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.

Call for Papers for MLA 2018: Teaching Global Arab Comics in the US

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This panel seeks papers that address graphic narratives by/about Arabs, and how they are taught or not taught today in the US. Some of the topics may include: circulation, translation, critical/pedagogical reception, aesthetics/politics of representation, gender, counternarrative, figurations of history, occupation, the status of refugees, and states of belonging. Genres to consider may include satire, memoir, fiction, journalism, or alternative formations. Possible comics may include the website PositiveNegatives, the zine Tok Tok, and the series The 99. Possible creators to consider may include Joe Sacco, Toufic El Rassi, Riad Sattouf, Farid Boudjellal, Magdy El Shafee, Zeina Abirached, Leila Abdelrazaq, Marguerite Dabaie, Nicole Georges, and Jana Traboulsi, among others. The organizers hope to collect a panel of presenters that would consider how, when, and which Arab comics and graphic narratives are taught or not taught in the U.S. Comparative as well as transnational approaches to pedagogy and production are welcome.

Abstracts by 15 March 2017; Susan E. Kirtley (skirtley@pdx.edu) and Pauline Vinson (pvinson@dvc.edu).

This CFP is for a competitive session at MLA 2018, 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 after that date. All prospective presenters must be current MLA members by no later than April 2017.

Call for Papers for MLA 2018: Connecting the Dots: Museums and Comics

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Drawing from art theorist André Malraux’s observation that “The museum invites comparison of each of the expressions of the world it brings together, and forces us to question what it is that brings them together,”­ what indeed brings comics and museums into dialogue and/or dispute about/over exhibitionary spaces and praxis? If we consider that recently there has been a surge of comics exhibitions worldwide in both government-sanctioned museums as well as the privately-owned art galleries, what do we make of this long and fraught relationship between art and comics worlds today? In our examination, we must also keep in mind comics scholar Bart Beaty’s analysis about this relationship: “[an] internalized bitterness defines how the comics world sees the larger art world.” This panel thus seeks to “connect the dots,” to interrogate and map so-to-speak the implications of bringing together comics and those sacred buildings dedicated to the muses of arts into dialogue with one another.

Papers are welcome on:

  • Comics museums from around the world (e.g. Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, Centre Belge de la bande dessinée, Cite national de la bande dessinée, Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, etc.)
  • Comics entering the museum space (e.g. “Comic Book Apocalypse: The Graphic World of Jack Kirby,” “Albums-Bande dessinée et immigration: 1913-2013,” “Good Grief! Children and Comics,” “Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream,” etc.)
  • Comics depicting art exhibitions (Cartoon Strips, cartoonists commenting on the Armory Show, Gasoline Alley and modernism, etc.).

Please send abstracts of 250-300 words and 1-page c.v. by 12 March 2017 to Nhora Serrano (nserrano@hamilton.edu).

This is a guaranteed MLA panel. All prospective participants must be MLA members by 7 April  2017.