[Source: HerCampus.com by Elizabeth Chesak, Feb 22 2016 – 11:00am]
Meet Anna Barker! In addition to being one of the most enthusiastic people I have ever known, she is also my favorite professor at the University of Iowa. I took her Superheroes Unleashed honors seminar last fall, and this semester I’m enrolled in her Wonder Woman Unleashed course.
Her passion for the material she teaches is obvious – she bounds into class each afternoon, wearing her Captain America shirt or her Wonder Woman scarf, eager to endlessly discuss the assigned readings with us. I recently had the opportunity to sit down and ask her some questions about her numerous interests and projects, as well as her love of teaching!
I was somewhat surprised to learn that her love of superheroes is rather new – she didn’t grow up reading comic books! While watching superhero movies with her kids, she began to notice a connection between those movies and the Greek and Roman myths that she adores. She says, “Iron Man is just as cocky and irreverent as Achilles or Odysseus.” She later “felt compelled to put together a syllabus” for a class designed to teach students about the connections between myths and comic books.
I asked her why she thinks it’s important for students, particularly young women such as the readers of Her Campus, to study Wonder Woman comics. She says, “Teaching a class about Wonder Woman provides an excellent opportunity to find out more about the world of ancient female fighters, Amazons and goddesses. It also gives us a chance to look at the evolution of the women’s rights movement from 1941, when the character was created, through the women’s rights achievements of the 1960s and 70s, when Gloria Steinem herself wrote the introduction to a collection of her favorite Wonder Woman comics, to 2017, when Wonder Woman will appear on the silver screen in her full Amazon glory.”
Barker loves to spend time browsing the selection at Daydreams Comics, located at 21 S Dubuque Street and recommends Watchmen by Alan Moore as a graphic novel everyone should read.