MLA 2020 Guaranteed Session CFP: A Decade in Comics (DEADLINE: 3/15/2019)

Call for Papers for a proposed guaranteed session at the Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention on January 9-12, 2020, in Seattle, Washington. This roundtable panel is sponsored by the Comics and Graphic Narratives Forum.

On the ten year anniversary of panels sponsored by the MLA Forum for Comics and Graphic Narratives, this roundtable asks established and emerging scholars to reflect on the history, the present, and the future of the field of Comics Studies. We seek narratives on the formation and early years of the Forum, as well as perspectives on where the field and the Forum are headed. This intergenerational conversation explores developments in the field of Comics Studies, including the growth of academic books and series, new academic programs, schools, and conferences, and emerging scholarly societies. In what ways has the MLA Forum mirrored the growth of the discipline and where would we like to see the conversation heading?

Call for Papers for a guaranteed panel at the Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention, January 9-12, 2020 in Seattle, WA. Please send 250-word abstracts and bios by 15 March 2019 to Susan Kirtley (skirtley@pdx.edu) and Margaret Galvan (margaretgalvan@ufl.edu). Responses to individual submissions will be sent out by the beginning of April. All prospective presenters must be current MLA members by no later than April 2019.

MLA 2020 Special Session CFP: Webcomics and/as Digital Culture (DEADLINE: 3/15/2019)

Call for Papers for a proposed special session at the Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention on January 9-12, 2020, in Seattle, Washington. This panel is sponsored by the Comics and Graphic Narratives Forum.

Webcomics are arguably the form of comics with the broadest reach, but scholarship on the subject has been sparse.  As a form that both takes advantage of the representational affordances of comics and the opportunities provided by the connectivity and lack of gatekeeping in the digital realm, webcomics present a rich source of possibility for comics scholars and digital media scholars alike, particularly when considering marginalized creators and characters. This panel seeks to explore the ways that webcomics have shaped and have been shaped by the digital context in which they appear. Proposed papers might consider the following questions:

  • What can the many author-curated archives of webcomics tell us about the history of the digital sphere?
  • How have webcomics changed as digital technology has evolved?
  • How do different web cartoonists, particularly those from marginalized groups, take advantage of the web’s connectivity to create communities?
  • What role do webcomics play alongside other social media in helping authors to shape a digital identity?
  • What frameworks from digital media studies or comics studies might be useful in theorizing webcomics as a form?
  • How might webcomics’ tendency to blur boundaries–between comics and digital media, between print and digital culture, between readers and authors–reframe our understanding of these entities?

Please send 300-word abstract and bio to Leah Misemer (lsmisemer@gmail.com) by 15 March 2019.  This is a proposed special session. Acceptance to the panel does not guarantee acceptance to MLA.  All panelists must be MLA members by April 2019.

MLA 2020 Special Session CFP: Transmedia Narratives of the Nonhuman (DEADLINE: 3/15/2019)

Call for Papers for a proposed special session at the Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention on January 9-12, 2020, in Seattle, Washington. This collaborative panel is jointly sponsored by the Comics and Graphic Narratives Forum and the Screen Arts and Culture Forum.

Comics and graphic narratives have long explored the nonhuman as allegorical representatives of the human experience. This panel examines the difference medium makes in adapting comics and graphic narratives for the screen, and how transmedia narratives of the nonhuman represent/challenge our understanding of humanity, for example:

  • How does the change from drawn representations to human actors affect conceptualizations of the non-human?
  • Is the allegorical treatment of race and sexual difference substantive transformed by shifts in medium?
  • Do anthropomorphism or thingification play out differently on screen?
  • Do the ways in which temporality and space structure the different media—the difference in the ways in which readers and viewers see, interpret, and fill in the gaps—affect the narratives attached to the characters?
  • Have multiple delivery modes shifted the allegorical narrative because of presumed changes in audience?

Examples of possible topics include representations of hybridity in manga adaptations; the treatment of Vision from comic to screen; changes to the Inhumans on ABC series adaptations; the varied allegorical treatment of race in X-Men  comics, cartoons, and films; zombies as human allegories in Walking Dead or iZombie and how generic conventions of television shift the narrative; and how representations of violent acts are treated as examples of being less or more human in comics such as A History of Violence and Wanted.

Please send 250-word abstracts and 2-page CV by 15 March 2019 to Rebecca Wanzo (rwanzo@wustl.edu) and Lan Dong (ldong4@uis.edu). Submission will receive notification of results by April 1.

Please note this is a proposed, not a guaranteed, session at MLA 2020. It is contingent on approval by the MLA Program Committee. All prospective presenters must be MLA members by April 2019.

MLA 2019 Call for papers: Comics Fandom in Transition

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DEADLINE: 3/15/18

 Comics have been involved in a wide variety of “textual transactions” at least since the 1890s origin of the comic strip. Yet comics fandom evolved in the ‘70s and ‘80s as a site of mostly straight, white, adult and male-dominated “textual transactions,” practiced in non-inclusive venues like the comics convention and the comic book store. Alternative spaces for comics fan practices have always existed. But thanks to developments such as the Internet, superhero films, graphic novels, and social justice movements, comics fandom is now undergoing a historic shift as new audiences demand inclusion in historically exclusionary comics fan communities.

This panel seeks papers on comics fan practices and the contemporary evolution thereof. Topics might include:

  • How have comics adaptations in other media (e.g. Black Panther, The Walking Dead) created new audiences?
  • How have fan fiction or fan art (e.g. The Hawkeye Initiative) offered innovative revisions of traditional texts?
  • How do YA comics, manga, webcomics, alternative comics, etc. create their own fan communities?
  • How have new fan spaces like the Internet provided alternatives to, or helped to transform, traditional fan spaces like the comic book store?

250-word abstracts to akashtan@uncc.edu by March 15, 2018. This CFP is for a proposed, not guaranteed, session at MLA 2019, and 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 later. All prospective presenters must be current MLA members by no later than April 2018.

MLA 2019 Call for papers: Making Comics, Making Meaning

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Over the past several years, making comics in pedagogical and scholarly contexts has been flourishing as an area of inquiry within the larger field of comics studies, as seen through special issues of journals—Critical Inquiry’s “Comics & Media” (2014) and DHQ’s “Comics as Scholarship” (2015)—alongside the rise of academic venues devoted to comics as scholarship like Sequentials. This attention builds on the growth of teaching comics making as a distinct area of study—through the establishment of programs within academic institutions as well as the creation of new centers devoted to comics.

Given this growing interest, we invite the question—how do comics operate as a means of scholarly investigation? This panel solicits interactive presentations that address how comic art functions as a mode of thinking, composing, and making meaning. Topics may include: teaching through comics and zine creation, visual literacy, language learning through image/text, sketchnotes, interdisciplinary approaches, and composing in graphic narrative form. Some possible creators to consider are: Lynda Barry, Ivan Brunetti, and Nick Sousanis. Presentations focusing on examinations of public scholarship surrounding teaching with comics are welcome, as are talks centering on educators’ own classrooms.

This call is for a guaranteed panel at the Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention, Jan. 3-6, 2019, in Chicago, IL. Please send 250-word abstracts and bios by 15 March 2018 to Susan Kirtley (skirtley@pdx.edu) and Margaret Galvan (margaretgalvan@ufl.edu). Responses to individual submissions will be sent out by the beginning of April. All prospective presenters must be current MLA members by no later than April 2018.