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Second Hour : Genocide, Torture, Occupied Territories

Peace Pedagogy: Using Comics to Protest War and Torture

Second Hour Program at Columbia Friends Meeting
presented by
Susan Vanderborg, Associate Professor, English Language and Literature, USC
April 19, 2020

Comics in the late 20th and early 21st century have increasingly been used to represent historical trauma and persuade readers to act to prevent future atrocities. How can we as Quakers use such potent texts?

I’ll bring in Art Spiegelman’s MAUS, a brilliant Holocaust memoir in comic format that revolutionized what comics could do in visualizing genocide, the “graphic adaptation” The Torture Report by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon, which puts the Senate Committee report on CIA torture practices into comic form so that more people can access its indictments and protest any future torture proposals–as well as books by “comics journalist” Joe Sacco, who has reported on genocide in Bosnia and also on Palestine, with gripping, disquieting illustrations to foreground his interviews with survivors. One of the Palestine books briefly mentions Quaker relief to the region.