Course Descriptions

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Course Descriptions

Summer 2018 | Spring 2017 | Winter 2018Fall 2017
Summer 2017 | Spring 2017 | Winter 2017Fall 2016
Summer 2016 | Spring 2016 | Winter 2016Fall 2015
Summer 2015 | Spring 2015 | Winter 2015 | Fall 2014

WInter 2018 Descriptions

AAD 251 Arts & Visual Literacy
Gurley, Greg

Explores ways in which physical, perceptual, affective, and cognitive modes of learning interact when viewing, interpreting, and assessing designed visual information within sociocultural contexts.

ARTD 350 Digital Drawing
Salter, Michael

Applies technology as a drawing medium to communicate concepts visually. The entire creative process is researched in an experimental studio environment. Prerequisites: ART 115, 116, 233 and ARTD 250.

ENG 385 Graphic Narratives and Cultural Theory
Fickle, Tara

Asian American Comics

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, history, and literature?

ENG 386 Bodies in Comics
Wheeler, Elizabeth

This course satisfies the Arts and Letters Group Requirement (1) and the Identity, Pluralism, and Tolerance (IP) category of the Multicultural Requirement. It also serves as a Social Models option for the Disability Studies Minor and counts for the Comics Studies Minor.

One could say that most comics are about the human body, in all its variations, exaggerations, erotics, poses, powers, and vulnerabilities.

This course examines the human body in contemporary comics with particular attention to disability and gender. We’ll look at three important comics genres: memoir, fantasy, and superheroes. With each text we’ll also read about bodymind matters like body image, violence, trauma, depression, Deaf culture, ADHD, and spinal cord injury—and we’ll see how comics renders such profound matters through fantasy, visual metaphors, and good storytelling. Popular texts like Hyperbole and a Half, Axe Cop, and Marvel superhero comics offer a portal into the deepest questions of self and diversity. How can anyone communicate the experience of isolation or despair to other people? How does the multigenerational trauma of racism alter our definitions of disability?
Is it possible to make disability cool without falling back into gender stereotypes? Do visual representations of men and women open up or hinder readers’ self-images? 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 to which they reflect an understanding of comics theory.

JPN 250 Manga Millennium
Walley, Thomas

Surveys the 1,000-year history of visual-verbal narratives—comics—in Japan, ranging from medieval picture to modern manga.

Fall 2017 Descriptions

AAD 252 Art & Gender
Voelker-Morris, Julie

This course considers how gender is relevant to the creation, study, and appreciation of art and culture. This class introduces and addresses socio-cultural factors influencing gender expression and discusses gender as a vehicle for understanding artistic creation and select artistic mediums in community and cultural contexts. The course examines underlying societal structures that affect how art and artists have been defined and asks students to identify and articulate personal critical perspectives regarding issues of art and gender.

ENG 280 Introduction to Comic Studies
O’Kelly, Brendan
Saunders, Ben

This class provides an introduction to the political and aesthetic history of Anglo-American comics and to the academic discipline of Comics Studies. You will be exposed to a spectrum of comic-art forms (the newspaper strip, the comic book, the graphic novel) and a variety of modes and genres (fiction, non-fiction, kids comics, crime comics, and so on). You will also be asked to read several examples of contemporary comics scholarship.

SPAN 150 Cultures of the Spanish Speaking World Through Comics and Graphic Novels
Wacks, David

This course is an introduction to cultures of the Spanish-speaking world with an emphasis on comics and graphic novels. In this course we will learn about the graphic novel as an artistic vehicle for studying the history and cultures of Spain and Latin America (including the Latino US). There will be a series of guest appearances from Spanish faculty members who will speak about their areas of specialization, so this course is a great way to learn all about the minor and major in Spanish in Romance Languages and meet the professors who teach in the program. This course satisfies the CAS requirements for Arts and Letters (A&L) and Multicultural (IC – International Cultures), and the CCS Minor.

Summer 2017 Descriptions

AAD 252 Art and Gender
Voelker-Morris, Julie

This course considers how gender is relevant to the creation, study, and appreciation of art and culture. This class introduces and addresses socio-cultural factors influencing gender expression and discusses gender as a vehicle for understanding artistic creation and select artistic mediums in community and cultural contexts. The course examines underlying societal structures that affect how art and artists have been defined and asks students to identify and articulate personal critical perspectives regarding issues of art and gender.

COLT 370 Comparative Comics
Reid-Olds, Tera

The Mediterranean is a site of exchange between three different continents. In this course, we will explore the way that graphic narrative – as a genre of crossroads – constructs Mediterranean identity and the impact of visual media on present-day regional conflicts. We will examine Italian, Greek, and Egyptian traditions among others as we investigate how visual culture shapes the Mediterranean world. Beyond studying the engagement of comics with stereotypes and representations of violence, we will also grapple with the role of translation in these texts. Our discussions will stem from a foundation in comics theory as we compare a variety of graphic narratives – from horror to science fiction, adventure to coming-of-age stories against a backdrop of social unrest and war – in order to better understand the unique capacity of comics to illustrate and complicate the tension between national and regional identities in the Mediterranean today.

ENG 280 Introduction to Comic Studies
Gilroy, Andréa

This class is conceived as an introduction to the art of comics, and to the methodologies of the new academic discipline of Comics Studies. Course content will vary from term to term, according to the specialist interests of the individual instructor, within the following parameters. Students will be exposed to a spectrum of comic-art forms (i.e., at a minimum, three of the following archetypal forms: the gag cartoon, the editorial cartoon, the newspaper strip, the comic book, the graphic novel, the web comic). Students will be exposed to a historical range of comic texts, ranging from (at least) the early 1900s to the present. Students will be required to read several professional critical or theoretical essays over the course of the term alongside the primary materials the instructor of record assigns. These essays will be drawn from relevant academic peer-reviewed sources. Scott McCloud’s influential book, Understanding Comics, will be required reading for all versions of the class.

