With thanks to the US and Canadian postal services, I was thrilled for my very own copy of Unflattening to arrive last week! It was nearly a year ago that I defended the dissertation, just after we welcomed our daughter into the world, and as she turns one and is starting to get up on her feet, it seems fitting that this too is launching. There’ve been sightings of it across the US and Canada in bookstores, comics shops, and by those who preordered, so it’s happening! One note about the images here, you can see a sketch page peeking out behind the orange of the back cover. I was really pleased to be able to include scans of some of my sketch-outlines on newsprint to offer a behind-the-scenes look at the process. I’ll also share some of those here in the coming weeks along with some other elements that didn’t make the book.


Calvin Reed of Publishers Weekly interviewed me about Unflattening for their More to Come audio podcast. It’s a long conversation on comics, scholarship, and my process, and it was a lot of fun to talk with Calvin, whose thoughtful and ceaseless support of comics I’ve admired for years. Online here. (PW also reviewed Unflattening here and I did an interview with Inside Higher Education here. I’ve devoted a page on this site to compiling all news about the book, and you can see more info on Harvard UP’s site as well.)


In January of last year, I participated in a panel at MLA on alternative scholarship titled Beyond the Protomonograph. The organizers behind that, Daniel Powell and Melissa Dalgleish, have gone on curate a collection of articles from current or recent doctoral students on their non-traditional approaches to scholarships from digital to collaborative to comics. I think their efforts in bringing these different voices together is an extremely valuable contribution to exploring where scholarship is headed. The entire collection is now available here. I contributed a piece reflecting on my experience titled “Why not? A partial postmortem on creating a dissertation in comics form,” which is online here. It opens with:


One of the questions I’m most frequently asked is, “How did you get away with it?” That is, how did you get a dissertation in comics form past the censors that your university (not known for its radical openness) must have in place? [Read the entire piece here.]


Also this week, I did an interview with Anne Brackenbury for the series Graphic Adventures in Anthropology –  a project of Teaching Culture out of the University of Toronto Press, exploring, as the name suggests, the connections between comics and anthropology. The conversation ranged from a discussion of my process, the intersection of scholarship and art, future possibilities for ethnography in comics, and collaboration. Have a look here.


Writer-in-residence Ian Williams and I unveiled our collaborative comic “Articulate” with faculty and students at the University of Calgary on Wednesday the 8th. And tomorrow (as I type this), I’ll be presenting to folks at UofC on my work.


Finally, while it’s only been out a few days, Unflattening has already been used in a classroom! Professor Steven L. Berg of Schoolcraft College shared the work with his composition courses, and he shared a few comments, including this:

While discussing *Unflattening* in my afternoon class, one of the students brought up the issue of parallax. Another student who was paging through the book responded, “Dr. Sousanis wrote about that on page 31.” The first student then explained the concept to the class and students began to spontaneously hold their figures up in front of their noses while closing one eye at a time. (These images are shared with the students’ permissions.)

It was really cool to see the book in action! The page on Parallax that they are referring to is here. Dr. Berg is planning to use the book in his courses in the fall, and has already set up a wiki around that. I will share more on that in the fall.

Thanks for the support! – N

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