Dissertation Completion Fund

My name is Francesca Lyn and I am raising money in order to finish my dissertation. I’m in the home stretch but I need your help. I am a doctoral candidate in Virginia Commonwealth University's interdisciplinary doctoral program in Media, Art, and Text (MATX). I am a critical race and gender scholar whose current research centers on how women of color depict their own lived experiences.

I’m the first person in my immediate family to go to college. I have worked hard the entire time, often holding down multiple jobs. Up until now I have been fully funded throughout my time at VCU.

In the fall of 2017 I will teach English (ENGL) 291: Comics, Race, and Gender. In Gender, Race and Comics students examine the intersection of gender and race in both independent and mainstream comics. It has been a popular class and I truly love what I do. However, the money I make as an adjunct professor is not enough to cover all of my expenses.

What are you going to do with the money?

Recently, I have had some financial setbacks, mostly due to missed work because of medical issues. I am happy to report that my health is great. Though I am working and continue to seek additional income streams, it is not enough money to pay all of my expenses.

I’m asking for this amount because it will cover tuition and fees from now until my intended graduation date of December 2018. This money will also allow me to travel to academic conferences, something I have not been able to do in over a year. Finally, it will afford me some time to submit to academic journals - a necessary step if I am going to obtain a tenure-track job.

What is your dissertation about?

In my dissertation project, "Graphic Intimacies: Identity, Humor, and Trauma in Autobiographical Comics by Women of Color", I examine texts by women of color written in the new millennium. "One Hundred Demons" (2002) created by mixed-race Filipino American artist Lynda Barry is a collection of twenty autobiographical comic strip stories. In "Forget Sorrow: An Ancestral Tale" (2011), Taiwanese born Chinese American artist Belle Yang tells the story of her father’s family.  Biracial Japanese American artist MariNaomi chronicles her experiences working in Japanese hostess bars in "Turning Japanese" (2016).  Jennifer’s Journal (2005) chronicles the life of African American artist Jennifer Cruté.

Although the scholarship on autobiographical comics is growing, with the exception of Hillary L. Chute’s "Graphic Women: Life Narrative and Contemporary Comics" (2010), Elisabeth El Refaie’s "Autobiographical Comics: Life Writing in Pictures" (2012), and Jane Tolmie’s "Drawing from Life: Memory and Subjectivity in Comic Art" (2013), there is a paucity of work on the autobiographical comics that women of color write – comics that necessitate an intersectional understanding of the lives of women of color as experienced through this medium.  "Graphic Intimacies", then, offers a corrective to this oversight.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about me.


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Francesca Lyn 
Richmond, VA
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