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2022-23 Sawyer Seminar Events

An Evening with Joe Sacco promotional image

An Evening with Joe Sacco

Thursday, February 9, 2023 6:30pm to 8:00pm
University of Iowa Main Library
Join us in conversation with journalist, comics artist, and Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor Joe Sacco, (Safe Area Gorazde, Paying the Land) interviewed by Rachel Williams for a talk about race, war, identity but also about his personal creative process and the art of comics.  This is part of a three-day event devoted to "Drawing Panels and Crossing Borders: Negotiating Self and Other in Comics" with MariNaomi, Candida Rifkind, Jorge Santos, and Jose Alaniz. Organized by the...
February 9-11: Racial Reckoning through Comics promotional image

February 9-11: Racial Reckoning through Comics

Thursday, February 9 6:30pm to Saturday, February 11, 2023 6:00pm
Iowa City Public Library/UI Obermann Center
For the next "Racial Reckoning Through Comics" event, we will engage in conversation with artists MariNaomi and Joe Sacco as well as scholars Candida Rifkind, Jorge Santos, and José Alaniz to discuss how colonial dynamics are involved in racialization processes. From the global to the local, from international conflicts to the everyday life in times of peace, our artists’ stories and our scholars’ analyses will explore how the grammar of comics can imagine, write, and draw anti-racist and anti...

Collaborative research on historical & contemporary topics of major scholarly significance

The Mellon Foundation’s Sawyer Seminars program was established in 1994 to provide support for collaborative research on historical and contemporary topics of major scholarly significance. The seminars, named in honor of the Foundation’s long-serving third president, John E. Sawyer, bring together faculty, foreign visitors, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students from a variety of fields—mainly, but not exclusively, in the arts, humanities, and interpretive social sciences—for intensive study of subjects chosen by the participants. This program aims to engage productive scholars in multi-disciplinary and comparative inquiry that would in ordinary university circumstances be difficult to pursue, while at the same time avoiding the institutionalization of such work in new centers, departments, or programs. The maximum grant award for each Sawyer seminar is $225,000. 

The Foundation is now fundamentally interested in the themes of social and racial justice. In terms of scholarly projects such as the Sawyer Seminars, Mellon will look for a strong focus on race and ethnicity and related intersectional analyses as well as those that focus on filling in the gaps left by more traditional narratives about the history and culture of the Americas. A more detailed description of the program’s aims, structure, budgetary guidelines, and selection procedures is appended and available on Mellon's website.

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2022–23 Sawyer Seminar

The 2022–23 Mellon Sawyer Seminar, Racial Reckoning through Comics, will bring diverse individuals, institutions, and organizations together to critically engage questions of racial representation in the popular international formats of comics. The seminar will be co-directed by Corey Creekmur, Ana Merino, and Rachel Williams