Hillary Chute will offer a brief history of different contemporary forms of autobiographical practice, from zine making to autobiographical comics to photography and filmmaking. There has recently been an explosion of all sorts of mixed-media autobiographies in print, even in an age when print is said to be waning. Chute will assess the rise of formats like comics and zines to address the self, offering a history of their emergence and suggesting how they conceptualize the self (as well as how they are finding their place within the academy).
Hillary Chute, Neubauer Family Assistant Professor in English at the University of Chicago, is the author of Graphic Women: Life Narrative and Contemporary Comics (Columbia University Press, 2010) and associate editor of Art Spiegelman's MetaMaus (Pantheon, 2011). In 2006 she coedited the "Graphic Narrative" special issue of MFS: Modern Fiction Studies, the first issue of an academic journal in literature devoted to exploring comics. In 2009 she founded the Modern Language Association's discussion group on comics and graphic narratives. Her essays have appeared in American Periodicals, MFS: Modern Fiction Studies, PMLA, Twentieth-Century Literature, WSQ (Women's Studies Quarterly), and elsewhere. Her current book project is titled "Disaster Is My Muse": Visual Witnessing, Comics, and Documentary Form. She coedited the "Comics and Media" special issue of the journal Critical Inquiry and has written for The Village Voice, The Believer, and Poetry, among other publications. Her forthcoming book, Outside the Box: Interviews with Contemporary Cartoonists, will be published in April 2014 by University of Chicago Press.