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Type: Journal article
Title: Multimodal authoring and authority in educational comics: introducing Derrida and Foucault for Beginners
Author: Humphrey, A.
Citation: Digital Humanities Quarterly, 2015; 9(3):1-25
Publisher: Alliance of Digital Humanities
Issue Date: 2015
ISSN: 1938-4122
Editor: Whitson, R.
Statement of
Aaron Scott Humphrey
Abstract: Academic writing has generally been understood as operating primarily within the linguistic modality, with writing remediating the voice of an educator or lecturer. Comics, by contrast, are more explicitly multimodal and derive much of their meaning from visual, spatial and linguistic modalities. Because of their multimodality, educational comics challenge the conception of an authoritative author’s voice, as is typically found in traditional educational and academic writing. To examine how authorship and authority function in multimodal educational texts, this paper examines several books in the popular For Beginners and Introducing series of graphic guides, which use images, text, and comics to summarise the work of major philosophers – in this case Derrida and Foucault. The books chosen for this study are all collaborative efforts between writers, illustrators, and designers. In each book, the collaborations function differently, engendering different divisions of authorial labor and forging different constructions of multimodal relationships between image, text, and design. In order to more fully interrogate the ways that these educational comics combine multimodal modes of meaning, this paper itself takes the form of a comic, mimicking at times the books that it is examining. In this way, it serves as a self-reflexive critique of the idea that authorial voice is central to academic writing, and as an example of the challenges and opportunities presented by composing multimodal scholarship which eschews this conception of linguistic authorship.
Rights: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
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