Pedagogical Subversion: The “Un-American” Graphics of Kevin Pyle


In her study Anarchism and Education, Judith Suissa argues that anarchist learning entails a constant interplay of tensions arising from emergent desires to transform society and the challenges society poises for realizing them. This is inescapable because a critical attitude is integral to an anarchist process of learning, infusing it with creative license premised on the conviction that we need not accept things as they are, that learning is not only a space for understanding, but also enactment (Suissa 150). My purpose is to explore this dynamic in the work of graphic artist Kevin Pyle, an American-born artist with a substantive body of illustrated books and comics addressing a myriad of issues. I am interested in how Pyle undermines and subverts narratives of “Americanness” which figure in the political imaginary of the United States. More specifically, I will explore how Pyle unravels one of the most powerful ideological weapons in the political lexicon of United States nationalism—the label “un-American.”

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