Posts Tagged ‘graphic novels’

Horizontal divider

How Comics Can Be an Entry Point to Prose Novels

posted: 5.30.14 by Elizabeth Losh and Jonathan Alexander

Today’s guest blogger is Daniel Jose Ruiz, assistant professor and Vice-Chair of English/ESL at Los Angeles City College. Daniel teaches a wide range of courses, from basic skills to literature, but his emphasis is always on fostering a student’s engagement with a text. Daniel is also known for using a variety of materials ranging from YA literature and SF/Fantasy to canonical works.

Imagine that you learned two languages primarily aurally and visually. You did not receive much, if any, formal education in literacy in either language. You were taught to read, but only to the extent that you can navigate the world. [read more]

Comments: (1)
Categories: Guest Bloggers
Read All Elizabeth Losh and Jonathan Alexander

Horizontal divider

Making Things Graphic as a Form of Interpretation

posted: 4.4.13 by Elizabeth Losh and Jonathan Alexander

Liz and I recently presented about the process of writing Understanding Rhetoric at the Northeast MLA conference in Boston, where we had the chance to visit with other scholars and teachers who use graphic books to teach a variety of subjects, from literature to art to foreign languages.  We were reminded again of the power of the comics medium not just to interest and engage students but to challenge their thinking about the nature of representation.

One intriguing set of examples came from a professor of German who showed us different graphic renditions of Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, a startling tale of a man who wakes up transformed into a bug and then has to deal with his transformation the rest of the day.  Rife with visual possibilities, The Metamorphosis as a graphic novel itself metamorphoses from an original print text into different visual versions that each show the artist’s interpretive decisions.  Indeed, artists make choices in rendering The Metamorphosis–What does the bug look like? From whose perspective is the story narrated? How does the visual representation differ from the print? These are interpretive choices because they reveal how the artists understand the original text.  In her classes, the German professor used a German-language comic version of The Metamorphosis not only to teach her students German but to teach them something about the interpretation of literary texts as they are transformed from one medium to another.  [read more]

Comments Off on Making Things Graphic as a Form of Interpretation
Categories: Jonathan Alexander
Read All Elizabeth Losh and Jonathan Alexander

Horizontal divider

5 ways I approach visual argument in the classroom

posted: 4.17.08 by Barclay Barrios

Visual argument (or, more generally, visual rhetoric) seems to be an increasingly important part of the composition classroom. I’ve never taught a class devoted to visual argument, but I have given visual argument assignments and I often ask students to consider the role that the visual plays in culture. There are of course whole textbooks on visual argument, but since the visual plays only a supporting role in my course, I tend to use a variety of websites instead. For example:

1. PostSecret
PostSecret is my favorite way to have students think about visual argument. This public art project started when its founder, Frank Warren, invited people to design and submit postcards that revealed secrets their authors had never shared before. Each Sunday, Warren posts a new set of secret-revealing postcards; in the process, he offers a wide-ranging display of visual argument, as each postcard design reflects the secret it contains. I’ve found that students can analyze these visual texts readily, providing them good practice at reading, decoding, and then designing their own visual arguments.

2. Ikea
You may be familiar with this home furnishings company from Sweden if you’re lucky enough to have an Ikea store near you (we’re getting ours here in South Florida this summer—yay!). But even if you’re never heard of Ikea, the company’s website offers a great way to explore cultural assumptions about design. That’s because it has separate sites for countries around the world. Ask students to explore some of these different sites (such as Saudi Arabia and Malaysia), taking note of how language and culture influence visual argument and design. Ask them then to view the site for the United States and look for the same sorts of cultural assumptions. This assignment, of course, could be done with the main site of many global corporations. I choose Ikea to help students see that globalization is not purely an American phenomenon.

3. The Ebay Conceptual Art Gallery
Justin Jorgensen turns photographs of items auctioned on Ebay into a kind of found art. Have students explore the site and consider questions of both visual design/arrangement and art. Then have them explore Ebay itself. What’s the relationship between design and sales? What’s the economic impact of a good visual argument?

4. MySpace
Chances are your students are already familiar with MySpace. Many students have pages on this popular social networking site, using it to keep in touch with friends old and new. Yet most the pages on MySpace are designed extremely poorly. But in doing so, they also make important visual arguments about the person making the page. Ask students to locate or bring in examples of overly designed or badly designed pages. How does the design reflect and represent the author of the page? How does effective visual argument diverge from effective visual design?

5. Comeeko
Comeeko allows you to upload photos and add captions to create a web-based comic strip. Students can use this tool to create compositions in the style of graphic novels.

Comments Off on 5 ways I approach visual argument in the classroom
Categories: Argument, Document Design, Learning Styles, Popular Culture, Teaching with Technology, Visual Argument, Visual Rhetoric
Read All Barclay Barrios