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Food For Thought: Hillary Chute

Join Northeastern’s College of Art, Media + Design faculty as they present their research on topical issues across a wide range of creative practices. Enjoy local food and conversation to inform and inspire interdisciplinary scholarship and creativity at the nexus of research and practice. This session features Hillary Chute, from Art + Design.

Hillary Chute will present on her recently-released book Why Comics? From Underground to Everywhere, published by HarperCollins in December 2017 and named a Kirkus Best Book of 2017. Why Comics? investigates the question of what comics as a form does differently than other media through a look at ten of the biggest themes in contemporary comics, including disaster, sex, queerness, and punk. Chute is the author or editor of six books about comics and graphic narratives, including Graphic Women: Life Narrative and Contemporary Comics (Columbia UP, 2010) and Disaster Drawn: Visual Witness, Comics, and Documentary Form (Harvard UP, 2016). She is also the Associate Editor of Art Spiegelman’s MetaMaus (Pantheon, 2011), about the making of his classic graphic narrative Maus, and has collaborated with cartoonists such as Alison Bechdel, with whom she taught a semester-long theory and practice course on comics and autobiography at the University of Chicago.

Lunch will be Served

This ongoing colloquium series aims to nurture the intellectual community of CAMD faculty and is curated this year by Associate Professor of Architecture, Cammy Brothers and Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, Meryl Alper.


In her new book, Northeastern professor Hillary Chute examines the history and culture of comics. The book—Why Comics: From Underground to Everywhere, delves into the superhero phenomenon but also the essence of comics’ appeal and how the art form differentiates itself from others. “I wanted to write a book that would be accessible to people with a keen prior interest in comics as well as those encountering the art form for the first time,” said Chute, whose writing and teaching on the medium has spanned more than a decade.

As a New York Times book review noted, “[Chute] puts across complex ideas without academic jargon,” adding that her writing can be “helpfully instructive” and “sometimes beautiful,” and “her enthusiasm can also be contagious.”