by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
Shannon Watkins from the Martin Center for Academic Renewal writes an interesting piece about the growing prominence of graphic novels as the subject of college courses.
Many English departments are now beginning to offer courses on graphic novels, which integrate text and visual imagery. Graphic novels are increasingly studied alongside traditional literature, in some cases supplanting more standard text-based curricula.
For example, one course at UNC Chapel Hill titled “The Visual and Graphic Narrative” can be taken to satisfy the literary appreciation part of a student’s general education requirements. (Students are only required to take one literary appreciation class.) The university also offers a course titled “Comics as Literature” as a first-year seminar.
Given these courses’ rising popularity among students, administrators and instructors may view them in terms of their ability to renew student interest in the humanities. But while graphic novels do have artistic merit, and are of aesthetic interest, the rise of undergraduate courses on graphic novels is problematic.
If you’re paying college tuition for a student who wants to study literature, be sure to check out the piece here.