Satire and the Editorial Cartoon


Ever since the days of William Hogarth and his brand of pictorial satire, expressing an opinion on the politics of the day in print demanded a combination of humor, hyperbole, and caricature in its illustration. By the 19th century, the periodical Punch appropriated the term ‘cartoon’—a finished preliminary sketch on a large piece of cardboard—to refer to its political, pictorial editorials. At the height of the turn of the century, the editorial cartoon was deeply imbedded in commenting on art, politics, and immigration in order to draw attention to corruption and other social ills.

The Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives seeks papers that examine cross-cultural early editorial cartoons, periodicals and the cartoonists, from 18th century to early 20th century (i.e. George Townsend, James Gillray, Thomas Nast, Punch, The Masses, Richard Outcault, John Tenniel), and the subverting nature of the satirical mode in text and image to respond and critique the socio-political problems of the day.

Send 300-word abstract and CV by March 10 ( This is a guaranteed MLA panel. All prospective participants must be MLA members by April 7 2015.

Latina/o Comics


The 2014 edited collection Contemporary Latina-o Media included no essays on comics. This is not, perhaps, surprising; at present, comics remain marginalized in ways that keep the medium from being as central to cultural and political exchange as print literature, film, television and radio are. However, this very condition makes comics, as a field perpetually “coming of age” yet forever on the margins, productive for thinking about the contemporary disposition of Latina/o culture and politics.

The Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives and the Division on Comparative Studies in Twentieth Century Literature therefore invite papers that explore connections between the medium of comics and the contemporary state of Latina/o media, literature, culture and politics. Productive lines of inquiry might include, but are by no means limited to: questions of identity as they manifest in visual media, the concerns of multinational/border-crossing subjects and practices in the case of a multi-tracked, verbal/visual medium such as comics, and contemporary debates over the value and limits of Latinidad in the context of comics’ ongoing struggles for cultural status. Creators of interest might include Gus Arriola, Hector Cantú, Frank Espinosa, Roberta Gregory, the Hernandez brothers, Laura Molina and Lila Quintero Weaver. Papers on comics of all kinds—short stories and graphic novels, print and digital, newspaper and book-form—are welcome.

Send 250-word abstracts to Christopher Pizzino ( by March 15. Acceptances will be announced by early April.

PLEASE NOTE: This CFP is for a proposed, not guaranteed, session at MLA 2016, which means that the session is contingent on approval by the MLA Program Committee. Responses to individual submissions will be sent out by the beginning of April, but the MLA Program Committee will not consider the entire session proposal until after that date. All prospective presenters must be current MLA members by no later than 7 April 2015.

CPF: Charlie Hebdo and its Publics

Charlie-Hebdo and its Publics


Ever since the tragic murders of staff members of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, there have been heated discussions in the public sphere regarding free speech, religious expression, and the power of satire. Reactions have differed dramatically among national and social groups, East and West. These varied discourses are amplified by the globalization and the internet, and raise questions about how images can or cannot circulate within specific national or religious contexts.

For the 2016 MLA theme “Literature and its Publics,” this panel seeks contributions that examine the Charlie Hebdo in the context of different traditions of editorial cartooning, and from the perspective of different “publics.” Relevant questions include:

-What is the significance of Charlie Hebdo in the French satirical tradition?

-How is the representation of images of Mohammed complicated by the social and political status of Muslims in France?

-How does the satirical tradition of Charlie Hebdo compare to other national traditions of satirical cartooning? Cross-cultural comparisons are especially welcome.

–Analyze the reaction of various cartoonists to the Charlie Hebdo controversy (Joe Sacco, Art Spiegleman, and others)

Send 300-word abstr. + CV by March 10 (

PLEASE NOTE: This CFP is for a proposed, not guaranteed, session at MLA 2016, which means that the session is contingent on approval by the MLA Program Committee. Responses to individual submissions will be sent out by the beginning of April, but the MLA Program Committee will not consider the entire session proposal until after that date. All prospective presenters must be current MLA members by no later than 7 April 2015.

Other Comics Panels at the MLA 2015 (Vancouver)

Besides the three events—the “Immigration and Comics” panel, the “Comics Theory Roundtable” and the cash bar—sponsored or co-sponsored by our Discussion Group, MLA 2015 in Vancouver will host other sessions devoted to comics or graphic narratives, as well as a number of individual papers that, as far as we are able to tell from the program, connect to the comics studies field.

