Summer 2022 - WL 320 D100

Interdisciplinary Approaches to World Literature (4)

Framing the World in Comics

Class Number: 5064

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    AQ 5037, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units.



Intermediate seminar on the intersections between World Literature and other modes of cultural expression, or other academic disciplines. May focus on different methodological approaches to World Literature, for instance gender, cultural, or performance studies. Alternatively, may explore literature in relation to music, theatre, film, the visual arts, or digital humanities. This course may be repeated for credit when different topics are offered. Breadth-Humanities.


Interdisciplinary Approaches to World Literature: Framing the World in Comics

In this course, we will examine the conventions and genres of comics and graphic narratives. Drawing on recent scholarship in Comics Studies and literary theory, we will address the ways in which comics mobilize words, images, and cultural discourses to represent complex themes concerning identity, memory, gender, and race. In addition to critically analyzing comics and situating them within their particular cultural contexts, we will also work to sustain a dialogue between and across genres and cultures to pose questions about the ways in which comics and graphic narratives frame the world of their social and cultural contexts.


  • Understanding of how comics work to represent complex themes
  • Comprehension of the key concepts of Comics Studies
  • Ability to practice close reading and critical analysis of comics
  • Appreciation for conventions of graphic narratives from different social and cultural contexts


  • In-Class Paper 15%
  • Midterm Exam 25%
  • Presentation (5-7 min) 10%
  • Term Paper (10-12 pgs) 35%
  • Participation 15%


Weekly Schedule:



Student Presentations

Week 1



Week 2

How to Read Comics

McCloud, Understanding Comics


Week 3

Comics and Colonialism

Brunhoff, The Babar Collection (Books 1-3)


Week 4

Oral History in Comics

Yahgulanaas, Red: A Haida Manga


Week 5

Graphic History

Igort, The Ukrainian and Russian Notebooks (1-176)


In-Class Paper

Week 6

Graphic History

Igort, The Ukrainian and Russian Notebooks (176-end)


Week 7

Graphic Journalism

Sacco, Palestine (1-140)


Week 8



Week 9

Graphic Journalism

Sacco, Palestine (141-end)


Week 10

Graphic Memoir

Satrapi, Persepolis (1-172)


Week 11

Graphic Memoir

Satrapi, Persepolis (173-end)


Week 12

Contested Memory

Bechdel, Fun Home (1-120)


Week 13

Contested Memory

Bechdel, Fun Home (121-end)


Term Paper Due




  • Bechdel, Alison. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. Mariner Books, 2007. ISBN-13: 978-0544709041
  • Brunhoff, Jean de. The Babar Collection: Five Classic Stories. Farshore, 2016. ISBN-13: 978-1405279895
  • The Ukrainian and Russian Notebooks: Life and Death Under Soviet Rule. Simon & Schuster, 2016. ISBN-13: 978-1451678871
  • McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics. William Morrow Paperbacks, 1994. ISBN-13: 978-0060976255
  • Sacco, Joe. Palestine. Fantagraphics Books, 2014. ISBN-13: 978-1560974321
  • Satrapi, Marjane. The Complete Persepolis. Pantheon, 2007. ISBN-13: 978-0375714832
  • Yahgulanaas, Michael Nicoll. Red: A Haida Manga. Douglas & McIntyre, 2014. ISBN-13: 978-1771620222

Registrar Notes:


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Teaching at SFU in summer 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction.  Some courses may be offered through alternative methods (remote, online, blended), and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes. 

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote, online, or blended courses study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning ( or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the summer 2022 term.