Simple Complexity of 'Peanuts'

Full Course Title: 
The Simple Complexity of 'Peanuts': Exploring the Perennially Popular Comic Strip

For nearly 50 years (1950 to February 2000), Charles Schulz wrote and illustrated a daily syndicated comic strip whose characters would become cultural icons, the most famous being Charlie Brown and Snoopy. Underlying the mass appeal, popularity, and inevitable commercial success and related merchandising was a thoughtful and literate sustained & sequential graphic narrative that dealt with complex, real-world adult topics and issues through the fictional narrative perspectives of young children, a dog, and a bird. In this course, we will examine and discuss the strip in aesthetic, narrative, and interdisciplinary contexts through such starting points as art, music, psychology, philosophy, religion, and history. Students will engage in both classroom and online discussions, and extensive individual and group research and writing.

Course Details
Course Number: 
Section Number(s) and Day/Times Taught: 
111: TR 9:30-10:45am
169: TR 11:00am-12:15pm
183: TR 2:00-3:15pm
Fall 2023
The Arts
Global Issues
Student Success

Donald Presnell

Dr. Don Presnell holds MA degrees in English and Spanish from Appalachian State University and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from App State's Reich College of Education. He is the author of Wandering The Wild Wild West: A Critical Analysis of the CBS Television Series (2021) and co-author of A Critical History of Television's The Twilight Zone, 1959-1964 (1998). He has created and taught multiple iterations of First Year Seminar, including “The Narrative Art of Comics”; “The Twilight Zone”; “Doctor Who: TARDIS Travels in General Education”; “Dr. Seuss and Y(our) World”; “The Simple Complexity of Peanuts: Exploring the Perennially Popular Comic Strip”; and “The X-Files: Science Fiction Search for Truth.”

He has been nominated for both the Brantz Award for Outstanding Teaching in First Year Seminar (2012, 2019) and the Harvey R. Durham Outstanding Freshman Advocate Award (2014, 2017, 2018) at Appalachian State University. He is currently the Director of the Common Reading Program and a Senior Lecturer in the First Year Seminar program. His interests include multimodality; literature; comics and graphic novels; film and television studies; English and Spanish; pedagogy and instructional design; educational leadership; and baseball.