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Cassandra Voss Center to Present Year-Long “Kapow!” Series

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From St. Norbert College, September 12, 2014
by Erich Wegenke,, 920-403-3089

The Cassandra Voss Center (CVC) on the St. Norbert College campus is presenting a year of superhero-themed programming, entitled "Kapow! Who's Your Hero?" By examining the themes and structure of superhero narratives, the CVC aims to provide insight into a variety of real-world social issues. "Through the lens of fantastical identity narratives," as the CVC's website explains it, "superheroes & comics provide a vehicle to talk about gender, race, sexuality, and class."

"We wanted to have a theme where people can come in with multiple points of entry," said Anna Czarnik-Neimeyer, the assistant director of the CVC. "The pleasing thing about it is the imagery is already so strong. It's really meaningful to have a hero."
The CVC has a variety of events planned to fit this theme, including a three-part Skype series with prominent creators and scholars in the comics industry, a songwriting workshop, and several guest lectures, with more programming still to be announced.
Czarnik-Neimeyer emphasized the importance of an intersectional approach to social issues. The CVC's three-part "SkypeTacular!" series, in particular, aims to showcase creators and scholars of color and their work, and will tackle questions of racial identity, disparity and marginalization along with issues of gender and sexuality.
The CVC aims to be "scholarship-driven, welcoming, innovative, and fun," and hopes to fulfill all four of those goals with the Kapow! series. "When we're talking about difficult topics, to have some joy in it is really important," Czarnik-Neimeyer said. She referred to the widespread popularity of superhero media as a "Trojan horse"--a way to use an entertaining subject to introduce discussion on a variety of complex issues. "When people talk about heroes," she said, "they often find they're talking about identity without realizing it."

The "Kapow!" series marks the second full academic year of programming for the Cassandra Voss Center at St. Norbert College. The CVC is home to the Joan P. Schaupp Women's Center, the Men's Initiative and the women's and gender studies discipline. It was established in 2013 in memory of Cassandra Voss, and named in her honor. Voss-- who would have been the first St. Norbert College student to complete an individualized major in women's and gender studies-- lost her life in a car accident in 2007.
The Cassandra Voss Center is housed in a building on the St. Norbert College campus that was formerly John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, built in 1883. The building was renovated over the course of 2013 and dedicated on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013 (Voss' birthday).
A full list of currently announced programming for the Kapow! series is available at All events are free and open to the public. For more information on the Cassandra Voss Center and its programming, email or call 920-4033-1342.

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