Race and Identity in American Literature

This course examines the role of race and gender in the U.S. superhero tradition through comic books, graphic novels, film, and television. How do these modern myths reflect on and challenge racism, policing, and nationalism? What acts of radical imagination become possible in the world of the impossible? How do these fantasies reimagine what it means to be (super)human?Focusing on Black, Latinx, and Indigenous characters and creators, we will read comic books and graphic novels from the Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Modern Ages published by DC, Marvel, Milestone, and Image Comics. Authors will include N.K. Jemisin, Dwayne McDuffie, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Vita Ayala, Gabby Rivera, and Nnedi Okorafor. We will also analyze films such as Black Panther, Blade, Spawn, Eternals, and Shang-Chi; and television shows such as Watchmen, Batwoman, and Ms. Marvel.