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date: 21 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter raises questions about how the grammar of the comics form, the aesthetics of its visual/textual interface, and the ethics of identification and empathy are affected when historical figures are reanimated and their life narratives remediated for the classroom. Abina and the Important Men casts the legal testimony of a nineteenth-century woman who was enslaved in the Cape Colony region of what is now Ghana as a graphic history and offers historical, geographic, social, and visual “pathways” to foster engagement with colonial African history and historiography. Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth combines the quest of young Bertrand Russell to conceptualize the first principles of mathematics with both Russell’s later autobiographical reflections on the logic and madness of logicians in the early twentieth century and the metacritical story of how the authors and artists composed the comic. Logicomix, which is not explicitly designed for courses but assumes some conversancy with philosophy, interweaves its triple narrative in ways that invite students and scholars to engage with foundational issues in philosophy and mathematics, while enjoying a “real” comic.

Keywords: auto/biographical comics, biographical comics, pedagogical comics, comics and colonialism, graphic history, ethics of identification, empathy, subjectivity, testimony, remediation

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