Unflattening: A Dissertation in Comics Form Reimagines Scholarship

By Nick Sousanis, Columbia University

Thursday, May 29th, Young Research Library
Noon – 1PM Presentation and Discussion; 1 – 2PM Hands-on comics-making exercise
Long description:
Nick Sousanis, an interdisciplinary doctoral candidate at Teachers College, Columbia University will discuss his dissertation. The first undertaken entirely in comic book format, it argues through its very form for the importance of visual thinking in teaching and learning. This visual-verbal work expands the possibilities for engaging comics within academia while ultimately challenging and reimagining what scholarship can be.

In the first hour, Sousanis will delve into the distinct ways that comics present meaning and engage the audience in a comics-making exercise, showcase extensive visuals from the dissertation, and take questions from the audience. Following that, Sousanis will take attendees through a comics-making exercise, putting theory into practice and demonstrating how the spatial interplay of image and text in comics is a powerful tool for complex, multi-layered thought. This hands-on endeavor complements the larger discussion and is intended to generate ideas around incorporating visual thinking and other modes into attendees’ own research and representation methods.

Nick Sousanis cultivates his creative practice at the intersection of image and text as a doctoral candidate at Teachers College, Columbia University. He is writing and drawing his dissertation entirely in comic book form – the first of its kind. Before coming to NYC, he was immersed in Detroit’s thriving arts community, where he co-founded the arts and cultural web-mag www.thedetroiter.com; served as the founding director of the University of Michigan’s Work:Detroit exhibition space, and became the biographer of legendary Detroit artist Charles McGee. His comics have been infiltrating the academic realm through numerous publications and he furthers his advocacy for the medium as a powerful tool for thought in the comics course he developed for educators at Teachers College. Excerpts from the dissertation and his other comics.

12. Library event

Image from Nick Sousanis’ dissertation

UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs,
337 Charles E Young Dr E, Los Angeles, CA 90095