• Comics@CSUN logo by Jed McGowan

Disability and/in Comics: A Conversation

Wednesday, May 1, 2024 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm

Jerome Richfield 319

Dr. Johnathan Flowers and Dr. Charles Hatfield will discuss the advantages and challenges of using comics to represent disabled experience.


On Wednesday, May 1, from 4:00 to 5:30 pm, as part of the launch for the new Disability Studies Minor, Dr. Johnathan Flowers (Philosophy) and Dr. Charles Hatfield (English) will join in a discussion of disability and comics. Through conversation and audience Q&A, they will address the question, What are the advantages and challenges of using comic art to represent disabled experience and fight ableism? 

This free event will take place in Jerome Richfield Hall in the Linda Nichols Joseph Reading Room (Room 319). The event is also available on Zoom via this link (Meeting ID: 864 1282 3547, Passcode: 956507). 

Comic art, including comic books, graphic novels, webcomics, manga, and comic strips, has become an vital medium for thinking about identities and bodyminds. Comics reflecting upon disabled experience are on the rise, and this semester Dr. Hatfield has been teaching a section of English 322 (Disability in Literature and Culture) focusing on comic books and graphic novels. In his words,

Comics are an important means of thinking about, living with, and resisting the terms of disability. Of course, popular storytellling often reinforces stereotypical views of what is “normal” or accepted.  But popular forms can also defy those stereotypes. Because comics are multi-modal, combining difference kinds of messages, they can surprise, confound, and instruct. Through dynamic combinations of images, words, and symbols, comics can teach us to reflect upon, and question, cultural norms and the ways we react to perceived difference. 

Come join Drs. Flowers and Hatfield for this frank and critical discussion of comics as a platform for disability activism! A reception, open to all, will follow. 

This event is co-sponsored by CSUN's new Disability Studies Minor and the College of Humanities, with additional support from the Departments of English and Philosophy. For information about the Disability Studies Minor, contact Leilani Hall, Program Director. 

Image credit: The above event flyer includes a sequence of panels from the graphic memoir It's Lonely at the Centre of the Earth (2022), by and © Zoe Thorogood, which Dr. Hatfield is currently teaching in English 322 and English 333.