ENG 381 Film, Media, and Culture
Wilde, Jenée

Otherness in Speculative Film & Media This course introduces students to critical thinking about the representation of “otherness” in speculative film and television media. The “what if” of speculative narrative places alternative/future history in conversation with present-day conceptions of identity and alterity — self and other — that underlie social prejudice, intolerance, and discrimination. Students will analyze how science fiction, fantasy, superheroes, and other non-realistic genres may work to simultaneously mask and unveil cultural attitudes about gender, sexuality, class, race, ethnicity, nation, and ability. We will also examine the contexts of media production and diverse social positionings of viewers and fans that prompt (un)conventional readings of cinematic entertainment. The course will employ a range of theoretical paradigms, including perspectives from feminist film theory, masculinity studies, queer studies, postcolonial 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.

Spring 2017 Descriptions

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AAD 252 Art and Gender
Voelker-Morris, Julie

This course considers how gender is relevant to the creation, study, and appreciation of art and culture. This class introduces and addresses socio-cultural factors influencing gender expression and discusses gender as a vehicle for understanding artistic creation and select artistic mediums in community and cultural contexts. The course examines underlying societal structures that affect how art and artists have been defined and asks students to identify and articulate personal critical perspectives regarding issues of art and gender.

ARH 350 History of Manga
Walley, Akiko

Survey of the history of Manga (Japanese comics) from the 19th century to the present.

COLT 370 Comparative Comics
Andréa Gilroy

World Comics
While many consider comics an American form of popular culture, sequential art is a global medium. Around the world, cultures have developed unique comics traditions with their own rich histories. In “World Comics,” we will investigate a few of these traditions. By examining comics and comics criticism from South America, Japan, France, Italy, and more, we will explore the depth of the comics form as it grows and changes in different social, political, and cultural climates. Together, we will discover a whole world of art and literature hidden in plain sight.

ENG 280 Introduction to Comic Studies
Tanner, Rachel

This class is conceived as an introduction to the art of comics, and to the methodologies of the new academic discipline of Comics Studies. Course content will vary from term to term, according to the specialist interests of the individual instructor, within the following parameters. Students will be exposed to a spectrum of comic-art forms (i.e., at a minimum, three of the following archetypal forms: the gag cartoon, the editorial cartoon, the newspaper strip, the comic book, the graphic novel, the web comic.) Students will be exposed to a historical range of comic texts, ranging from (at least) the early 1900s to the present. Students will be required to read several professional critical or theoretical essays over the course of the term alongside the primary materials the instructor of record assigns. These essays will be drawn relevant academic peer-reviewed sources. Scott McCloud’s influential book, Understanding Comics, will be required reading for all versions of the class.

ENG 399 Special Studies: Asian American Comics
Fickle, Tara

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?

JPN 480 Early Modern Comics
Walley, Glynne

Focuses on comic books in 18th and 19th century Japan and their place in the “floating world” of popular culture.

Winter 2017 Descriptions

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AAD 252 Art and Gender (on-line)
Voelker-Morris, Julie

This course considers how gender is relevant to the creation, study, and appreciation of art and culture. This class introduces and addresses socio-cultural factors influencing gender expression and discusses gender as a vehicle for understanding artistic creation and select artistic mediums in community and cultural contexts. The course examines underlying societal structures that affect how art and artists have been defined and asks students to identify and articulate personal critical perspectives regarding issues of art and gender.

COLT 370 Comparative Comics (Comics Theory Around the World)
Gilroy, Andréa

Despite the fact that critics and scholars across the globe have been writing about comics for decades, many people were surprised to hear that at the University of Oregon, the Department of Comparative Literature now offers comics-dedicated courses and you can even minor in Comics and Cartoon Studies. In “COLT 370: Comics Theory Around the World,” we will delve into the exciting and interesting theories that create the foundation for comics studies. How do we read comics? How do comics create meaning? What even counts as comics in the first place? By reading theory alongside comics from different genres and national/linguistic backgrounds, this class will introduce newcomers and comics fans alike to the exciting and challenging world of comics theory.

COLT 380 Comparative Media: “Tokyo Cyberpunk”
Brown, Steven

Introducing the history, forms, and discourses of Japanese “cyberpunk” in contemporary anime and film, this course explores the urban dreams (and nightmares) that constitute cyberpunk’s posthumanist vision of Neo-Tokyo. Viewed not as a reflection of contemporary Japanese society but rather as its defamiliarization, Japanese forms of cyberpunk are investigated alongside Western examples of posthumanism as sites of contestation for competing ideologies and the delineation of new possibilities of existence, new forms of being, at the intersection between carbon- and silicon-based forms of intelligence and data-processing.
Treating Japanese cyberpunk not merely as a literary movement or aesthetic style but more importantly as a philosophical discourse with distinctive questions and premises—i.e., as a philosophical “problematic” with its own sociohistorical specificities and transnational trajectories—we will investigate the cyberpunk city as an “abstract machine,” the cyborg’s “organs without a body,” and the rhizomatic processes of cyberculture.

Issues discussed include:

  • The status of subjectivity in posthumanism: fabricated, virtual memories and fractured identities.
  • The human body and its interfaces with technology: cyborg implants, prostheses, replacement parts, and bio-tech hybridities.
  • Post-apocalyptic visions of class, race, gender, and sexuality.
  • The individual and her relation to the city: new modes of spatiality and habitation, new forms of community, new ways in which individuals circulate and are contained, as well as new forms of surveillance and policing.
  • Acts of resistance: the politics of cyber-terrorism and other forms of subversion.

ENG 280 Introduction to Comics Studies
Gilroy, Andréa

This class is conceived as an introduction to the art of comics, and to the methodologies of the new academic discipline of Comics Studies. Course content will vary from term to term, according to the specialist interests of the individual instructor, within the following parameters. Students will be exposed to a spectrum of comic-art forms (i.e., at a minimum, three of the following archetypal forms: the gag cartoon, the editorial cartoon, the newspaper strip, the comic book, the graphic novel, the web comic.) Students will be exposed to a historical range of comic texts, ranging from (at least) the early 1900s to the present. Students will be required to read several professional critical or theoretical essays over the course of the term alongside the primary materials the instructor of record assigns. These essays will be drawn relevant academic peer-reviewed sources. Scott McCloud’s influential book, Understanding Comics, will be required reading for all versions of the class.

