UNT conference gets graphic

UNT conference gets graphic

January 15
23:44 2013

The Center for the Study of Interdisciplinarity is an example of UNT doing something right. The CSID sponsors events that bring together professors and students from different disciplines to share their knowledge and contribute to the school’s intellectual unity. Their upcoming Comics Studies Symposium on March 22 – 23 is perhaps the best example of what they do for UNT.

This small conference brings together professors and students from multiple disciplines and helps demonstrate how comics and other sequential art are integrated as classroom teaching tools.

By using various media, including anime, graphic novels, and cinema, professors can demonstrate how their fields can be approached through popular culture.

Our own bookstore carries titles as diverse as a graphic novelization of the King James Bible to a manga guide to calculus. This conference will bring together professors from multiple disciplines to share what they have learned in using sequential art in the classroom in a traditional collegium setting.

The conference will potentially benefit all students in giving professors a more holistic look at other disciplines and teaching methods.

Integrating the various disciplines, so often attacked for too narrow specialization, will help professors form a more unified whole for students. Studies have shown both that tightly knit educational programs across disciplines and use of popular culture referents increases student breadth and depth of understanding. The CSID conference will assist in both.

A conference looking at comics and sequential art is especially suited to the UNT community. Across Dallas/Ft. Worth, there are multiple popular culture events involving sequential art throughout the year, often multiple events in a single month, many with academic-style programming tracks to foster appreciation of the medium.

The next such event is Mini A-Kon, hosted by our own Denton North Branch Library on January 26.

Participation in these programs can add depth to one’s career path no matter the discipline. I’ve personally seen presentations ranging from using Batman to explain physics to psychological studies of Harry Potter characters to the horrors of the Holocaust as depicted in the historical graphic novel “Maus”.

Thus professors and students in “hard” and “soft” sciences can benefit alike from the upcoming conference.

There is no question that sequential art is a useful, meaningful tool of understanding within and between disciplines.

The only question is how, as an academic community, can we incorporate it into our teaching and our studies?

The CSID Comics Studies Symposium will showcase just a few of those methods and open up dialogue for further study and interdisciplinary cooperation.

J. Holder Bennett is a history Ph.D. student. He can be reached at JasonBennett2@my.unt.edu.

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1 Comment

  1. Keith Wayne Brown
    Keith Wayne Brown January 16, 10:10

    Thank you Jason for this op/ed.

    CSID is proud to sponsor many activities at UNT. Working with professors, students, & staff from across our campus to integrate disciplinary research is not only our mission, but a great source of learning, pleasure, and satisfaction.

    This has especially been true for us in our mutual work with Shaun Treat in the Department of Communication Studies. Shaun has been tireless in promoting the idea that all manner of sequential art (graphic novels, comic strips, manga, etc) are a perfect way not only to get students interested but actually deliver to them important information that can utilize for the rest of their lives.

    We invite all of our fellows at UNT and throughout the DFW area to attend our meeting on March 22 & 23. This event is free to everyone. If anyone would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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