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Bard MAT Teaching Network
Bard College Master of Arts in Teaching Program
Institute for Writing & Thinking Workshop
WRITING TO READ: PERSEPOLIS
November 6th, 2012*
NYC PD Day
* In order to accommdate teachers' need to vote, we will be starting later (9:30 am) and ending later (4:00 pm) than usual.
Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi’s graphic-narrative memoir of her youth growing up in Tehran during the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, is a graphic personal and collective history. Satrapi uses the medium of comics to balance and tangle autobiography and fiction, historical fact, and mythology. In this workshop we will use IWT writing strategies to examine the visual storytelling and visual thinking in Persepolis, considering graphic novels as powerful new vehicles for self-exploration and coming-of-age literature. Increasingly taught as literature, graphic novels offer a unique literary medium for writer/illustrators to tell an autobiographical, fictional and/or historical story through the juxtaposition of words and images. The use of comics art as a serious genre presents many challenges to teachers. In the case of Persepolis, what language do we use to speak of comics documentary, which as a form invites first-person identification rather than “objective” critical reflection? How can comics art let us understand something as profound (and profoundly different) as the experiences of a young woman who embraces both family and tradition in defiance of rigid traditionalism? Using writing-to-read methods, building a “toolkit” of creative practices for isolating unique elements of comics art, we will explore useful and playful ways of reading Satrapi that encourage critical and inventive responses to graphic narrative.