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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Verena Veronica Kuzmany
C LIT 371
Seattle Campus

Literature and the Visual Arts

Focuses on specific theoretical problems. Examines the relationship between text and image in a variety of art forms including poetry, novels, paintings, photography, essays, comic strips, film, and advertisement. Readings, in English, from a wide variety of national literatures.

Class description

Borders in Graphic Novels

In most comic books and graphic novels, borders are crossed on every page: drawings are contained within frames and within them text and images are fused. The constant traversing of textual and visual borders is one of the medium’s defining characteristics and makes graphic novels ideally suited to investigating the formal and thematic crossings, and transgressions, of boundaries of all kinds. Reading works from different national and linguistic backgrounds we will meander across a variety of borders this summer – political (Israel/Palestine), cultural (Germany/Japan), anthropological (humans/animals), ecological (human kind/nature), and social (generational divides) – as well as a variety of genres (graphic novels as Westerns, as Fantasy, as Journalism, as Memoir). National and cultural border scenarios represented range from the description of the contested regions of Gaza in Joe Sacco’s Palestine to the political and cultural isolation of North Korea in Guy Delisle’s Pyongyang. In two mangas, the class will explore the articulation of borders between genders in Takako Shimura’s Wandering Son and between life forms in Hayao Miyazaki's post-apocalyptic Nausicaä. Two bandes dessinées will provide a glimpse of the unique and popular French/Belgium style of graphic novels. The quarter will be bookended by two meta-comics on how to understand the limitations and extraordinary advantages of the medium. Questions encountered along the way include how comics and graphic novels redefine, uphold, or challenge the traditional border between text and images in literature, which formal and stylistic strategies graphic novel artists employ and how they differ from those of novelists and film makers, and how examining borders in graphic novels can hone our recognition and understanding of the presence of borders in a globalized yet immigration- and migration-phobic world.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Verena Veronica Kuzmany
Date: 06/01/2012