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Symposium to explore African-American comic book culture

The Connecticut College Department of Literatures in English will host the symposium "Beyond Art: African-American Comic Book Culture" on Friday, April 13. The two-part conference starts at 9:30 a.m. with a panel discussion in the Charles Chu Asian Art Reading Room in Shain Library. The panel features John Jennings, professor of visual studies at SUNY Buffalo; Rebecca Wanzo, associate professor of women, gender and sexuality studies at Washington University; and Qiana Whitted, associate professor of English and African-American studies at the University of South Carolina. They will discuss racial reading practices, gendered visions and the transformation of literature in comic books and graphic novels. The second part of the symposium is a 4:30 p.m. screening of the documentary "White Scripts and Black Supermen: Black Masculinities in American Comic Books" in Room 210 of Blaustein Humanities Center. Filmmaker Jonathon Gayles, an associate professor and associate dean for undergraduate learning at Georgia State University, will introduce the film and field questions from the audience after the screening. Courtney R. Baker, assistant professor of English at Connecticut College, says the symposium will present a fresh take on race and identity and will inspire participants to rethink what literary studies entail. "This symposium will enable them to see the importance - as well as the continued relevance - of scholarship to our daily lives and vice versa," Baker said. "My hope is that anyone will leave the event feeling that they learned something important and relevant about the visual and literary objects they consume." The symposium was made possible by the Beaver Brook Fund, established by George J. Willauer, the Charles J. MacCurdy Professor Emeritus of American Studies, professor emeritus of English and college marshal emeritus, and his wife Cynthia Cameron Thun Willauer '72. The symposium is free and open to the public. To view other events on campus this month, visit the Connecticut College calendar of events.

April 11, 2012

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