CFP: Teaching the Graphic Novel

Teaching Comics and Graphic Novels (11/1/12)

George Cusack/University of Oklahoma

The exploding popularity of comic books, graphic novels, and other sequential art forms has led universities across the globe to integrate these texts into their curricula, most commonly within the disciplines of English or literary studies. However, the actual role of these courses within the majors that offer them remains under scrutiny. Many faculty see sequential art texts as mere novelties they can use to lighten the reading load of their courses, or, even worse, see the entire medium as a pop-culture fad that distracts students from the more serious work of literary analysis. This perception overlooks the fact that sequential art, in one form or another, has been part of literary culture for centuries, and in the last 50 years or so has made major contributions to both popular and “high” literature throughout the world. We therefore believe that a serious consideration of sequential art and its place within the English major is long overdue.

We are now seeking proposals for short essays (4000-6000 words) on the subject of teaching comic books, graphic novels, or any form of sequential art within the English major. The essays will be part of a proposed volume in Palgrave’s “Teaching the New English” series. Volumes in this series examine the role of emerging genres and themes within the English major. Individual collections in the series vary in length, but we’re seeking to print 10-15 essays total in our volume. Potential topics include, but are by no means limited to:

-the superhero genre—its benefits, limitations, difficulties, etc.
-practices for teaching visual analysis in the literature classroom
-practices for (and benefits of) teaching manga and/or non-western comics in the English major
-analysis of specific courses/modules/assignments on sequential art
-integrating sequential art into creative writing or composition classes
-using student-generated sequential art in the English classroom
-practices for teaching specific sequential art texts (e.g. Watchmen, Persepolis, etc)*

*One exception is Maus, which is covered in another volume in this series (Teaching Holocaust Literature and Film). We will certainly consider essays that mention Maus, but it is unlikely that we’ll publish an entire essay focusing on it alone.

Please send abstracts of 100-250 words to George Cusack.

The deadline for abstracts is November 1, 2012.

For more information on the Teaching the New English series, please visit the series homepage

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