Crossroads and Cyborgs: The Speculative Design of John Jennings

Colloquium | April 14 | 4-5:30 p.m. | Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, Multicultural Community Center

 John Jennings, Professor of Media and Cultural Studies, UC Riverside

 Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, Center for Research on Social Change, Othering and Belonging Institute, Department of English

For over a decade John Jennings has been a key figure in the archiving, creating, and cultivating of black popular culture in graphic novels, illustrated fiction, and graphic design. Jennings has contributed to creating a foundation of theory, community, and mentorship that has led to what some call the Black Speculative Arts Movement; his work has helped give a visual aesthetic to what some call Afrofuturism. This presentation will be a short retrospective of Jennings' work and current research and critical making projects.
Jennings is co-editor of the Eisner Award-winning collection The Blacker the Ink: Constructions of Black Identity in Comics and Sequential Art. Jennings is also a 2016 Nasir Jones Hip Hop Studies Fellow with the Hutchins Center at Harvard University. Jennings’ current projects include the horror anthology Box of Bones, the coffee table book Black Comix Returns (with Damian Duffy), and the Eisner-winning, Bram Stoker Award-winning, New York Times best-selling graphic novel adaptation of Octavia Butler’s classic dark fantasy novel Kindred. His graphic novel adaptation of Butler's Parable of the Sower was released in January 2020. Jennings is also founder and curator of the ABRAMS Megascope line of graphic novels.