ENG 385 Graphic Narratives and Cultural Theory
Fickle, Tara

Graphic novels are literary narratives in comic book form. In 1992, Art Spiegelman won a Pulitzer Prize for his Holocaust narrative Maus and demonstrated that a comic book could also be an important work of literature. Since then, authors have increasingly turned to the graphic novel, especially for exploring family history, global politics, and cultural identity. This course is a survey of 20th and 21st century graphic novels, grounded in cultural theory, ethnic and gender diversity, and political context. Graphic novels include Maus, Fun Home, American Born Chinese, and others.

Fall 2016 Descriptions

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AAD 252 Art and Gender
AAD 252 Art and Gender (on-line)
Voelker-Morris, Julie

This course considers how gender is relevant to the creation, study, and appreciation of art and culture. This class introduces and addresses socio-cultural factors influencing gender expression and discusses gender as a vehicle for understanding artistic creation and select artistic mediums in community and cultural contexts. The course examines underlying societal structures that affect how art and artists have been defined and asks students to identify and articulate personal critical perspectives regarding issues of art and gender.

COLT 370 Comparative Comics
Reid-Olds, Tera

The Mediterranean is a site of exchange between three different continents. How do individuals from North Africa, West Asia, and Southern Europe navigate questions of national and regional identity at these geographic crossroads? We will explore the way that graphic narrative – as a genre of crossroads – constructs Mediterranean identity and the impact of visual media on present-day regional conflicts. We often think of comics in terms of American popular culture, but in this course we will examine Italian, Egyptian, and Palestinian traditions among others as we investigate how visual culture shapes the Mediterranean world. Beyond studying the engagement of comics with stereotypes and representations of violence, we will also grapple with the role of translation in these texts. Our discussions will stem from a foundation in comics theory as we compare a variety of graphic narratives – from horror to political thriller, adventure to coming-of-age stories against a backdrop of social unrest and war – in order to better understand the unique capacity of comics to illustrate and complicate the tension between national and regional identities in the Mediterranean today.

ENG 280 Introduction to Comic Studies
Gilroy, Andréa

This course provides an introduction to the history and aesthetic traditions of Anglo-American comics, and to the academic discipline of Comics Studies. You will be exposed to a spectrum of comic-art forms (the newspaper strip, the comic book, the graphic novel, the webcomic) and a variety of modes and genres. You will also be required to read several examples of contemporary comics scholarship, including Scott McCloud’s influential book Understanding Comics.

ENG 385 Narrative and Cultural Theory
Gilroy, Andréa

It’s one of the easiest questions someone could ask you, but it might also be one of the hardest: Who are you? Well, it’s complicated…as Walt Whitman famously wrote, “I contradict myself…I contain multitudes.” Conceptualizing identity is hard enough; representing identity is even more challenging. Enter comics. Because the form uses both words and images at the same time, comics presents creators and readers with unique opportunities to explore the concept of identity. This course will examine the way comics of various modes and genres represent multiple aspects of identity such as race, sexuality, and gender. In addition to reading comics, we will also read theoretical texts examining the complexity of constructing and representing “identity” in our modern world.

Summer 2016 Descriptions

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ENG – 410 – Horror and Science Fiction Comics
Saunders, Benjamin
The early 1950s was a period of social and political conservatism, anti-feminist backlash, and racial repression, all served up against a background of cold war paranoia. But EC bucked all these ideological trends in comics such as Tales From The Crypt, Weird Science, Frontline Combat, and Shocking SuspenStories — anthologies of short stories in the Horror, SF, War and Crime genres. They offered anti-racist allegories, rebuked warmongers, critiqued the paranoid state, and challenged the patriarchal vision of matrimonial bliss with tales of jealousy, hypocrisy, and murder. EC comics were blatantly sensationalistic and violent, but they had a sense of humor and irony too — as would become apparent when the company launched a comic book called Mad in 1952 that parodied the genres and stories that were elsewhere their bread and butter. Publisher Bill Gaines encouraged his artists to draw in their own styles (rather than follow trends or try to create a “house” look) and the most talented artists in the history of American comics flocked to work for him: Wallace Wood, whose depictions of rocket-ships, star-scapes, and beautiful alien women shaped the youthful imaginations of such filmmakers as George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg; Johnny Craig, whose storytelling skills influenced a generation of subsequent creators, including Batman artist Frank Miller; Graham Ingels, whose horrific visions captivated the young Stephen King; and Harvey Kurtzman, the founder of Mad, and one of the greatest American satirists of the 20th century.
It was too good to last, of course. Politicians, parents, and educators alike recoiled in horror from what they saw in the comic books. EC titles were banned in schools and burned in bonfires, and in reaction the industry imposed stringent standards of self-censorship, until eventually Bill Gaines and his team found themselves unable to distribute their creations. Only Mad survived, by becoming a magazine and escaping the censors.
But the EC legacy has endured. For a generation of young readers, these comics hinted at a more exciting and less culturally repressive world; they became tokens of counter-cultural hipness, collected by such figures as Jerry Garcia and Ken Kesey, and cited as an influence by generations of writers, artists, filmmakers, and — of course — comics creators.
This class will therefore explore the creative ambition, political courage, and pop-cultural legacy of what was once regarded as a “trash” publisher of the 1950s.
Because our primary materials are comic books, we will spend a portion of our time thinking about what makes the comics form distinctive from other modes of representation, both in formal and cultural terms. We will also take advantage of the unique resource presented by the “Aliens, Monsters, and Madmen” exhibition that will be running concurrently at the JSMA; at least one assignment will be built around this unusual exhibition.

Spring 2016 Descriptions

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ARTD – 250 – Print Based Media
Warren, Tyrras
Examines application of print media in contemporary visual culture; explores its use in a fine art context. Introduces digital drawing, digital photo editing, and typographic layout to visually communicate expressive concepts. Laboratories, lectures.

ARTD – 350 – Digital Drawing
Warren, Tyrras
Applies technology as a drawing medium to communicate concepts visually. The entire creative process is researched in an experimental studio environment.

