From the hypermasculine bodies of the typical male superhero to the bondage motifs in Wonder Woman’s origins, mainstream comic books and gender have always had an interesting relationship, both for better and for worse. It’s a subject that continues to attract discussion and debate, and has inspired Ball State University’s “Gender Through Comic Books” class, a six-week “Massively Open Online Course” starting on April 2. It’s free to enroll, and open to absolutely anyone, though no credit is offered. Ads by Google Stampa FotoLibri OnlineScopri la qualità di Prink Stampe FotoLibri Foto e FotoGadget www.prink.it/FotoLibri Publish A ComicFind Info on Comic Book Publishers. Your Business Solution Business.com www.business.com Gratis USB Treccani.Chiedi info sulla Nuova Treccani. In regalo USB Classic Edition www.nuovatreccani.it Christy Blanch, an adjunct professor and educational studies doctoral candidate at the Muncie, Indiana university, is teaching the course. She was a fan of comics since discovering Prince Valiant as a kid, but only recently considered bringing them to the classroom. “I never really thought about using [comic books] as teaching tools until I was teaching an anthropology course,” Blanch told Newsarama. “I was writing a lecture about culture change. At the time, I was reading Brian K. Vaughan’s Y the Last Man — and if you want to talk about culture change, wow. ENLARGE So Blanch made the Vertigo epic — where a plague kills every mammal with a Y chromosome, except for protagonist Yorkick and his monkey, Ampersand — part of her curriculum, though not without some initial skepticism. “My department wasn’t thrilled about it, but they figured out it worked,” Blanch said. “They knew I was kind of crazy anyway because I used Star Trek: The Next Generation to teach language, and of course Indiana Jones for archaeology. And Futurama. They know I use a lot of pop culture, because it engages the students, and they seem to learn from it. “You cannot deny the power that popular culture, comic books, movies, TV shows have over our views.” Y the Last Man led to incorporating other comics like The Walking Dead and Doctor Strange into her lectures, and she was eventually asked by Ball State to use comic books to teach a class on gender, which took place on campus last semester. That led to the upcoming “MOOC,” which Blanch says currently has nearly 5,0000 students enrolled from six different continents. “It just shows that people really do want education,” Blanch said of the response. They want to learn. They’re not getting credit for this, so this is something that they’re doing on their own. I think it’s amazing, and I am so proud of every single person that has registered for this class. I do not want to let any of them down.” Required reading for the class includes Action Comics #1, Action Comics #267, Captain Marvel, Daredevil, Superman: Birthright, the first arc of Secret Six, Strangers in Paradise, Saga and Y the Last Man, which Blanch considers “a gender textbook.” Blanch has worked with Comixology to offer a special page for course material, and also secured the participation of high-profile creators and editors including Scott Snyder, Brian K.Vaughan, Mark Waid, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Terry Moore, Matt Fraction, Gail Simone, Stephen Wacker and Sana Amanat through either pre-recorded or interactive interviews. Stan Lee himself narrated a video promoting the course.
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