Reception & Curator’s Talk Tonight!

Our Comics, Ourselves is officially underway! Join us as we host artists, writers, comics shop owners, and the exhibition’s curators throughout the month of September and early October. All are welcome to join us this evening for:

Curator’s Talk, Opening Reception, and Print Shop Jam
Friday, September 14, 6:00pm
Fenwick Library Main Reading Room / Mason School of Art

Jan Descartes (she/her) and Monica McKelvey Johnson (she/her) will give a curator’s talk on the latest iteration of the traveling exhibition, Our Comics, Ourselves, which originated at Interference Archive in Brooklyn, NY. Focusing on themes of authorship and identity, they will talk about the major works on view, and discuss the process of organizing Our Comics, Ourselves through their method of feminist curating. The presentation will be followed by an open discussion.

Event to be followed by an opening reception and comics and printmaking jam at the Mason School of Art, beginning at 7:30pm.

A sign language interpreter will be present at this event.

This presentation is part of Our Comics, Ourselves: Identity, Expression, and Representation in Comic Art, on display now through October 6 at Fenwick Gallery. Visit http://fenwickgallery.gmu.edu/exhibits/our-comics-ourselves/ for more details.

About the curators: Jan Descartes is a Brooklyn-based artist, educator and curator. She is a graduate of Syracuse University (BA), Carnegie Melon University (MFA) and anticipated graduate of CUNY Graduate Center, with a degree focus on Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies (MLS). She currently co-curates the Our Comics, Ourselves exhibition with Monica McKelvey Johnson, which focuses on identity and representation. Through her artistic, academic and professional life, art and accessibility has been a major theme, culminating in her current thesis regarding trauma and memory in public aesthetic spaces. Jan is co-creator and artist for the webcomic Heartland Comic, where personal memoir and identity politics meet comix. She is currently involved with planning/organizing outreach projects in NYC, where she hopes to facilitate DIY comic-making as an accessible means to explore personal experience and resistance in the everyday. She also lives with a sweet dog and an angry cat.

Monica McKelvey Johnson is a comic artist, writer, and curator living in Brooklyn. She is a graduate of San Francisco State University (BA), and CUNY Hunter College’s Integrated Media Arts Program (MFA). She authored the web comic The Adventures of Dorrit Little, a story about the average student debtor in the United States today, and founded the student debtor support group, EDU Debtors Union. She writes about comics from an intersectional feminist perspective for The Rumpus and The Comics Journal, and has co-organized several exhibitions at Interference Archive—including Our Comics, Ourselves,Take Back the Fight: Resisting Sexual Violence from the Ground Up, and an upcoming exhibition focusing on Deaf culture. She is a practitioner of “feminist curation,” a methodology she continues to develop with Jan Descartes.

Mason Author Series: Free Speech and Unfree News

Join the University Libraries for our next Mason Author Series event, featuring a discussion with Sam Lebovic, Assistant Professor of History, about his recent book, Free Speech and Unfree News: The Paradox of Press Freedom in America. The reading and discussion will take place at 3pm on Thursday, October 5 in the Fenwick Library’s Main Reading Room (Room 2001).

About Free Speech and Unfree News: Does America have a free press? Many who answer yes appeal to First Amendment protections that shield the press from government censorship. But in this comprehensive history of American press freedom as it has existed in theory, law, and practice, Sam Lebovic shows that, on its own, the right of free speech has been insufficient to guarantee a free press.

Lebovic recovers a vision of press freedom, prevalent in the mid-twentieth century, based on the idea of unfettered public access to accurate information. This “right to the news” responded to persistent worries about the quality and diversity of the information circulating in the nation’s news. Yet as the meaning of press freedom was contested in various arenas—Supreme Court cases on government censorship, efforts to regulate the corporate newspaper industry, the drafting of state secrecy and freedom of information laws, the unionization of journalists, and the rise of the New Journalism—Americans chose to define freedom of the press as nothing more than the right to publish without government censorship. The idea of a public right to all the news and information was abandoned, and is today largely forgotten.

Free Speech and Unfree News compels us to reexamine assumptions about what freedom of the press means in a democratic society—and helps us make better sense of the crises that beset the press in an age of aggressive corporate consolidation in media industries, an increasingly secretive national security state, and the daily newspaper’s continued decline.

