English 5664

Mon 9:10-12:10

Sullivant 205

office hours: jaredgardner.youcanbook.me


Graphic Medicine

Week 1

Mon 1/9

Introductions Origin Stories: from Superheroes to Underground Comics

Reading: Justin Green, Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary (1972); Aline Kominsky, “Goldie, a Neurotic Woman” (1972); Art Spiegelman, “Maus” (1972)

Secondary Readings: Williams, “Graphic Medicine” (2012); Charon, from Narrative Medicine (2006); Gardner, “Autography’s Biography” (2008)

Week 2

Mon 1/23

Reading: 1972 (cont); Maus: Vol. 1 (1986)

Supplementary Reading: Al Davison, The Spiral Cage (1988-1990) [C]

Fri 1/27

Symposium: Medicine, Narrative, Disability, Rhetoric ColLABoratory (Research Commons (18th Ave. Library)

Week 3

Mon 1/30

Reading: David B., Epileptic (1996–2003)

Supplementary Reading: Sarah Leavitt, Tangles: A Story About Alzheimer's, My Mother, and Me (2012); Dana Walrath, Aliceheimer's: Alzheimer's Through the Looking Glass (2013)

Secondary Readings: Squier, “So Long as They Grow Out of It: Comics, The Discourse of Developmental Normalcy, and Disability” (2008); Pedri, “Graphic Memoir: Neither Fact Nor Fiction” (2013)

Week 4

Mon 2/6

Reading: Charles Burns, Black Hole (1995-2005)

Secondary Readings:  Zeigler, “Too Cruel: The Diseased Teens and Mean Bodies of Charles Burns's Black Hole” (2008); “Breaking Quarantine: Image, Text, and Disease in Black Hole, Epileptic, and Our Cancer Year” (2014)

Supplementary Reading: David Wojnarowicz, 7 Miles a Second (1988-96)

Week 5

Mon 2/13

Reading: David Small, Stitches (2010)

Supplementary Reading: Nate Powell, Swallow Me Whole (2008) (via Library database)

Week 6

Mon 2/20

Reading: Judith Vanistendael, When David Lost His Voice (2012)

Secondary Readings: Arthur Frank, from The Wounded Storyteller (1995)

Supplementary Reading: Rachael Ball, Inflatable Woman (2015)

Week 7

Mon 2/27

Reading: Miriam Engelberg, Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person (2006)

Secondary Reading: Susan Sontag, Illness as Metaphor (1978)

Supplementary Reading: Harvey Pekar, et al, Our Cancer Year (1994); Brian Fies, Mom’s Cancer (2006); Marisa Acocella Marchetto, Cancer Vixen (2006); Jennifer Hayden, The Story of My Tits (2015) 

Week 8

Mon 3/6

Reading: Tom Hart, Rosalie Lightning (2016); Leela Corman, “PTSD: The Wound that Never Heals,” “Yahrzeit,” “Wilderness,” p. 1, 2,  “Life is an Ambush

Supplementary Reading: Anders Nilsen, The End (2007/13)

Mon 3/6

Workshop: Leela Corman and Tom Hart (Eisner Seminar Room, Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum)

Fri 3/10

Paper 1 DUE


Week 9

Mon 3/20

Reading: Ellen Forney, Marbles (2012)

Supplementary Reading: Darryl Cunningham, Psychiatric Tales (2011)

Secondary Reading: Courtney Donovan, “Representations of Health, Embodiment, and Experience in Graphic Memoir Courtney Donovan”

Week 10

Mon 3/27

Reading: Web Comics

Week 11

Mon 4/3

Reading: Una, Becoming Unbecoming (2015)

Supplementary Reading: Katie Green, Lighter than My Shadow (2013); Leah Hayes, Not Funny Ha-ha (2015)

Fri 4/7

Michael Green lecture (TBA)

Week 12

Mon 4/10

Reading: Alison Bechdel, Are You My Mother? (2012)