ART – 199 – Sp. St. Drawing Comics: Workshop, Spring Break
Baggs, Steven
This course is an Introduction to comics & sequential art. Focus will be on fundamental principles of drawing combined with various cartooning methods. Techniques will be introduced for drawing people, buildings, modes of human transportation, and creating scenes based on the language of cinematography. Page design and layout will be also covered. Students will use sketchbooks for traditional observational drawing and will investigate methods of illustrating symbolic imagery. This course will also emphasize content by encouraging students to find their personal voice through the use of self-portraits. Students will be asked to create their own personal narrative using past experiences to provide context for the work. Historical evolution of sequential art and the graphic novel will also be introduced.

ATH – 399 – Sp. St. History of Manga
Walley, Akiko
What is Manga? How does it work? This course traces the history of Japanese modern comic book (Manga) from the nineteenth century to present.

COLT – 370 – Comparative Comics: “Graphic Histories”
Tougas, Ramona
This course considers the way graphic narratives often mediate traumatic historical events through seemingly simple images. Symbolic representations of moments of violence, conflict, and transformation can shape the way history is told—whether it is the history of an individual, a family, or a nation. This course challenges assumptions about the simplicity or childishness of comics and considers graphic narratives as a nuanced medium for representations of war, imperialism, and depression. Comics often balance humor with a rhetoric of heroism—even while representing personal or political conflict. The course compares cartoons and graphic narratives across a wide range of historical, national and linguistic contexts. The course analyzes ways in which texts construct an internal grammar of images to make sense of violence, alienation, and conquest. The course compares the ethical stakes of looking at “graphic” war photography, drawings, and textiles with the ethics of graphic memoir and serialized comic books. We will examine the ways these images make meaning and the complications of translating words and images.

COLT – 380 – Allusion as Identity in Oscar Wao
Gilroy, Andréa
Junot Díaz’s 2007 novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, is complex and heart wrenching, but still gut-bustingly funny. One of its most famous characteristics is its narrator’s constant barrage of references, in-jokes, quotations, and innuendo. In “COLT 380: Allusion and/as Identity,” we will dig deeply into the wealth of allusions in Oscar Wao by examining the novel alongside the broad range of music, film, novels, poetry, and history it references. In the course of examining these texts, we will, of course, work toward a more robust understanding of Oscar Wao…but in doing so we will also make sense of why we make references, how literature creates meaning, and how that meaning defines us.

ENG – 399 – Crime Noir
O’Kelly, Brendan
This class will focus on crime noir, a somewhat loosely defined genre of fiction, comic, and film. Unlike detective fiction and film, hardboiled crime noir centers on criminal protagonists, often of the “career” variety. Tracing the trajectory of such a genre from its inception in 1920s hardboiled fiction through the 20th century and into the present reveals the philosophical stances, the cultural and social prejudices, and the economic and historic contexts from which the texts and films emerge. We will explore the formal and structural spectrum of crime noir through a wide range of novels, films, and graphic texts. Works we’ll study could include, for instance : foundational hardboiled novels by writers such as Dashell Hammett and Paul Cain, midcentury noirs from Dorothy B. Hughes, Horace McCoy, and Jim Thompson, and contemporary crime fiction from James Ellroy; classic film noir from directors including Anthony Mann, John Huston, and Stanley Kubrick, 1970s films from directors such as Gordon Parks Jr. and Sam Peckinpah, and abstractly stylized contemporary crime films from directors such as Michael Mann and Nicolas Winding Refn; graphic texts ranging from Drake Waller’s 1950 “picture novel” It Rhymes with Lust to Frank Miller’s neo-noir Sin City, and the recent turn to crime noir in works such as Max Allan Collins’ Road to Perdition and Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillip’s Criminal.

ENG – 407 – Creating Comics
Eliot, Jan
Taught by nationally syndicated cartoonist, Jan Eliot — the creator of Stone Soup — this four-credit class will meet from 2pm to 5pm on Wednesdays throughout Spring Term of 2016. Ms. Eliot will guide you through the design, development, and production of your own strip or comic, and offer guidance on how to pitch your work to publishers and cartoon syndicates. The class will also feature guest appearances by some prominent figures from the world of professional cartooning.

ENG – 480 – Modern American Superhero
Saunders, Ben
[Graded only for majors.] In this class we will map the path of the American comic book superhero and explore the ways in which that journey reflects larger processes of social change. We will consider these superheroes not only as expressions of an ancient mythic heroic tradition, but also as distinctly “modern” creations, whose origins and adventures reflect the tumultuous epistemic and political transformations of the 20th century. We will also analyze several key examples of this popular comic-book genre in aesthetic terms, regarding them as expressions of a misunderstood and under-appreciated art form, as uniquely American as Jazz. Together we will try to formulate a critical vocabulary to discuss this remarkable artistic legacy. Finally, we will make an effort to understand better the ongoing imaginative appeal of the costumed crime-fighter — an appeal that can apparently overlap significant distinctions of age, gender, nation, and culture, and which no amount of silliness or cynicism seems quite able to dispel.

Winter 2016 Descriptions

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AAD – 252 – Art & Gender
Voelker-Morris, Julie
This course explores issues associated with art, gender, and society by considering how gender is relevant to the creation, study, and appreciation of art and culture; introducing and addressing socio-cultural factors influencing roles of women and men in the arts, culture, and society; discussing gender as a vehicle for understanding artistic creation and select artistic mediums–including the visual arts, comics, theatre, film, music, architecture, and media/advertising–in community and cultural contexts; examining underlying social structures that affect how art and artists have been defined; and, asking students to identify and articulate personal critical perspectives regarding issues of art and gender.

ARTD – 350 – Digital Drawing
Warren, Tyrras
Applies technology as a drawing medium to communicate concepts visually. The entire creative process is researched in an experimental studio environment.

