Comic Book Class Canceled

Jason Hauze, Reporter

“If this class doesn’t run again, it is truly a shame, to the university, and to the students,” said Juliana Cofrancesco, an English and secondary education senior.

Confrancesco was talking about History 432W/English 361W, which was canceled for the spring 2020 semester due to a new workload policy implemented by the university.

The class used graphic narratives or comic-style books and used them to understand history. The class’ official name was Race and Graphic Narrative in the Postwar United States and was taught by Dr. Patrick Hamilton, Associate Professor of English, and Dr. Allen Austin, Professor of History.

Much like students need to take a number of courses, professors also have a number of credits they need to teach each semester. Due to the reduction in the credits they receive for the class, both professors would have to teach more classes to make up for the credits, which resulted in the class being canceled.

“Usually you get three credits for teaching a class, like a standard upper-level class. Traditionally, it’s been loaded that way. We each got three credits for teaching the class. It would not be that way anymore,” explained Austin.

Cofrancesco, who took the class in spring 2018, was upset about the loss.

“This class was my favorite class I’ve ever taken here and it was so much work, but it was a hundred percent worth it, and I would do it over and over again if I could,” she said.

She said professors from both history and English helped her see more on both fields of studies and mentioned how it was the one class she heard about as a freshman and was excited to take.

Hamilton mentioned the class was first offered in 2008 and was then offered back to back both semesters. After taking a year off, the university began offering it every other year.

Austin said the class has been filled most of the time to the point it had a waiting list. Its content had only changed slightly since the first time the class was offered.

One change was to read “Citizen 13660” by Mine Okubo, rather than simply reading articles about it. The professors also updated some of the later semester comics used in the class.

The class taught content as old as black and white Superman comics, 90s Justice League cartoons, Maus by Art Spiegelman, and even up to some more recent comics like Ms. Marvel and Mighty Avengers.

Both professors said they did not know whether or not the class is expected to return.