Julian C. Chambliss


C705 Wells Hall
619 Red Cedar Rd
East Lansing, MI 48824

FacultyEnglishGlobal Studies in Arts and Humanities

Literary Studies; Film and Media Studies; Popular Culture; Digital Humanities; Global and Diasporic Studies

ORCID: 0000-0003-2779-048X


Julian C. Chambliss is a Professor of English and the Val Berryman Curator of History at the MSU Museum at Michigan State University. In addition, he is the faculty lead for the Department of English Graphic Possibilities Research Workshop and a core participant in the MSU College of Arts & Letters’ Consortium for Critical Diversity in a Digital Age Research (CEDAR). His research interests focus on race, culture, and power in real and imagined spaces. His recent writing has appeared in Scholarly Editing, GenealogyKULA: Knowledge Creation, Dissemination, and Preservation Studies, and The Conversation US.

He is a co-editor and contributor for Ages of Heroes, Eras of Men: Superheroes and the American Experience, a book examining the relationship between superheroes and the American Experience (2013). His book on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Assembling the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Essays on the Social, Cultural, and Geopolitical Domain, was published in 2018.  His recent essays on comics have appeared in More Critical Approaches to Comics (2019) and The Ages of Black Panther (2020). His exhibition for the MSU Museum, Beyond the Black Panther: Vision of Afrofuturism in American Comics, explores Afrofuturist theme comics produced in the United States. His comics and digital humanities projects include The Graphic Possibilities OER, an open educational resource focused on comics, and Critical Fanscape, a student-centered critical-making project focused on communities connected to comics in the United States. He also serves as faculty lead for Comics as Data North America (CaDNA), an ongoing collaborative project at Michigan State University that uses library catalog data to explore North American comic culture. His most recent open-access book, Making Sense of Digital Humanities: Transformations and Interventions in Technocultures, offers a thematic roadmap to teaching digital humanities. His comic history exhibitions include Take Off! Comic Artists from the Great White North (2019),  Comics and the City (2020), and Justice for All: Social Justice in Comics (2022).

An interdisciplinary scholar, he continually seeks ways to bridge teaching, scholarship, and service to understand space, place, and identity better. His work embraces Black digital humanities and Critical Afrofuturist frameworks.  His co-edited primary document reader, Cities Imagined: The African Diaspora in Media and History (2018), highlights the differing ideology informing our understanding of black space. He has worked on several exhibitions examining Afrofuturism and visual culture, including Transfiguration: A Black Speculative Vision of Freedom at Philip and Patricia Frost Art Museum at Florida International University, A Past Unremembered: The Transformative Legacy of the Black Speculative Imagination, and Black Kirby: An Afrofuturist Vision both at the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts. He was featured on the Terrestrial Space Panel at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Claiming Space Symposium in 2022.

Chambliss co-produced and hosted Every Tongue Got to Confess, a podcast examining communities of color from 2017 to 2022.  Every Tongue won the 2019 Hampton Dunn New Media Award from the Florida Historical Society. In addition, he co-produced and co-hosted the Florida Constitution Podcast, a limited series podcast that won the 2019 Hampton Dunn Internet Award from the Florida Historical Society. He produces and hosts Reframing History, a podcast exploring humanities theory and practice in the United States. The second season of Reframing History inspired the publication of  Reframing Digital Humanities: Conversations with Digital Humanists (2021), collecting conversations from leading DH scholars. Chambliss co-hosts and produces The Graphic Possibilities Podcast exploring comics making and pedagogy.

Media Mentions

Awards and Honors


IAH Afrofantastic
Since the 1990s we have seen an explosion of speculative art rooted in the black diasporic experience.  Spanning media and crossing borders, the speculative work offered by these voices has coalesced into a movement broadly defined as Afrofuturism. This course examines the historical roots and contemporary expression of Afrofuturism in the United States. Afrofuturism is an evolving theoretical framework that seeks to reframe how we think about the past and future of race and identity, colonial legacies, and our approach to science and technology. While the term was created in the 1990s, this course seeks to understand how the contemporary Afrofuturist expressions are situated in a broader black speculative practice that uses the imaginary for liberatory means.


Cities Imagined: The African Diaspora in Media and History edited by Walter Greason and Julian C. Chambliss (Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt Publishing, 2018)

Assembling the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Essays on the Social, Cultural and Geopolitical Domain edited by Julian C. Chambliss, William Svitavsky, and Daniel Fandino (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2018)

Ages of Heroes, Eras of Men: Superheroes and the American Experience edited by Julian C. Chambliss, William Svitavsky & Thomas C. Donaldson, (Newcastle Upon Tyne UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013)

“A Different Nation: Continuing a Legacy of Decolonization in Black Panther,” in The Ages of the Black Panther edited by Joseph J. Darowski (Jefferson, N.C: McFarland, 2020)

“Brotherman and Big City: A Commentary on Superhero Geography,” in More Critical Approaches to Comics edited by Matthew J. Smith, Randy Duncan and Matthew Brown (New York: Routledge, 2019)

“March 4, 1893,” in Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers by Matthew F. Delmont, (Stanford University Press, 2019)

“Don’t Call Them Memorials,” in Controversial Monuments and Memorials: A Guide for Community Leaders edited by David Allison (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2018)

Wenxian Zhang, Rahim Raja, and Julian Chambliss, “Race and Sport in the Florida Sun: The Rollins/Ohio Wesleyan Football Game of 1947,” Phylon 56, no. 2 (Winter 2019): 59–81


