Anonymous Donor Helps University of Oregon’s Comics & Cartoon Studies


Anonymous Donor Helps University of Oregon’s Comic & Cartoon Studies

By: Nicole D’Andria

I really want to hug the anonymous donor who invested
$200,000 to help keep the Comics & Cartoon Studies program. This is a minor
about comic strips and graphic novels that can you can get by going to the
University of Oregon (UO). The program was launched about a year ago and is the
first of its kind. Not only does this donation help keep the program alive, it
also will allow students in the minor to go to comic-related art exhibitions
located at the Jordan
Schnitzer Museum of Art.

English professor at UO, Ben Saunders describes the program: “We’ve
developed a wide-ranging curriculum, drawing on talented scholars from multiple
disciplines — including art, art history, comparative literature, east Asian
languages and literatures, English, ethnic studies and romance languages… Just
next term we are offering an exciting course on the way comics can help
children to express and process real-life challenges.”
the winter term at UO there are going to be several comic-related courses
including ENG 313: “Fantasy, Comics, and the
Real Lives of Boys and Girls,” JPN 250: “Manga Millenium” and ARTF: “Comics and
Narrative”. Spring term courses incluse FR 339: “War in French Comics,” ENG
480: “Modern American Superheroes,” and ENG 280: “Intro To Comics Studies.”
Saunders went on to explain the importance of studying comics in an academic
setting: “It’s
a sign of faith in the cultural value of the comics form itself… Comics
constitute a remarkably successful mode of communication, with a history that
is at least as old as print culture, and a global reach that includes most of
the nations of the world. This private investment in our program is evidence
that we are doing something important and worthwhile.”

 Ben Saunders
UO is not the only place with comics on the academia. Several
schools have integrated comics into their courses. A professor at Ramapo
College of New Jersey, Edward Shannon has several classes pertaining to comics
including his popular Graphic Narrative course and his Comics and American
Culture course. The Minnesota College of Art and Design has The Center for
Cartoon Studies and some alumni from there have gone on to makes comics, including
Joe Lambert and Sophie Goldstein who made the Best American Comics 2013.
I think it’s great comics are being
introduced in colleges. I still find people who think comics are for children
and can’t be considered “real” literature. These programs will hopefully make
comic books a more respected medium. 
A big thanks to whoever that anonymous donor was for
keeping alive UO’s comic book program. You made me wish I could go there.

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