Kristy Beers Fägersten, PhD (Södertörn University) is the project leader of a multidisciplinary study of feminist comic art funded by the Foundation for Baltic Sea and Eastern European Research (Östersjöstiftelsen). As a visiting scholar here at U-M, she worked on a manuscript about language play in contemporary Swedish comic strips, supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundations. Many paths brought her to the Department, including Biz Nijdam, a recent PhD graduate, Scandinavian program director Johanna Eriksson, and U-M’s STAMPS faculty member Phoebe Gloeckner, an inspiration to many female comic artists. Beers Fägersten particularly appreciated that issues of gender, equality, and political power in all sorts of media (but especially in comics) seem to permeate the Department.
It's always nice to experience other departments and academic atmospheres, but the German Department has proved to be particularly stimulating! [Classroom visits] turned out to be more helpful than I could even hope, as Johanna Eriksson, her students, and visiting researcher David Östlund pointed out aspects of language use that I otherwise may have missed. Phoebe Gloeckner provided just the right amount of challenge to force me to rethink my approach… I then had an epiphany and settled on a new, much better angle to my own linguistic investigations of comics.