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



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


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


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


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.


Martha Kuhlman, Bryant University


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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