The Cultural Studies of Graphic Memoir

Discovery Core Experience: VLPA Courses


60-Second Syllabus: The Cultural Studies of Graphic MemoirVisual and Literary Arts Icon

About This Course: 

Graphic novels are becoming not only increasingly popular but also increasingly recognized as legitimate art forms and cultural texts that explore issues of identity and socio-political issues. The genre of graphic memoir or autobiography has been a large part of this rise to legitimacy, providing a new hybrid form (using both verbal and visual text) in which to represent the author’s negotiations with issues as varied and important as identity formation and intersectionality; race and racism; desire, sexuality, and queerness; what it means to be gendered; or living differently abled.

This class will engage multiple forms of disciplinary knowledge production (including artistic, cultural studies, sociology, history, race and ethnicity, gender/sexuality studies, etc.). To do so, this class will engage the work of graphic memoir as both an art form and a cultural production. Students will also practice interdisciplinary learning as they read, write, and draw about the concepts and texts we engage.  Student will also learn experientially by doing a creative project of drawing a graphic memoir of a personal memory.

Dr. Morse (He/Him/His)

School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences

Picture of Dr. MorseAbout Dr. Morse:

I often use writing as a learning tool for conceptual analysis in my first-year Discovery Core classes. I come to the teaching of rhetoric and composition from a background in social justice and critical race and ethnic studies and my teaching is framed by my continual attempt to make anti-racist and feminist pedagogical choices about content, assignments, class planning, and assessment. I believe that engaging critical concepts along with cultural texts to explore the often contradictory discourses that frame social issues allows students to write about their own life-worlds while developing foundational analytical skills (analyzing concepts, questioning the assumptions underlying social categories, interpreting texts) that translate to other classes and their work beyond the university, which is the way I strive to build students’ intellectual confidence in their own interpretation of both texts and the social formations that structure their worlds.




"The stereotype, for me, is a lens through which we can ask critical questions about culture, social relations, and the power of representation." - Dr. Morse