Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Daniel Worden on “The Politics of Comics”

Daniel Worden’s essay “The Politics of Comics: Popular Modernism, Abstraction, and Experimentation” has just been published in the February 2015 issue of the academic journal Literature Compass. The essay is available at the Wiley Online Library, and the essay’s abstract follows.

Comics and graphic novels are now widely accepted to be legitimate aesthetic and literary texts, suitable for study in all manner of university classrooms and scholarly projects. Comics studies scholarship was often preoccupied with arguing for the aesthetic legitimacy and literary complexity of comics and graphic novels, and now that this debate is more or less over, comics studies scholarship has begun to consider not just why and how we should read comics but what comics might mean. The question of meaning is an inherently political question, as it asks us to think of comics in relation to our social world. This essay traces two ways that comics can be read politically: as part of popular modernism, and as a medium for experimentation with genre, narrative, and visual conventions.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Professor Jesse Alemán named visiting scholar

Jesse Alemán
UNM Professor Jesse Alemán has been named a visiting scholar to a program in Taos and Oklahoma.
University of New Mexico American Literary Studies Professor Jesse Alemán has been named the 2015 Jim and Linda Burke Visiting Scholar in Literature at Oklahoma State University’s Doel Reed Center for the Arts in Taos, N.M.
Alemán will be in residency in Taos in May and June to participate in a two-week summer seminar on “The Nuclear Bomb and the Land of Enchantment,” taught under the auspices of OSU’s Doel Reed Center summer program. As the Burke Visiting Scholar, Alemán will interact with students enrolled in the class, give a public presentation in Taos, and visit OSU’s main campus for a lecture event during the academic year. The Jim and Linda Burke Visiting Scholar in Literature is also awarded a $5,000 honorarium.
Named after the internationally acclaimed graphic artist, the Doel Reed Center offers classes characterized by cross-disciplinary approaches to teaching, research and outreaching focusing on the Southwest. Alemán’s participation as Burke Visiting Scholar comes in preparation of his own graduate seminar, “The Nuclear Southwest,” which he’ll be teaching for the Bread Loaf School of English’s summer graduate program in Santa Fe.

Crossdressing, Confederate soldier movie, 'Rebel,' airs at UNM

English Department Chair Gail Houston, History Professor Elizabeth Hutchison. Film Director Maria Agui Carter, and English Professor Jesse Alemán  screening "Rebel"

February 04, 2015
Director, researcher to discuss the life of soldier turned Union spy following screening

The film, "Rebel," about crossdressing Confederate soldier Janeta Loreta Velazquez, to be aired at UNM on Thursday, Feb. 19.

Film director Maria Agui Carter screens her 75-minute film, "Rebel," on Thursday, Feb. 19, from 6:30 - 9 p.m. in the UNM SUB Ballroom C. The film is the amazing story of Loreta Janeta Velazquez, who crossdressed as a Confederate soldier turned Union Spy.
Following the screening, the director will discuss Velazquez with UNM’s Dr. Jesse Alemán, who has studied and written about her. The event is free and open to the public.
Who was Loreta Janeta Velazquez?  And what made her so dangerous she has been virtually erased from history? A 19th century woman of many disguises who was born in Havana and raised in New Orleans, Velazquez was a rebel from the start, a precocious Cuban tomboy who idolized Joan of Arc. One of the 1,000 women said to have fought in the Civil War, she altered her sex, her ethnicity and her very identity in order to become a Confederate soldier, under the alias Lieutenant Harry Buford, to spy for the Confederacy. She then become a double agent for the Union, and then exposed her secret in a memoir, "The Woman in Battle," which chronicled her often tragic life.
Yet for the last 150 years, her story has been dismissed as a hoax. "Rebel" unlocks this mystery with a non-traditional approach that plays with form and style to create an impressive body of evidence.
The presentation of "Rebel" and the discussion to follow are made possible by: the American Studies Department, the College of Arts & Sciences, the Center for Regional Studies, the Department of English Language and Literature, the English Graduate Student Association, the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, the Feminist Research Institute, the History Department, and the Philosophy Department.

Professor Finnie Coleman to lead post-performance discussion Sunday, February 15th, at The Vortex Theatre

The Whipping Man
Written by Matthew Lopez
Directed by Barbara Geary
February 6th- March 1st
Publicity Liaison: Leslee Richards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                           December 7, 2014

The Civil War has just ended and Confederate soldier Caleb DeLeon returns from the war to find his family missing and two former slaves, Simon and John, living in the ruins of their once fine home. It is Passover - a time to celebrate the freeing of slaves in ancient Egypt. As the 3 wait for the family’s return, they struggle with their shared Jewish faith and roles as Master and Slave, confronting new and long buried secrets.

At its core, The Whipping Man is a tragedy of love, privilege and crushed expectations. The role of Judaism in the culture of American slave ownership has rarely been examined and the play’s resonance for the audience comes from its examination of a time and circumstance in history that, while on the surface is deeply familiar to us, is told through the lives of 3 men whose faith colors their actions and relationships in unforeseen ways. As the revelations of the play accumulate, the expectations each man has for his future are peeled away to reveal the truths of his true nature and current circumstance.

Show & Ticket Info: Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2 pm. Tickets are $22 for general admission and $15 for students with ID. Pay-What-You-Will is on Sunday, February 8.  Thursday, Feb 5 is an open Final Dress Rehearsal. Discussion of the play with the cast and audience, led by Rabbi Paul Citrin is on Feb 8th after the performance. Discussion with the cast and audience led by Professor Finnie Coleman, UNM Departments of English and Africana Studies is on Feb 15th after the performance. Reservations and ticket purchases can be made online at or by calling 505-247-8600. For further information, contact Publicity Liaison Kathleen Welker at or director Barbara Geary at

About the Director: Barbara Geary has appeared in NM as Miss Stephanie in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, Anna in CLOSER, Darcy Snelgrave in ONE FLEA SPARE, Tiresias in ANTIGONE, Sunny Jacobs in THE EXONERATED and as Stage Director of the opera THE LANGUAGE OF BIRDS for Santa Fe New Music. Most recently, she directed the epic rock opera MURDERCASTLE for The Baltimore Rock Opera Society also known as the B.R.O.S. A graduate of the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre, Barbara has been performing, directing, and teaching in movement, mask, film, and ensemble theatre nationwide and beyond since 1981.

About the Vortex Theatre:
The Vortex is Albuquerque’s oldest continuously-running Black Box Theatre, a pioneering venue for classic, contemporary, and cutting-edge theatre since 1976. This 501(c)3 non-profit community playhouse entertains audiences year-round with some of the city’s finest productions, including our annual Summer Shakespeare Festival. The Vortex is located at 2900 Carlisle Blvd NE.