How do word balloons and pictures interact in a comics panel? How does a caption or a title influence how we look at a painting or a photograph? How do the typography and the layout of a text affect how we read the words? Drawing on examples from literature, comics, visual arts, and photojournalism, this course will lead students through a variety of reading and writing assignments that focus on the interaction of text and image. Readings will include graphic novels,such as Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi and Maus by Art Spiegelman; Futurist and Constructivist propaganda posters by early Soviet artists; comics paintings by Roy Lichtenstein; and typographic poems by John Hollander, e.e. cummings, and Christian Bök. The goal of this First Year Writing Course is to prepare students for a variety of writing tasks they will encounter at the University of Michigan and beyond.
Requirements for the course include four essays of varying lengths focusing on the above skills, adding up to 20-25 pages in total. In lieu of a fourth essay, students could also opt for an open-ended creative final project as a reflection on the course theme.
Students will work together in a series of individual drafts and peer writing workshops to develop their skills in close analysis, critical summary, comparison, research, and argumentation.