Teaching March in the Borderlands between Social Justice and Pop Culture

  • Susanna Hoeness-Krupsaw


Hoeness-Krupsaw’s chapter focuses on the recent publication of Congressman John Lewis’s graphic memoir March, a work that permits instructors of any course to introduce students to current political and historical events through an attractively laid out graphic medium, which, as Scott McCloud suggests, can amplify a topic by simplifying it (30). With this hybrid medium in the “gutter” between text and picture, students can easily be led to a greater understanding of the Civil Rights Movement. As a graphic narrative, Lewis’s memoir caters to the students’ already existing understanding of American superhero comics. Traditional realism reflects the external world while the cartoon elements address the world within. Despite the realistic historical setting of the narrative, elements of characterization as well as identity formation, Lewis is also elevated to mythic levels. The content also echoes recently successful popular movies, such as Selma and The Butler, permitting instructors to reflect on content and genre similarities and differences. Moreover, the graphic medium sharpens students’ reading skills with flashbacks, symbolism, and provocative visual style choices.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susanna Hoeness-Krupsaw
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Southern IndianaEvansvilleUSA

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