Other Comics Studies Events @ MLA 2013 (updated)

Program for the 128th MLA Annual Convention, Boston, 3-6 January 2013

Updated, 26 Dec. 2012: Besides the three panels and the cash bar (!) sponsored by our Discussion Group (i.e. the Comics and Graphic Narratives Group), MLA 2013 in Boston will host several other sessions dedicated or strongly related to comics studies, as well as many individual papers that, as far as we can tell from the program, relate to the field. Though the number of comics-themed events this time around does not quite match the all-time high set by last year, interest in comics at the MLA obviously remains strong—a hopeful sign for the future!

Sadly, the MLA’s searchable online program does not include the search term comics or graphic narratives in its drop-down menus, and, though it is possible to type those words (or any words) into the search field, not every panel or paper related to comics studies is necessarily labeled as such. So, skimming through the entire program remains the surest way to find all the comics-themed events at the convention. We’ve done that—and, in hopes of spreading the word about comics scholarship at MLA, we offer the following two lists.

The first list, Other Comics Studies Panels, consists of entire sessions either clearly devoted to or declaring a substantial interest in graphic narrative. By substantial interest we mean that the session either includes more than one paper definitely focused on comics and/or spotlights “comics” or “graphic narrative” in its title. Some of these panels are special (i.e. ad hoc and independent) sessions, while others are sponsored by standing MLA Divisions or allied organizations.

The second list, Individual Papers on Comics, consists of single papers that appear to focus on comics, cartooning, or visual narrative but within sessions organized around other topics. These we’ve listed by session and paper title, without listing all the other paper topics involved in these sessions.

We hope we haven’t missed any comics studies sessions or papers. If you think we have (or if we’ve misrepresented your work), please drop us a comment here so that we can correct our mistake. Thanks! We hope these lists prove helpful as you plan out your MLA experience.

Other Comics Studies Panels:

90. Paintings and Photographs Remediated in Film, Graphic Narrative, and Newspaper

Thursday, 3 January, 3:30–4:45 p.m., Riverway, Sheraton Boston

Program arranged by the International Society for the Study of Narrative and the American Comparative Literature Association

Presiding: Emma Kafalenos, Washington Univ. in St. Louis; Lois Parkinson Zamora, Univ. of Houston

  1. “The Remediation of Painting within Cinematic Narrative Discourse,” David Henry Richter, Queens Coll., City Univ. of New York
  2. “Remediated Photographs and Reconstructed Memories: Personal and Familial Pasts in Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic,” Genie Giaimo, Northeastern Univ.
  3. “Front-Page Ekphrasis,” Lisa Zunshine, Univ. of Kentucky

623. Gender(ed) Performativities in Latin American and Latina/o Graphic Novels

Saturday, 5 January, 5:15–6:30 p.m., Room 205, Hynes Convention Center

Program arranged by the Division on Twentieth-Century Latin American Literature

Presiding: Hilda Chacón, Nazareth Coll. of Rochester

  1. “Unbecoming Cuban American: Representations of Female Subjectivity in Bad Habits: A Love Story, by Cristy Road,” Irune del Rio Gabiola, Butler Univ.
  2. “Ashes and Masks: Gender according to Gilbert Hernandez,” Christopher Pizzino, Univ. of Georgia
  3. “Trans-nepantlista Visual Geographies and the Inked Latina Body: Ana Mendieta’s Graphic Life Writing,” Emma Ruth García, Colby Coll.; Magdalena M. Maiz-Peña, Davidson Coll.

676. Re–Understanding Comics

Sunday, 6 January, 8:30–9:45 a.m., Gardner, Sheraton Boston

A special session

Presiding: Margaret Galvan, Graduate Center, City Univ. of New York

  1. “The Citational Uses and Abuses of Understanding Comics and the Scholarly Futures They Forecast,” Michael Chaney, Dartmouth Coll.
  2. “Living Lines: Comics as a Phenomenological Encounter,” David Bahr, Borough of Manhattan Community Coll., City Univ. of New York
  3. “Drawing on Theory,” Samantha Close, Univ. of Southern California

Responding: Charles Hatfield, California State Univ., Northridge


709. Picturing Photography in Graphic Memoirs

Sunday, 6 January, 10:15–11:30 a.m., Berkeley, Sheraton Boston

A special session

Presiding: Courtney Baker, Connecticut Coll.

