MLA 2014—The Graphic Nineteenth Century

The MLA Annual Convention for 2014 takes place in Chicago next week, from Jan. 9th to 12th! We of the Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives are pleased to help promote, in addition to our own programming, the following session organized and put on by our colleagues in the Division on Nineteenth-Century American Literature:

773. The Graphic Nineteenth Century

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

Michigan–Michigan State, Chicago Marriott

Presiding: Augusta Rohrbach, Washington State Univ., Pullman

“The Graphic 19th Century” reframes the print explosion of the era as a revolution in graphic narratives, treating the relationship between word and image as a distinct innovation of the period marked by The Adventures of Mr. Obadiah Oldbuck (1842), the first graphic novel published in the United States, and graphic work popularized in periodicals from Harper’s Weekly to Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. This panel revises critical commonplaces that link the explosion of print media with the impact of the photographic image; rather, panelists will interrogate the dialogic relationship between word and image, finding a myriad of results beyond what Isabelle Lehuu (2000) aptly called “the carnival on the page.” Papers in this session seek to redefine the field through a coordinated focus on the interaction of form and formats. Each paper focuses on a different generic form out of which both word and image emerge. Together the papers demonstrate combinations of word and image beyond the range of possibilities typically taken up in earlier studies of the period; in addition,they offer new considerations of 19th-century print culture as extending across race, gender and age, and ability.

1. “A Slave Is Being Beaten: Word, Image, and the Subject of The Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb

Laura Ruth Saltz, Colby Coll.

This paper focuses on the prefabricated woodcuts featured in the nonfiction narrative The Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb (1849), exploring the tension between the text’s first-person narrative—known within the tradition of the slave narrative for its radical expression of agency—and Bibb’s use of printers’ woodcuts instead of original illustrations. Here unoriginal images are used for a very original purpose, conveying complex and multivalent modes of agency.

2. “Geography and Tactile Graphics for the Blind”

David Weimer, Harvard Univ.

This paper further explores multivalent modes of word and image by considering atlases of the 1830s and ’40s developed for the blind. It compares two atlases from the early nineteenth-century US—one for the blind, Samuel Gridley Howe’s Atlas of the Principal Islands of the Globe (1838), and one for the sighted, Howe’s Atlas of the United States (1837)—as against Jedidiah Morse’s widely used Atlas to Morse’s New School Geography (1822). Using these graphics for the blind, the paper seeks to defamiliarize the relationship between word and image, and thus better analyze how words and graphics combine (or may not) in maps and other printed media. These graphics for the blind provide a peripheral but illuminating example of how nineteenth-century writers thought about the power of images and their wordy supplements.

3. “‘The Girl Who Inked Herself’: The Graphic Design of Female Literacy in Picture-Book Form”

Elizabeth Pope, American Antiquarian Society

This last paper turns to children’s literature, arguing that a picture book’s graphic narrative may not complement a written text but rather compete with its message. In the picture book The Girl Who Inked Herself and Her Books, and How It Ended (c. 1859), the illustrations dominate the first page, swallowing up the text. Having the whole story laid out visually on the first page means that “How it Ended” is prefigured from the start. The reader is forced to catch up with the text of the story on the next page in order to learn an ending that the viewer already knows. This paper shows how the format of picture books signals that visual lessons are just as important as the text, if not more so.

For an overview of all MLA 2014 sessions organized by the Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives, see here. For a full listing of other comics-related sessions at MLA 2014, see here.

Other Comics Studies Events @ MLA 2014

Program for the 129th MLA Annual Convention, Chicago, 9-12 January 2014

Besides the four events—the three panels and the cash bar—sponsored or co-sponsored by our Discussion Group, MLA 2014 in Chicago will host two other sessions devoted 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. While the amount of comics-themed programming this time around does not appear to match the record high set in 2012, work on comics remains an important part of the MLA—and of course our Group is doing all it can to encourage that trend!

Unfortunately, the MLA’s searchable online program does not include the search term comics or graphic narratives in its drop-down menus, and, while it is possible to type those words, or any words, into the search box, not every panel or paper related to comics studies is necessarily labeled as such. We’ve found the search results to be, er, inexact. Hence skimming through the entire program remains the surest way to find all the comics-themed events at the convention. We’ve done that—and, as part of our continual effort to spread the word about comics studies at MLA, we offer the following information.

