Panel Discussions

Academic presentations will take place on
Saturday, February 3rd, 2024 from 11am-5pm
in-person at the MSU Main Library
and liveStreamed on the MSU Comics Forum YouTube Channel, here:

Session 1: 11:00 to 11:45 AM

Andy Kunka, Department of English, University of South Carolina, Sumter 

“How Else Could I Have Created a Black Boy in That Era: Racial Caricature and Will Eisner”  (25 mins + 20 mins Q & A)

Keynote Scholar: 12:00 to 1:15 PM  

Rebecca Wanzo, Chair and Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Washington University in St. Louis

 “African American Comic Art and the Museum”

Session II: 1:30 – 2:30 PM: Race, Comics and Villainy

Julian Chambliss, Department of English, Michigan State University and Philip L. Cunningham, Department of Communication, Wake Forest University 

A discussion of the intersection between race and villainy and what tells about the agency afforded to characters of color in comics. 

Session III: 2:45: 3:45 PM  

Carol Tilley, Professor, School  of Information Sciences, University of Illinois

“Never Any Dirty Ones: Comic Readership Among African American Youth in the Mid Twentieth Century” 

Session IV: 4:00- 4:45 PM — Comics, Archives, and Teaching 

Julian Chambliss, Department of English, Michigan State University

Gary Hoppenstand, Department of English, Michigan State University

Qiana Whitted, Department of English Language and Literature, University of South Carolina

Christopher Frilingos, Department of Religious Studies, Michigan State University

Valentina Denzel, Department of Romance and Classical Studies, Michigan State University

Lynn Wolff, Department of Linguistics, Languages, and Cultures, Michigan State University

Short Bios:

Keynote Scholar

Rebecca Wanzo is professor and chair of the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. She is the author of The Content of Our Caricature: African American Comic Art and Political Belonging (NYU Press, 2020), which examines how Black cartoonists have used racialized caricatures to criticize constructions of ideal citizenship, as well as the alienation of African Americans from such imaginaries.

Featured Speakers

Julian C. Chambliss is Professor of English and Val Berryman Curator of History at the MSU Museum. He is the editor of Ages of Heroes, Eras of Men and Assembling the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His comic exhibitions include Beyond the Black Panther: Visions of Afrofuturism in American Comics and Comics and the City.

Phillip Lamarr Cunningham is Assistant Professor of Media Studies at Wake Forest University. His research focuses on Black representation in popular culture, particularly in comic books, film, television, and sports.

Valentina Denzel is an Associate Professor of French Literature at Michigan State University. Her fields of interest are Italian and French Literatures, Queer and Gender Studies, and popular cultures (francophone comics, international punk movements).

Christopher A. Frilingos is Professor of Religious Studies at Michigan State University. He writes and teaches about biblical literature and early Christianity. His latest book is Jesus, Mary, and Joseph: Family Trouble in the Infancy Gospels (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017).

Gary Hoppenstand is a Professor in the Department of English at Michigan State University. He has published numerous books and scholarly articles on topics ranging from popular culture studies, to literary studies, to media studies. He has won the top scholarly honor of the national Popular Culture Association—“The Governing Board Award”—in 2008 (“for his contributions to popular culture studies and the Popular Culture Association”).

Andrew J. Kunka is Professor of English at the University of South Carolina Sumter. He is the author of Autobiographical Comics and the Eisner Award-nominated The Life and Comics of Howard Cruse: Taking Risks in the Service of Truth.

Carol Tilley (University of Illinois) studies young people’s comics readership during the mid-20th century. She is a past-president of the Comics Studies Society and former Eisner Awards judge. 

Qiana Whitted is Professor of English and African American Studies at the University of South Carolina. She is the author of the Eisner Award-winning book, EC Comics: Race, Shock, and Social Protest, and editor of Desegregating Comics: Debating Blackness in the Golden Age of American Comics.

Lynn L. Wolff is Associate Professor of German and Affiliate Faculty in Jewish Studies at Michigan State University. Her work in Comics Studies focuses on the representation of the Holocaust, memory, autobiography, intersectionality, and translation.