Call for Papers for MLA 2018: Comics and the Culture Wars

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In contemporary America, popular culture has become one of the primary spaces in which political debates are enacted. The Gamergate movement in video game criticism, which helped lead to the rise of the “alt-right,” demonstrates how popular culture not only comments on America’s cultural and political divides but is itself a site of political contention. This is just as true of comics as of other cultural forms, as suggested, for example, by the South Carolina government’s retaliation against universities that selected Fun Home as a common book, or the respective use of Ms. Marvel and Pepe the Frog as anti-Islamophobic and racist symbols.

We solicit papers on how comics comment upon or intervene in contemporary cultural debates. Relevant questions might include:

  • How have comics (e.g. Persepolis or Drama) become focuses of political controversy?
  • How have superhero comics (e.g. Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye) or their film and TV adaptations sought to represent diverse identities? what reactions have such representations provoked?
  • How have images derived from comics (e.g. Wonder Woman punching Trump) been deployed for political purposes?
  • How do comics (e.g. Southern Bastards) depict the political effects of transformations in American regional identities?

250-300-word abstracts to akashtan@uncc.edu by March 12, 2017. This CFP is for a proposed, not guaranteed, session at MLA 2017, 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.

CFP for MLA 2017: Adaptation

 

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Drawing the Line: Comics and Adaptation

While comics adaptations have frequently been derided for “dumbing down” great works of literature through adaptation, recent movie adaptations of comics have conquered the box office and brought new attention to the medium. These intriguing developments beg the questions—How might comics be transformed by such adaptations? What is the potential for comics in reworking other forms? Recent books, such as Stephen Tabachnick and Esther Bendit Saltzman’s anthology Drawn from the Classics (2015) and the University of Leicester Conference (2015) on “Comics and Adaptation in the European Context” indicate growing academic interest in issues surrounding comics adaptations. This roundtable seeks to extend this scholarly conversation, exploring intersections between Comics and Adaptation Studies. Papers with an international or global focus are particularly welcome.

Relevant questions include:

  • What are the affordances particular to comics? In what way do these translate (or not) into other forms?
  • How have comics been remediated?
  • In what ways have digital and multimodal technologies changed the reading (and writing) of comics?
  • How can theory illuminate our understanding of comics adaptations? What examples shed light on the successes and failures of adaptation?
  • How have various plots been adapted into different comics? How have text-based narratives been translated into image/texts? And from comics into other forms? What is lost and what is gained in these retellings?

Please send 250-word abstracts to Susan Kirtley (skirtley@pdx.edu) by March 15. Acceptances will be announced by early April.

Please note: This CFP is for a proposed, not guaranteed, session at MLA 2017, 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 April 2016.

CFP for MLA 2017: Temporality

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Graphic Narrative, Comics, and Temporality

Whether we consider the fragmentation of time in the Dr. Manhattan chapter of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen, or Art Spiegleman’s intermingling of his father’s WWII past with his present as narrator in Maus, rendering time as space has been one of the most unique and commented upon formal aspects of the graphic novel. More recent, innovative graphic narratives that deliberately foreground time include Richard McGuire’s Here and Chris Ware’s Building Stories.

This panel seeks new scholarly work on the representation of temporality in comics and graphic narratives, with a particular attention to the formal qualities of comics. Papers may address simultaneity, human vs. cosmic time scales, eruptions of the past into the present, sequentiality, seriality, or other experimental permutations of time in comics. Graphic narratives from other countries and traditions outside of the Anglophone world are welcome. Possible examples include Rutu Modan, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, and Oubapo cartoonists.

250-300 word abstracts & CV to mkuhlman@bryant.edu by March 4th. This is a guaranteed panel for the Forum on Comics and Graphic Narrative. Responses to individual submissions will be sent out by the end of March. All prospective presenters must be MLA members by early April 2016.

CFP for MLA 2017: Alien Lines

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Alien Lines: Science Fiction Comics

The medium of comics—often dominated by genres bound to contemporary concerns or enduring conventions—remains marginal in the study of science fiction. Likewise, the oldest questions driving science fiction scholarship—identity and difference, self and other, chance and futurity—have not been central to comics studies. In short, we have rarely asked: how do the central projects of science fiction manifest in comics form?

The Forum on Speculative Fiction and the Forum on Comics and Graphic Narratives therefore invite papers that explore this question. We especially desire proposals focused on the ways difference, otherness and futurity manifest on the comics page. How does the comics medium, a form with close ties to stable technologies of production and to the human body, manifest new visions of other technologies, bodies, times, places and selves?

This panel might cover any works that manifest such alien lines. Papers on comics of all kinds—short stories, open-ended serials and graphic novels, print and digital, newspaper and book-form—are invited, as are papers focused on any era of science fiction, from its earliest beginnings through its postmodern and contemporary phases. We welcome proposals on canonical figures such as Tezuka, Moebius, and the EC creators of the early 1950s, and on contemporary creators such as Vaughan, Lemire, and Kirkman. Potential panelists should also feel free to propose talks on independent works such as Jesse Jacobs’s By This You Shall Know Him, Dash Shaw’s Bodyworld, and Sophie Goldstein’s The Oven, or on mainstream revisions of SF tropes such as McDuffie’s Hardware, DeConnick’s Bitch Planet, and Layman’s Chew. SF manga by Hagio, Otomo, Yukimura, and many other contemporary figures, as well as European comics by creators such as Schuiten and Peeters, Mézières and Christin, Vehlmann and De Bonneval, Bilal, and others will likewise be enthusiastically considered.

250-word abstracts & CV to christopher.pizzino@gmail.com by March 15. Note that this CFP is for a proposed, not guaranteed, session at MLA 2017; the session is contingent on approval by the MLA Program Committee. Responses to individual submissions will be sent out by the beginning of April, and the MLA Program Committee will consider the entire session proposal after that date. All prospective presenters must be MLA members by early April 2016.

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.