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A Mirror of My Own: Female Self-Portraits in Comics and Poetry

Nora Hickey,                                         

Core: Writing & Speaking

Course Description

In this course, we will examine self-portraits of women in a wide variety of comics and poetry. From the early poems of Sappho to the newest work of Marjane Satrapi, this course will focus on each woman’s work as an act of definition. We will critically examine the comics and poems assigned in scope of broader issues facing females during the time of production. How does the intersection of gender, race, class, ethnicity and sexual orientation influence the way these women chose to depict themselves? How is their work responding to the same forces? Placing the pieces in historical and socio-political context will give way to a nuanced examination and understanding of the power of creation as a tool against inequality.

Readings and Texts

Persepolis I & II by Marjane Satrapi
My New York Diary by Julie Doucet
One Hundred Demons by Lynda Barry
Citizen by Claudia Rankine
Relish by Lucy Knisely
Ms. Marvel Vol. 1 by G. Willow Wilson

Other readings will come in PDFs and handouts.

Student Requirements

Students are required to read thoroughly and prepare for discussion. Reading journals and papers will ask students to examine the work at hand from a variety of positions. The class will culminate with a ‘zine project, where students will create their own work and critical preface.

About the Instructor

After receiving a BA in English Literature at Kalamazoo College, Nora attended the MFA program in Creative Writing at UNM. Her main focus was poetry, although she enjoys writing and reading widely. She has loved comics ever since she encountered Archie at the grocery store.