An Ethno-Gothic Graphic Narrative of the Great Migration
His book project is a graphic narrative that investigates the Policy Era in 1930s Chicago, Illinois. Policy was the common name for a numerically based game of chance that migrated up from the south with the thousands of African Americans who made the trek to the Windy City looking for a better life. The story is a historical fiction narrative set in Bronzeville; the south side of Chicago which was designated as the only space where African Americans could reside. The narrative is multimodal in nature. It utilizes the medium of comics as a storytelling device but also fuses the graphic aspect with prose. This reflects the hybrid nature of the story which is a combination of pulp-noir-detective story fused with supernatural thriller. This use of the supernatural in the narrative explores what he calls the Ethno Gothic; the use of Gothic tropes viewed through a critical race perspective. The function of the Ethno Gothic is to discover, unpack, and exorcise the revenants left by segments of American history that still haunt and undermine equality in our society. His project would also entail an exhibition of artwork generated from his research for the book and, if possible, a symposium examining the importance of the Policy Era in American history. John Jennings is an accomplished designer, curator, illustrator, cartoonist, and award-winning graphic novelist. His work overlaps into various disciplines including American Studies, African American Studies, Design History, Media Studies, Sociology, Women and Gender Studies, and Literature. His research and teaching focus on the analysis, explication, and disruption of African American stereotypes in popular visual media. His research is concerned with the topics of representation and authenticity, visual culture, visual literacy, social justice, and design pedagogy. Jennings is co-author of the award winning graphic novel The Hole: Consumer Culture and Black Comix: African American Independent Comics Art + Culture.