Pop Culture Phenomenon Subject of English 111 Study
Delve into the world of graphic fiction as Selkirk College turns the spotlight on the genre in a course being offered this winter.
Once condemned as a dangerous force of moral degradation, comics and graphic novels have come to be recognized as important cultural texts.
“I’ve always been interested in popular culture as an expression of our deepest desires,” says Renée Jackson-Harper, Selkirk College English Instructor. “Graphic novels like Art Spiegelman’s Maus, Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and David B’s Epileptic, have stayed with me since I first encountered them, and I have continued to return to the big questions they raise about what drives us as individuals and as society.”
Renée Jackson-Harper will teach English 111 with a special focus on Drawn & Dangerous: Graphic Imaginations, in Nelson this winter. The course offered at Selkirk College’s Tenth Street Campus will take students deep into graphic fiction and examine what the genre says about popular culture.
Jackson-Harper will teach English 111 offered on the Tenth Street Campus of Selkirk College starting January 9 running Wednesdays from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. The intro-level literature course is fully transferrable as three credits for first-year English in the School of University Arts & Sciences. The class will focus on Drawn & Dangerous – Graphic Imaginations, texts that take the form of visual narratives and poetry. Topics of discussion will include adaptation, transmedia storytelling and graphic fiction and poetics as powerful platforms for social critique.
“There is something incredibly powerful about marrying images with words in order to tell a story,” says Jackson-Harper. “Perhaps it’s because we often associate comics with juvenile narratives that seeing grown-up themes [the Holocaust and childhood traumas] drawn in panels is so starling and compelling. It’s the tension that often exists between the words and the images on the pages that keeps me returning for more.”
Contemplating Context of the Graphic Novel
Along with critical essays and movie adaptations, students will examine several primary texts including Watchmen, Maus, Fun Home, X and March. Students will also learn how to write about sequential graphic narratives, have an opportunity to experiment with the form and examine adaptation of famous literary text, like Homer’s Odyssey, into the genre.
Jackson-Harper is enthusiastic about this featured course topic offered at Selkirk College and feels it would appeal to a wide range of students including those who are interested in making their own graphic novel, those who have long loved graphic fiction and students who love literature and the multitude of forms it takes.
“Whatever it is that brings students to the classroom, I’m certain that the discussion will be lively and challenging. I can’t wait!” says Jackson-Harper.
Successful completion of English 110 is the usual prerequisite but students may be granted permission to enroll by contacting Jackson-Harper by email. To register for English 111 or one of the first and second-year creative writing courses taught in Nelson by Leesa Dean who recently published her collection of short stories Waiting for the Cyclone, please contact Admissions at 1.888.953.1133 ext. 21233 or by email. Deadline is January 6.