts define what it means to be Asian in America, and what counts as an “Asian American” work? How do they visually represent the experience of being seen as a “model minority,” or of being racially discriminated against? How, ultimately, do these texts change what we think – or what we think we know – about Asian American culture, but also about comics?
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.