880088 :The Visual Language of Comics (T&C/NMD/CSAI/HAIT)


Voertaal Engels
Werkvorm: 14 x 2 hours lectures (Collegerooster)
Tentamenvorm: See Specifics (Tentamenrooster)
Studielast:6 ECTS credits
Inschrijving:Inschrijven via Blackboard voor aanvang colleges
Blackboard informatieLink to Blackboard (Als u de melding 'Guest are not allowed in this course' krijgt, dient u nog bij Blackboard in te loggen)


dr. N.T. Cohn (coordinator)

Doel van de cursus (alleen in het Engels beschikbaar)

This course aims to explore the question: How do our minds and brains understand drawings and visual communication? This course explores the structure of the visual languages that comprise our drawing systems by situating the capacity for creating graphic images within the traditions of the linguistic, psychological, and cognitive sciences. The primary notion is the idea that drawings and sequential images are structured in the same way as language, and thus we can use methods of the linguistic and cognitive sciences to study and understand these graphic systems. Not only will this class make connections between a range of graphic communicative systems (drawings, comics, emoji) and spoken and signed languages, but students will leave with an appreciation for a diverse range of linguistic principles and cognitive science research.


The students will 

  • Describe, analyze, and compare relevant literature on drawings and visual language
  • Think about how apply scientific analyses to real-world examples of drawings, visual narratives, and multimodal texts
  • Understand and evaluate linguistic principles applied beyond verbal language
  • Recognize and understand different cultural perspectives of language, writing, and drawing
  • Interpret and evaluate relevant experimental research on graphics and cognition. 
  • Identify and appreciate diverse graphic systems from around the world.

This course contributes to student’s skills concerning:

  • Processing, interpreting and evaluating scientific literature
  • Autonomous acquisition of new knowledge and broadening existing knowledge
  • Designing new research questions on the basis of existing literature, application of knowledge to other fields (transfer knowledge).

 This course contributes to student’s skills to:

  • Motivate research questions on the basis of literature and preceding research.
  • Engage critical thinking and apply them to real-world examples
  • Discuss theories and apply them to relevant real-world examples
  • Write a scientific research papers

Inhoud van de cursus (alleen in het Engels beschikbaar)

This course consists of one lecture per week. Though many examples will focus on drawn visual narratives (as in comics), we will discuss linguistic theories applied across drawing, visual communication, and multimodality. Lectures will both cover the relevant literature, as well as probe students’ intuitions for the various aspects of visual language structure that are discussed through in-class participation. This course uses interactive in-class polling software to probe students’ intuitions with graphic materials.

Bijzonderheden (alleen in het Engels beschikbaar)

Grading: 8 pass/fail homework assignments (40%), 1 take-home midterm examination (30%), 1 take-home final examination (30%).

Homework assignments will challenge students to critically and creatively apply the linguistic principles learned in class to examples of visual communication. Homeworks are graded on a pass/fail basis of whether they are turned in or not, and will be self-assessed by students the following week. Exams will then test whether sufficient acquisition of this knowledge has been learned. The final grade is the cumulative scores for all homeworks and examinations.

Knowledge gained in this class will allow students to critically analyze how visual information is structured and conveyed. Such skills apply to the labor market in both an indirect (ability to better intuit how graphic information communicates) and direct manner (ability to design and evaluate information packaging).

Verplichte literatuur

  1. Neil Cohn. The Visual Language of Comics
  2. Neil Cohn. The Visual Narrative Reader
  3. Selected readings available on Blackboard

Vereiste voorkennis


Verplicht voor

  • Bachelor CIW: Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence ( 2017 )
  • Bachelor Communicatie- en informatiewetenschappen: Leraar Nederlands ( 2015, 2016, 2017 )
  • Bachelorminor: CIW voor Online Culture ( 2017 )

Mogelijk interessant voor

  • Bachelor CIW: Bedrijfscommunicatie en Digitale Media ( 2015, 2016, 2017 )
  • Bachelor CIW: Tekst en Communicatie ( 2015, 2016, 2017 )
  • Bachelor CIW: Human Aspects of Information Technology ( 2015, 2016 )
  • Bachelor CIW: New Media Design ( 2017 )