Course

POLITICAL VIOLENCE IN COMICS: TRUTH, TESTIMONY AND JUSTICE

Instructor: Esther Claudio

Dates and methodology: From November 1 to December 27 Completely online methodology, with recorded classes and videoconference sessions, through the Virtual Classroom of the UV.

Registration:
https://forms.gle/txwVtnfEm1cyUxa2A

Fees: Free. 40 places, by order of inscription

Information: auladecomic@uv.es

DESCRIPTION

In “Political Violence in Comics” we will learn to appreciate the beauty of comics as a form of art while we engage in discussions around memory, justice, truth, reconciliation and testimony. Memory offers an alternative to institutionalized historiography and serves as a site of contestation for official narrative. Storing personal – often traumatic – experiences might challenge, contest, add or question a whole apparatus that actively hides the perpetrators’ accountability. Starting with Art Spiegelman’s Maus, the groundbreaking comic that introduced discussions of political violence and memory into comics, we will study how graphic novels have used the powerful combination of drawing and text to explore the act of remembering as a way to find truth, justice and reconciliation. Some of the questions that will guide the seminar are: What mechanisms are used to aesthetically and politically visualize testimony? What traumas are culturally articulated and which ones are still unspeakable and hard or impossible to articulate? And in relation to this, is drawing a suitable means to achieve veracity as opposed to, say, photography? What does graphic narrative do differently?

COURSE OBJECTIVES

By successfully completing this seminar, students will:

  • Recognize the varying historical, social, political and economic conditions that shape political violence.
  • Gain foundational knowledge on comic theory.
  • Critically examine and interpret visual culture.
  • Compare and assess different types of evidence in order to apply or utilize them in their own work.
  • Develop familiarity with a variety of research methodologies, including the use of library resources to identify and locate relevant primary and secondary sources.
  • Write analytical and research papers on matters related to political violence and the aesthetics of graphic narrative.

Summary

1: What is memory? What is graphic narrative?

2: Postmemory and its graphic rendering

3: Persepolis– Iran. Truth and Autobiography

4: Safe Area Gorazde – Testimony, Truth, Journalism

5: The Best We Could Do – Vietnam. War, Women, Memory

6: Twists of Fate – Spain. Exile and Testimony

READING LIST

Graphic novels:

  • Art Spiegelman, Maus
  • Joe Sacco, Safe Area Gorazde
  • Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis
  • Thi Bui, The Best We Could Do
  • Paco Roca, Twists of Fate

Comics Theory:

Hatfield, C. Alternative comics: An emerging literature. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2005.

Groensteen, T. The System of Comics. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2007.

Wikipedia, “Glossary of comics terminology” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_comics_terminology

Memory/Political Violence

Hirsch, Marianne. The Generation of Postmemory. Writing and Visual Culture after the Holocaust. Nueva York: Columbia University Press, 2012.

Jelin, Elizabeth. State Repression and the Labors of Memory. University of Minnesota Press, 2003

Specific articles and supporting material are included in the week-by-week schedule.

WEEK-BY-WEEK BREAKDOWN FOR THE 8 WEEKS

Week 1: What is memory? What is graphic narrative?

Readings:

  • Art Spiegelman, Maus (Vol.1)
  • Marianne Hirsch, “The Generation of Postmemory,” Poetics Today, p.103-108 & 112-115.
  • Raphael Lemkin, “Genocide: A Modern Crime,” Free World, Vol. 4 (April 1945), p.39-43. Available at: http://www.preventgenocide.org/lemkin/freeworld1945.htm
  • Wikipedia, “Glossary of comics terminology” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_comics_terminology
Week 2: Postmemory and its graphic rendering

Readings:

  • Art Spiegelman, Maus (Vol.2)
Week 3: Persepolis– Iran. Truth and Autobiography

Readings:

  • Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis
  • Elizabeth El-Rafaie, Autobiographical Comics: Life Writing in Pictures, Chapter 2, ONLY PAGES 53-84, from “Multiplications of the Authorial Self” until “Healthy and Diseased Bodies”.
Week 4: Persepolis– Iran. Truth and Autobiography

Readings:

  • Paco Roca, Twists of Fate
  • Groensteen, T. “Restrained Arthrology”. The System of Comics. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2007.

Assignments:

*Meet with instructor to discuss project

Week 5: Safe Area Gorazde – Testimony, Truth, Journalism

Readings:

  • ●        Joe Sacco, Safe Area Gorazde
  • Jim Chandler. «Public Conversation: Joe Sacco and W.J.T. Mitchell.» Critical Inquiry, vol. 40, no. 3, 2014, pp. 53-70.
Week 6: Safe Area Gorazde – Testimony, Truth, Journalism

Readings:

  • Joe Sacco, Safe Area Gorazde
  • Susan Sontag, On Photography – excerpts.
Week 7: The Best We Could Do – Vietnam. War, Women, Memory

Readings:

  • Thi Bui, The Best We Could Do
  • Earle, Harriet. “A new face for an old fight: Reimagining Vietnam in Vietnamiese-American graphic memoirs” in Studies in Comics, 2018, Vol. 9, no.1, 87-105.
Week 8: Twists of Fate – Spain. Exile and Testimony

Readings:

  • Paco Roca, Twists of Fate

OPTIONAL:

  • Almudena Carracedo, Robert Bahar, The Silence of Others (Documentary, Netflix)
  • Esther Claudio, “Interview with Paco Roca”, European Comic Art, Vol. 11, no.2 2018.

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