I'm excited to officially announce (officially!) that I've been awarded the 2013 John A. Lent Scholarship in Comics Studies by the International Comic Arts Forum. I'll be giving the Lent Award lecture at this year's ICAF at the University of Oregon (Portland).
The lecture is called "How to Think About Comics as Social Objects," and draws some lessons for comics studies from my research on geek and nerd culture:
Comics can be defined in many ways. They are art works that create aesthetic experiences for their readers, cultural objects reflecting the time and place where they are produced, and commodities with a value on the market. But they are also social objects. They are made, read, and talked about by people who exist in a relatively stable set of institutions and relationships. This lecture addresses some of the possibilities and problems of a social-scientific approach to comics, placing them in the context not only of the “comics world” but also of a wider social world of geeks, nerds, and fans.
Thanks to the award committee for selecting my work. John Lent published my first essay in his International Journal of Comic Art, and I'm very pleased to accept this award named in honour of his profound contributions to our field.
If you happen to be in Portland May 23–25 and are interested in comics, you should stop by. It's free to the public and great. The conference schedule is available on ICAF's website. And check out the amazing poster by one of my favourite artists in the business (and conference guest), Mike Allred!
Afterwards, I'm wending my way up the Pacific coast to attend the annual conferences of the Canadian Sociological Association and Canadian Communication Association in Victoria.