English 40-1 - Fall, 2022

Introductory Topics in Literature


Class Information

Instructor: Romano, Frances
CRN: 31960
Time: TR 4:40-6:00
Location: 1283 Grove
GE Areas: Writing Experience


In this class, we will trace the lineage of contemporary American comics from the early twentieth century to today, investigating the ways in which comic art has replicated, responded to, and/or critiqued dominant cultural discourses around subjects like race, gender, sexuality, disability, class, history, and national identity. We will attend to the medium-specific elements of comics and graphic narratives, adapting our close reading skills to include not only the textual but also the visual. We?ll begin with early 20th century newspaper comics, explore the alt/underground comix movements of the 1960?s through the 80?s, read now-canonical graphic narratives like Art Spiegelman?s Maus and Alison Bechdel?s Fun Home, and end with more recent work from artists like Adrian Tomine and Emil Ferris, contemplating the history, present, and possible futures of comics in the U.S. These readings will prepare you for a short close reading paper, a longer argument-driven paper, and a final project.