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ENGLISH 4GN3 Graphic Narrative in Canada (C01)

Academic Year: Winter 2020

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Lorraine York

Email: yorkl@mcmaster.ca

Office: Chester New Hall 304

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23739

Office Hours: Thursdays 1:30-2:30PM



Course Objectives:

English and Cultural Studies 4GN3: Graphic Narrative in Canada   

Thursdays 2:30-4:20, CNH 332                               2019-20

Dr. Lorraine York                                                      Office hours: Thursdays 1:30-2:30

yorkl@mcmaster.ca                                                  CNH 304

 

                                                “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, disability); 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:

Texts:

 

            Julie Doucet, My New York Diary

            Jeff Lemire, Essex County

            Michael Cho, Shoplifter

            Rob Kristofferson and Simon Orpana, Showdown!

            Chester Brown, Louis Riel

            Gord Hill, The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book

            Michael Yahgulanaas, Red: A Haida Manga

            Kat Verhoeven, Towerkind

            Seth, It’s a Good Life if you Don’t Weaken

            Sylvia Nickerson, Creation

            Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki, Skim

            and a coursepack containing readings

            I will also assign online sources (see schedule)


Method of Assessment:

Evaluation:

            4 two-page position papers OR 2 two-page position papers plus 2 two-page   

            graphic (comic strip) responses:  4 X 10% = 40%

            Participation: 10%

            500-word proposal for final paper/project: 15% due February 13

            2,000 word final paper/15-page graphic essay or graphic story: 35% due March 19


Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

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.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Late Policy: The mark for the final paper 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. Extensions can only be granted through SAS accommodation.

Position papers, they are to be read in class and hard copy handed in at the end of class; they will not be accepted after class (except in the case of SAS accommodations). Talk to the instructor as soon as possible if you feel incapable of keeping up with the workload.


Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

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:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. 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 sas@mcmaster.ca. 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:

Schedule:

January 9: Introduction to the course; introduction/review of comics concepts

                        Distribution of Group A position paper/comic #1 topics

January 16: 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

January 23: 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

January 30: Michael Cho, Shoplifter

                        Dr. Eleanor Ty will visit the seminar today

                        Group B position paper/comic #1 due

                        Distribution of Group B position paper/comic #2 topics                     

February 6: Rob Kristofferson and Simon Orpana, Showdown! Making Modern

 Unions

                        Dr. Rob Kristofferson and Dr. Simon Orpana will visit the seminar today and we will take our Hour 2 in the Archives and Research Collections, Mills Memorial Library

                        Group A position paper/comic #2 due

                        Distribution of Group A position paper / comic #3 topics

February 13: Chester Brown, Louis Riel

            Andrew Lesk, “Redrawing Nationalism: Chester Brown’s Louis Riel: A Comic-                           Strip Biography.” (coursepack)

            Proposal due          

February 20: No class (Reading Week)

February 27: Gord Hill, The 500 Years of Resistance Comic Book

            Sean Carleton, “Drawn to Change: Comics and Critical Consciousness” (coursepack)

            Group B position paper / comic #2 due

            Distribution of Group B position paper/comic #3 topics

March 5: 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 A position paper/comic #3 due

            Distribution of Group A position paper/comic #4 topics

March 12: 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 

Group B position paper/comic #3 due

            Distribution of Group B position paper/comic #4 topics

March 19: Seth, It’s a Good Life if you Don’t Weaken

            Katie Mullins. "Questioning Comics: Women and Autocritique in Seth's It's a Good      Life, If You Don't Weaken." (coursepack)

            Final essay due

March 26: Sylvia Nickerson, Creation

            Group A position paper/comic #4 due

April 2: Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki, Skim

            Michelle Miller, “’I Hate You Everything’: Reading Adolescent Bad Feelings in Tamaki’s Skim” (coursepack)

            Group B position paper/comic #4 due

 


Other Course Information:

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)