As a teacher, I often find myself reaching into the realm of comics for a character or conflict to illustrate a point I am making. Comics are immediately accessible to kids (at least the archetypal characters) and are safe because there is often very little attachment to them (as opposed to real-life people or situations). As such, they are the perfect resource for tackling controversial or emotionally charged issues.
Now Christina Blanch, adjunct professor at Ball State University, is basing an entire class around comics and comic book characters in order to explore the complex issue of gender.
Gender Through Comics: A Super MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) coming Spring 2013 that examines how comic books can be used to explore questions of gender identity, stereotypes, and roles. This highly engaging learning experience is designed for college-age and lifelong learners.
The course, led by Christina Blanch of Ball State University, uses a study of comic books incorporating highly interactive video lectures, online discussions between students, and real-time socially driven interviews. Interviews with the comic industry’s biggest names such as Terry Moore, Brian K Vaughan, Mark Waid, as well as others address questions of gender representations and constructions involving both men and women.
You can register for the on-line class here.