my presentations

“Developments in Comics Pedagogy” (MLA 2016): Roundtable Panelists and Abstracts

I am proud to announce the line-up for the roundtable “Developments in Comics Pedagogy” that I am co-organizing at the 2016 meeting of the Modern Language Association in Austin, Texas. The session will take place on Friday, January 8, at 8:30 AM, and will feature a lively discussion among eight scholars and teachers on the innovative practices they use in the classroom to teach with comics in a variety of disciplines and courses. This roundtable is an opportunity for our panelists to share their creative approaches to teaching, with half of the allotted session time focused on discussion with audience members on their own innovative teaching practices with comics. We welcome attendees to engage with us during this discussion, as this session depends on significant audience participation.

Panelists’ bios are below, with abstracts summarizing their teaching practices.

 Thanks to our panelists for their contributions to the content and form of our roundtable. And thanks to Keith McCleary for outlining the goals for this roundtable and for co-organizing this project.


MLA 2016: “Developments in Comics Pedagogy” has been accepted!

A roundtable on teaching comics is coming to Austin, Texas!

Last week, I received confirmation that a roundtable I proposed with Keith McCleary (UC San Diego) has been accepted for the 2016 meeting of the Modern Language Association in Austin.

The roundtable “Developments in Comics Pedagogy” continues a discussion Keith and I have had since 2013, when we organized a similar roundtable with K. Wayne Yang at UC San Diego for the Northeast Modern Language Association in Boston. Based on that successful discussion we had with comics creators and teachers from Boston and around the United States, we started work on a second roundtable to host at the MLA. We’ve been working consistently on this project, soliciting proposals to hear how people are using comics in the classroom, and we want to thank the MLA for selecting our roundtable to host as a special session for the 2016 meeting.

Keith and I were pleased with so many strong submissions received; we received so many that we were limited by MLA rules to host at most six other panelists to this roundtable. Although we were unable to include all submissions on the roundtable, we think the participants for this 2016 meeting demonstrate a variety of pedagogical practices suited to numerous departments, disciplines, and course levels. The participants to this roundtable are comics creators, scholars, and teachers who specialize in studies of literature, language, and rhetoric and who come from departments of composition, English, German, Spanish, and even a newly developed program devoted to just comics and graphic novels. We included scholars at different stages in their careers, from MAs to associate professors, and Keith and I focused the selection on creators and scholars who can discuss comics from around the world.

The MLA 2016 meeting will be in Austin, Texas, January 7 to 10. Roundtable participants include:

Elizabeth Losh, University of California, San Diego
Susan E. Kirtley, Portland State University
Joe Sutliff Sanders, Kansas State University
Maria Elsy Cardona, Saint Louis University
Nick Sousanis, the University of Calgary
Elizabeth Nijdam, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor

We appreciate the contributions that these panelists have made in developing our successful proposal to the MLA, and we are enjoying the conversations we have been having ahead of this roundtable. We look forward to January, and we will have updates as the MLA approaches.

Please follow #MLA16 on Twitter for additional updates for this and other sessions at the Austin meeting this January.

Upcoming presentations on comics: NeMLA and Dartmouth College

The last few weeks have been busy for me in considering comics and the superhero genre: I’m slowly working through a response to Netflix’s Daredevil (and the frustrating responses I have read regarding its representation of gender, and my frustration with a seeming lack of attention to its representations of race). And the next two weeks will be busy for me as well—not only because of Age of Ultron on Friday and Free Comic Book Day on Saturday, but also because I am presenting at two conferences on consecutive weekends.

I’m in Toronto this week for the 46th annual meeting of the Northeast Modern Language Association. In addition to marketing the conference, including through our Facebook and Twitter pages, I have co-organized with Rafael Ponce-Cordero and Keith McCleary two sessions on “Comedy and Comics.” I also will present at one panel on my research of—and participation in—online satire centered around the superhero genre. “Comedy and Comics” begins Friday, May 1, at 3:00 PM. I have included the panels’ schedule and my abstract below.

The next weekend, I present on using Japanese animation and comics in the classroom at Dartmouth College’s Illustration, Comics, and Animation Conference. I’m excited to share my experiences as a fan and a teacher of popular culture towards creating lesson plans, course web pages, and other content to more effectively teach about and teach with anime and manga. The conference’s schedule is available here, and my abstract is below as well.


Saturday and Sunday at NeMLA 2014: “Vexing Gender” and “Can The Subaltern Be A Superhero?”

I am in Harrisburg right now, and in addition to working as marketing coordinator for the 2014 meeting of the Northeast Modern Language Association, I also have the honor to be part of two exciting sets of panels, two parts of them taking place back-to-back Saturday afternoon.  As with previous sessions of NeMLA, scholars are making important contributions to studies of gender studies, popular cultural studies, and nineteenth-century American studies, and I am happy to be a part of these conversations.

First, “The Con in Convention: Vexing Gender in 19th-Century American Women’s Writing” begins Saturday, April 5, at 1:30 PM in the Hilton Harrisburg (Second Floor, Metropolitan A Room), featuring four presentations that look at how women writers negotiated various gender roles.  Presentations include:

“Messing with Minds: A Cognitive Exploration of Readers’ Emotional Response to Behind a Mask,” Andrew Higgins, SUNY New Paltz

“Who Will Reign and Who Will Serve:  Domesticating the Self in Elizabeth Stoddard’s The Morgesons,Paula Kot, Niagara University

“Sojourner Truth’s Household Lessons and Domestic Activism at Freedman’s Village,” Derek McGrath, Stony Brook University

“Laughing and Crying Behind Her Mask: Code-Switching and Sentimental Strategy in Fern’s Ruth Hall,” Mary Ellen Iatropoulous, Independent Scholar

Then at 3:15 PM, NeMLA will host the first part of “Can the Subaltern Be a Superhero? The Politics of Heroic Alterity.” This two-part session considers how texts have responded to expectations based around, among many topics, race, nation, gender, and sexuality work through the concept of the superhero.  The first session, “US Edition,” will be at the Hilton Harrisburg (Third Floor, Delaware Room).  Chaired by Rafael Ponce-Cordero of Keene State College, the session includes the following:

“The ‘Other’ Hero: Framing Female Characters in Alternative Comics,” Danielle Frownfelter Michael, University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, and Nick Scott Greene, Independent Scholar

“The Bulge That Dare Not Speak Its Name: The Evolution of the Gay Superhero,” Sarah Panuska, Michigan State University

“Succeeding in the Super-Biz:  New Worlds Through Disidentification in Xaime Hernandez’s God & Science,” Osvaldo Oyola, Binghamton University

Then on Sunday, April 6, at 8:30 AM, I will chair the second session, “World Edition,” in Hilton Harrisburg (Second Floor, Penn Harris B Room), which includes the following:

“With Great Power Comes Great Loss: The Tragic (Super) Mulatto,” Dwain Pruitt, University of South Florida

“South African Superhero in Zakes Mda’s Ways of Dying,” Stephanie Selvick, Utica College

“Baby Hanuman:  A Subaltern Superhero?” Anuja Madan, University of Florida

” ‘They Didn’t Know I Was So Astute!’ A Postcolonial Reading of Mexico’s Chapulín Colorado,” Rafael Ponce-Cordero, Keene State College

I hope that interested NeMLA visitors enjoy all of these three sessions.  While in Harrisburg, please attend these and many other sessions taking place–the organizers this year have scheduled excellent panels on a range of topics, and as someone who studies nineteenth-century United States culture as well as comics, I’m happy to see numerous sessions on these topics. 

I look forward to tomorrow and Sunday’s productive discussions.