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Frederik Byrn Køhlert - Institutionalizing Comics Studies: Curriculum Building and Interdisciplinarity at UEA

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posted on 29.06.2020 by Frederik Byrn Køhlert
This presentation will address the call for papers’s prompt regarding “the future and development of comics studies” by discussing the new Master of Arts programme in Comics Studies at the University of East Anglia, which launches in September 2020. As a new but rapidly maturing field, comics studies is in need of institutionalizing through initiatives such as UEA’s new programme, and the presentation will discuss the motivations and challenges associated with its design, approval, curriculum development, and implementation. Central to my discussion will be a consideration of the programme’s interdisciplinarity, which has been both an essential component and a driving force since its inception. To give comics studies an institutional home, I will argue, we need to give up on the idea of comics studies as a discipline, and instead look to a future dominated by interdisciplinary collaboration between the various departments, schools, and faculties of our institutions. At UEA, just such an approach has allowed for an unprecedented degree of support and buy-in from across the university, and the MA in Comics Studies has appeared as the most truly interdisciplinary programme at the institution, providing a model for collaboration and a roadmap for the future.

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Biography

Frederik Byrn Køhlert is a lecturer in American Studies at the University of East Anglia, where he also directs the MA program in Comics Studies. He is the author of Serial Selves: Identity and Representation in Autobiographical Comics and the editor of two companion book series for Routledge on Gender, Sexuality, and Comics Studies.

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