Featured Reading: “An Art of Loss”

Welcome back to the 255! As a part of our on-going featured reading series, we would like to highlight the work of Marymount’s own Professor Tahneer Oksman. Professor Oksman most recently published work “An Art of Loss” is must a read for anyone interested in gender, diversity, and identity in comics.

“An Art of Loss” by Tahneer Oksman can be found in Volume I of Spaces Between

Professor Oksman discusses her work by explaining that “‘An Art of Loss,’ talks about representations of sexual assault, harassment, and violence in two contemporary graphic novels: Ulli Lust’s Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life (2013) and Una’s Becoming Unbecoming (2016).” She connects the article to her current course at MMC entitled Comics as Literature. Prof. Oksman expresses her enthusiasm for her course as it directly relates to her work in Spaces Between:

We’ll be reading comics and graphic novels to explore storytelling and genre in visual narratives. Some of the topics we will address include race and racism, illness and disability, and gender and sexuality.

For those interested in this topic, Prof. Oksman provides the literature below as supplemental readings she plans to highlight in her course:

  • Skim by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki
  • Hot Comb by Ebony Flowers
  • Marbles by Ellen Forney
  • Belonging by Nora Krug

Prof. Oksman has submitted an excerpt of her work below. For those that want to purchase a copy of Spaces Between: Gender, Diversity, and Identity in Comics to read “An Art of Loss” can follow the link provided.


“When Susan Brownmiller published her influential 1975 feminist work, Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape, she drove the point home that any woman can be a target of rape and that the threat of rape is a constant, pervasive influence for women. Similarly, in Aftermath (2002), a book that in part recalls the author’s own traumatic experience, philosopher Susan Brison argues, ‘Sexual violence victimizes not only those women who are directly attacked, but all women’ (Brison 2002, pp. 17–18). The treat of attack is expansive; it can’t be boiled down to a single moment, or incident. In Lust’s Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life, an atmosphere of threat is developed through the repetition of a roster of images––groups of men leering and laughing, individual men lurching, grabbing, coaxing and scolding, the protagonist wincing and watching, exclaiming and retreating. These repeated images wind their way through the course of the book; a steady, beating accumulation”

–Tahneer Oksman “An Art of Loss”

We would like to congratulate Tahneer Oksman and thank her for sharing her work. We wish Professor Oksman the best of luck in all her courses in the coming semester!

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