*Quick disclaimer: The course I created is hypothetical at this time! This course was created as a final project for my graduate course – I would love to teach this class, but for now this course is not a reality*
It’s been FOREVER since I posted! I’m in the thick of writing my thesis so I’ve been buried in data analysis since January, but I wanted to take a break and share my project from last semester. I was enrolled in a Feminist Rhetoric course as a final piece of my graduate school coursework and our final project was to create a writing course that incorporated feminist theory. Of course, I jumped at getting the opportunity to create a course that’s main course reading was manga (because how could I not?). As I went through the creation process, I fell more and more in love with this course and would absolutely LOVE to teach it one day.
Image from Skip Beat! by Yoshiki Nakamura
While the options are endless when it comes to manga, I decided to create a course that analyzed manga through a feminist lens; specifically, shoujo, yaoi, and josei manga. I chose the genres of shojo (girls’) manga, yaoi (boys’ love) manga, and josei (adult women) manga because these genres have historically been targeted for female audiences in that they provide readers opportunity to recognize “different ways in which sexual fantasy and fetish are imagined and configured…and give visibility to, the malleabilities and fluidities of sex” (Shigematsu 129).
Let me just pause and say thank you to all of my professors (both undergraduate and graduate) for taking the time it takes to create their syllabi. This is no cake walk people – not only do you need to need to select the course readings, you also create assignments, course policy, assessment policy, etc. But, the most work (in my opinion) goes into creating your course calendar; the tedious day-by-day break down of how your course is going to go from week one to week sixteen. Also, a major thank you to the faculty who helped me in not having to re-invent the wheel for some of my course (credited in the footnotes!) *End of rant*
Okay, so my overarching feminist principles for this class stem from Critical Theory because it provides excellent “tools that not only show us our world and ourselves through new and valuable lenses but also can strengthen our ability to think logically, creatively, and a good deal of insight” (Tyson 3). Critical theory also treats “human productions” such as literature, music, art, film, science, and technology as “outgrowths of human experience [that] reflect human desire, conflict, and potential” and, through reading and writing about these productions, we learn to interpret those productions in order to learn something important about ourselves” (Tyson 3). Critical theory is the driving force behind my pedagogy in that it structures how my course encourages students to disrupt and interrogate social constructions of gender, race, class, and sexuality.
Image from Ten Count by Rihito Takarai
After all this, here is my “Manga Through a Feminist Lens” course: manga-through-a-feminist-lens_ke-syllabus
Please let me know what you think!
Shigematsu, Setsu. “Dimensions of Desire: Sex, Fantasy, and Fetish in Japanese Comics.” Themes in Asian Cartooning: Cute, Cheap, Mad, and Sexy, pp. 127-163, ed. J.A. Lent: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1999.
Tyson, Lois. Critical Theory Today: A User-Friendly Guide. Garland, 1999.