University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Upcoming Programs & Events

Monday, March 30, 2015 - 7:00pm

Artist Sophie Yanow to Speak on Cities and Social Control in Her Graphic Novel “War of Streets and Houses”


Sophie Yanow, artist and teaching fellow at the Center for Cartoon Studies, White River Junction, Vermont, will give a public talk and signing for her innovative and widely-praised graphic novel War of Streets and Houses. Yanow’s book is both personal and political, a diary and memory comic of the Montreal student uprisings of spring 2012 as well as a meditation on city planning, social control, the history of urban design and strategies of repression from Hausmann’s Paris to Marshal Bugead’s tactics in Algeria. Publishers Weekly in a starred review said War of Streets and Houses is “engaging and informative...each illustration conveys a wealth of emotional detail... The book’s quiet deliberation becomes more impressive with each read; Yanow is an author/illustrator to watch.”The Atlantic Cities praised her “deft sketches and minimal text [which show] how the streets of a city can simultaneously foster and crush social change, and how urban humans cling to personal freedom in an increasingly monitored world.”

Yanow studied printmaking and studio arts at the University of California Santa Cruz, and began her comics career in working a Bay Area comics shop. In 2011, she moved to Montreal for a three-month artists residency where she joined the independent, experimental Colosse Collective and published In Situ, a collection of journal comics. She was an invited artist-researcher for the Canadian Center for Architecture’s “C for Condo” workshop, and participated in projects such as the 48 Heures de la Bande Dessinée, the strike-related online Manif de Bonhommes, and La Hausse en Question strike zine. Her work has been widely exhibited in the United States and Canada, and War of Streets and Houses has been an assigned reading in a variety of urban planning and architecture courses. Yanow’s work stands in a tradition of inquiries into the life and nature of cities by Jewish graphic novelists, from Will Eisner’s Dropsie Avenue to Leela Corman’s Unterzakhn.


Yanow's appearance is part of a series of visits by women graphic novelists to the Five College area, including talks and signings by Lois Ahrens (The Real Cost of Prisons), Hazel Reed Newlevant (If This Be Sin), and Melissa Mendes (Hampshire College 2006, Freddy Stories). Each graphic novelist speaks in public, open classes in Thompson Hall, Room 106, UMass Amherst, at 10 AM, with Ahrens appearing Weds., March 25th, Newlevant Weds. April 8th, and Mendes. Weds. April 22. Modern Myths, 34 Bridge St # 4, in Northampton, (413) 582-6973,, will also host talks and signings with Newlevant on Weds. April 8th, talk at 4 PM and signing at 5 PM, and Mendes appearing together with Charles Forman, artist, founder and publisher of Oily comics, Weds. April 22, talk at 4 PM and signing at 5 PM.




Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - 7:00pm

Choiceless Choices: American Missionaries and the Armenian Genocide

More information about this program is forthcoming.