A Comic Dissertation

Jsmall_03_09_irrationalTrue fact: Even though I lived through its writing, I have never read my husband’s dissertation. I probably never will. I don’t say that arrogantly; I know I’m not the intended academic audience, so unless he pares it down for popular publication, it will remain on the shelf.

This guy, though, this guy, Nick Sousanis (Columbia University Teacher’s College, 2014), I’d love to get my hands on his dissertation. Titled “Unflattening: A Visual-Verbal Inquiry Into Learning in Many Dimensions,” it’s written and illustrated in graphic novel form. Believed to be the first dissertation of its kind, the project caught the attention of The Chronicle of Higher Education, which notes that the dissertation “…explores how comics’ interwoven el­ements open up new ave­nues for creating and learning that aren’t possible through writing alone. Mr. Sousanis calls the work a series of “philosophical essays” that employ images and metaphors. He uses a text outline as a scaffold to flesh out sketches on large sheets of paper, and finishes the final drawings on a computer.”  You can read the full article here, find out more about Dr. Sousanis here and order a copy of “Unflattening” from Harvard University Press here.

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