Unformatted text preview: Marjane Satrapi, b. 1969 Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood (2003) & Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return (2004) Outline of lectures on Satrapi Lecture 1: life writing in a global context; graphic narrative Lecture 2: the child narrator; Iranian history and politics; hijab; hybridity Lecture 3: exile and return; survivorship life writing
"An overarching term used for a variety of nonfictional modes of writing that claim to engage the shaping of someone's life. The writing of one's own life is autobiographical, the writing of another's biographical; but sometimes that boundary is permeable." (Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson, Reading Autobiography 2001) Iranian women's life writing in a global context "It cannot be coincidental that the memoirs by Iranian female authors now living in the West, such as those of Firoozeh Dumas, Marjane Satrapi, and Azar Nafisi, have found such phenomenal commercial success at a time when Washington hawks would like the authors' country of birth to be the next battleground in the total war of the twentyfirst century." (Marla Harris, "Consuming Words" 2008) editorial cartoons: Some important distinctions amongst types of "comics":
newspaper comic strips: comic books:
"The comic book, which emerged in the 1930s, is typically thirtytwo pages long and either is a collection of comicstrip stories or is made up of one sustained story, often an installment in a series." (Hillary Chute, "Comics as Literature?" 2008) TWO CLIPS: 1) Comic Book Confidential (1989), dir. Ron Mann 2) Satrapi on "graphic novels and her family's influence" (2007) As you watch, make notes on the following:
1) How do the makers of comics understand the relationship of comics to the categories of "literature" and "art"? The (perceived) dangers of comics; their relation to youth; and to countercultural critique. 1) Satrapi, "graphic novels and her family's influence"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v =7i9Vs97x7IU graphic narrative "a booklength work in the medium of comics" "in graphic narrative, the substantial length implied by novel remains intact, but the term shifts to accommodate modes other than fiction" (Chute, "Comics as Literature?") The medium of comics: a mixed medium that combines the visual and the verbal not a simple "blending" of the two modes; often plays with "disjunctions" between the visual and the verbal (Chute, "Comics as Literature?") important formal elements include: "frames" (panels) and "gutters" (empty spaces in between panels) (Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics 1993) implications: 1) readers must work across gaps to construct meaning; 2) attention is drawn to disjunctions and to what is not included Example: conclusion of "The Key" (Persepolis 1, 102)
1) How are the visual and verbal elements working together and against one another on this page? How are the two frames, their placement on the page, and the space between them significant? How does the comic medium complicate readers' assumptions about "life writing"? 1) REMINDER
Tomorrow (Wed. March 16) is the final date for completion of the MCCL Post Test! Satrapi, Lecture 2: the child narrator; Iranian history and politics; hijab; hybridity http://muslimahmediawatch.org/about2/ http://muslimswearingthings.tumblr.com/ Orientalism a postcolonial studies term, coined by Edward Said (1978) refers specifically to the characterization by Western writers and artists of the "Orient" as irrational, sensual, fanatical, despotic in producing knowledge about "Orientals," says Said, what Orientalism does is to imagine and regard the "Orient," in binary terms, as the "other" of the West, meaning, in turn that the West, becomes correlated with reason, democracy, etc. Said critiques Orientalism, arguing that it is a discourse that works to naturalize and justify subjugation Marji as a child narrator in Persepolis 1 not a simple transcription of her story, but a process of remembering, imagining, and analyzing the past shaping of the personal by the political and vice versa ironic investigation of the idea of "childhood innocence": childMarji is simultaneously nave, on the one hand, and aware of violence, politics, and injustice, on the other interruption and critique of Orientalism Iranian history and politics intersection of Persian, Islamic and Western imperial histories in the region the Shah (secular, but autocratic) was overthrown by the Iranian Revolution in 1979 subsequent rise of the Islamic Republic of Iran suppression of political dissent under both the Shah and the Islamic Republic IranIraq war: 19801988 Today, under the autocratic rule of Ahmadinejad, protests, arrests, and conflict continue: Coverage of the 2009 election protests in Iran: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v =q_Whgup9OHs&feature=related hijab a broad term referring to Muslim practices of "covering" or "modest dress" hijab is also sometimes used to refer to a headscarf specifically, as distinct from other longer garments (such as the Iranian chador, or the burqas worn by some Afghan women) Young women in Belgium protesting a ban on headscarves in the public school system. There are many opinions about hijab and many ways of wearing it:
Contemporary Muslim dress practices are not just about religion and politics but also about ethics, aesthetics, identity, fashion, globalisation, community, belonging and so forth. In a way this [book is] part of a larger project for showing how Muslim women, like all women, are juggling with the complexities of what to wear in a context where others project interpretations on them. What is particular in the case of hijabi women is the degree of expectations and potential interpretations and misinterpretations with which they have to engage as they go about their ordinary lives. (Emma Tarlo, 2010) hybridity "the creation of new transcultural forms within the contact zone produced by colonization" (Bill Ashcroft, et. al.) "hybridity and the power it releases may well be seen as the characteristic feature and contribution of the postcolonial, allowing a means of evading the replication of the binary categories of the past and developing new antimonolithic models of cultural exchange and growth" (Ashcroft, et. al.) Satrapi, Lecture 3: exile and return; survivorship To recap: hijab and hybridity "Persepolis brings East and West together, often in ways that underscore the tensions and contradictions such unions inevitably entail." (Nima Naghibi and Andrew O'Malley , "Estranging the Familiar" 2005) a Marxist theoretical concept highlights how historical change occurs through processes of conflict and opposition see reference to comic book account of "dialectical materialism" in Persepolis 1 (12) Dialectics Some examples of stalled dialectics (i.e. unresolved oppositions) in Persepolis 1 &2:
Marji's split selves and multiple selves in "The Veil" the divided ending of "The Key" denying and then affirming her national identity in "The Vegetable" exile and return exile: forced migration, resulting from war, de/colonization, revolution results in "dispossession" and "disorientation" expressing oneself becomes "precarious" in the context of a return "home," the dilemmas of exile continue (Edward Said, Reflections on Exile, 2002) See "The Return" (Persepolis 2)
"It wasn't just the veil to which I had to readjust, there were also all the images..." (96) "I felt as though I were walking through a cemetary./ ...surrounded by the victims of a war I had fled. / It was unbearable. I hurried home." (97) "The critical task of the exile is to remain somehow skeptical and always on guard." (Edward Said, Reflections on Exile) Ethics and Survivorship in Persepolis 2
1) "The Joke" (Persepolis 2, 104112) What assumptions about her friend, the war, and herself does her friend Kia Abadi's raunchy joke unsettle? 2) Margi's public behaviour and speeches in "The Makeup," "The Convocation," "The Socks" (Persepolis 2, 131147). What is the significance of her grandmother's reaction of anger? For review:
"Survivorship is not to be equated with victimization. Rather, survivorship constitutes a structure of recognition, responsibility, and learning." (Roger Simon, The Touch of the Past) ...
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- Winter '11
- English Literature, Comic strip, life writing