German graphic novels and Salem

By Nicole Winks

On 11 Nov., Matt Hambro gave a presentation entitled The History of the Universe in a Comic: Time Lapse in German Graphic Narratives. The presentation focused on the use of time lapse in graphic novels.  The focus was specifically on the non-indexical uses for creation stories.

Time lapse is embedded in the Judeo-Christian creation story and in 2010 there was a graphic novel created called “Alpha Directions”. “Alpha Directions” simulates the universe’s creation through image only and it is considered non-conventional due to its play with the lack of frames or words in the beginning and includes an overlay of science and religion.

Hambro decided to present on this topic because it is what he is currently doing his research on as a German professor.  He was invited to present on this topic at Salem by the new German professor, Corinna Kahnke.

Hambro focused specifically on German comics and when asked why he stated, “They do weird things with the concept of time and I have an interest in German culture and the language as a professor of German.”  

He plans to look into German nuclear comics next, which are influenced by Japanese manga and discuss a post-war use of nuclear power. Hambro sees the future of the  medium of time lapse in visual literature as being “used to help people to experience the emotions of the times that are being depicted through time lapse because it is quick and condensed for those who believe themselves to be too busy.”

 This event was planned by the new German professor at Salem College, Corinna Kahnke.  Kahnke is from Germany originally and chose to teach at Salem College to have the opportunity to rebuild its German program, having done this for other colleges in the past.

She also loves the atmosphere at Salem in which there is a certain sense of community and collaboration between the faculty and the students. “The college has an atmosphere and a spirit that is distinctly it’s own and it felt like coming home.” Kahnke enjoys the inquisitiveness of the students, whether they be hers or not. “The students have a lack of fear with asking direct questions. It is a real collaboration between the students and I.”

She wants to establish a German minor on the campus and later a German major. “I wish to draw students into German culture and literature as well as introduce them to a non-stereotypical Germany.” German is also distinctly tied to the history of Salem.  

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