About the Author: Sam Lebovic is Assistant Professor of History at George Mason University, where he directs the PhD program in History and serves as associate editor of the Journal of Social History. He is the author of Free Speech and Unfree News: The Paradox of Press Freedom in America (Harvard, 2016), which was awarded the 2017 Ellis W. Hawley Prize by the Organization of American Historians, and was a finalist for the 2016 Frank Luther Mott award. His research focuses on the history of American politics, culture, and media, and has been supported by fellowships from the American Society for Legal History, the NYU Center for the Cold War and the US, the Center for Cultural Analysis at Rutgers, the Truman Library Institute, and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. Lebovic’s essays and articles have been published in Diplomatic History, the Journal of Social History, the Journal of American Studies, the Columbia Journalism Review, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Boston GlobePolitico, and other journals and edited volumes.  He teaches courses on a wide range of subjects in modern American and global history, and is currently researching the mid-century history of cultural globalization.

About the Mason Author Series: The University Libraries’ Mason Author Series features Mason faculty and alumni authors throughout the year, and is generously sponsored by the University Bookstore. For more information about the Mason Author Series, please contact John Warren, Head, Mason Publishing, jwarre13@gmu.edu, or Jessica Clark, Development & Communications Officer, jclarkw@gmu.edu.

Mason Author Series: General Michael V. Hayden

Join the University Libraries for a discussion with General Michael V. Hayden about his book, Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror, on Thursday, May 4 at 3 p.m. in the Fenwick Library Main Reading Room.

For General Michael Hayden, playing to the edge means playing so close to the line that you get chalk dust on your cleats. Otherwise, by playing back, you may protect yourself, but you will be less successful in protecting America. “Play to the edge” was Hayden’s guiding principle when he ran the National Security Agency, and it remained so when he ran the CIA.  In his view, many shortsighted and uninformed people are quick to criticize, and this book will give them much to chew on but little easy comfort; it is an unapologetic insider’s look told from the perspective of the people who faced awesome responsibilities head on, in the moment.

How did American intelligence respond to terrorism, a major war and the most sweeping technological revolution in the last 500 years?  What was the NSA before 9/11 and how did it change in its aftermath?  Why did the NSA begin the controversial terrorist surveillance program that included the acquisition of domestic phone records? What else was set in motion during this period that formed the backdrop for the infamous Snowden revelations in 2013?

For 10 years, General Michael Hayden was a participant in some of the most telling events in the annals of American national security. General Hayden’s goals in writing this book are simple and unwavering: No apologies. No excuses. Just what happened. And why. As he writes, “There is a story here that deserves to be told, without varnish and without spin. My view is my view, and others will certainly have different perspectives, but this view deserves to be told to create as complete a history as possible of these turbulent times. I bear no grudges, or at least not many, but I do want this to be a straightforward and readable history for that slice of the American population who depend on and appreciate intelligence, but who do not have the time to master its many obscure characteristics.”

General and Distinguished Visiting Professor Michael Hayden is a retired four-star general who served as director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency — the only person to helm both agencies— during a time of heinous new threats and wrenching change. In addition to leading CIA and NSA, General Hayden was the country’s first principal deputy director of national intelligence and the highest-ranking military intelligence officer in the country.  He also served as commander of the Air Intelligence Agency and Director of the Joint Command and Control Warfare Center and served in senior staff positions at the Pentagon, at US European Command, at the National Security Council, and the US Embassy in Bulgaria. He was also the deputy chief of staff for the United Nations Command and US Forces in South Korea. He is currently a principal at the Chertoff Group and a distinguished visiting professor at the George Mason University Schar School of Policy and Government.

Presentation: Missing Out on Innovation

Missing Out on Innovation: African-American Teens & Technology

DR. KEVIN CLARK, DIRECTOR
CENTER FOR DIGITAL MEDIA INNOVATION & DIVERSITY
APRIL 27    1:30 – 2:30 P.M.    MAIN READING ROOM    2001 FENWICK

Based on a new national survey, young African-Americans may be missing out on key opportunities to learn to code, develop apps and software, and innovate with technology. Sponsored by Mason Libraries, Dr. Kevin Clark will speak about his recent research on African-American teens and digital innovations on Thursday, April 27, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., Main Reading Room, 2001 Fenwick. The hour-long presentation includes a question and answer session.

Dr. Clark is a professor in Mason’s College of Education and Human Development, and is also the Director of Mason’s Center for Digital Media Innovation and Diversity.

For more information, please contact Andrew Lee, yli7 at gmu.edu