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YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. — Young Harris College Chair of Communication Studies and Associate Professor Dr. Chris Richardson recently published his fourth book, “Batman and the Joker: Contested Sexuality in Popular Culture.”

His book explores the love-hate relationship of the Dark Knight and the Clown Prince of Crime in relation to decades of broader discourses of politics and prejudice. It moves from the 1939 comics to contemporary plotlines to examine changing assumptions about gender and sexuality in American popular culture.

“The book was not an easy one to write, but I feel like I’ve been preparing for it for decades now,” states Richardson. “In the back of my mind, I was always thinking about what exactly was happening between Batman and the Joker and how that relationship reflects a much broader cultural context that has traditionally pitted ‘homicidal homosexuals’ against ‘hetero heroes.’ But, of course, it’s much more complicated. And, perhaps, it’s much more liberating if you read between the lines.”

Will Brooker, author of “Batman Unmasked,” “Hunting the Dark Knight” and “Why Bowie Matters,” calls it “a dazzling engagement with the Batman-Joker dynamic across multiple media. Richardson explores their love-hate relationship in relation to decades of cultural discourses around fashion, psychiatry, politics and prejudice, making connections with the deft skill of a detective while retaining a playful, witty fluidity. He perfectly captures the paradoxical, contradictory, queer complexity of these cultural icons, and the way they reflect our shifting anxieties and ideals around gender and sexuality.”

Richardson earned a doctorate degree in media studies from Western University after earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ryerson University and a master’s degree in popular culture from Brock University. He joined the YHC faculty in 2012 and “is one of the College’s most distinguished faculty because he is both an outstanding classroom instructor and scholar,” according to Dr. Eloise Whisenhunt, the dean of humanities at YHC.

Please join Richardson, Diana Richards and Prism: Gender & Sexuality Alliance for a book launch event on Wednesday, Nov. 18, which will be held in person for the YHC community and virtually for the public. Event details can be found at

About Young Harris College

Young Harris College is a private baccalaureate and master’s degree-granting institution located in the beautiful mountains of North Georgia. Founded in 1886 and historically affiliated with The United Methodist Church, Young Harris College educates, inspires and empowers students through an education that purposefully integrates the liberal arts and professional studies. The College has four academic divisions: Fine Arts; Humanities; Mathematics, Science and Technology; and Professional Studies. More than 1,400 students are enrolled in its residential and Early College programs. The College is an active member of the NCAA Division II and remains a fierce competitor in the prestigious Peach Belt Conference. For more information, visit