MLA–Comics Theory Roundtable

This is the second of our three official events at the next MLA convention, to be held in Vancouver, Thursday through Sunday, 8-11 January 2015:

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720. Comics Theory Roundtable

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Sunday, 11 January 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., West 214, VCC West

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives

Presiding: Martha B. Kuhlman, Bryant Univ.

Speakers: Michael A. Chaney, Dartmouth Coll.; Hugo Frey, Univ. of Chichester; Jared Gardner, Ohio State Univ., Columbus; Fabrice Leroy, Univ. of Louisiana, Lafayette; Barbara Postema, Ryerson Polytechnic Univ.

This roundtable analyzes interdisciplinary approaches to studying comics. Comics theory includes semiotics, film theory, linguistics, visual studies, and narrative theory, among other disciplines. The scholars examine to what extent these discourses are in conversation with one another and seek connections among them.

 

MLA 2015–Immigration and Comics

This is the first of our three official events at the next MLA convention, to be held in Vancouver, Thursday through Sunday, 8-11 January 2015:

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Session 624. Immigration and Comics

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Saturday, 10 January 5:15–6:30 p.m., East 16, VCC East

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives and the Division on European Literary Relations

Presiding: Sandra L. Bermann, Princeton Univ.; Nhora Lucia Serrano, Harvard Univ.

1. “‘Home of the Cannibals': Interracial Contact and Immigration in Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth,” Tim Caron, California State Univ., Long Beach

2. “Aya in the Ivory Coast and Abouet in France: Immigration in Aya de Yopougon,” Michelle Bumatay, Willamette Univ.

3. “From Immigrants to Privateers: The Curious Case of Hogan’s Alley and The Yellow Kid,” David M. Ball, Princeton Univ.

4. “Comedy of Errors: Lessons of Identity and Agency in American Born Chinese,” Judy Schaaf, Univ. of Massachusetts, Dartmouth

 

MLA 2015: Roundtable on Comics Theory

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Roundtable Session at the Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention, 8-11 Jan. 2015, in Vancouver. Sponsored by the MLA Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives.

In the past three years, a number of new books have been published on comics theory (Postema, Miodrag, Kukkonen, among others). In order to get a better perspective on what is happening in the field, this roundtable has assembled a group of scholars who take different approaches to understanding the comics form. Some of the questions that the roundtable will consider:

* What are the relative merits and drawbacks of some theoretical approaches to comics (i.e. semiotics, film theory, linguistics, visual studies, narrative theory, cognitive theory, Franco-Belgian comics theory, and the ubiquitous Scott McCloud)?

* To what extent are these discourses in conversation with each other?

* Now that many Franco-Belgian works of comics criticism are available in translation—The System of Comics, Comics and Narration by Groensteen, to name two—are we beginning to see a blending of Anglo and French comics theories, or do these seem to be two separate lines of thought?

The scholars will address these questions and others in the context of the roundtable.

Presiding:

Martha Kuhlman, Bryant University

Participants:

Barbara Postema, Ryerson University

Michael Chaney, Dartmouth College

Jared Gardner, Ohio State University

Hugo Frey, University of Chichester

Fabrice Leroy, University of Louisiana Lafayette

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CFP: Immigration and Comics (MLA 2015)

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Call for Papers for a proposed panel at the Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention, 8-11 Jan. 2015, in Vancouver. Jointly sponsored by the MLA Division on European Literary Relations and the MLA Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives.

Recently, the Cité Nationale de l’Histoire de l’Immigration in Paris staged an exhibition “Albums-Bande dessinée et immigration: 1913-2013” (October 16, 2013 – April 27, 2014) which brought together comics sketches and magazines from 1913 to the present that depict the immigrant experience and how immigrants on the fringes of society are attracted to the comics medium.  According to the exhibit’s Curator Hélène Bouillon, “every comic about immigration is a story about an individual, and every comic about this theme wants to show… a story about humanity…a universal story.” In fact, from Richard F. Outcault’s  “The Yellow Kid,” René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo’s Asterix, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s Superman, William Moulton Marston’s Wonder Woman, Will Eisner’s Fagin the Jew to Shaun Tan’s The Arrival, Ben Katchor’s The Jew of New York, and the works of Marjane Satrapi and the Hernandez Brothers, comics and comics strips have long played a crucial role in representing, constructing, and reifying the immigrant subject and the immigrant experience in the twentieth century.

This panel invites papers that examine how comics from around the world were shaped by the immigrant story, and how they inscribe the immigrant identity and experience. A few questions to consider:

  • How did early comics and comic strips influence and change the ways in which immigrant identities and experiences were formed and disseminated?
  • How did comics in the later 20th century express uncomfortable truths about society’s intolerance for immigrants?
  • In this day and age of the changing face of immigrant literature of the U.S. since 9/11, how have immigration laws, US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the creation of Homeland Security shaped contemporary comics?
  • What is the role of globalization and the transnational subject in immigrant literature?
  • How has the ethnic urban landscape come into play in those graphic narratives depicting the immigrant experience?
  • How have immigrant comics writers and artists inscribed their own history of immigration and migration in their narratives?

Send 200 to 300-word abstracts in .doc or .pdf to Nhora Serrano (nhoraluciaserrano [at] gmail [dot] com) and Sandra Bermann (sandralb [at] Princeton [dot] edu) by 8 March 2014. Submitters will receive notification of results by April 1.

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PLEASE NOTE: This CFP is for a proposed, not guaranteed, session at MLA 2015, which means that the session is contingent on approval by the MLA Program Committee. Though individual submitters will hear from the Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives by April 1, 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 2014.

CFP: Comics and Memory (MLA 2015)

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Call for Papers for a proposed panel at the Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention, 8-11 Jan. 2015, in Vancouver.

Sponsored by the MLA Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives

The subject of memory has been central to comics studies.  From Maus and Fun Home to Crisis on Infinite Earths, the capacity of comics to figure and encapsulate the past, whether personal, cultural or historical, has remained a matter of intense critical interest.  We invite all inquiries into the topic of comics and memory, from ongoing discussions of graphic memoirs and mainstream superhero comics to fresh work on any aspect of the medium, or of comics culture.  We encourage consideration of any format of comics from any nation or tradition.

Possible avenues of inquiry:

What does it mean to make a memory visible in comics form?  In what ways is memory recorded by the autobiographical cartoonist?  How is cultural memory encoded on the page in long-running serials?  Do comics have special power to “mediate” intergenerational or collective memories?  How does the medium respond to or transform violent or traumatic memories, whether personal or collective?  What do we learn about false or distorted memory when it is expressed as comics?  What is the fate of memory in “timeless” newspaper strips whose characters do not age, as opposed to strips featuring characters who, like their readers, are marked by the passage of time?  What of the role of childhood comics reading, and recollections thereof, as figured by adult readers and artists?  How is cultural memory archived and distributed within communities of creators and readers?  What kinds of cultural memories are encouraged, or blocked, by contemporary mainstream discourse on comics?

Send 250-word abstracts to Christopher Pizzino (cpizzino [at] uga [dot] edu) by March 10.  Acceptances will be announced by early April.

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PLEASE NOTE:  This CFP is for a proposed, not guaranteed, session at MLA 2015, 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 2013.

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