Graphic Novels in the Classroom

This week we’ve discussed the graphic novels as historical fiction, the strengths of using graphic novels to discuss fraught material, and complex process of adapting historical research to sequential art. We would like to end our roundtable discussing more broadly the possibilities of using graphic novels in the classroom.

The first strength of graphic novels is their novelty. Assigning works like Kyle Baker’s Nat Turner or Fetter-Vorm and Kelman’s Battle Lines is a surprise to most students. By not being another monograph or set of primary sources, graphic novels shake up a syllabus. This is good for students, who may be interested in exploring a subject in a more unconventional way, and for teachers, for it forces us to reconsider how to teach subjects we may have taught many, many times. This novelty also adds some additional accessibility for students who might be skeptical of reading more traditional assignments. Continue reading

Teaching Trauma: Narrative and the Use of Graphic Novels in Discussing Difficult Pasts

Roy Rogers kicked off yesterday’s 4-day roundtable with a review of the graphic novel, Rebel. For day two of our roundtable on graphic novels and history, I will discuss the use of graphic novels in teaching traumatic histories.

51m-NxiSLdL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_As anyone who has taught the history of slavery knows, it can be challenging. It is an important, but also emotionally loaded subject that can provoke spirited responses from students. Some students are resistant to discussing what they view as an ugly event in the past. Others may become defensive. And, for others, the history of slavery may be personal. The challenge becomes presenting the history in a thoughtful way that will engage students, but does not whitewashing history. Other traumatic events—genocide, war, etc.—can present similar pedagogical challenges.

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The Writer Assumes All Responsibility

For the week of July 13-17, The Junto is hosting “Graphic History: Sequential Art & History,” a roundtable examination of relationship between history and graphic novels. We will explore graphic novels as historical fiction, as histories, and their uses in the classroom. For our first entry, Roy Rogers reviews a new comic book series about the American Revolution from award-winning writer Brian Wood. 

What does a historical epic of the American Revolution look like in the twenty-first century? Continue reading

Remembering Christopher Schmidt-Nowara, 1966-2015

150630_schmidt-nowara_insideHistorian Christopher Schmidt-Nowara passed away suddenly in Paris on Saturday, June 27th at the age of 48. Schmidt-Nowara was a prolific chronicler of the history of slavery and emancipation in the Hispanic world, as well as politics and ideas in the Spanish empire. He received his B.A. from Kenyon College in 1988. He completed his PhD from the University of Michigan in 1995, under the direction of Rebecca Scott, and taught at Fordham University in New York City for over a decade before joining the faculty at Tufts University in 2011. At the time of his death, he was Prince of Asturias Chair of Spanish Culture and Civilization at Tufts.

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Seriously, though, was the American Revolution a Civil War?

On February 18, 2014, Tom Cutterham asked, “Was the American Revolution a Civil War?” According to Cutterham, understanding the Revolution that way might be useful. If we did, he suggested, “we’d better understand the way the modern world—the nexus of state, citizen, and property—was born in and determined by violence.”[1] Continue reading

Guest Post: On Publishing Journal Articles

Update: The Junto is sorry to report that C. Dallett Hemphill passed away on Friday, 3 July, after a brief illness. Hemphill received her BA from Princeton, and her PhD in American Civilization from Brandeis University. Through her own scholarly work, contributions to the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, and her position as Editor of Early American Studies, she was a big supporter of junior scholars. She is remembered both for her contributions to the field and profession and as a warm and generous scholar. This was her recent guest post for The Junto, in which she offered advice to junior scholars on publishing journal articles.

Guest Poster C. Dallett Hemphill is Professor of History at Ursinus College. She is also Editor of Early American Studies, which is published by the University of Pennsylvania Press for the McNeil Center for Early American Studies.

275_dallettI’m grateful to The Junto blog for inviting me to discuss how to publish a journal article. Although the views that follow are my own and the details of the process vary somewhat from journal to journal, I know from conversations with other editors that there is consensus on the essentials.

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