COLT – 370 – Comparative Comics: “Comics, Colonialism and Images of Empire”
Allan, Michael
When Jean de Brunhoff published The Story of Babar in 1931, he helped lend visual form to a colonial “civilizing mission” with the seemingly simple tale of an orphaned elephant. Just a year earlier, the Belgian George Rémi (Hergé) published Tintin in the Congo, which included notoriously racist caricatures, and then Tintin in America, which was controversial for its sympathetic portrayal of native Americans. Beyond noting the engagement of comics in issues of caricature, stereotype and representation, how might we understand the broad translation and dissemination of comics throughout the French and British empires? How do these visual media translate when adapted in former French and British colonies?
Our class will address debates in the dynamics of cross-cultural representation and explore how comics provide a particular optic for the analysis of colonialism. We will investigate civilizational discourse as pertains to stereotypes, physiognomy, caricature and humor, and also to the place of comics within literary culture. Our discussions will draw from critical essays on the emergent field of comic studies as well as representative texts, cultural commentary and films dealing with the emergence of this graphic form. No prior knowledge of the field is required, but each student will be expected to participate actively and to work over the term on a final project.

COLT – 380 – Adaptation Across Media
Gilroy, Andréa
Humans love stories. Sometimes, we love a story so much we want to tell it again in a new way. So we adapt a story to a new medium: books into movies, movies into comics, comics into TV shows, TV shows into video games… In COLT 380: Adaptation, we will examine the way different media shape each other, what is lost and gained in transmedial transformation, and we’ll even try to do the tricky work of adaptation ourselves.

ENG – 280 – Intro to Comic Studies
Tanner, Rachel
This course provides an introduction to the political and aesthetic history of Anglo-American comics, and to the academic discipline of Comics Studies. You will be exposed to a variety of comic-art forms (the newspaper strip, the comic book, the graphic novel, the webcomic) and a spectrum of modes and genres (fiction, non-fiction, kids comics, crime comics, and so on). You will also be asked to read several examples of contemporary comics scholarship.

ENG – 313 – Teen and Children’s Literature
Wheeler, Elizabeth
This course explores a wide variety of young adult and children’s literature, from recent bestsellers to ancient fairy tales. We’ll experience comics, science fiction, picture books, folktales, young adult novels, and the voices and ASL poetry of real people. The class focuses on three kinds of interplay: The interplay between the books we read and your internship experiences working with actual teens and children; the interplay between fantasy and realism; and the interplay between the visual and the verbal arts. We also focus on many aspects of social identity, including gender, ability, class, and race. This course counts for the English major, Comics Studies minor and Disability Studies minor, but not for Arts and Lebers.

FR – 407 – War in French Comics/La Guerre dans la BD
Moore, Fabienne
Ce cours invite les étudiants à aborder la bande dessinée comme un genre hybride et complexe où texte et image interagissent pour produire un sens que nous apprendrons à décoder. Nous nous concentrerons sur les représentations de la guerre dans la bande dessinée francophone: nous étudierons plusieurs conflits (Révolution française, la Commune de Paris, la Première et la Deuxième guerre mondiale, les guerres coloniales y compris la guerre d’indépendance algérienne). Nous étudierons l’esthétique d’auteurs/artistes qui ont inventé des icones telles que Tintin et Astérix & Obélix, et nous lirons des œuvres contemporaines majeures (de Tardi, Comès, Ferrandez). L’objectif du cours est d’améliorer votre expression française orale et écrite, de communiquer vos idées critiques grâce à un genre qui défie le canon littéraire tout en étant incroyablement expressif.

Fall 2015 Descriptions

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AAD – 251 – The Arts & Visual Literacy*
Voelker-Morris, Robert
This course is an introduction into visual culture and visual analysis. In this class we explore ways in which physical, perceptual, affective, and cognitive modes of learning interact when viewing, interpreting, and assessing designed visual information within socio-cultural contexts. The visual world is filled with structure and meanings. This course is an introduction to the many facets involved in human experience of the visual world, from cars and sunsets to the “Mona Lisa.” Visual experience involves the qualities of what is seen (materials, colors, arrangements–all the aspects of design), everything that the individual brings to the experience (body, senses, emotions, beliefs, knowledge, biases–the many aspects of being human), and the context in which experience takes place (influences of other people, histories, environments, institutions—the many aspects of our physical and cultural world). In this course students will explore the interactions of these elements of experience, and how they come together in creating interpretations and forming judgments about the visual world.
*This course is taught online.

AAD – 252 – Art & Gender**
Voelker-Morris, Julie
This course explores issues associated with art, gender, and society by considering how gender is relevant to the creation, study, and appreciation of art and culture; introducing and addressing socio-cultural factors influencing roles of women and men in the arts, culture, and society; discussing gender as a vehicle for understanding artistic creation and select artistic mediums–including the visual arts, comics, theatre, film, music, architecture, and media/advertising–in community and cultural contexts; examining underlying social structures that affect how art and artists have been defined; and, asking students to identify and articulate personal critical perspectives regarding issues of art and gender.
**Two sections: An on-line course and a FIG (Freshman Interest Group) course.

ARH – 209 – History of Japanese Art
Walley, Akiko
Historical survey of the visual arts of Japan. Selected works of painting, sculpture, architecture, and other arts studied in relation to the culture in which they were produced.

ARH – 399 – Special Studies: War & Japanese Art
Walley, Akiko
TBA

ARTR – 199 – Indie Comics & Zines
Putnam, Bryan
Drawing from a survey of indie comics, zines, and graphic novels, students will uncover how visual narratives function, how they are made, and their cultural impact.  Students will explore drawing, printmaking and bookmaking as they craft their own unique, visual narratives.  Topics of study include sequential narrative, composition, drawing, and independent publishing.  This course is open to all majors.

ENG – 280 – Introduction to Comic Studies
Saunders, Benjamin
This class is conceived as an introduction to the art of comics, and to the methodologies of the new academic discipline of Comics Studies. Course content will vary from term to term, according to the specialist interests of the individual instructor, within the following parameters. Students will be exposed to a spectrum of comic-art forms (i.e., at a minimum, three of the following archetypal forms: the gag cartoon, the editorial cartoon, the newspaper strip, the comic book, the graphic novel, the web comic.) Students will be exposed to a historical range of comic texts, ranging from (at least) the early 1900s to the present. Students will be required to read several professional critical or theoretical essays over the course of the term alongside the primary materials the instructor of record assigns.  These essays will be drawn relevant academic peer-reviewed sources.  Scott McCloud’s influential book, Understanding Comics, will be required reading for all versions of the class.

