CFP: Satire and the Editorial Cartoon

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Ever since the days of William Hogarth and his brand of pictorial satire, expressing an opinion on the politics of the day in print demanded a combination of humor, hyperbole, and caricature in its illustration. By the 19th century, the periodical Punch appropriated the term ‘cartoon’—a finished preliminary sketch on a large piece of cardboard—to refer to its political, pictorial editorials. At the height of the turn of the century, the editorial cartoon was deeply imbedded in commenting on art, politics, and immigration in order to draw attention to corruption and other social ills.

The Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives seeks papers that examine cross-cultural early editorial cartoons, periodicals and the cartoonists, from 18th century to early 20th century (i.e. George Townsend, James Gillray, Thomas Nast, Punch, The Masses, Richard Outcault, John Tenniel), and the subverting nature of the satirical mode in text and image to respond and critique the socio-political problems of the day.

Send 300-word abstract and CV by March 10 (nhoraserrano@fas.harvard.edu). This is a guaranteed MLA panel. All prospective participants must be MLA members by April 7 2015.

CFP: Latina/o Comics

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The 2014 edited collection Contemporary Latina-o Media included no essays on comics. This is not, perhaps, surprising; at present, comics remain marginalized in ways that keep the medium from being as central to cultural and political exchange as print literature, film, television and radio are. However, this very condition makes comics, as a field perpetually “coming of age” yet forever on the margins, productive for thinking about the contemporary disposition of Latina/o culture and politics.

The Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives and the Division on Comparative Studies in Twentieth Century Literature therefore invite papers that explore connections between the medium of comics and the contemporary state of Latina/o media, literature, culture and politics. Productive lines of inquiry might include, but are by no means limited to: questions of identity as they manifest in visual media, the concerns of multinational/border-crossing subjects and practices in the case of a multi-tracked, verbal/visual medium such as comics, and contemporary debates over the value and limits of Latinidad in the context of comics’ ongoing struggles for cultural status. Creators of interest might include Gus Arriola, Hector Cantú, Frank Espinosa, Roberta Gregory, the Hernandez brothers, Laura Molina and Lila Quintero Weaver. Papers on comics of all kinds—short stories and graphic novels, print and digital, newspaper and book-form—are welcome.

Send 250-word abstracts to Christopher Pizzino (cpizzino@uga.edu) by March 15. Acceptances will be announced by early April.

PLEASE NOTE: This CFP is for a proposed, not guaranteed, session at MLA 2016, 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 2015.

CPF: Charlie Hebdo and its Publics

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Ever since the tragic murders of staff members of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, there have been heated discussions in the public sphere regarding free speech, religious expression, and the power of satire. Reactions have differed dramatically among national and social groups, East and West. These varied discourses are amplified by the globalization and the internet, and raise questions about how images can or cannot circulate within specific national or religious contexts.

For the 2016 MLA theme “Literature and its Publics,” this panel seeks contributions that examine the Charlie Hebdo in the context of different traditions of editorial cartooning, and from the perspective of different “publics.” Relevant questions include:

-What is the significance of Charlie Hebdo in the French satirical tradition?

-How is the representation of images of Mohammed complicated by the social and political status of Muslims in France?

-How does the satirical tradition of Charlie Hebdo compare to other national traditions of satirical cartooning? Cross-cultural comparisons are especially welcome.

–Analyze the reaction of various cartoonists to the Charlie Hebdo controversy (Joe Sacco, Art Spiegleman, and others)

Send 300-word abstr. + CV by March 10 (mkuhlman@bryant.edu)

PLEASE NOTE: This CFP is for a proposed, not guaranteed, session at MLA 2016, 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 2015.

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.