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Wonder Woman Series

Wonder Woman, A Harbinger of a Different Kind of Leader

When William Moulton Marston, the creator of Wonder Woman, had the idea for a new kind of superhero – one who triumphed not with fire and fury, but with love – it was his wife Elizabeth who suggested that it be a woman. Wonder Woman made her comic book debut in 1941 as a member of the Justice League.  She was not the first female superhero. She was, however, the first non-violent one. She was at once a warrior with god-like strength and a humanitarian who preferred peace and love to war and violence.

For decades Wonder Woman has been an inspirational symbol for how women can effectively use their own distinctive values and abilities to negotiate male-dominated worlds. “We are all Wonder Women” and “We all have Wonder Woman inside of us” are only two such inspirational sayings that have been embraced.

For decades Wonder Woman has been a harbinger of a different kind of leader, visionary, or change agent.  As such, she is an apt symbol for the year 2018. This is the 120-year anniversary of Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s The Woman’s Bible. This year increasing numbers of women are involved in politics, as candidates, organizers, and donors. The #MeToo movement has resulted in many dramatic changes in American society, including substantive discussions about power and privilege. Many women are actively imagining a future that seems more just, egalitarian, community-oriented, and peaceful.

It is not an entirely new vision. But there does seem to be a new resolve toward achieving it, a resolve characteristic of what we hear from Wonder Woman herself: “If it means interfering in an ensconced, outdated system to help just one woman, man, or child . . . I’m willing to accept the consequences” (Wonder Woman #170).

Don’t kill if you can wound, don’t wound if you can subdue, don’t subdue if you can pacify, and don’t raise your hand at all until you’ve first extended it.”

–Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman Vol. 3 #25

Wonder Woman, Tattoos, Campaigns, and the Construction Of Identity

What shapes identity? Expectations from societal norms, parents, religious values, or, maybe, historical factors? This series consists of several case studies, each of which highlights both how certain kinds of expectations have sought to shape women's identities, and the ways in which women have chosen creatively to respond.

See Jane Run: Liberals and Conservatives Running for Office in 2018's "Year of the Woman”

Date: Thursday, September 27, 2018
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Location: Blocker Hall Auditorium
Speaker: Dr. Leslie Caughell, Associate Professor of Political Science and Gender and Women’s Studies, Virginia Wesleyan University

Dr. Leslie Caughell introduces the realities of women running for political office in 2018, including both the ways in which these women may benefit as a result of their gender and the ways in which their gender poses challenges. The presentation pays particular attention to how female candidates are working to reach female voters, many of whom have traditionally not voted or voted for more conservative candidates. Don’t miss Caughell’s timely talk and audience discussion.

On Her Flesh: Queer Jewish Women and Pride Tattoos

Date: Thursday, October 4, 2018
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Location: Blocker Hall Auditorium
Speaker: Dr. Amy Milligan, Batten Endowed Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies and Women’s Studies and Director of the Institute of Jewish Studies and Interfaith Understanding, Old Dominion University

The pink triangle has gone from a stigmatizing Holocaust symbol to an emblem of LGBTQ pride. Similarly, Jewish women using rainbow Stars of David have been accused of promoting political agendas and have been banned from certain LGBTQ pride events. Dr. Amy Milligan discusses how these symbols and their use by women have taken on new meaning in their contemporary contexts. How are they used differently by women than men, by Jews than non-Jews, or by younger generations than old? And what are the implications when these symbols are tattooed on Jewish women’s bodies?

Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, and Mary Magdalene: Origin Stories that Shape Women’s Power

Date: Thursday, November 1, 2018
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Location: Blocker Hall Auditorium
Speaker: Dr. Elizabeth Coody, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Morningside College

Dr. Elizabeth Coody explains how the origin of each of these women as “monster” or hero offers an example of how perceptions about where women come from can limit their perceived power. Using the narrative flexibility found in comics, Professor Coody guides us to discover a more nuanced origin story for fictional, historical, and contemporary women.

Imagining the Scandal of the Cross through Comics and Graphic Novels

Date: Thursday, November 1, 2018
Time: 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Location: Blocker Hall Auditorium
Speaker: Dr. Elizabeth Coody, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Morningside College

For countless adherents to the Christian tradition, the c​ross functions as a symbol of divine power. For the earliest Christians, however, the cross represented only a traumatic event. This presentation places several New Testament passages that interpret the cross into dialogue with comics and graphic novel portrayals of the life and death of Jesus. Dr. Elizabeth Coody, looks at how comics present the cross in a way that increases the power​ of biblical texts for present-day readers.

Please join us this semester as we look both to neglected voices from the past and to visionaries today, all of whom are shaping the future.