ENG – 385 – Graphic Narratives & Cultural Theory: Graphic Novels
Fickle, Tara
What is the difference between a story told with words and one told with pictures? How does the latter change our understanding of traditional literary conventions like genre, plot, tone, character, and audience? Gaining rapid momentum since the 1960s, graphic fiction emerged as a phenomenon which not only extended but challenged a well-established canon of newspaper cartoons and serial comic books, not only developing unique formal qualities but incorporating completely new content. Rarely did we see the traditional figures of the superhero and his archnemesis; now real, ordinary people, with their very human weaknesses and limits, took center stage. And the worlds which they inhabited were both familiar and terrifying. This shift raises a number of important disciplinary and methodological questions, each of which will be taken up in this course. How do we “read” these novel combinations of text and image – what new methods and vocabularies are needed? In exploring these new modes of inquiry, students will learn not only a new set of analytical and interpretive skills but how to apply them in a wide variety of interdisciplinary contexts. The course thus satisfies university-wide General Education requirements; the “literary theory/criticism” requirement for the English major; and also counts towards the Comics and Cartoon Studies minor.
Gen Ed; Theory

SPAN – 407 – Seminar: Latin American Comics*
TBA
Mitos y Monitos, Reading the Nation in Latin American Comics
The art of serial narrative in historietas or comics was appropriated early in Latin America. Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, graphic artists, governments, and other institutions have created a wealth of characters and series to portray history, spread the word of economic and cultural change, to instill social values, or to criticize authoritarian tendencies in politics. After introducing the elements for visual analysis and a brief history of the medium, this class analyzes prime examples of the representation of national history, adaptation of literature, and cultural criticism thorough comics from Mexico, Argentina, Cuba, and Nicaragua.
*Taught in Spanish


Summer 2015 Descriptions

AAD – 252 – Art & Gender*
Voelker-Morris, Julie
This course explores issues associated with art, gender, and society by considering how gender is relevant to the creation, study, and appreciation of art and culture; introducing and addressing socio-cultural factors influencing roles of women and men in the arts, culture, and society; discussing gender as a vehicle for understanding artistic creation and select artistic mediums–including the visual arts, comics, theatre, film, music, architecture, and media/advertising–in community and cultural contexts; examining underlying social structures that affect how art and artists have been defined; and, asking students to identify and articulate personal critical perspectives regarding issues of art and gender.
Two sections one section is ***On-line course

COLT – 370 – Comparative Comics: “Drawing Childhood”
Tougas, Ramona
This course examines representations of childhood and family in illustrated children’s books, graphic memoir, and other forms of comics.


Spring 2015 Descriptions

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AAD 252 Art & Gender**
Voelker-Morris, Julie
This course explores issues associated with art, gender, and society by considering how gender is relevant to the creation, study, and appreciation of art and culture; introducing and addressing socio-cultural factors influencing roles of women and men in the arts, culture, and society; discussing gender as a vehicle for understanding artistic creation and select artistic mediums–including the visual arts, comics, theatre, film, music, architecture, and media/advertising–in community and cultural contexts; examining underlying social structures that affect how art and artists have been defined; and, asking students to identify and articulate personal critical perspectives regarding issues of art and gender.
**Two sections one section is an On-line course

JPN 250 Manga Millenium*
Walley, Glynne
MANGA MILLENNIUM looks at the thousand-year history of visual-verbal narratives – comics – in Japan. The modern Japanese form of comics, manga has become an inescapable part of global popular culture, but few fans are aware of the rich tradition of comics and comics-like narratives that existed in Japan before the development of manga.
This course will survey the history of this medium from its beginnings in the classical period to the present day. In particular we will concentrate on three forms of visual-verbal literature: the narrative picture scrolls of the classical and medieval period (ca. 11th-16th centuries), the “yellowback” comic books of the early modern period (18th-19th centuries), and the manga of the 20th-21st centuries.
No familiarity with Japan is required; this class will double as an introduction to Japanese culture. In addition to the history of comics in Japan, we will consider the relationship of comics to Japanese literature, art, theater, and film. We will also inquire into the relationship of text to image, the development of popular culture, and the nature of the comics medium itself.
*COLLEGE SCHOLARS STUDENTS ONLY

COLT – 370 – Comparative Comics: “Comics and Trauma”
Tougas, Ramona
This course considers the way graphic narratives often mediate traumatic events though seemingly simple images.  Symbolic representations of trauma and transformation can shape the way history is told-whether it is the history of an individual, a family, or a nation.  This course challenges assumptions about the simplicity or childishness of comics and considers graphic narratives as a nuanced medium for representations of war, imperialism, and depression.  Comics and graphic narratives are often most successful when they balance humor with a rhetoric of heroism-even while representing personal or political conflict.  The course compares cartoons and graphic narratives across a wide range of historical, national and linguistic contexts.  From the 11th-century Bayeux Tapestry to the 2013 blog and book Hyperbole and a Half-the course analyzes ways in which texts construct an internal grammar of images to make sense of violence, alienation, and conquest.  The course compares the ethical stakes of looking at graphic ways photography, drawings, and textiles with the ethics of political cartoons, graphic memoirs, and serialized comic books.  We will examine the ways these images make meaning and the complications of translating words and images.

ENG – 313 – Teen and Children’s Literature: A UO Literacy Initiative Course
Wheeler, Elizabeth
Co-req: ENG 404 Internship Community Literacy 
Explores books for young readers and their social implications, from picture books to comics and young adult novels, classics to recent bestsellers. We also go out in the community and do volunteer work with actual kids. Sites range from public schools to community gardens and homeless shelters. The required internship is 3-12 hours per week (1-4 credits), teaching and mentoring kids from babies to age 18 (your choice of site and age group).
This course is brought to you by the UO Literacy Initiative, a service learning program of the UO English Department. 1789+; Counts for Comics Studies and Disability Studies focus of SPED minor.

