Like pop culture? Take a summer course and travel to the San Diego Comic-Con!

An overhead view of just a portion of Comic-Con International in San Diego.
An overhead view of just a portion of Comic-Con International in San Diego.

Students can take part in a one-of-a-kind summer experience by participating in the Power of Comics field study, which will take them to the largest pop-culture convention in the world, located in San Diego, California.

As part the extracurricular academic journey, students will participate in the world-renowned event in a manner that few students are able – by doing field research utilizing ethnography, or participant observation, techniques. Additionally, students will participate in a scholarly panel to discuss their findings.

“One of the great things of Comic-Con is that it intersects with so many areas, such as communication, English, psychology, theatre, fashion design, business and marketing,” said Assistant Professor of Communication and Co-Director of Cinematic Arts Michael Meindl, who is leading the summer 2020 trip. The program is flexible so that students can connect their research to their major or desired career.”

The journey to Comic-Con allows students to experience all aspects of the convention with projects in previous years including topics, such as ADA accessibility of the event and how attendees form “nerdom” and “fandom” identities.

“As researchers, the program is designed to challenge students to be open and critical observers,” Meindl said. “It takes a certain ability to distance yourself from the immediate environment in order to look for and see patterns that are not always obvious. Students also get practical experience with ethnographic research and immerse themselves in a culture in order to study it. Students must use critical analysis skills in order to collect relevant data and formulate a thesis based on that data.”

The summer 2020 trip is from July 21-27 in San Diego, California. The program is open to both undergraduate and graduate students with multiple options for course credit. To learn more, visit The deadline for applications is Oct. 31, 2019.

Oct 24, 2019
Max Esterhuizen