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Saturday, May 09, 2015

Comic book dissertation demonstrates capacity of picture writing

Photo: Kaitlin Mulhere
Kaitlin Mulhere, reporting intern, started at Inside Higher Ed in September 2014 writes, "Ask Nick Sousanis to explain how he wrote his new book, and you’ll get less a rigid recipe than a fuzzy description."

Did the words come first? No. Then the images came first? Not exactly, he says. They came at once, reinforcing and advancing each other, leading to research and then revisions, the pages almost taking on a life of their own.

“It might be easier if I drew you a picture,” Sousanis says with a laugh.
A fitting way to sum up his work, since, as Sousanis is fond of saying, his comics are smarter than he is.

Sousanis earned his Ph.D. in interdisciplinary studies last year from Teachers College Columbia University, where he produced his dissertation entirely in comics form. Next month, Harvard University Press will publish the book, the first time the press has printed a comic.  
Sousanis’s book is both a demonstration and defense of the power of visual literacy.

For centuries, words have been considered the superior currency of intellect. So much so that our reliance on the written word, like any other kind of dominant perspective, is so pervasive that we don’t even realize our role in perpetuating it, Sousanis argues.

In that case, consider Unflattening a wake-up call, an attempt to disrupt the status quo. The very word -- the title of Sousanis’s book -- is defined as using multiple vantage points to create new ways of seeing. 

Sousanis explains the science of perception through the discoveries of Eratosthenes and Copernicus. He describes history of image through the philosophies of Plato, Descartes, Francis Bacon and Herbert Marcuse.
Read more... 

Additional resources

The primacy of words over images has deep roots in Western culture. But what if the two are inextricably linked, equal partners in meaning-making? Written and drawn entirely as comics, Unflattening" is an experiment in visual thinking.
Buy the Book

Nick Sousanis (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) 

Follow on Twitter as @Nsousanis

Walter (Nick) Sousanis | Department of English | University of Calgary

Piled Higher and Deeper (also known as PhD Comics) - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The PHD Movie, watch it today!

The PHD Movie 2 was funded in large part by Kickstarter backers and filmed on location at the California Institute of Technology
Like the comics and the first movie, the film takes a smart and humorous look at the world of Academia through the eyes of four grad students.
You can watch more of Jorge Cham's Quantum videos here.     

Source: Inside Higher Ed

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