Dr. Carolyn Cocca from the Politics, Economics, and Law Department will be speaking about, “Superheroes, Superpowers, and Social Change: How and Why Representation Matters for Gender Equity and Equality,” as part of the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Public Lecture Series.
Representations of superheroes over the last 75 years have inspired many with their displays of heroism, but they have also embodied inequalities of gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, and ability. As with real-life positions of power across various institutions, some demographic groups are overrepresented, while those from more marginalized groups have been underrepresented and stereotyped. Female superheroes exemplify this underrepresentation and stereotyping, but at the same time can serve as empowering figures. In exploring how and why representations of female superheroes have changed over time, this presentation will demonstrate how much we need diverse, authentic representations that show us that everyone has power, and that anyone can be a hero.
Dr. Cocca teaches courses about U.S. politics, constitutional law, and gender studies and is a recipient of the State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. She has served as Director of the SUNY Old Westbury Women's Center, and was co-principal investigator with Professor Amanda Frisken of a $200,000 grant from the Department of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women to train all campus units to have a coordinated and effective response to sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, and stalking, as well as establishing educational programs geared toward preventing such violence. She is the author of Jailbait: The Politics of Statutory Rape Laws in the United States and the editor of Adolescent Sexuality. Her latest book, Superwomen: Gender, Power, and Representation, won the 2017 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award in the Best Academic/Scholarly Work category.
The Public Lecture Series features innovative research by Old Westbury’s MALS-affiliated faculty from a wide variety of disciplines. Presenters share their expertise as scholars, provide insights into current events, and engage in discussion with audience members. Lectures are free, open to the public, and wheelchair accessible. Space may be limited, so be sure to plan ahead.