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.

MLA 2014—Collaboration in Comics

This is the fourth and last of our four official events at the next MLA Convention, to be held in Chicago, Thursday through Sunday, 9-12 January 2014:

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Session 768. Collaboration in Comics

Sunday, 12 January, 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Colorado, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives

Presiding: Charles Hatfield, California State Univ., Northridge

1. “Multimodal Composition and the Rhetoric of Comics: A Study of Comics Teams in Collaboration,” Molly Scanlon, Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ.

2. “‘A Story Lived, Photographed[,] Told[,] Written and Drawn’: The Dance of Pen and Camera in Guibert and Lefèvre’s The Photographer,” Birte Wege, Freie Univ.

3. “The Problem of Collaborative Authorship in the Comics Jam,” Isaac Cates, Univ. of Vermont

4. “Collaboration as Consciousness Raising: The Bodies of Feminism in Wimmen’s Comix,” Margaret Galvan, Graduate Center, City Univ. of New York

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MLA 2014—Comics and Fine Arts

This is the third of our four official events at the next MLA Convention, to be held in Chicago, Thursday through Sunday, 9-12 January 2014:

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Session 595. Comics and Fine Arts

Saturday, 11 January, 3:30–4:45 p.m., Lincolnshire, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives

Presiding: Hillary L. Chute, Univ. of Chicago

1. “Art Worlds, War Worlds, Girl Worlds: Henry Darger, Henry James,” Michael D. Moon, Emory Univ.

2. “Cartoonists Greet the Future: The Antiart of Comics, Modernism, and the Armory Show,” Peter Sattler, Lakeland Coll.

3. “Not Made to Be Looked at with ‘Aesthetic’ Eyes”: Boxed Works by Chris Ware and Marcel Duchamp,” Jonathan R. Bass, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick

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MLA 2014—Transnational Comics

This is the first of our four official events at the next MLA Convention, to be held in Chicago, Thursday through Sunday, 9-12 January 2014:

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Session 388 Transnational Comics

Friday, 10 January, 5:15–6:30 p.m., Chicago X, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives and the Division on Literature and Other Arts

Presiding: Anke K. Finger, Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs; Nhora Lucia Serrano, California State Univ., Long Beach

1. “Traveling Comics; or, What Happened When Winsor McCay’s Innocents Went Abroad?” Mark McKinney, Miami Univ., Oxford

2. “Graphic Memories of Revolution: Women on the Verge in Iran and Lebanon,” Julia Watson, Ohio State Univ., Columbus

3. “Transnational Regards from Serbia,” Ioana Luca, National Taiwan Normal Univ.

4. “Conceiving the Cosmopolitan Muslim Superhero in The 99,” Stefan Meier, Chemnitz Univ. of Tech.

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