Hillary L. Chute
Visual Witness, Comics, and Documentary Form
This event includes a book signing
February 19, 2016
4:00 PM ET
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store and the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard welcome HILLARY L. CHUTE, comics scholar and Visiting Professor in the Harvard University English Department, for a discussion of her latest book, Disaster Drawn: Visual Witness, Comics, and Documentary Form.
About Disaster Drawn
In hard-hitting accounts of Auschwitz, Bosnia, Palestine, and Hiroshima’s Ground Zero, comics display a stunning capacity to bear witness to trauma. Investigating how hand-drawn comics has come of age as a serious medium for engaging history, Disaster Drawn explores the ways graphic narratives by diverse artists, including Jacques Callot, Francisco Goya, Keiji Nakazawa, Art Spiegelman, and Joe Sacco, document the disasters of war.
Hillary L. Chute traces how comics inherited graphic print traditions and innovations from the seventeenth century and later, pointing out that at every turn new forms of visual-verbal representation have arisen in response to the turmoil of war. Modern nonfiction comics emerged from the shattering experience of World War II, developing in the 1970s with Art Spiegelman’s first “Maus” story about his immigrant family’s survival of Nazi death camps and with Hiroshima survivor Keiji Nakazawa’s inaugural work of “atomic bomb manga,” the comic book i>Ore Wa Mita (“I Saw It”)—a title that alludes to Goya’s famous Disasters of War etchings.
Chute explains how the form of comics—its collection of frames—lends itself to historical narrative. By interlacing multiple temporalities over the space of the page or panel, comics can place pressure on conventional notions of causality. Aggregating and accumulating frames of information, comics calls attention to itself as evidence. Disaster Drawn demonstrates why, even in the era of photography and film, people understand hand-drawn images to be among the most powerful forms of historical witness.
"You reach the end of this fascinating study confident that you’ve followed its contours—confident that it has contours you can follow. And then the story explodes all over again, pulling Goya and Superman and Psychoanalysis (the comic book) and Art Spiegelman and everyone else back into a crisis—Charlie Hebdo, and which side are you on?—that starts the story all over again, that makes you feel as if you’re at the beginning of Chute’s tale, with nothing settled and everything up for grabs." —Greil Marcus, author of Three Songs, Three Singers, Three Nations
"Hillary Chute is the only comics academic I know who pens page-turners, and Disaster Drawn is no exception; Chute writes eloquently and readably about the three artists who most viscerally try to picture the brutality, horror, and inhumanity of humanity with unflinching and indelible moral courage. Disaster Drawn is a consuming dissection of the nature of trauma in visual narrative, and you, the reader, won’t be able to look away." —Chris Ware, author of Building Stories
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
Unable to attend a Harvard Book Store author event? You can still pre-order a signed book by one of our visiting authors.
While we can't guarantee fulfillment of a signed book pre-order, our authors are almost always able to sign extra books to fulfill such orders.
Ordering a signed book on harvard.com:
- Add the book to your shopping cart and then click Checkout.
- Specify in Order Comments that you want a signed copy of the book.
- Please note: online orders for signed copies must be placed at least one business day before the event. If you are ordering the day of, please call us instead.
Ordering a signed book by phone:
- Call us at (617) 661-1515 and one of our booksellers will take your order. Specify you'd like a signed copy.
- If you are requesting a personalized inscription and/or requesting your book be shipped, we'll need to take down credit card information. If you are planning to pick up the signed book in the store, you can pay on pick-up.
Can I request a personalized inscription?
Unless otherwise noted, we are happy to take requests for the author to sign your book to a specific person, but we can't guarantee it. If you do get a personalized inscription, the book will be non-returnable. We will require credit card information when you place the order.
Do signed books cost more?
There is no extra fee for a signed book!
Do I have to pick it up in the store, or can you deliver my signed book?
As with all web or phone orders, we can hold your book for in-store pickup, or ship it anywhere in the country.
I am planning to attend an author event. Do I need to pre-order a book?
No need. We'll be selling books at the event, and nearly all of our events include a signing at the end of the talk.
More questions? Give us a call!
Harvard Book Store's Friday Forum series takes place on Friday afternoons during the academic year as a way to highlight scholarly books in a wide range of fields, with a particular focus on local scholars.
Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard: http://mahindrahumanities.fas.harvard.edu/
Featured event books will be for sale at the event for 20% off. Thank you for supporting this author series with your purchases.
New This Week
Shop this week's new arrivals, updated every Tuesday.Learn More »
Shipping & Curbside Pickup
We ship anywhere in the U.S. and orders of $75+ ship free via media mail!Learn More »
Tote bags and pouches
in a variety of styles,
sizes, and designs, plus mugs, bookmarks, and more!