First, here are the other two comics studies panels at the convention:

563. Postcolonial Graphic Memoirs

Saturday, 11 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m., Erie, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Division on Autobiography, Biography, and Life Writing

Presiding: Linda Haverty Rugg, Univ. of California, Berkeley

  1. “Malamine, un africain à Paris: A Closer Look at Contemporary Postcolonial Unbelonging,” Michelle Bumatay, Univ. of California, Los Angeles
  2. “Self-Construction of a Transnational Feminine Identity in an Andean Context: Power Paola’s Virus Tropical,” Felipe Gómez, Carnegie Mellon Univ.
  3. “Drawing Memories, Visualizing Texts: Transnational Belonging in GB Tran’s Vietnamerica,” Lan Dong, Univ. of Illinois, Springfield
  4. “Illustrating Alternate Narratives: Unconsumable Racialized Bodies of Young Women in Half World and Skim,” Michelle O’Brien, Univ. of British Columbia

773. The Graphic Nineteenth Century

Sunday, 12 January, 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Michigan–Michigan State, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the Division on Nineteenth-Century American Literature

Presiding: Augusta Rohrbach, Washington State Univ., Pullman

  1. “A Slave Is Being Beaten: Word, Image, and the Subject of The Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb,” Laura Ruth Saltz, Colby Coll.
  2. “Geography and Tactile Graphics for the Blind,” David Weimer, Harvard Univ.
  3. “‘The Girl Who Inked Herself’: The Graphic Design of Female Literacy in Picture-Book Form,” Elizabeth Pope, American Antiquarian Soc.

Secondly, following is a list of panels that include individual papers related (or potentially related) to comics studies. These are papers that appear to focus on cartooning, comics, or graphic narratives, or material adapted from same, but that occur in the context of sessions organized around other topics. We’ve listed the entire panels here, with the possibly comics-related papers printed in red.

We hope we haven’t missed any comics-related 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.

36. Women and the Language and Literature of Human Rights

Thursday, 9 January, 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Kane, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the Division on Women’s Studies in Language and Literature

Presiding: Susan G. O’Malley, Kingsborough Community Coll., City Univ. of New York

  1. “‘I Write the Broken Line’: Discursive Truth Telling in Antjie Krog’s Country of My Skull,” Alaina Kaus, Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs
  2. “Speaking Freedom’s Language: United States Multicultural Literature and Human Rights Talk in an Emerging Democracy,” Amy K. Levin, Northern Illinois Univ.
  3. “Beyond Revolution: The Fiction of Individual Sovereignty in Persepolis,” Belinda Walzer, Wake Forest Univ.

84. Latino/a Chicago

Thursday, 9 January, 3:30–4:45 p.m., Missouri, Sheraton Chicago

A special session

Presiding: Alberto Varon, Indiana Univ., Bloomington

  1. “Amor y Chisme: Melodramatic Mexican Chicago in Porque el amor manda and Sandra Cisneros’s Caramelo,” Olga Herrera, Univ. of Saint Thomas, MN
  2. “The Untold Midwestern Puerto Rican Story in Fred Arroyo’s Western Avenue and Other Fictions,” Marisel C. Moreno, Univ. of Notre Dame
  3. “Brown and Down in Hyde Park: Wilfred Santiago’s In My Darkest Hour,” William Orchard, Queens Coll., City Univ. of New York

173. Beyond the Protomonograph: New Models for the Dissertation

Thursday, 9 January, 7:00–8:15 p.m., Northwestern–Ohio State, Chicago Marriott

A special session

Presiding: Daniel Powell, Univ. of Victoria

Speakers: Melissa A. Dalgleish, York Univ.; Shawn Moore, Texas A&M Univ., College Station; James O’Sullivan, University Coll. Cork; Nick Sousanis, Columbia Univ.; Danielle Spinosa, York Univ.; Nicholas van Orden, Univ. of Alberta

Session Description:

Although the need for graduate education reform in the humanities is widely discussed, the traditional role of the dissertation as a capstone protomonograph has only begun to be questioned. This panel features six Pecha Kucha presentations (20 slides x 20 seconds) from graduate students developing radically new models of the dissertation, followed by ample discussion.

