ENGLISH 4GN3 Graphic Narrative in Canada
Academic Year: Fall 2017
Instructor: Dr. Lorraine York
Office: Chester New Hall 304
Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23739
Office Hours: Fridays 1:30-2:30 pm
- Course Objectives
- Textbooks, Materials & Fees
- Method of Assessment
- Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties
- Additional Policies and Statements
- Topics and Readings
“The story of Canadian comic books is a history of give and take that has, with time, led to the acceptance of Canadian talent and publishing as an integral, although barely distinct, part of North American comics publishing.”
--Randy Duncan and Matthew J. Smith, The Power of Comics: History, Form and Culture (2009)
Randy Duncan and Matthew J. Smith’s assessment of “the story” of Canadian comics is strangely ahistorical and even more strangely imperialist. As Mark Beringer, writing of the Scott Pilgrim series, responds, “Such a view only holds true if ‘North America’ is seen not as a field of multidirectional dialogue but identified with a monolithic USA as its inevitable centre of gravity” (Shane Denison, ed. Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives). In this seminar, we will focus on graphic narrative, paying close attention to the image-text interactions in these multimodal works, but we will do so from a perspective neither of reclaimed nationalistic centrality nor of gravitational American continentalism, but of transnational exchange, intra-national and anti-national contestatory politics, adopting an approach attentive to intersectional relations of power and Canada’s history of colonialisms. The course will also query its own act of national categorization, setting side by side graphic narratives that enact or imply a form of Canadian nationalism with others that implicitly or explicitly challenge the very applicability of that national designation.
Specific issues to be considered will include: Indigenous revisionist historical storytelling; memoir/bildungsroman and relations of power (sexualities, gender, class, race, dis/abilty); issues of land, space, colonialisms, labour, capitalism and consumer culture; national regimes of belonging/dispossession; transnational relations to global histories and politics; embodiment.
Textbooks, Materials & Fees:
- Julie Doucet, My New York Diary
- Jeff Lemire, Essex County
- Michael Cho, Shoplifter
- Rob Kristofferson and Simon Orpana, Showdown!
- Chester Brown, Louis
- Gord Hill, The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book
- Michael Yahgulanaas, Red: A Haida Manga
- Kat Verhoeven, Towerkin
- Seth, It’s a Good Life if you Don’t Weaken
- Sarah Leavitt, Tangles
- Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki, Skim
And a coursepack containing readings by: J. Andrew Deman, Katie Mullins, Andrew Lesk, Sean Carleton, Kathleen Venema, and Amelia DeFalco.
I will also assign online sources (see schedule)
Method of Assessment:
4 two-page position papers OR 2 two-page position papers plus 2 two-page
graphic (comic strip) responses: 4 X 10% = 40%
500-word proposal for final paper/project: 15% due October 18
2,000 word final paper/15-page graphic essay or graphic story: 35% due November 22
Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:
Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:
Late Policy: The mark for work submitted after the imposed deadline will be decreased by one grade per day late, up to seven days. For example, a B+ assignment that is two days late would receive a final grade of B-. If it is five days late, the assignment receives a final grade of C-, and so on. Time management is crucial to meeting deadlines in this class. Extensions can only be granted through SAS accommodation. Talk to the instructor as soon as possible if you feel incapable of keeping up with the workload.
Important Note 1: In the event of class cancellations, students will be notified on Avenue and the English Department Website. It is your responsibility to check these sites regularly for any such announcements.
Link: http://www.humanities.mcmaster.ca/~english/ (Department)
Link: http://avenue.mcmaster.ca/ (avenue to learn)
Important Note 2: Email Policy
It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from the student's own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student. Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.
* Students will be requested to complete an online course evaluation at the end of the course.
Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:
You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.
Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.
It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity
The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:
- Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
- Improper collaboration in group work.
- Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.
Email correspondence policy
It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student. Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.
Modification of course outlines
The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.
McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)
In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at mcmaster.ca/msaf/. If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.
Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities
Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail email@example.com. For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.
Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances
Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.
Topics and Readings:
September 6: Introduction to the course; introduction/review of comics concepts
Distribution of Group A position paper/comic #1 topics
September 13: Julie Doucet, My New York Diary
J. Andrew Deman, “’Oh Well’: My New York Diary, Autographics, and the Depiction of Female Sexuality in Comics” (coursepack)
Distribution of Group B position paper/comic #1 topics
September 20: Jeff Lemire, Essex County
Katie Mullins, “Embodiment, Time, and the Life Review in Jeff Lemire’s
Ghost Stories” (coursepack)
Group A position paper/comic #1 due
Distribution of Group A position paper/comic #2 topics
September 27: Michael Cho, Shoplifter
Group B position paper/comic #1 due
Distribution of Group B position paper/comic #2 topics
October 4: Rob Kristofferson and Simon Orpana, Showdown! Making Modern
Dr. Simon Orpana will be visiting our class
Group A position paper/comic #2 due
Distribution of Group A position paper / comic #3 topics
October 11: Mid-term Break; no class
October 18: Dr. Y away. Class cancelled, but Proposal due via email
October 25: Chester Brown, Louis Riel
Andrew Lesk, “Redrawing Nationalism: Chester Brown’s Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography.”(coursepack)
Group B position paper / comic #2 due
Distribution of Group B position paper/comic #3 topics (due X)
November 1: Gord Hill, The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book
Sean Carleton, “Drawn to Change: Comics and Critical Consciousness” (coursepack)
Group A position paper/comic #3 due
Distribution of Group A position paper/comic #4 topics
November 8: Michael Yahgulanaas, Red: A Haida Manga
Michael Yahgulanass, “Art Opens Windows to the Space Between Ourselves.” TEDx Vancouver talk available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1R_-3wzYEQ
Brenna Clarke Gray, “Border Studies in the Gutter: Canadian Comics and Structural Borders” (coursepack)
Group B position paper/comic #3 due
Distribution of Group B position paper/comic #4 topics
November 15: Kat Verhoeven, Towerkind
“Kat Verhoeven: Towerkind, Meat & Bone” Interview. Spacing (coursepack)
Toronto Public Library Q&A with Kat Verhoeven, available at: http://torontopubliclibrary.typepad.com/teens/2015/07/qa-with-kat-verhoeven-author-of-towerkind.html
November 22: Seth, It’s a Good Life if you Don’t Weaken
Dr. Nick Mount’s TVO lecture on It’s a Good Life if you Don’t Weaken: available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTXorZx9kO8
Final essay due
November 29: Sarah Leavitt, Tangles
Kathleen Venema, “Untangling the Graphic Power of Tangles: A Story about
Alzheimer’s, My Mother and Me.” (coursepack)
selection from Amelia De Falco, “Graphic Somatography: Life Writing,
Comics, and the Ethics of Care.”
Group A position paper/comic #4 due
December 6: Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki, Skim
Kayi Wong, “In Conversation with Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki.” Room 38.2 (June 2015) available at: https://roommagazine.com/interview/conversation-jillian-tamaki-mariko-tamaki
Group B position paper/comic #4 due