Jun 18, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

ENG 390 - Word-Art: Seeing beyond Black & White

ENG-390-I - Word-Art: Seeing beyond Black & White


We live in an age of visual culture. To be literate, we need to read and interpret words and images, as well as the interactions between them. Word-Art examines texts that combine words and images, such as graphic novels, movies, illuminated books, and visual poetry. Read and analyze word-art, and then create your own. The course is a double hybrid: word/image texts and critical/creative writing-designed to stimulate your critical and creative faculties. We will explore how words and images work together to construct, reinforce, challenge, and subvert racial legacies in America, with particular attention to constructions of black and white. The Black/white binary has deep historical and conceptual ties to the word/image dialectic in Western culture. As we deconstruct these binaries, we will seek a better understanding of how words and images can be deployed to convey deeper understanding of the complexity of racialized identities in American history and today. Readings include texts by John Berger, Angela Davis, Toni Morrison, Claudia Rankine, Art Spiegelman, C. D. Wright, and Charles Yu.

Possible texts for study include:

  • Kyle Baker, Nat Turner
  • John Berger, Ways of Seeing
  • James Elkin, Just Looking
  • bell hooks, Black Looks
  • Tyehimba Jess, Olio
  • Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark
  • Claudia Rankine, Citizen 

Satisfies the Literary Studies, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric requirement.
Satisfies the Cultural Diversity requirement.