This course is a survey and analysis of folklore on the Internet. We will examine genres such as the proverb, folktale, games, jokes, fairy tale, legend, myth, stereotypes, belief, and supernatural motifs as they occur in multiple online contexts, including YouTube videos, memes, blogs, Facebook and other social media, dating and gaming sites, advertisements, news sites, and religious and political pages.
We will concern ourselves first with identifying folklore in these various contexts. We will then go on to explore what when very old folklore forms become a part of the modern worlds of the Internet. For example, how do we redefine the idea of a folk group when there is no face-to-face contact, and when many identities are invented? How does the Internet change our basic assumptions about communication, group affiliations, and shared beliefs? Why does folklore continue to be such an important element in the cyber world? What kind of functions do jokes, or personal experience narratives, for example, serve on the Internet? How are these functions different than those that have been relevant in traditional, face-to-face social situations? How does Internet folklore help negotiate such issues as sexism, classism, racism, and religious and political tensions? Readings will include, Trevor Blank’s Folklore and the Internet: Vernacular Expression In a Digital World and Russell Frank’s Newslore: Contemporary Folklore on the Internet.
Counts as general-education Humanities credit.
2 CREDIT HOURS
English 2000: Studies in English: Beyond Superheroes: A Survey of Contemporary Comics and Graphic Novels
In this course students will explore outside of the traditional superhero tropes, encountering a variety of genres (including autobiography, journalism, and realist, genre, and experimental fiction) and interacting with recently developed forms and formats (including graphic novels, web-comics, and minicomics). Central to this course will be investigations into the tension between high and low art, the place of popular culture within academia, the politics of representation (in particular gender, queer, and ethnic representation), artistic hybridity, and the power of visual narrative to address cultural and social concerns.
Students from all levels of artistic and literary skill will study and apply the unique technical and practical skills needed to create a comic book, including character design, page layout, panel construction, and the image/text relationship. In addition, students will be exposed to the unique creative process involved in comics production, including the makeup of creative teams (writer, artist, letterer, colorist, editor, etc.), and opportunities and techniques for publication. The culmination of the course will be a short comics narrative written and revised by each student and printed as a handmade book.