Please find these sessions listed below.



The Graphic South (session 35)

Thursday, 8 January, 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., 114, VCC West 

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on Southern Literature

Presiding: Katherine Renee Henninger, Louisiana State Univ., Baton Rouge


  1. “The Contested Topography of the Reconstructed South: Visual Poetics in the Works of Jedediah Hotchkiss and Nathaniel Southgate Shaler,” Robert Arbour, Indiana Univ., Bloomington
  2. Stuck Rubber Baby and the Intersections of Civil Rights Historical Memory,” Julie Buckner Armstrong, Univ. of South Florida
  3. “How to Draw an Animal in the Sensible South: William Bartram’s Natural History of Compassion,” Thomas Doran, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara
  4. “Graphic (Un)Being: Swamping the Deleuzian Body without Organs in Contemporary Comics (Swamp Thing, Swamp Preacher, and Bayou),” Taylor Hagood, Florida Atlantic Univ.; Daniel Cross Turner, Coastal Carolina Univ.


The Comics of Joe Sacco: Journalism in a Visual World
 (session 41)

Thursday, 8 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m., 202, VCC West

A special session

Presiding: Daniel W. Worden, Univ. of New Mexico, Albuquerque


Speakers: Lan Dong, Univ. of Illinois, Springfield; Ann D’Orazio, Univ. of New Mexico, Albuquerque; Jared Gardner, Ohio State Univ., Columbus; Maureen Shay, Univ. of California, Los Angeles
Responding: David M. Ball, Princeton Univ.


Session Description:
The roundtable brings together established and emerging scholars in comics studies to discuss an acclaimed contemporary comics artist, Joe Sacco. The discussion focuses on Sacco’s significance to both literary and comics studies, as well as the challenges that his “comics journalism” poses to the categories and methods of analysis in comics studies.


Nationalism and Historical Memory in Global Graphic Fiction (session 91)

Thursday, 8 January, 3:30–4:45 p.m., 9, VCC East

A special session

Presiding: Christopher Brian Conway, Univ. of Texas, Arlington


  1. “Life Writing, History, and We Are Still at War,” Jose Alaniz, Univ. of Washington, Seattle
  2. “Nationalistic Anxiety: Remembering Jacques Tardi’s Adèle Blance-Sec,” Nhora Lucia Serrano, Harvard Univ.
  3. Mestizaje and Anticolonialism in the Mexican Western,” Christopher Brian Conway, Univ. of Texas, Arlington


Zionism and the Novel (session 201)

Friday, 9 January, 8:30–9:45 a.m., 224, VCC West

A special session

Presiding: Russell A. Berman, Stanford Univ.


  1. “Bioregions and Nation Building in Daniel Deronda,” Sophie Christman-Lavin, Stony Brook Univ., State Univ. of New York
  2. “Zionism in the Novels of Leon Uris, Philip Roth, and Michael Chabon,” Michael Kotzin, independent scholar
  3. “Zionism and the Graphic Novel: Rutu Modan’s Exit Wounds and the Development of a Genre,” Naomi B. Sokoloff, Univ. of Washington, Seattle


Virtual Women: Webcomics (session 654)

Sunday, 11 January, 8:30–9:45 a.m., 3, VCC East

A special session

Presiding: Leah Misemer, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison


  1. “‘Straw Feminists’: Webcomics, Parody, and Intertextuality,” Sarah Sillin, Univ. of Maryland, College Park
  2. Ménage à 3: Gender and Sexual Diversity through Women’s Perspectives,” Nicole Slipp, Queen’s Univ.
  3. “One Click Wonder: How Female Comics Creators Leapt from Private to Public in a Single Bound,” Aimee Valentine, Western Michigan Univ.
Responding: Hillary L. Chute, Univ. of Chicago


MLA 2015 ~ Saturday Cash Bar!

 Come one, Come all!


Our Official Saturday night social event for the MLA 2015 Convention in Vancouver will be held Saturday, 10 January, 7:00 pm – 8:15 pm, in 122 VCC West.

We look forward to seeing many of you there. Please join us!

ch dance




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