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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

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Through a Comics Lens, History and Social Justice Come Alive

By Leslie L.J. Reilly

The article first published in the 2022 edition of Highlights: A Magazine of Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activities at SDSU


The future is bright for students, researchers, and comicphiles.

Founded this year, the San Diego State University Center for Comics Studies — the permanent home for academic excellence and research in the study of comics — provides students a new way to study social justice, history, and the humanities.

With a focus on research and analysis, students enrolled in a growing number of interdisciplinary comics courses discover that comics aren’t simply a “low-brow” art form. Instead, comics illuminate issues of identity, race, religion, education and the politics of representation. 


Beth Pollard, professor of history, and Pamela Jackson, pop culture librarian and comic arts curator, co-direct the center, which has received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to bolster comics education at SDSU – through activities like developing innovative comics curriculum, creating 10 new comics courses and a certificate program in comic studies, and offering workshops that bring scholars to campus to energize the field of comic studies.