On April 2nd a free online course about gender and comics is starting! Gender Through Comics is a massive open online course and anyone, from any area of the world, can enroll. The course is not accredited and homework will not be marked. What it does have going for it is an interesting syllabus, interviews with creators and online lectures. As well as being free of charge it should provide a great, structured forum for people to discuss gender and comics. Obviously, I have enrolled in it.
The required reading can be bought in digital format from Comixology, or you could get the books from the library. There is an excellent choice of texts here - Strangers in Paradise, Superman: Birthright, Action Comics #1, 2 Wonder Woman issues, Secret Six: 6 degrees of Devastation and Y the Last Man are the ones I am currently familiar with.
When I was at Uni I wasn't reading comics, and my gender analysis skills weren't developed enough to make informed, convincing arguments. I knew next to nothing about intersectionality, and I wasn't really able to apply real world experience to feminist theory. I identified as feminist, but wasn't anywhere near as sophisticated in my arguments and understanding as I am now. Blogging for 6 yrs has really helped me & now I'm ready to do more structured thinking. So I'm pleased the course exists and is running.
My hopes for this course are that people will engage with the topics and discuss it as they would in an academic setting. By that I mean take it seriously, listen to each other's viewpoints and not devolve into mud slinging (this happens quite a lot in the comics blogosphere). I love learning and I would dearly love to do an MA, but there is no way I can (money, mortgage, work etc..) so I'm really glad I can study online, in a (hopefully) academic environment.
I would love to arrange a UK study group (I am particularly interested in the UK perspective on this), so if anyone would like to join in could you leave me a comment, tweet me @sarangacomics or email me paicomics at yahoo dot co uk.
Follow the course leader on twitter @christyblanch, follow the course account @supermooc or the hashtag #supermooc. The course website is here and the reading list is here.
You have until 6th April to enroll.
Other comics related 'things' people might be interested in are:
Women in Comics Europe - a facebook group promoting women in comics.
The Beat website is doing 24 hours of Women in Cartoonists -
Comix 4 Equality - an EU funded project providing an award for the Best Unpublished Comic Strip Authors with Migrant Backgrounds. Women are submitting stories and women's stories are being told. The website is here. The facebook group is here.