SPAN – 407* – Sem Latin American Comics
Chavez Landeros, Daniel
Mitos y Monitos, Reading the Nation in Latin American Comics
The art of serial narrative in historietas or comics was appropriated early in Latin America. Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, graphic artists, governments, and other institutions have created a wealth of characters and series to portray history, spread the word of economic and cultural change, to instill social values, or to criticize authoritarian tendencies in politics. After introducing the elements for visual analysis and a brief history of the medium, this class analyzes prime examples of the representation of national history, adaptation of literature, and cultural criticism thorough comics from Mexico, Argentina, Cuba, and Nicaragua.
*Taught in Spanish


Winter 2015 Descriptions

Click here to download PDF

AAD – 252 – Art & Gender*
Voelker-Morris, Julie
This course explores issues associated with art, gender, and society by considering how gender is relevant to the creation, study, and appreciation of art and culture; introducing and addressing socio-cultural factors influencing roles of women and men in the arts, culture, and society; discussing gender as a vehicle for understanding artistic creation and select artistic mediums–including the visual arts, comics, theatre, film, music, architecture, and media/advertising–in community and cultural contexts; examining underlying social structures that affect how art and artists have been defined; and, asking students to identify and articulate personal critical perspectives regarding issues of art and gender.
*On-line course

ARH – 399 – History of Manga
Walley, Akiko
What is Manga? How does it work? This course traces the history of Japanese Modern Comics Book (Manga) from the Nineteenth Century to present.

COLT – 370 – Comparative Comics: “Introduction to Comics Theory”
Gilroy, Andrea
Despite the fact that critics and scholars across the globe have been writing about comics for decades, many people were surprised to hear that at the University of Oregon, Department of Comparative Literature now offers comics-dedicated courses and you can even minor in Comics and Cartoon Studies.  In “COLT 370: Introduction to Comics Theory,” we will delve into the existing and interesting theories that create the foundation for comic studies.  How do we read comics?  How do comics create meaning? How important are images in comics?  Words? What even counts as comics in the first place?  By reading theory alongside comics from different genres and national/linguistic backgrounds, this class will introduce newcomers and comics fans alike to the exciting and challenging world of comics theory.

JPN – 407 – Sem: Vampire in Anime
Harrison, LeRon
The vampire is taken as a standard character in Western culture. At this point in time we have no problem seeing stories and novels as well as television shows and movies where vampires feature prominently. But with that acceptance comes an unspoken assumption that the vampire is something inherently Western, that is, it is a creature that was created in the West, functions in the West and seemingly has little or no connection with the East. In light of that preconception stories that are created in the East and feature vampires have largely fallen out the scope of the emerging field of vampire studies.
One area of Eastern cultural production that has a history of producing stories is Japanese anime. From the 1980s onward the vampire has appeared in a number of animated series. This raises a number of questions: How has anime treated the vampire in animated series? In what ways have they maintained, altered and omitted elements of existing vampire mythology? How does Japanese understanding of the supernatural play a role in the depictions of vampires? How should we see and think about the vampire as a character if we include the vampires that appear in anime?
This course will take these questions as a departure point for examining the vampires that appear in four anime series—Shiki, Hellsing, Black Blood Brothers, and Trinity Blood—and vampire literature from the West alongside scholarly works on the transformation of the vampire in Western culture and the development of the yōkai (supernatural
creatures) in Japan at roughly contemporaneous times.

ENG – 385* – Graphic Novels and Cultural Theory
Saunders, Benjamin
Popular genre fictions stand among the most vividly emblematic of modern literary forms, and (in hindsight) are often more sociological and psychological revealing than even their creators intended. In this class we will consider comic book adaptions of the most successful forms of genre fiction— SF, Crime, Western, Horror and Romance stories. We will compare texts from the 1940s, the 1970s, the 1990s, and the present, and explore the shifting representations of politics, gender, sexuality and race in these mass cultural products. We will also consider the specific ways the comics’ medium responds to, incorporates, and occasionally improves upon the conventions of rival narrative forms such as prose fiction and film.
*Restricted to College Scholars


Fall 2014 Descriptions

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AAD – 251 – The Arts & Literacy**
Voelker-Morris, Robert

This course is an introduction into visual culture and visual analysis. In this class we explore ways in which physical, perceptual, affective, and cognitive modes of learning interact when viewing, interpreting, and assessing designed visual information within socio-cultural contexts. The visual world is filled with structure and meanings. This course is an introduction to the many facets involved in human experience of the visual world, from cars and sunsets to the “Mona Lisa.” Visual experience involves the qualities of what is seen (materials, colors, arrangements–all the aspects of design), everything that the individual brings to the experience (body, senses, emotions, beliefs, knowledge, biases–the many aspects of being human), and the context in which experience takes place (influences of other people, histories, environments, institutions—the many aspects of our physical and cultural world). In this course students will explore the interactions of these elements of experience, and how they come together in creating interpretations and forming judgments about the visual world.
**This course is taught online.

AAD – 252 – Art & Gender*
Voelker-Morris, Julie

This course explores issues associated with art, gender, and society by considering how gender is relevant to the creation, study, and appreciation of art and culture; introducing and addressing socio-cultural factors influencing roles of women and men in the arts, culture, and society; discussing gender as a vehicle for understanding artistic creation and select artistic mediums–including the visual arts, comics, theatre, film, music, architecture, and media/advertising–in community and cultural contexts; examining underlying social structures that affect how art and artists have been defined; and, asking students to identify and articulate personal critical perspectives regarding issues of art and gender.
*Two sections: An on-line course and a FIG (Freshman Interest Group) course

COLT – 370 – Comparative Comics: “Introduction to World Comics”
Gilroy, Andrea
While many consider comics an American form of popular culture, sequential art is a global medium.  Around the world, cultures have developed unique comics cultures with their own rich histories.  In “Introduction to World Comics,” we will investigate a few of these traditions.  By examining comics and comics criticism from South American, Japan, France and Italy, we will explore the depth of the comics form as it grows and changes in different social, political and cultural climates.  Discover a whole world of art and literature hidden in plain sight!

