Seminole State Speaker Series and Zora Festival host Dr. Rebecca Wanzo

Thursday, January 27, 2022
Written by: Mark Richardson

Seminole State College of Florida's Speaker Series hosted its third event of the 2021-22 academic year on Wednesday, Jan. 26.  In partnership with the Annual Zora Neale Hurston™ Festival of the Arts and Humanities (ZORA!® Festival), the Speaker Series presented a Zoom webinar with Dr. Rebecca Wanzo, chair and professor of women, gender, and sexuality studies & affiliate professor of American culture studies at Washington University in St. Louis.

Her most recent book, “The Content of Our Caricature: African American Comic Art and Political Belonging,” examines how Black cartoonists have used racialized caricatures to criticize constructions of ideal citizenship, as well as the alienation of African Americans from such imaginaries.

During her presentation Wanzo discussed the history of racial caricature.  

Dr. Rebecca Wanzo
Dr. Rebecca Wanzo

“Not all cartoons have words, transparency isn't an expectation of art. And the job of an illustration is to help the viewer visualize an idea or narrative,” said Wanzo. “The title of the cartoon tells you what the intent is, so it helps us think about the difference that genre might make, like in an interpretation, whether it’s an illustration or if it’s a cartoon”

Wanzo is also the author of “The Suffering Will Not Be Televised: African American Women and Sentimental Political Storytelling,” which uses African American women as a case study in exploring the kinds of storytelling conventions people must adhere to for their suffering to be legible to various institutions in the United States.

In addition, she has published in venues such as American Literature, Camera Obscura, differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, Signs, Women and Performance, and numerous edited collections. She has also written essays for media outlets such as CNN, the LA Review of Books, Huffington Post, The Conversation and the comic book “Bitch Planet.”

The presentation included a Q&A session.

Seminole State’s Speaker Series is co-sponsored by Addition Financial. All Speaker Series events are free and open to the public. The views expressed by speakers are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Seminole State College of Florida, its Board of Trustees, employees, students, alumni or partners.

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About the Speaker Series

Each year, the Seminole State Speaker Series welcomes speakers representing diverse views and interests. The Speaker Series is co-sponsored by Addition Financial. For more information and view a list of previous speakers at Seminole State, visit