M 1:20-3:15 p.m.
This course will examine larger social, political and cultural trends in Africa, past and present, through the lens of comics and graphic novels, including some written by members of the diaspora and by individuals living on the African continent. One key question will guide this intermediate-level course: How do comics and graphic narratives simultaneously reflect and inform varied trends and everyday lived realities on the continent? The course will provide an understanding of comics and graphic fictions as unique mediums to express diverse African social and cultural issues. Students will also be encouraged to think critically think about how individuals both on the continent and in the African diaspora have differently imagined Africa through comics and graphic fiction. For example, how do audiences in the African diaspora and those on the African continent differently interpret the Black Panther comic book series? The coursework includes readings and written critical responses. The course’s one major paper is an interdisciplinary research paper on comics and graphic fictions in Africa across time and region. Students interested in working on an actual graphic novel project in place of a research paper will need to meet with the instructor to obtain permission.
Because this is an interdisciplinary class, course materials will draw from diverse disciplines and sources including comic strips, graphic novels, animated cartoons, newspapers, films, podcasts, documentaries, Instagram, and street art as well as scholarly texts. Course readings will include Taking African Cartoons Seriously: Politics, Satire, and Culture (2018) edited by Peter Limb and Tejumola Olaniyan, Aya: Life in Yop City by Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie, After the Spring: A Story of Tunisian Youth (2019) by Helene Aldeguer, and Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet (2016) by Ta-Nehisi Coates. The lecture schedule will include several “Scholar meets ACS students” sessions in which various guest speakers share their works on related course topics with students.