  1. “The Queer Contest between Modern and Postmodern Modes of Vision in Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home,” Robin Bernstein, Harvard Univ.
  2. “Drawn Photographs and the Performance of (Post)Memory in Carol Tyler’s You’ll Never Know,” Mihaela Precup, Univ. of Bucharest
  3. “‘I Saw It’: The Photographic Witness of Keiji Nakazawa’s Barefoot Gen,” Laura Wexler, Yale Univ.

790. Comics, Moving Images, and Intermedial Criticism

Sunday, 6 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m., Gardner, Sheraton Boston

Program arranged by the Division on Film

Presiding: Nicholas Sammond, Univ. of Toronto; Paul D. Young, Vanderbilt Univ.

  1. “Autobiographical Constructions: Authorial Absence and Presence in Julie Doucet and Michel Gondry’s My New New York Diary,” Frederik Køhlert, Univ. of Montreal
  2. Avatar: The Last Airbender and Shifting Intermedial Spaces,” Sandra K. Stanley, California State Univ., Northridge
  3. “Spiegelman’s Home Movie: Art at Auschwitz,” Brad Prager, Univ. of Missouri, Columbia

In addition to these panels on comics studies, we’d like to highlight a session on another, possibly related topic chaired by our Comics and Graphic Narratives colleague Hillary Chute:

361. Video Games

Sunday, 6 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m., Gardner, Sheraton Boston

Program arranged by the Division on Popular Culture

Presiding: Hillary L. Chute, Univ. of Chicago

  1. “Playful Aesthetics,” Mary Flanagan, Dartmouth Coll.
  2. “Losing the Game: Gamification and the Procedural Aesthetics of Systemic Failure,” Patrick Jagoda, Univ. of Chicago
  3. “Acoustemologies of the Closet: The Wizard, the Troll, and the Fortress,” William Cheng, Harvard Univ.

Individual Papers on Comics:

59. Francophonies numérisées / Digital Francophonies

Thursday, 3 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m., Room 301, Hynes Convention Center

3. “Bandes dessinées téléchargeables: Un nouveau moyen de mesurer la diffusion de la langue française au 21ème siècle,” Henri-Simon Blanc-Hoang, Defense Lang. Inst.

72. Representing Genocide and Civil Conflict in Nonfiction Narrative

Thursday, 3 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m., The Fens, Sheraton Boston

4. “Graphic Conflict: War and Genocide in Sequential Art,” Susan Jacobowitz, Queensborough Community Coll., City Univ. of New York

154. Teaching Arab Novels in English

Thursday, 3 January, 7:00–8:15 p.m., Room 307, Hynes Convention Center

2. “Intersections of Word and Image: The Lebanese Civil War in Graphic Form,” Carol N. Fadda-Conrey, Syracuse Univ.

178. Larger Than Life: Southern Heroes

Thursday, 3 January, 7:00–8:15 p.m., Beacon F, Sheraton Boston

2. “From the Old South to the New Frontier: Civil Rights, Black Masculinity, and Regional Superheroes in The American Way,” Brannon Costello, Louisiana State Univ., Baton Rouge

220. Image, Voice, Text: Canadian Literature

Friday, 4 January, 8:30–9:45 a.m., Beacon D, Sheraton Boston

3. “Aboriginal New Media: Alternative Forms of Storytelling,” Sarah Henzi, Univ. of Montreal

Presenter Sarah Henzi, in her comment posted here on Dec. 21st, notes, “I will be discussing the Graphic Novel in the context of Aboriginal/Native Literature.” Thank you, Sarah!