University News

Afrofuturism & Quilting Exhibition: Exploring Connections Within Teaching, Learning, and Quilt Praxis
Published April 17, 2024 in College of Arts & Letters
Stitch by stitch, quilt making has played an integral role in African American history. But the storytelling embedded in the quilts themselves is more than mere tradition.In the Afrofuturism &…Read now »
‘Afrofantastic:’ Science Fiction, Technology, Black Culture Explored in New Documentary by MSU Professors
Published June 9, 2023 in College of Arts & Letters
Scholar Stanford W. Carpenter sits in a chair in front of a suspended microphone and camera held by another man. In the background is a display of stained-glass windows as part of a museum exhibit.
Afrofuturism has entered more mainstream conversations in the last decade thanks to its influence on fashion and art, notably in the music of Janelle Monae and in the film “Black…Read now »
Graphic Design Students and College Marketing Staff Earn Multiple ADDY Awards
Published March 6, 2023 in College of Arts & Letters
Some of the top American Advertising (ADDY) Awards presented this year by the American Advertising Federation (AAF) Lansing went to Michigan State University students majoring in Graphic Design in…Read now »
MSU: A Leader in Comics and Pop Culture Scholarship, Now Host to Comics Studies Society
Published July 27, 2022 in College of Arts & Letters
This week, Michigan State University will host the fifth annual conference for the Comic Studies Society, one of the premier academic communities dedicated to comic studies. What makes MSU the…Read now »
Comic Studies Society Conference Coming to MSU this July
Published June 6, 2022 in College of Arts & Letters
The Comic Studies Society (CSS), one of the premier academic communities dedicated to comic studies, will hold its fifth annual conference at Michigan State University from July 28-30 this…Read now »
Ask the Expert: MSU Professor Julian Chambliss on “What is Afrofuturism?”
Published June 2, 2022 in College of Arts & Letters
“Afrofuturism” was first coined by author and culture critic Mark Dery in his 1993 essay, “Black to the Future.” Since then, Afrofuturism has grown as an artform, practice, methodology, and…Read now »
Afrofantastic: Seeing the Impact of Black Speculation and Liberation in American Culture
Published October 19, 2021 in College of Arts & Letters
https://youtu.be/sDrWmnXx8W0 What is Afrofuturism and why does it matter to our contemporary moment? In this presentation, Julian Chambliss, Professor of English, Core Faculty in the Consortium…Read now »
MSU to Collaborate with Comic Studies Society on Conferences and Scholarship 
Published September 14, 2021 in College of Arts & Letters
Michigan State University and the Comics Studies Society (CSS) are pleased to announce the formation of an ongoing, multiyear collaboration that will begin with the 2022 CSS conference taking…Read now »
Faculty Voice: Forging a New Legacy
Published September 9, 2021 in College of Arts & Letters
Julian Chambliss is a Professor in the Department of English, core faculty for the Consortium for Critical Diversity in Digital Age Research, and Val Berryman Curator of History for…Read now »
Classes with CAL Spring 2021
Published March 23, 2021 in College of Arts & Letters
graphic of computer with green text
Take time during COVID to check out the innovative thinking in these talks presented by College of Arts & Letters faculty on the topics of wellbeing, learning a foreign language, and social…Read now »
Faculty Voice: Comics and the Black Experience
Published February 9, 2021 in College of Arts & Letters
Julian Chambliss, Professor in the Department of English, core faculty for the Consortium for Critical Diversity in Digital Age Research, and Val Berryman Curator of History for…Read now »
$3 Million Grant Funds Exhibits of Art Created Globally During COVID-19
Published January 13, 2021 in College of Arts & Letters
three images of people put together; a man wearing a dark zip up and glasses (left), a women with short brown hair wearing a blue collar shirt and glasses (middle), and a women with long blonde hair wearing hoop earrings and a green scarf (right).
Michigan State University has begun collecting art from around the world in an exploration of how people are using creativity in coping with the challenges and stresses of the COVID-19…Read now »
Integrative Arts and Humanities (IAH) Offers New and Innovative Courses
Published November 20, 2020 in College of Arts & Letters
two men shaking hands in the middle of classroom
Delivering general education curriculum in the arts and humanities requires some ingenuity to put the human experience into context. Faculty and instructors who teach in MSU’s Center for…Read now »
English Professors Use Film and Comics to Engage Students in American History
Published February 18, 2020 in College of Arts & Letters
two men in a sound booth talking into microphones
Jeff Wray and Julian Chambliss, two distinguished professors from Michigan State University’s Department of English, joined Russ White on WKAR’s MSU Today to talk…Read now »
Visiting Artists-Scholars to Focus on Afrofuturism
Published August 28, 2019 in College of Arts & Letters
comic page with a microphone and three speech bubbles surrounding a man in the middle wearing a crown
The College of Arts & Letters will welcome artist-scholars John Jennings and Stacey Robinson to campus September 23-27 to engage students and faculty in conversations about race, gender, and…Read now »
College Welcomes 30 New Faculty and Staff Members
Published August 30, 2018 in College of Arts & Letters
brick building with a blue sky surrounded by trees
This year, the College of Arts & Letters welcomes 30 new faculty and staff members. They include the following:  Qais Assali Qais Assali, Visiting Assistant Professor and…Read now »