This 360 pulls together theoretical perspectives on comics, narration, trauma, and recovery to explore critical dimensions of the global experience of trauma, with a focus on interdisciplinary understandings of suffering and survival. By the conclusion of the 360, students provide original analyses about how art enables individuals and communities to better understand and articulate the realities of suffering that otherwise often go unexpressed.
Comics and Trauma Courses:
East Asian Languages and Cultures 255: Understanding Comics: Introduction to Reading the Graphic Novel
Called “comics,” “graphic novels,” and many other terms in between, these word-image hybrids have been embraced by both popular and critical audiences. But what is a graphic novel? How do we conceive of these texts and, more importantly, how do we read, interpret and write about them? This course, taught by Shiamin Kwa, considers different kinds of primary source texts and asks if and how they fulfill our understanding of the graphic narrative. Students also examine different scholarly approaches to analyzing graphic narratives, based in disciplines such as memoir studies, trauma studies, visual and material culture, history, semiotics, and, especially, narratology.
French 217: Drawing Disasters: Trauma and Healing
Taught by Agnès Peysson-Zeiss, this course addresses the question of trauma, resilience and survival through art, focusing on comics. We focus on graphic narratives born after trauma, from genocide, mass massacres or wars. We address trauma from geo-political, historical, sociological and literary perspectives looking at primary works from places as varied as Europe (Croci), Lebanon (Abirached), Gaza (Sacco), Cambodia (Sera Ing), and Iran (Satrapi). We look at the aesthetic work as well as texts and para-texts and try to examine the impact such work has on its readers.
Social Work 563: Global Public Health: Special Topic in Critical Perspectives of Trauma and Resilience
Global public health has, in recent years, turned its attention to the health effects of violence and suffering experienced on a massive scale, as with wars and ethnic conflicts. Responses to the rising focus on trauma and its aftermath point to how much we need to understand that individuals, families, and communities tend to actively grapple with trauma in creative and resilient manners. This course focuses on trauma using a critical, culturally informed perspective. Drawing on social work’s tradition of multi-level, social ecological perspectives, we will work to understand trauma, meaning-making, and recovery in ways that transcend a sole focus on individual pathology. Instead, we will understand trauma and its treatment in a way that emphasizes culturally grounded knowledge of suffering and recovery, including how art helps individuals and collectives to make meaning of traumatic experiences that fundamentally undermine one’s understanding of the world and the safety of their individual and collective selves. Taught by Cindy Sousa.