Comparative Media Studies/Writing

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IAP Non-Credit Activity: Comics on COVID
Jan/13 Thu 02:00PM–04:00PM
Jan/20 Thu 02:00PM–04:00PM

How can a mix of words with pictures crack open new ways to understand the Covid pandemic? For two years, our bodies have been immersed in a blind, planetary-scale battle with nature’s most ruthless, efficient manifestation: the virus, a mindless mutagenic that has confounded humankind’s ability to collectively rally and oppose. As we struggle to find new ways to communicate about the toll and tragedy of this pandemic, can the comics form offer a transformative new way to understand what we have endured, what we owe one another as a species, and how to reckon with our blind spots when it comes to “following the science”? In this two-day workshop, we dive into these questions by first exploring three comics examples that try to break ground in communicating new insights about how humans interact with the inanimate or with each other. We will then reconvene to put words and pictures into action, to draw a two-page comic that tries to tell a story and capture an aesthetic sensibility—or feeling—of what it means to endure and to sacrifice, before this mutating viral arms race is finally won. 


Students in this class will first have a crash course 2-hour workshop in the formal features and epistemology (“how we know, what we know”) of comics: an introduction to the principles of framing, juxtaposition, closure, and threading—using words and pictures to imagine a new “linguistic method” of communicating. Then, students reconvene one week later, for a 2-hour workshop in which they design and layout a two-page rough comic in small teams, and participate in a studio critique of their experimental work.


Limited to 12 participants. Advance signup required; email the instructors to signup; signup deadline Jan. 7, 2021.