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Annual Event

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Postponed until further notice

HI Annual Lecture & Alumni Award
March 18, 2020
4:00 pm, with reception to follow at Hintz Family Alumni Center

This year, we are delighted to have Dr. Qiana Whitted, Professor of English and African American Studies and Director of the African American Studies Program at the University of South Carolina, to deliver the lecture as well as Penn State Alumnus Dr. V.P. Franklin, the 2020 HI Alumni Award recipient.

"Battling, in the Sea of Comics”: EC’s Invisible Man and the Jim Crow Future of “Judgment Day!”

How did the most notorious comic book publisher of the 1950s employ the discursive instruments of horror, crime, and the weird to confront racism and other forms of social discrimination? Prof. Qiana Whitted’s lecture explores the stakes and strategies behind EC Comics during the early years of the Cold War and the Civil Rights Movement. Through the controversial science fiction story “Judgment Day!”, her discussion will consider how EC grappled with the legacy of racial caricature in popular media to convey a different message, all while building new reading communities and expanding the visual and verbal dynamics of comics narrative in unprecedented ways.


Qiana Whitted

Qiana Whitted

Dr. Qiana Whitted is Professor of English and African American Studies at the University of South Carolina and director of the USC African American Studies Program. A graduate of Hampton University with a PhD from Yale University, her research and teaching focus on 20th-century black literary and cultural studies and American comics and graphic novels. She is the author of two books, EC Comics: Race, Shock, and Social Protest (2019) and “A God of Justice?”: The Problem of Evil in Twentieth-Century Black Literature (2009), and co-editor of a collection on Comics and the U.S. South (2012). She has published numerous essays in comics studies that focus on the intersections of race, genre, and social identity through representations of historical figures such as Nat Turner and Stagger Lee. Most recently, her essay on “Comics and Emmett Till” was a finalist for the USC Farrar Award in Media & Civil Rights History. She is also the editor of Inks: The Journal of the Comics Studies Society and chair of the International Comic Arts Forum.



 V. P. Franklin

VP Franklin

V.P. Franklin, Ph.D., is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History and Education at the University of California, Riverside. Between 2007 and 2015, he held a University of California Presidential Chair and is the author or co-editor of ten books and has published over seventy scholarly articles. Between 2001 and 2018, Dr. Franklin served as the Editor of The Journal of African American History (JAAH), the leading scholarly publication on African American life and history. Under his editorship, JAAH articles received awards or prizes from the Organization of American Historians, the Association of Black Women Historians, the Southern Historical Association, and other scholarly organizations. Between September 2000 and August 2002, Dr. Franklin was the Rosa and Charles Keller Professor of Arts and Humanities at Xavier University of Louisiana; and in 2005 he held the Fulbright Commission’s Uppsala Chair in American Studies at the Swedish Institute for North American Studies at Uppsala University, Sweden. Dr. Franklin has received numerous fellowships, grants, and awards from various agencies and institutions, including the Danforth Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Academy of Education, the National Research Council, and in 2011 he received the Cheikh A. Diop-Ida B. Wells Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Africana Studies from the National Council of Black Studies. Currently, he is completing a study of children’s and teenagers’ contributions to the Civil Rights Movement.


Annual Event 2020