(Note: Speaker Nick Sousanis is currently writing and drawing his dissertation in comic book form.)

248. Space and Belonging in Post-9/11 US American Literature

Friday, 10 January, 10:15–11:30 a.m., Purdue-Wisconsin, Chicago Marriott

A special session

Presiding: Karolina Golimowska, Univ. of Richmond; David Rose, Humboldt-Universität

  1. “Writer for Mayor: Jonathan Lethem, Norman Mailer, and Post-9/11 New York,” Jeffrey Severs, Univ. of British Columbia
  2. “Smoking on the Streets of New York: Art Spiegelman as ‘Rooted Cosmopolitan’ in the Shadow of September 11,” Jeffrey Clapp, Univ. of California, Irvine
  3. “Meditations on Terror: Mahvish Rukhsana Khan’s My Guantanamo Diary,” Manori Neelika Jayawardane, State Univ. of New York, Oswego

291. Torture and Popular Culture

Friday, 10 January, 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Indiana-Iowa, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the Division on Popular Culture [Note that our Group’s Hillary Chute is presiding, and our frequent MLA colleague Chris Pizzino is presenting! Sure to be a great, challenging panel.]

Presiding: Hillary L. Chute, Univ. of Chicago

  1. “Shocking Media: The Abu Ghraib Photographs and Zero Dark Thirty,” Liz Maynes-Aminzade, Harvard Univ.
  2. “Animal Cruelty: The Cinema of Kathryn Bigelow,” Christopher Pizzino, Univ. of Georgia
  3. “Torture, Rebirth, and Revelation in V for Vendetta and Save the Green Planet,” Peter Yoonsuk Paik, Univ. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
  4. “Sites of Pain: The Expressive Work of Spaces of Torture in Video Games,” Mark Sample, George Mason Univ.

302. Reimagining Nation in the Wake of Disaster

Friday, 10 January, 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Arkansas, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Division on East Asian Languages and Literatures after 1900

Presiding: Melek Ortabasi, Simon Fraser Univ., Surrey

  1. “Other Sides of Indonesia’s Mud Volcano: Victims, Disaster, and the Politics of Representation,” Phillip Drake, Univ. of Chicago
  2. “Nausicaa’s Insect Flute: Calling Out Azuma,” Margherita R. Long, Univ. of California, Riverside
  3. “Volcanic Eruption and Peninsular Politics: Representations of Mount Baekdu in Contemporary South Korea,” Adrian Thieret, Stanford Univ.
  4. “From Cosmic Fear to New Media Citizenship: The Making of National Space in Chinese Disaster Film,” Wei Yang, Univ. of the South, Sewanee

317. Narrative and Language Theory

Friday, 10 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m., Michigan B, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Division on Language Theory

Presiding: Lee B. Abraham, Columbia Univ.

  1. “The Use of the Demonstratives This/These and That/Those in Conversational English Narratives,” Paul J. Hopper, Carnegie Mellon Univ.
  2. “Framing Narrative Genres: From Words to Worldview,” Michael Sinding, Vrije Univ.
  3. “A Systemic-Functional Approach to Genre in Short-Form Graphic Narratives,” Jonathan R. Bass, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick

Responding: Jiyoung Yoon, Univ. of North Texas

343. A Right to Gun Violence: Armed Citizens and Criminal Others in American Popular Narrative

Friday, 10 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m., Huron, Chicago Marriott

A special session

Presiding: Louis Sherman, Univ. of Utah

  1. “Little House and the Long Rifle: Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Anxiety of Armed Independence,” Louis Sherman
  2. “Black Power and the Right to Bear Arms,” Mai-Linh Hong, Univ. of Virginia
  3. “‘We Have a Hulk’: The Superhuman as Substitute for Guns in Superhero Cinema,” Andrew Friedenthal, Univ. of Texas, Austin

Responding: Alan Nadel, Univ. of Kentucky

437. Diaries of the Young Girl: The Craft of Female Selfhood

Saturday, 11 January, 8:30–9:45 a.m., Indiana-Iowa, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the Division on Children’s Literature

Presiding: June S. Cummins, San Diego State Univ.; Rocío G. Davis, City Univ. of Hong Kong