Supplementary Reading: Lynda Barry, One! Hundred! Demons! (2002)

Week 13

Mon 4/17

Reading: Joe Sacco, Journalism (2012)

Supplementary Reading: Selections from Joe Sacco & Chris Hedges, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt (2012) [C]; Joe Sacco, Safe Area Gorazde (2000) &/or Footnotes in Gaza (2009)

Week 14

Mon 4/24

Reading: Gabby Schulz, Sick (2016)

Supplementary Reading: John Porcellino, Hospital Suite (2014); Ken Dahl (Schulz), Monsters (2009)

Tues 5/2

Final Paper


a. readings

We will be reading extensively in contemporary graphic narrative, with supplementary readings in comics studies, narrative medicine, disability studies and more. All readings are to be completed for the class in which they are scheduled. Readings marked “Supplementary” can be read ahead of class in the reading room of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. “Readings” are to be read and brought to class. Graduate students are expected and undergrads are encouraged to look through the “Secondary Readings” essays listed on the syllabus each week and available at the class’s Carmen site.

Throughout the semester in the Carmen threaded discussions for each week I will provide access additional materials— that is of course supplementary (i.e., not required), but which might be useful for papers.

The required texts for the class are:

b. writing/presentations

Everyone will be writing two papers (for undergraduates, 1 4-5 pages and 1 5-8 pages; for graduate students: 1 6-9 paper (conference-length) and a final 15-20 page paper. Detailed instructions and discussion of the expectations for each paper will be given 3 weeks before each paper’s due date.

Everyone will be expected to post to Carmen ahead of our class substantive paragraphs engaging with the primary and/or secondary reading. The expectations are as follows: Undergrads: at least 3 posts on primary readings and/or substantial replies to classmates’ posts. Grads: at least 4 posts on primary readings and 2 on secondary readings throughout the semester. A substantial post is at minimum  one paragraph of thoughtful prose, raising productive questions and/or insights designed to spark conversation (or replying to a substantial post by a classmates).

c. discussion

Despite being a bit large, this is a seminar, and our goal is to work  collaboratively through discussion and close reading to answer some of the big questions raised by this challenging material. Discussion is a required component of the class. While I will give mini-lectures (especially early on) to provide background, or to lay out some new theoretical problems for us to work through, the bulk of the work we will be doing together. Toward that end, you will need to come each day with notes, questions, insights--and energy to share all of the above. You are all expected to have read and thoughtfully engaged with the Carmen posts of your classmates in addition to the assigned readings for the day’s class. Thoughtful responses to and engagement with Carmen posts in threaded discussion count towards your participation grade in the class.

In lieu of quizzes and exams, I will be relying on participation in class and on Carmen discussion threads (both formal, substantive posts and more casual conversation) to get a sense of your active engagement and the development of your interests.

e. attendance 

Given that we meet only once a week and due to the collaborative nature of our work, regular attendance is required.

f. grading

The rough formula for the class is:

papers=30% & 40%, participation/attendance (incl. Carmen)=30%

g. graduating seniors 

Graduating seniors will have the same paper deadline at the end of the course as the rest of the class.

h. academic honesty

Plagiarism is the representation of another's works or ideas as one's own:  it includes the unacknowledged word for word use and/or paraphrasing of another person's work, and/or the inappropriate unacknowledged use of another person's ideas.  All cases of suspected plagiarism, in accordance with university rules, will be reported to the Committee on Academic Misconduct (Faculty Rule 3335-5-487). For additional information, see the Code of Student Conduct at http://studentconduct.osu.edu.

i. students with disabilities

Any student who feels s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the Office for Disability Services located in 150 Pomerene Hall, 1760 Neil Avenue; telephone 292-3307, TDD 292-0901; http://www.ods.ohio-state.edu/.  Students with disabilities that have been certified by the Office for Disability Services will be appropriately accommodated and should inform the instructor as soon as possible of their needs.