Fall 2014

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Fall 2014 Course List

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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: “Toyko 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.