Comics and Visual Culture 2018, a symposium showcasing students' research into comic art and popular culture, will take place at California State University, Northridge on Saturday, March 10, at the University Student Union's East Conference Center. Put on by the interdepartmental Comics@CSUN group, this is the second Comics and Visual Culture symposium in what has become a biennial series, launched in 2016. CVC 2018 is a free, public event, running all day from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. All members of the CSUN community, as well as fans and students of comics from greater Los Angeles and beyond, are encouraged to attend. No preregistration or RSVP is required.
With this special event, CSUN honors Will Eisner Week, an annual international celebration promoting comics, graphic novel literacy, and free speech, inspired by Eisner's pioneering work in comic books, graphic novels, educational media, and comics teaching. For more on Will Eisner and his legacy, see here.
The Comics and Visual Culture symposium will feature student presenters drawn from CSU Northridge and three other CSUs, Cal Poly, CSU Fullerton, and San Francisco State, as well as Colorado College, Williams College (Massachusetts), and Portland State (Oregon). These speakers will share research on topics ranging from Batman, Star Wars, and Japanese manga, to depictions of gender and disability, to memory, to the politics of comics about Iran and Puerto Rico, and more.
The symposium will begin with a keynote by Dr. Damian Duffy (U. of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) and John Jennings, MFA (UC Riverside), co-creators of the recent bestseller Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation (2017), based upon Octavia Butler’s classic science fiction novel. Proceedings will also include a keynote by Dr. Susan Kirtley, Director of Composition and of Comics Studies at Portland State University and author of Lynda Barry: Girlhood through the Looking Glass (2012).
CTVA Professor Frances Gateward and English Professor Charles Hatfield, both award-winning comics scholars, are co-organizing the CVC symposium on behalf of the Comics@CSUN group. The symposium, Hatfield says, “signals CSUN’s commitment to Comics Studies. This is an area that many of our students care about, at the crossroads of so many disciplines and topics: art, media, cinema, literature, and more. We’re proud to host so many student researchers in this field.” CVC arose from a yearlong series of Comics Studies events on campus in 2015-2016, timed to Comic Book Apocalypse, a CSUN Art Galleries exhibition curated by Hatfield focusing on the work of artist Jack Kirby. "We've been building up Comics Studies at CSUN ever since," notes Hatfield, "and this symposium is a key part of that." The event also ties into the launch of the English Department's new Minor in Popular Culture, which will begin admitting students in Fall 2018.
Comics and Visual Culture 2018 is sponsored by CSUN’s Instructionally Related Activities Fund and Distinguished Visiting Speakers Program; the University Student Union; the CSUN Departments of Cinema and Television Arts and of English; the English Department Alumni Association; the CSUN College of Humanities; and Comics@CSUN.
For further information about Comics and Visual Culture 2018, or to arrange for classes to attend the symposium, please contact Charles Hatfield at .