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Our Sawyer Seminar draws from both critical perspectives and creative work in the arts, humanities, and social sciences to address how race and ethnicity have been represented historically. Through yearlong conversation and four exciting public symposia, we’ll consider how comics reflect and shape understanding of race and ethnicity in specific times and places. We understand “comics” broadly as comic strips, comic books, graphic novels, graphic memoirs, and other forms of visual narrative.  We welcome critical and creative reflections on troubling as well as affirming images, and on depictions by and of “others” as well as examples of personal or collective self-representation.  We are keenly aware of the ways race and ethnicity intersect with other categories of identity, including gender, sexuality, religion, age, abilities, and nationality, and welcome discussions that engage with rather than isolate those differences.  Addressing a public audience in a community steeped in the arts and committed to social justice, we expect to pose hard but necessary questions and welcome diverse and thoughtful responses.

We invite you to join us in these events taking place throughout the 2022–23 academic year.
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Upcoming Events

The following events are free and open to the public. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa–sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Erin Hackathorn in advance at 319-335-4034 or erin-hackathorn@uiowa.edu.

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"Racial Reckoning through Comics" closing event with the Hernandez Bros. promotional image

"Racial Reckoning through Comics" closing event with the Hernandez Bros.

Friday, April 14 10:00am to Saturday, April 15, 2023 6:00pm
Iowa City Public Library
Please join us for our last event with some of the most influential artists today, “the Hernandez Bros,” together with Natalia Hernandez and scholars Qiana Whitted (University of South Carolina) and Darieck Scott (UC Berkeley). We will enjoy our guests’ presentations at the Iowa City Public Library as well as a variety of events. On Friday, we will play the Love and Rockets: The Great American Comic Book at Filmscene, a documentary that celebrates 40 years of the artists’ career. This is part of...