March 1

Welcome to March 1! You’ll be expected to finish this unit between Tuesday April 7 and Monday April 13, when you’ll upload your “March 1 Weekly Journal” to GoStudio. NOTE: My planning assumes you’ll still be reading March: Book One this week. Please have it finished by the time you upload the Weekly Journal.

We have two objectives for this lesson plan:

1. To understand the basic historical continuity and critical questions about comics that are made by and/or are about Black Americans; this includes an introduction to Critical Race Theory;

2. To apply those subjects to March: Book One in order to understand its context in the comics medium and society.

Let’s look at the steps and activities you’ll complete:

  • Day 1 (begin Tues April 7)

    1. Start a reading journal.

    2. Review the “Critical Race Theory” page on Purdue OWL before watching the A/V lecture.

    3. Watch the A/V lecture.

    4. Read either the Black Panther or Icon comic (or both).

    5. Keep reading March: Book One.

    6. Do the homework for Thursday’s class (see below).

  • Day 2 (Thurs April 9)

    Take part in our live class meeting.

  • Final Step (Mon April 13)

    Upload your “March 1 Weekly Journal” to GoStudio.

Let’s get started….

Day 1 (Tues April 7)

Step One. Since you’ll be reading a lot in the next couple days, it’s a good time to start a reading journal. This journal will be included in your Weekly Journal assignment due by Monday. There are no rules for what goes into the journal, only these guidelines:

  • Jot down notes, questions, observations, etc., as you read March: Book One;
  • Below, I’ll pose a few Reflection Questions; put your responses in your reading journal;
  • DRAW! If you find it relaxing, sketch and doodle in your reading journal, or alongside it, or whatever; you might sketch characters and panels from March, or you might take pictorial notes as you listen to the talks on Critical Race Theory; you can put any of that in your reading journal;
  • You might want to do some research on your own, which is great! Jot down any notes from that research here, as well. You can include links, sources, and quotes.
  • You might also find art work online that you want to include. Feel free, just make sure you say who made it and where you found it.
  • Eventually you’ll need to upload this to GoStudio. If you want to keep a handwritten journal, that’s fine, you’ll just need to either type it up or scan it so you can submit it.

Again, those are just guidelines and suggestions. The reading journal is meant to be a private forum for you to contemplate as you read, a space for your thoughts.

STEP TWO. Review the “Critical Race Theory” page on the Purdue OWL site here before watching my A/V lecture.

Optional Viewing: In the following video, KimberlĂ© Crenshaw discusses “intersectionality,” a key concept in Critical Race Theory that she defined. We’ll take a closer look at this next week, but since I bring it up in the A/V lecture, I thought I’d make it available here.

STEP THREE. Watch the A/V lecture below.

Once you’ve watched the lecture, answer the following in your Reading Journal:

Reflection Question 1: Reflect on the presence (or absence) of Black protagonists in comics; you can also reflect on films and television shows related to comics, especially superhero comics.

Optional: This is the website for a documentary I was going to show in class, White Scripts and Black Supermen. There are excerpts from the documentary on the site plus some bonus interviews about the Black Age Movement, which I mention briefly in my A/V lecture.

STEP FOUR. Read either the Black Panther or Icon issue(s) below. (Of course, you’re welcome to read both.) Please do not share these except for educational purposes; I’m including them here because they’re hard to find, especially Icon, which is out of print.

Once you’ve read either comic, answer the following in your Reading Journal:

Reflection Question 2: What are the subtle or not-so-subtle ways that the comic(s) addresses race and racism? What assumptions do characters make, what biases do they have? (Note: These assumptions are not limited to white characters. In Icon, some Black characters have internalized racist assumptions, as well.)

STEP FIVE. Keep reading March: Book One! Also, write in your journal. This isn’t really a new step. Gotcha!

HOMEWORK for Thursday’s class

I’ve thrown a lot at you in this lesson plan–I promise this is about as intense as it’ll be the rest of the semester–so what I’d like you to do is come up with a critical question that looks for connections between the history of Black comics, Critical Race Theory, the extra comics I’ve supplied, and March: Book One.

That’s a lot, I know, so I’ve given you some ideas here:

  • How does art style in a comic affect the portrayal of race and/or racism, specifically in the comics you’re reading for this lesson plan?
  • What if any ideals or methods do Black Panther, Icon, or even the nonfictional John Lewis and others in the Civil Rights Movement share? What ideals or methods are different?
  • How can we apply Critical Race Theory to comics? Use one of the questions on the Purdue OWL site to pose a more narrow question.
  • How does March, as a memoir, address the common definition of being a “hero” in comic books? How is it similar in this regard and how is it different?

This truly is wide-open, so feel free to ask anything you want. If a concept or term is confusing, that’s totally a legitimate question, too. (Also, it’s fine to have more than one question.)

On Thursday when we meet, I’ll have you copy/paste your question into a Google Doc I’ll share with your section of the class. And then we’ll discuss. Easy-peasy.

Here’s an adorable video of a polar bear cub at the Columbus Zoo:


Day 2 (Thurs April 9)

Today we’ll meet via Zoom from 3:30-4:00pm. I’ll post the link on GoStudio in the weekly section. I’ll also post a link to the Google Doc onto which you’ll upload your question.

We have two goals: (1) Everyone adds their questions to the Google Doc. (2) We discuss them and you add your responses to the Doc as we chat.

If you are unable to make it at this time, don’t worry. Just make sure you read over the Google Doc and add your thoughts at some point. You’ll need this for your Weekly Journal. If you have any technical difficulties, don’t hesitate to be in touch with me. Refer to the Revised Syllabus for my contact info.

Read the requirements for the Weekly Journal below so you know what to be working on between now and Monday.


Final Step (Monday April 13)

Today you’ll need to upload your March 1 Weekly Journal. Here’s what it needs to include:

  1. Include everything from your reading journal, your responses to the reflection questions, and the question you posed.

2. Reflect briefly on the responses to that question.

That’s it. I’m hoping the reading journal will be substantial as will our group discussion.

Upload this to the GoStudio dropbox in the weekly section.

You’re done!!

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