Monday, August 31, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
A story from Te Beat is embedded in this post's title. Here's a link to ICV2's coverage of the fast-spreading phenomenon.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
More on ACTA Jackassery
Below we explain, as applicable, why we did not count as core subjects certain courses that might appear, at first glance, to meet core requirements. Where possible, we also take note of institutions that set a high standard or off er am noteworthy curricular model. The colleges are listed in alphabetical order
[several colleges are mentioned, then...]
Dartmouth College: No credit given for Literature as the Literature requirement
may be fulfilled with niche courses such as “Bob Dylan” or “The Graphic
Novel”—a course about comic books. No credit given for Mathematics because
courses in linguistics may satisfy the Quantitative and Deductive Sciences
Davidson College: No credit given for Composition because required writing
seminars are topic courses in a range of disciplines. No credit given for Literature
because students may use such courses as “Young Adult Literature” to fulfill the
Literature distribution requirement. No credit given for U.S. Government or
History because the History requirement may be satisfied by courses narrow in
[then several other schools are mentioned]
As someone who teaches courses on graphic novels and courses in young adult literature -- and who has actually taught a course on the graphic novel as young adult literature -- I can't help but remember a line from my father: "there's no kind of idiot like an educated idiot." Get a large enough group of them together, and well, I guess you have a Washington, D.C. special interest group like the ACTA.
Stanley Fish on Graphic Novels and the College Curriculum
While finding some of ACTA's ideas to his liking, Fish is worried about some of this organization's ideas. For example, when considering literature requirements, he writes:
"Things are not so clear when it comes to literature and history. Why should the literature requirement be fulfilled only by “a comprehensive literary survey” and not by single-author courses (aren’t Shakespeare and Milton “comprehensive” enough), or by a course in the theater or the graphic novel or the lyrics of Bob Dylan (all rejected in the report)? "
So a "yay!" to Stanley Fish, and a big ol' "bite it!" to ACTA.
(thanks to C for sharing this info!)
Monday, August 24, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Pandering, one could call it, the skeptic in me says, but, then again, I've also called for this sort of data, so I won't be critical at this point.
What is really needed is for teachers not to enjoy playing "administrator" when someone is talking to them about the research we do have that suggests comics can be good for kids. This research is mostly qualitative in nature, but teachers often want "data" as they have come to narrowly define it/as their leaders narrowly define it for them: as numbers and correlations. Qualitative data is still data. And focusing only on quantitative measures alone is always dangerous business. There are always too many unexplored variables.
I welcome and embrace efforts to establish quantitative data, but I think we need to work the "qualitative is important too" angle more as well. Teachers inherently know of its importance as they continually make the case for other assessment measures to be valued rather than only seeing student growth in end-of-year, multiple choice tests, and comics-and-literacy advocates need to play up this fact. It's a way to break down an "us vs. them" (comics advocates vs. educators) model while establishing another (those who understand what teachers go through and want vs. those who have power over them but don't seem to care about what they want or what they know) that we could work to our advantage.
Here's an experiment for you: Choose any work of traditional text that is currently taught in high school English classes, and do a database search for any quantitative evidence that is improves students' lives or literacy skills. Find anything? At least when you search for "cartoons" and "quantitative research" you get back a nice bunch of articles. Yet, despite an absence of quantitative-based studies that prove Shakespeare increases knowledge, you're not about to toss the Bard out on his ass, are you? Even if you wanted to, you might not be able to due to curricular constraints.
The bigger issue here is that it is the teacher and the strategy that makes the major difference, not so much the text as text, but the text as well-examined text.
If the organization has some good experiment ideas, I'd love to be involved. I think they're working with a professor from Northwestern, so that's exciting. As I learn more, I'll post more. Hopefully I will have the chance to learn more.
If you're involved with the project and you're reading this, gimme a shout at my UTEP e-mail address, will ya? Salivate at the potential of study sites in a high-poverty, high minority urban setting away from Chicago. Eschew deep dish pizza for some data sessions over chile rellenos. I know you want to! ;)
But, I'm cool with "graphic novel" except when people just assume that it applies to any work of sequential art, including pamphlet-style single issues of a comics series. Spider-Man #600 was not a graphic novel, but a trade paperback collecting Spider-Man #600-612 could be. All graphic novels are comics, but not all comics are graphic novels.
And please don't tell me that "comics" is a problematic term as well. I know this, and I see the entire conversation as wheel reinventing, but others think it is important, and I don't want to be caught off guard when the next hip terminology gives it a go at some staying power. ;)
So, "Drawn or painted or computer-crafted images with no real space or temporal relation on their own except when the reader infers them in conjunction with adequate suspension of disbelief that life can be disjointed into frames and language can be represented as a seemingly tangible object that take up lots of space within the narrative yet is not really supposed to exist except as heard speech or other sound within the diegeses of the narrative -- which is always linear but often misconstrued as non-linear; bound not by staples puncturing thin filmed paper but rather by various types of card stock and with a spine of some girth," you're on the batter's deck, and I'm ready for you!
Monday, August 17, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
I'll definitely be using the Underground and Independent Comics, Comix, and Graphic Novels site once it is up!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Two New Must-Reads: A "Quick-Hits" Review
Both are great reads that are garnering great reviews, and they're both titles that I highly recommend. Asterios Polyp is for mature audiences and is intellectually heady, while high schoolers and onwards should enjoy Bayou, which started out (and continues) as a web comic through DC's Zuda line.
Bayou has won several Glyph awards for excellence in comics among black creators, and Asterios Polyp is a sure award-winner in the making. While I loved Bayou and will read subsequent volumes of the story as they are released in trade form (though I may not follow the strip in its web comic form at zudacomics.com), Asterios Polyp may just be one the best graphic novels ever published.