English 166

Special Topics: The Graphic Memoir

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2021 Wong, Hertha D. Sweet
TTh 11-12:30

Book List

Barry, Lynda: One! Hundred! Demons!; Bechdel, Alison: Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic; Ledesma, Alberto: Diary of a Reluctant Dreamer: Undocumented Vignettes from a Pre-American Life; Lewis, John: March (Trilogy Slipcase Set); McCloud, Scott: Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art; Sacco, Joe: Palestine; Satrapi, Marjane: The Complete Persepolis; Spiegelman, Art: The Complete Maus; Yang, Gene Luen: American Born Chinese


A graphic novel is often defined as "a single-author, book-length work, meant for a grown-up reader, with a memoirist or novelistic nature, usually devoid of superheroes." Many comic artists, however, ridicule the term as a pretentious and disingenuous attempt to rebrand comics in order to elevate their cultural status. We will examine the definitions, history, and diverse forms of graphic narratives in the U.S., focusing on graphic memoirs. We'll also discuss the multiplicity of contested American identities as these are represented in image and text.

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