COLT – 380 – Comparative Media: “Tokyo Cyberpunk”
Brown, Steven
Colt 380 is repeatable 3x when topic changes for a maximum of 16 credits.
Introducing the history, forms and discourse of Japanese “cyberpunk” in contemporary anime and film, this course explores the urban dreams (and nightmares) that constitute cyberpunk’s posthumanist vision of Neo-Tokyo.  Viewed not as a reflection of contemporary Japanese society but rather as its defamiliarization, Japanese forms of cyberpunk are investigated alongside Western examples of posthumanism as sites of contestation for competing ideologies and the delineation of new possibilities of existence, new forms of being, at the intersection between carbon-and silicon based forms of intelligence and data-processing.
Treating Japanese cyberpunk not merely as a literary movement or aesthetic style but more importantly as a philosophical discourse with distinctive questions and premises-i.e., as a philosophical “problematic” with its own sociohistorical specificities and transnational trajectories-we will investigate the cyberpunk city as an “abstract machine,”  the cyborg’s “organs without a body,” and the rhizomatic processes of cyberculture.
Issues discussed include:

  • The status of subjectivity in posthumanism: fabricated, virtual memories and fractured identities.
  • The human body and its interfaces with technology: cyborg implants, prostheses, replacement parts, and bio-tech hybridities.
  • Post-apocalyptic visions of class, race, gender, and sexuality.
  • The individual and her relation to the city: new modes of spatiality and habitation, new forms of community, new ways in which individuals circulate and are contained, as well as new forms of surveillance and  policing.
  • Acts of resistance: the politics of cyber-terrorism and other forms of subversion.

COLT – 380 – Comparative Media: “Asian Horror Cinema”
Brown, Steven
Colt 380 is repeatable 3x when topic changes for a maximum of 16 credits.
Since the late 1990, fans of Asian cinema have witnessed a renaissance of films in the horror genre.  Directors such as Nakata Hideo, Kurosawa Kiyoshi, Miike Takashi, and Shimizu Takashi from Japan, Herman Yau, Fruit Chan, and the Pang Brothers from Hong Kong, Kim Ki-duck, Kim Don-bin, park Chan-wook, and Bong Joon-ho from South Korea, Kelvin Tong from Singapore, Songyos Sugmakanan from Thailand, and Yam Laranas from the Philippines have contributed in distinctive ways to the new Asian Horror that emerged in the late 90s and continues to enjoy critical and box-office success today.  The fact that nearly a dozen Hollywood remakes of Asian horror films have been released in the past decade-including remakes of The Ring, The Grudge, Dark Water, Pulse, One Missed call, The Eye, A Tale of Two Sisters, and Shutter– suggests that Asian Horror has finally received the recognition it deserves as a movement that may be as significant to global cinema as the French New Wave was in the late 1950s and early 60s.  By investigating the styles, techniques, and conventions associated with Asian horror cinema, this seminar endeavors to help students become more critical viewers of the genre as opposed to merely passive consumers of popular culture.

ENG – 280 – Introduction to Comic Studies
Saunders, Benjamin 
This class is conceived as an introduction to the art of comics, and to the methodologies of the new academic discipline of Comics Studies. Course content will vary from term to term, according to the specialist interests of the individual instructor, within the following parameters. Students will be exposed to a spectrum of comic-art forms (i.e., at a minimum, three of the following archetypal forms: the gag cartoon, the editorial cartoon, the newspaper strip, the comic book, the graphic novel, the web comic.) Students will be exposed to a historical range of comic texts, ranging from (at least) the early 1900s to the present. Students will be required to read several professional critical or theoretical essays over the course of the term alongside the primary materials the instructor of record assigns.  These essays will be drawn relevant academic peer-reviewed sources.  Scott McCloud’s influential book, Understanding Comics, will be required reading for all versions of the class.

ENG – 385 – Graphic Narrative & Cultural Theory: Graphic Novels
Fickle, Tara 
What is the difference between a story told with words and one told with pictures? How does the latter change our understanding of traditional literary conventions like genre, plot, tone, character, and audience? Gaining rapid momentum since the 1960s, graphic fiction emerged as a phenomenon which not only extended but challenged a well-established canon of newspaper cartoons and serial comic books, not only developing unique formal qualities but incorporating completely new content. Rarely did we see the traditional figures of the superhero and his archnemesis; now real, ordinary people, with their very human weaknesses and limits, took center stage. And the worlds which they inhabited were both familiar and terrifying. This shift raises a number of important disciplinary and methodological questions, each of which will be taken up in this course. How do we “read” these novel combinations of text and image – what new methods and vocabularies are needed? In exploring these new modes of inquiry, students will learn not only a new set of analytical and interpretive skills but how to apply them in a wide variety of interdisciplinary contexts. The course thus satisfies university-wide General Education requirements; the “literary theory/criticism” requirement for the English major; and also counts towards the Comics and Cartoon Studies minor.

EALL – 410 – Early Modern Comics
Walley, Glynne
This course focuses on the kusazōshi, a variety of comic book popular in 18th and 19th century Japan.
We will proceed chronologically, beginning by discussing the child-oriented akahon (redbook), and ending by examining the gōkan (bound volume), the serialized adventure comics that cominated Japanese comics in the 19th century. The bulk of our time will be spent on the kibyōshi: a sophisticated, often risqué, form that catered to adults, particularly the tastemakers of popular culture in the city of Edo, in the late 18th century.
We will read a wide variety of kibyōshi in English translation, most of what little scholarship has been devoted to the form in the West, and a careful selection of articles that contextualize the kibyōshi both historically and aesthetically. A background in Japanese and/or comics studies would be helpful, but is not required.
Students in this course will be asked to confront a number of themes, including: the relationship between text and image in comics; the relationship of comics to the visual, literary, and theatrical arts; the production, circulation, and function of images in popular culture; the tension between urban cultural production and provincial consumption; the effects of censorship on cultural production; the emergence of conventions of authorship in the context of commercial publishing; the historical precedents for modern manga; and the nature of mass/popular culture in early modern Japan.
Graduate students enrolled in the 580 version of this course may expect extra weekly meetings with the instructor, devoted to discussing extra readings.

EALL – 407 – Transnational Anime
Arnold, Michael 
This class is san examination of the first half-decade of the commercial Japanese animated film and television industry, with a focus on the many transnational, transcultural, and trans industrial exchanges that took place between animation studios, animators, and audiences in Japan and the United States.

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