268. Disability Discourses: Bodily Selves and the Embodiment of Deviance

Friday, 4 January, 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Hampton, Sheraton Boston

3. “Drawing Disability in Japanese Manga: Visual Politics, Cultural Attitudes, and Wheelchair Basketball in Inoue Takahiko’s Real,” Andrea Wood, Winona State Univ.

444. The Kafka Factor in Post-Holocaust Film and Literature

Saturday, 5 January, 8:30–9:45 a.m., Room 313, Hynes Convention Center

This roundtable on “the influence of Kafka’s work on post-1945 literature, graphic art, and film” promises to include discussion of “graphic art by Bechdel, Satrapi, Shaun Tan, and Yang.” The website for the session’s sponsoring organization, the Kafka Society, clarifies, stating that participant Susan Jacobowitz of Queensborough Community College, CUNY (who is also presenting a paper on comics in panel 72, above) will speak on

new aspects of the Kafka factor in five award-winning graphic works that engage with Kafka’s works and transcend disciplinary boundaries. Two of them are films. They explore themes such as Kafka’s criticism of family and society, alienation, persecution, and the grotesque struggle with bureaucracy. Shaun Tan’s “The Arrival” (2006) features frightening and wondrous visuals without text. A. Bechdel’s “Fun Home. A Family Tragicomic” (2006) revolves around a dysfunctional family; G. L. Yang’s “American Born Chinese” (2006) thematizes fitting in and dual identity; M. Satrapi’s “Persepolis” (film 2007) illustrates an exiled Iranian girl’s experiences in Vienna and Paris; A. Folman’s “Waltz with Bashir” (film 2008 and book 2009), explores personal experiences of the Holocaust generation and the filmmaker’s involvement in the Palestinian conflict.

680. Imagining Paradise: Nature, Ecology, and Culture in Kashmiri Literature

Sunday, 6 January, 8:30–9:45 a.m., Room 209, Hynes Convention Center

3. “Kashmir Pending: Kashmiri Militancy, Adolescence, and a Graphic Novel,” Patrick Colm Hogan, Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs

747. Oscar Wilde in Print and Visual Culture

Sunday, 6 January, 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Jefferson, Sheraton Boston

1. “Late Victorian Publicity: Oscar Wilde from The Artist to Punch,” Loretta A. Clayton, Macon State Coll.

770. New Perspectives on Emotion and Narrative across Media

Sunday, 6 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m., Beacon D, Sheraton Boston

3. “Empathy and Shared Feeling in Visual Narratives,” Jo Kremer, Yale Univ.

6 Responses to Other Comics Studies Events @ MLA 2013 (updated)

  1. sarahhenzi says:

    Hello! I would like to add the following panel that might be of interest! I will be discussing the Graphic Novel in the context of Aboriginal/Native Literature (paper #3):

    220. Image, Voice, Text: Canadian Literature

    Friday, 4 January, 8:30–9:45 a.m., Beacon D, Sheraton

    Program arranged by the Discussion Group on Canadian Literature in English

    Presiding: Sophie McCall, Simon Fraser Univ., Burnaby

    1. “AvantGarde.ca: Toward a Canadian Alienethnic Poetics of the Internet,” Sunny Chan, Univ. of British Columbia

    2. “Intermedial Witnessing in Karen Connelly’s Burmese Lessons,” Hannah McGregor, Univ. of Guelph

    3. “Aboriginal New Media: Alternative Forms of Storytelling,” Sarah Henzi, Univ. of Montreal

    • charleshatfield says:

      Sarah, thank you so much for calling your panel and paper to our attention! We will add it to our list of comics studies events at MLA! And thank you for visiting our site and catching our omission! Have a wonderful MLA.

  2. jan susina says:

    Charles Hatfield,
    Thanks for posting this information, especially the individual papers on comics in various sessions. You saved me lots of time of searching through the MLA program. I look forward to seeing you at many of the sessions.
    Jan Susina

  3. Hope everyone has a great conference! I’d like to kindly invite all the members of your discussion group to consider the Graphixia/Comics Grid conference in Vancouver: http://www.comicsgrid.com/2012/10/graphixia-comicsgrid-conference-2013/. Deadline is 15 January!

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