Historio-graphic Novels

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation ElectiveSGA1EL1014

Semester and Year Offered: 2nd Semester, 1st Year

Course Coordinator and Team: Anil Persaud and an adjunct graphic artist

Email of course coordinator:

Pre-requisites: Students must have either passed or be presently enrolled in EAP. Vernacular versions or alternatives to the graphic novels do not exist (except for a copy of Barefoot Gen in Hindi).

Aim: This first year optional course will: 1. Introduce the student to global history and world events through the use of graphic novels, 2. Allow students to develop confidence in expressing their thoughts, 3. Offer students the opportunity to think creatively and conceptually.

Course Outcomes:

On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. Read ten graphic novels from beginning to end.
  2. Use written, oral and drawing skills to describe a personal or social concern.
  3. Demonstrate an awareness of critical skills required to read a range of texts
  4. Develop an attention to detail in both texts and their general surroundings.
  5. Develop the emotional skills critical to doing social sciences and humanities such as empathy.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

  1. Introduction: Lectures will be on two topics: a) ’Reading the graphic novel’, How does the graphic novel add emotion to history? What does it mean to say that it does? How are graphic novels different from photographic representations of the same event? What does the history of emotions have to say on this question? and b) History and historiography (of the graphic novel), What is historiography and how is the graphic novel a part of historiography and what is unique about the graphic novel’s historiographicality? are some of the questions we will ask.
  2. Space and Place making: The novels read in this module are: Malik Sajad’s Munnu and Joe Sacco’s Palestine. Students are here introduced to the concept of ‘settler colonialism’ and the experience of childhood in conflict areas.
  3. Holocausts: Nuclear and Nazi: The novels read in this module are Keiji Nakazawa, Barefoot Gen and Art Spiegelman’s Maus, where students where the themes of survival and victimhood, war and anti-war initiatives are introduced.
  4. Revolutions: The novels read in this module are Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis and Alan Moore (writer) and David Lloyd (illustrator), V for Vendetta. Here students are encouraged to explore the role of women in revolutions.
  5. Environmental Issues: The readings in this module are: Philippe Squarzoni, Climate Changed: A Personal Journey Through the Science and Orijit Sen’s The River of Stories. Climate change and its science as well as the concept of the anthropocene is introduced.
  6. Identity, Community and Agency: The novels read in this module are: Amruta Patil, Kari and Trevor R. Getz and Liz Clark (authors), Liz Clarke (illustrator), Abina and the Important Men. OUP, 2012. The themes of sexuality, gender, belonging and colonial slavery are discussed.

Assessment Details with weights:

Assessment structure (modes and frequency of assessments): Group Project - prepare a visual essay (with text) based on issues arising in the course and/or reflected in everyday life - (30%), Module-wise Group Presentation(s) (40%) and in-class test(s) (30%). The in-class test will assess reading and comprehension skills through understanding and analysis of plot and knowledge of characters, and the ability to engage with ideas.

Reading List:

  • On the Graphic Novel:
  • Pramod K. Nayar. The Indian Graphic Novel: Nation, history and critique. Routledge, 2016.
  • Scott Mccloud, Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels. Harper Paperbacks, 2006. (In graphic form.)
  • Tychinski, Stan. “A Brief History of the Graphic Novel” (n.d., 2004)
  • On History and Emotions:
  • Sarah Maza, Thinking about History. University of Chicago, 2017.
  • Jan Plamper(author), Keith Tribe (Translator), The History of Emotions, An Introduction. Oxford University Press, 201
  • Resource text for political concepts:
  • Carolyn Gallaher et al., Key Concepts in Political Geography. Sage, 2009.
  • Graphic Novels:
  • Malik Sajad. Munnu. Fourth Estate, 2014.
  • Joe Sacco, Palestine. Fantagraphics Books, 2001.
  • Keiji Nakazawa, Barefoot Gen. Last Gasp, 1977.
  • Art Spiegelman, Maus I & II. Pantheon, 1993.
  • Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis. Pantheon, 2004.
  • Alan Moore (writer) and David Lloyd (illustrator), V for Vendetta. Quality Communications, 1982-88.
  • Philippe Squarzoni, Climate Changed: A Personal Journey Through the Science. Harry N. Abrams, 2014.
  • Orijit Sen, The River of Stories. Kalpvriksh, 1994.
  • Amruta Patil, Kari. Harper Collins, 2008.
  • Trevor R. Getz and Liz Clark (authors), Liz Clarke (illustrator), Abina and the Important Men. OUP, 2012.


  • Sarnath Banerjee, In Corridor. Penguin, 2004.
  • Film: Welcome to Sarajevo . Director: Michael Winterbottom. 1997. Screenplay by Frank Cottrell Boyce and is based on the book Natasha’s Story by Michael Nicholson.
  • John Lewis, Andrew Aydin (authors), Nate Powell (artist), March. Top Shelf, 201
  • Still I Rise is a graphic novel by Richard Laird and Taneshia Nash Laird.
  • Will Eisner, Fagin the Jew: A Graphic Novel. Doubleday, 2003.
  • Julie Maroh, Blue is the Warmest Colour. Arsenal Pulp Press, 2013.
  • Neil Gaiman (author), Sam Kieth et al (illustrators), The Sandman. DC Comics, 1989-1996.