Syllabus

215px-Persepolis film

 

 


BASIC INFORMATION:

A&S 240
5-930, Monday Evenings
Spring 2017

Prof. Hank Edmondson
A&S 206

hank.edmondson@gcsu.edu
706 421 2671 (if possible, please text or email before calling)
Office Hours: Mon: 12-2, Tue 11-2

OBJECTIVE:

THIS COURSE EXPLORES THE POLITICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL DIMENSIONS OF THE CONTEMPORARY MEDIUM OF COMICS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS.  TO BE SURE, THIS GENRE HAS COME TO OCCUPY AN IMMENSE PRESENCE IN AMERICAN (AND INTERNATIONAL) CULTURAL AND POLITICAL LIFE. AFICIONADOS ARE FOUND IN EVERY WALK OF LIFE, AND IN EVERY PROFESSION. RECENT SALES OF SINGLE ISSUES OF JUSTICE LEAGUE COMICS, FOR EXAMPLE, TOP 300,000 ISSUES. OVERALL, THE VALUE OF THE INDUSTRY, INCLUDING FILM, INVOLVES HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS.   OVER 60 COMIC BOOKS ARE CURRENTLY IN FILM DEVELOPMENT AND COMIC CONVENTIONS DRAW MILLIONS OF ATTENDEES ANNUALLY IN THE US ALONE.  

THE POLITICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL THEMES EXPLORED INCLUDE THE TENSION BETWEEN POLITICAL LEADERSHIP AND DEMOCRACY, POLITICAL PROPAGANDA, QUESTIONS OF DIFFERENCE AND DIVERSITY, NATO AND GOVERNMENT COALITIONS, GUN OWNERSHIP RIGHTS, THE JUSTICE OR INJUSTICE OF TERRORISM, VENGEANCE, CAPITAL PUNISHMENT, GENDER AND POLITICS, THE ABUSE OF POWER, AND THE GOVERNMENT VERSUS THE CITIZEN. 

GRAPHIC NOVELS HAVE PROVEN TO INVESTIGATE MANY POLITICAL THEMES IN WAYS THAT OTHER GENRES CANNOT. FOR THESE REASONS, THE GRAPHIC NOVEL INDUSTRY HAS PROVEN IT MERITS A PLACE IN ACADEMIC STUDY. INDEED, AN INCREASING NUMBER OF PRESTIGIOUS LIBERAL ARTS UNIVERSITIES, ESPECIALLY THOSE KNOWN FOR CREATIVE AND IMAGINATIVE TEACHING, NOW OFFER COURSES IN GRAPHIC NOVELS. 

We are currently witnessing a surge in the production of graphic narratives. They combine drawn and often painted panels with the written word to create a narrative form that is inherently interdisciplinary, and in the last twenty years it has been deployed across a number of genres to tackle more issues and contexts than ever before. These range from the journalistic non-fiction of Jean-Pierre Filiu and Harvey Pekar to the travelogues of Guy Delisle and Didier Lefèvre, from the autobiographies of Marjane Satrapi and Katie Green to the crime narratives of Brian Wood and Frank Miller.

INTERWOVEN INTO THE CLASS MATERIAL WILL BE SELECTIONS FROM, AND REFERENCES TO CLASSICAL POLITICAL PHILOSOPHERS—FOR EXAMPLE, PLATO, ARISTOTLE AND NIETZSCHE, JOSE ORTEGA Y GASSETT, ALEX DE TOCQUEVILLE—AND CONSIDERATION OF CONTEMPORARY POLITICAL EVENTS, SUCH AS POLITICAL TENSIONS IN THE U.S., THE PHENOMENON OF THE “ARAB SPRING,” AND THE EFFICACY OF POLITICAL PROTEST, AND THE RISE OF TERRORISM

THE ADVANTAGE TO STUDENTS, AND THE OUTCOMES TO BE EXPECTED INCLUDE THE ATTAINMENT OF A WIDE KNOWLEDGE OF COMIC BOOKS AND COMIC BOOK HISTORY, AN APPRECIATION OF THE CULTURAL AND POLITICAL IMPACT OF THIS GENRE, AN ABILITY TO IDENTIFY THEMES OF POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY IN GRAPHIC NOVELS, A FACILITY IN INTERPRETING AND ANALYZING THESE THEMES, A KNOWLEDGE OF THE POLITICAL INFLUENCE OF GRAPHIC NOVELS,  

A BROAD UNDERSTANDING OF THE PRESENCE OF POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY IN POPULAR CULTURE; AND, THE ABILITY TO RELATE THEMATIC MATERIAL IN COMICS TO TRADITIONAL AND CONTEMPORARY POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.

STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES:

STUDENTS WILL EACH WEEK COMPLETE ASSIGNED READING AND, WHEN ASSIGNED, FILMS. SEE THE LINK ABOVE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS ASSIGNMENT 

CLASS WILL BE CONDUCTED IN A SEMINAR FASHION AND WILL BE DISCUSSION-BASED AS OPPOSED TO LECTURE BASED. TWO STUDENTS EACH WEEK WILL BE ASKED TO LEAD  THE CLASS DISCUSSION.

GRADE DISTRIBUTION:

THIS COURSE WILL REQUIRE STUDENTS TO DEMONSTRATE PROFICIENCY IN RESEARCH AND WRITING, IN-CLASS PRESENTATIONS, ANALYSIS OF ARGUMENTATION AND CRITICAL THINKING IN THE EXAMINATION OF TEXTS AND ARGUMENTS. 

STUDENTS WILL BE REQUIRED TO TAKE AN ACTIVE RATHER THAN PASSIVE ROLE IN THE CLASSROOM AND ACCORDINGLY MUST COME TO EACH CLASS FAMILIAR WITH THAT WEEK’S READINGS.

--PARTICIPATION IN DISCUSSIONS AND WEEKLY PAPERS: 2/3 

--10PP PAGE RESEARCH PAPER: 1/3 


https://www.coursera.org/course/comics
http://www.dundee.ac.uk/postgraduate/courses/comics_studies_mlitt.htm
http://www.english.ufl.edu/comics/
http://comics.uoregon.edu


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© Hank Edmondson 2012