  1. “Writing to Survive: Child-Writing Characterization in Sade Adeniran’s Imagine This,” Suzanne Ondrus, Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs
  2. “Constructing the Self: Pocket Diaries as Discipline in Nineteenth-Century America,” Martha L. Sledge, Marymount Manhattan Coll.
  3. “‘Okay! Fine! You Can Read It!’: Memory, Adolescence, and Belonging in Lauren Weinstein’s Girl Stories,” Tahneer Oksman, Marymount Manhattan Coll.
  4. “Witness, Re-vision, and the Constraints of Child Authorship in Nadja Halilbegovic’s My Childhood under Fire: A Sarajevo Diary,” Anastasia Ulanowicz, Univ. of Florida

463. New Arabic Genres

Saturday, 11 January, 8:30–9:45 a.m., Colorado, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Division on Arabic Literature and Culture

Presiding: Ken Seigneurie, Simon Fraser Univ., Surrey

  1. “Revolutionary Memoirs: Women, Nation, and the Arab World,” Tahia Abdel Nasser, American Univ. in Cairo
  2. “Scheherazadean Cyborgs: Arab Women Diarists in the Digital Age,” Nadine Sinno, Georgia State Univ.
  3. “Desire and the Canonization of Arabic Literature,” Kifah Hanna, Trinity Coll., CT
  4. “Illustrated War: Lamia Ziadé’s Bye Bye Babylon, the Art of Remembering, and the Lebanese Civil War,” Salah D. Hassan, Michigan State Univ.

For abstracts, visit tinyurl.com/c65bllb.

519. Thinking Fanlation

Saturday, 11 January, 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Michigan B, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on Translation and the Division on East Asian Languages and Literatures after 1900

Presiding: Sergio Waisman, George Washington Univ.

  1. “Scanlators like Us: Reading Community Ethics from Scanlated Manga,” Ayse Gursoy, Univ. of Texas, Austin
  2. “The Manipulation of Translator Involvement in Fansubbing,” Chia-hui Liao, National Formosa Univ.
  3. “The Brief Wild Days of Anime Fansubbing,” Samuel Malissa, Yale Univ.

540. Cross-Cultural Dialogues

Saturday, 11 January, 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Superior A, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the Division on Comparative Studies in Twentieth-Century Literature.

Presiding: Olakunle George, Brown Univ.

  1. “Odd Jobs: Malinky Robot and Malay Precarity in Singapore,” Aimee Bahng, Dartmouth Coll.
  2. “Letters from the Dead: Incendies and the Legacies of the Lebanese Civil War,” Salah D. Hassan, Michigan State Univ.
  3. “Transnational Capital, Branding, and Migrating Genres in New South African Urban Fiction,” Loren Kruger, Univ. of Chicago
  4. “Relationality: What Is It About?” Rajagopalan Radhakrishnan, Univ. of California, Irvine

572. Illness and Disability Memoir as Embodied Knowledge

Saturday, 11 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m., Los Angeles–Miami, Chicago Marriott

Program arranged by the MLA Committee on Disability Issues in the Profession

Presiding: Rachel Adams, Columbia Univ.

  1. “Recoding Silence: Teresa de Cartagena, Medieval Sign Lexicons, and Deaf Life Writing,” Jonathan H. Hsy, George Washington Univ.
  2. “‘Twisted and Deformed’: Virginia Woolf, Alison Bechdel, and Crip-Feminist Autobiography,” Cynthia Barounis, Washington Univ. in St. Louis
  3. “‘My Worry Now Accumulates’: Sensorial and Emotional Contagion in Autistic Life Writing,” Ralph James Savarese, Grinnell Coll.

For papers or abstracts, write to rea15@columbia.edu after 1 Jan.

625. Verbal and Visual Satire in the Nineteenth Century

Saturday, 11 January, 5:15–6:30 p.m., Chicago F, Chicago Marriott

A special session

Presiding: Joseph Litvak, Tufts Univ.

