AMS-30030 - Words and Pictures: the Contemporary American Graphic Novel
Coordinator: James Peacock Room: CBB0.025 Tel: +44 1782 7 33140
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 6
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office: 01782 733147

Programme/Approved Electives for 2022/23


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2022/23

The graphic novel is becoming an increasingly important form and is proving itself worthy of scholarly attention. For many readers coming to graphic novels for the first time, the form poses specific challenges in the sense that it requires new modes of attention, new ways of reading. One of the exciting aspects of this module is that it offers students guidance in those new ways. Time is taken with each primary text, reflecting both the scope and ambition of the texts themselves, and also the need for reflection throughout the module on the reading process itself. Content is not neglected, however, and students will have the opportunity to explore the startling variety of themes, ideas and issues tackled in graphic novels, from racial identity to sexual politics, teenage angst and 9/11. The module is particularly suitable for students who have previously taken cross-disciplinary modules in American Studies (such as The Detective and the American City) and / or for students with at least a literature background.

- To introduce students to a range of major authors and works from the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries
- To analyse the ways in which graphic novels require a different kind of reading process from conventional novels
- To introduce students to key themes, issues and problems in contemporary American culture
- To develop broad skills in written expression and literary analysis
- To develop research skills

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

describe and evaluate features of disciplinary scholarship (literature / visual art) relating to study of the contemporary United States: 1,2
analyse and interpret a range of primary (graphic novels) and secondary (theories of the graphic novel)written sources: 1,2
make coherent arguments based on evidence and analysis orally and in writing: 1,2
relate textual analysis to social, cultural and historical contexts: 1,2
carry out detailed and focussed research using a range of textual and electronic sources: 1,2
consistently employ the bibliograhical, referencing and presentation requirements of the core disciplines: 1,2
describe and analyse features of the social, historical, and political identity of the United States in the last two decades: 1,2

Study hours

(22) 11x2-hour seminar;
(10) 10 x 1 hour workshop
(02) 1x2-hour workshop;
(01) 1x20-minute one-to-one feedback session;
(01) 1 x 1-hour online Q and A seminar
30 hours seminar preparation;
60 hours critical report, essay and presentation preparation;
24 wider research, including contributions to discussion thread

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Review weighted 40%
Review of one of a choice of contemporary articles about graphic novels
Students select an article from the module document reading list and write a formal review of around 1,000 words.

2: Essay weighted 60%
Longer essay on selected primary texts
Students write a longer essay (3,000 words) on one or two of the primary texts.