Pedagogy as Dissent by Fiona Smith
For all you good folks out there working hard on your PhD’s and racking up some serious student loans, Fiona Smith comes out with one of the most amazing independent comic books out there for you to read. The one that is being reviewed is a limited edition of 100 copies, beautifully hand crafted binding, and is a good solid representation on lovingly crafted comic books. I picked this up at Stumptown Comics Fest down in Portland and I am so not disappointed.
Getting your PhD is never easy, and the general stupidity of the system sometimes makes no sense. Rather it seems that the committee is busy tagging on stupid stuff, like can you shred a DVD when you point them to the link at Staples for DVD shredders and they refuse to believe the whole thing and ding your thesis on it. I have many horror stories about my own Doctorate that I could literally write my own book on the subject. That is what makes this comic book awesome, it is obviously written by someone who has been there and done that, along with all the emotional and mental blockages that happen when you are on your road to the highest degree that you can get. While the educational system is often beaten on for being flawed, there is a point in your PhD where you walk away, or you accept the absurdity of the whole thing and simply learn new coping skills in the face of technologically illiterate mentors and boards that are reading your thesis.
Which is why the title alone Pedagogy as Dissent is a brilliant play on everything that has to do with getting your thesis written and completed. In many of the thesis’s I have read, there is a certain amount of dissent in them, and that is what makes original thesis product interesting to read. The writers always slide something in that is a beautiful statement of dissent against the PhD system, that at times can fly under the radar of every reader out there. There is also the obligatory homage to having to include your advisors and mentors own work in the subject because it is expected and traditional. And you cannot even say that you disagree with your mentor or your advisor because that would fall under academically unsound and rebellious. We do not want rebellion or dissent in our upper ranks of the academic system.
There are so many brilliant bits to this comic book that it is impossible to pull one story line out for examination. Beautifully crafted, well drawn, and well written, with a multitude of styles and commentary that the comic book is best when viewed as a whole story line. This is a comic book that you want to get, want to read, and want to keep right by your desk. Because in many ways we all dissent against the things that make us have problems at work, Academia is no different, and sometimes you want a little bit of dissent against the system to go along with your pedagogy. Rating this comic book five of five stars for being an exemplary ideal of what an independent comic book should be about, and quite often can be.
- Help us out on Kickstarter – Comics Forge Presents (comicsforge.com)
- Stumptown Comics Fest 2012 (comicsforge.com)
- The Comic book Straight Jacket (comicsforge.com)
- Plastic Farm: Sowing Seeds on Fertile Soil (comicsforge.com)
- Other Worlds interview with writer creator Justin Zimmerman (comicsforge.com)