  1. “Organizing Anarchy: Class, Intellectual Property, and Graphic Satire,” Jason Kolkey, Loyola Univ., Chicago
  2. “The Reemergence of Radical Satire in the Late Nineteenth Century,” Frank A. Palmeri, Univ. of Miami
  3. “Turn-of-the-Century Satirical Plots of Fenian and Anarchist Terrorism,” Jennifer Malia, American Univ. of Sharjah

636. Kafka’s Experiments with Alternative Realities

Saturday, 11 January, 5:15–6:30 p.m., Sheraton I, Sheraton Chicago

A special session

Presiding: Marie Luise Caputo-Mayr, Temple Univ., Philadelphia

Speakers: Sandra Fluhrer, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich; Lynn M. Kutch, Kutztown Univ.; Matthew T. Lau, Queensborough Community Coll., City Univ. of New York; Imke Meyer, Univ. of Illinois, Chicago; Lara Pehar, Univ. of Toronto; Alfred Thomas, Univ. of Illinois, Chicago

Responding: Dagmar C. G. Lorenz, Univ. of Illinois, Chicago

For abstracts, visit www.kafkasocietyofamerica.org.

Session Description:

Kafka’s works as historical documents, pointing to contemporary issues, replete with allusions to them, offering “alternative realities” at the intersection of the human-animal (dogs, horses, mice) and human-object world (Odradek) and other transient moments (alienating “imaginary” America, Russia). Utopia, the obscure language, the comic; novel and educational theories; Bohemia.

(Note: Speaker Lynn Kutch will be talking about comics adaptations of Kafka’s Die Verwandlung [The Metamorphosis] and the larger issue of adaptation in the study of literary graphic novels.)

720. Gendered Age and Authority in Popular Culture

Sunday, 12 January, 10:15–11:30 a.m., Erie, Sheraton Chicago

A special session

Presiding: Elizabeth L. Gregory, Univ. of Houston, University Park

  1. “Public Activism and Girlhood Agency: Malala Yousafzai in United States Media Coverage and Graphic Narrative,” Tracy Lemaster, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison
  2. “When the Daughters of the Republic Became Terrorists: Kemalist Women in Turkish Popular Media,” Rustem Ertug Altinay, New York Univ.
  3. “Why Is the Future So Young? Gender and Age in Elizabeth Moon’s Remnant Population,” Christy Tidwell, South Dakota School of Mines and Tech.

For abstracts, write to egregory@uh.edu.

746. War Media and the Militarization of Experience

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

A special session

Presiding: Ross Etherton, Univ. of Colorado, Boulder

  1. “The Killing Tele-presence: Realizing Targets in Drone Warfare,” Jan Claas van Treeck, Yale Univ.
  2. “Drone Art: Disturbances and Disorientations,” Jennifer Rhee, Virginia Commonwealth Univ.
  3. “Frames, Firearms, and Funny Pages: Graphic Engagements with Precarious Life,” Katherine Kelp-Stebbins, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara

Responding: Jan Mieszkowski, Reed Coll.

For session description, abstracts, and biographies, visit warmediamla.blogspot.com/.

MLA 2014—Announcing Our Sessions!

Click here to read more about the MLA 2014 Convention!

It’s that time of year again! We of the MLA Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives are proud to announce our sessions for the 129th Annual MLA Convention, to be held 9-12 January 2014 in Chicago. Once more we’ll be doing our full allotment of panels—three, including one in collaboration with the MLA Division on Literature and Other Arts—and a social event, namely a cash bar co-sponsored by the MLA Division on Children’s Literature.

Here are the details (click on the links to read more about each individual panel):

Session 388: Transnational Comics, co-sponsored with the Division on Literature and Other Arts

Session 428: Cash Bar, arranged by the Division on Children’s Literature and the Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives

Session 595: Comics and Fine Arts

Session 768: Collaboration in Comics

Besides the above sessions that we’re sponsoring, MLA 2014 will of course also include other sessions and papers devoted to comics (which we’ll list in a future post). Comics studies within the MLA continues to make noise! Do bookmark this blog and check back in over the weeks to come, as the convention draws nearer! We’ll be posting abstracts of all the papers in our sessions by Dec. 20.

Note: Only a limited number of MLA sessions are open to the general public (see the MLA website here). That does not include our sessions, which are open only to registered participants in the convention. For more information about the convention, including registration costs, see the homepage for MLA 2014.

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

Understanding Rhetoric coverNarrative Corpse page

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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