Mini-Seminar:Superheroes - The Gods in and Among Us
What is a superhero and what do they for the people who imagine them? What are their antitheses, including villains, anti-heroes, and regular human beings? What can superheroes tell us about the cultures and times that created them? This class focuses on the superhero cultures of East Asia and the United States, considering figures traditionally categorized as parts of the (artificially-separated) worlds of religion, mythology, literature, and popular culture. Special emphasis will be placed on comics, graphic novels, and films made in the United States as well as manga and anime from Japan. Class meetings will focus on visual representations of superheroes, supplemented by primary and secondary readings and extensive class discussion.
This class is open to all interested undergraduates. No background in art history, American Culture, or Asian Studies is assumed.
Textbooks/Other Materials: All readings will be provided as pdfs, but students are encouraged to purchase one or more comic books or other superhero media for analysis during the term.
Course Requirements: There are no quizzes or exams. 40% of the grade will be based on in-class engagement and the remainder will be based on a 7-week-long research project.
Intended Audience: This class is open to all interested undergraduates. No background in art history, American Culture, or Asian Studies is assumed
Class Format: two 80-minute seminar meetings per week for 7 weeks (first half of the semester)
Estimated Cost of Materials: $0-50
HISTART Concentration Distributions: Asia (Includes China, Japan, India, South/Southeast Asia and the Pacific), Europe and the US, Medieval, Modern and Contemporary
Keywords: superheroes, gender, national identity, myth, ethics, American history