The Relationship Between Text, Word, Image, and Stories: Comic Books as Interdisciplinary Research

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The presentation focuses on an ongoing collaboration between history scholar Timothy Tyson and artist Rachel Williams to create a series of graphic novels which are based on important historical events in the history of Race in the United States. In particular it will focus on the process of collaboration and ways that artists can work with scholars in the humanities. We will share our current project to produce a graphic novel based on the true story of the racially motivated murder of an African American man in North Carolina in 1970 and the aftermath of that event on the life of Tyson. We will also make a case of creative scholarship which is interdisciplinary in nature as an agent for social change and education. Our rationale is taken from theories related to interpreting visual texts, our current visual culture, and the concept of evoking empathy and imagination to change social attitudes and conceptions of history.


Keywords: Comic Books, Graphic Novels, History, Interdisciplinary Scholarship, Collaboration
Stream: Media Arts Practices: Television, Multimedia, Digital, Online and Other New Media
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Rachel Marie-Crane Williams

Associate Professor, School of Art and Art History
College of Education, University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA, USA

Rachel Marie-Crane Williams is an Associate Professor of Art Education. Her interests include comic books and graphic novels, at-risk youth, incarcerated populations, and art and social justice. She has worked with incarcerated people since 1994 and at-risk youth since 2000 as a visual arts educator. Prior to this she was a public school teacher. In 2000 she earned a Ph.D. in Art Education from Florida State University; in 1995 she earned an M.F.A. in Studio Art with an emphasis in painting and drawing, also from Florida State University. She is originally from North Carolina, but now resides in a barn in Iowa with her husband, two children, and various animals. Her research has been published in Visual Arts Research, The Journal of Art Education, The Journal of Correctional Education, and The Journal of Arts Management Law and Society.

Dr. Timothy Tyson

Senior Scholar, Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University, Duke University
Chapel HIll, North Carolina, USA

Timothy B. Tyson is an American writer and historian from North Carolina. Tyson attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro before he earned his B.A. at Emory University in 1987 and his PhD at Duke University in 1994. Tyson's books include Blood Done Sign My Name, published by Crown in 2004, a memoir and history of the murder of a black man, Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power, published by UNC Press, won the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize for best first book in U.S. history from the Organization of American Historians, as well as the James Rawley Prize for best book on the subject of race. Tyson's first book, Democracy Betrayed: The Wilmington Race Riot of 1898 and Its Legacy, published by UNC Press in 1998, was co-edited with David S. Cecelski and marked the centennial of the massacre and coup d'etat in Wilmington. It won the Outstanding Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights in North America.

Ref: A09P0077