Conferences

March 6, 2019
London College of Communication (UAL)
London, England

In an age of globalisation, popular culture has been increasingly analysed through
transnational perspectives to reveal how local, national, international, and global
dynamics influence and shape the form and content of a given cultural artefact,
and impact its production, consumption, and regulation. Comics can cross national
and cultural boundaries in a variety of contexts: from its hand drawn form that
blends diverse cultural influences and styles and its collaborative creative process,
to the translation and circulation of comics across countries (amongst other
aspects). In this regard, the study of comics provides a rich subject of focus
in which to effectively engage with issues of transnational exchange.

The Comics Collections available in the Archives and Special Collections Centre
at the UAL is a useful example of transnational exchange, and serves as a small
window into the transatlantic flow of creative influence shared between national
comics traditions in the latter half of the twentieth century. Current research being
undertaken in the archives focuses upon the transcultural repurposing of the
American Western in British comics, raising larger questions around the cultural
migration of American popular culture. In addition, a recent exhibition of the
archives’ collection of mini-comics shed light upon the shared interest and
influence between French and US underground cartooning (among other things.

A survey of these Comic Collections reflects further cultural crossovers at work:
from the array of comics in DC’s Vertigo imprint, which symbolise the impact
of British creative talent upon the American mainstream, to the visible influence
of the American underground upon the work of European artists like Aleksander
Zograf. While this brief overview illuminates instances of interconnectedness
between American and other national comics productions, such examples
of transatlantic crossover are also a useful launch pad into a much wider
discussion around transnational comics.

See the full CFP here.

March 1-2, 2019
Wayne State University
Detroit, Michigan

How do we think productively about retelling, remaking, and rebooting? What is at stake in
recapitulation for developing new imaginaries, new futures? Why, ultimately, are we retelling stories?

“Retelling,” can appear as a symptom of manic nostalgia, as Simon Reynolds outlines in
Retromania. Retelling may also relate to what Dominic Fox has described as as the depressive feeling “that the world is frozen and nothing new is possible.” Either case plays into capitalist realism’s recursive vision of a world with “no alternative(s).” However, instead of reaffirming that our tendency for remaking, revising, and rebooting is simply the high-water mark of cultural burnout, we want to ask what retelling, revisiting, and reimagining may teach us about how we are thinking of the present, and if such retelling can orient us toward a renewed sense of the future? What do these repetitions and reworkings tell us about our efforts to survive in the present by reconnecting with our past? Furthermore, what can popular culture’s unique relationship to collectives (fandoms, forums, subcultures) tell us about subversive and radical potential after modernity? In what ways does retelling remain open to productive forms of experimentation? What are the possibilities for retelling to gather counter-cultural, post-capitalist, or emancipatory energies? Thinking about retelling includes efforts to articulate speculative and revisionist imaginaries, narratives in which the experience of cultural, racial, and sexual erasure are retold. Visual retellings, such as Hidden Figures, Wormwood, 120 Beats Per Minute; graphic retellings, such as Red Rosa, Louis Riel, and Persepolis; and the long history of sampling, covering, and rerecording in music, are all animated by an effort to bring to light affects associated with dislocation to reconceptualise our continuity with the past. All these works aestheticize the experience of cultural and historical dislocation, and in confronting
the experience of fragmentation propose alternative forms of continuity. What does retelling teach us about dislocation and our ability to re-find ourselves?

We are excited to welcome Matt Yockey, Associate Professor of Film & Media Studies at the
University of Toledo, editor of Make Ours Marvel: Media Convergence and a Comics Universe
(University of Texas Press, 2017), and author of Batman (TV Milestone Series, Wayne State University Press, 2014) as our keynote speaker for this conference.

Read the full CFP here

April 12 – April 14
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL

The Graduate Comics Organization at the University of Florida invites applicants from all stages of their careers, including independent scholars and imagetext creators, to submit proposals to their 16th annual conference, “ImageText in Motion: Animation and Comics.” 

Animation and comics are two tangled pictorial mediums that stem from the same modernist concerns with the possibilities of the image. Animation and the cartooned bodies it brings into being are omnipresent on the screens that surround us, the advertisements that beg our attention, and the popcorn fare that draws out our inner escapists. But what are the politics of these images that simultaneously claim to be real, but constantly telegraph their artificiality? What do we gain by analyzing this medium that spans from the trashiest of visual gags to the trippiest of experimental visuals? 

This conference hopes to begin answering these questions, and it aims to color those answers with concern for the politics of race, gender, ability, sexuality, and other matrices of power. Like any popular medium, animation has become an important site of conflict in cultural warfare, generating controversy as fans, critics, creators, and trolls clash over the politics of the polymorphous image as it appears on our pocket-sized slates and cinematic screens. And yet, the conflict goes beyond narrative content. As a crucial site of education and conditioning for children, a dramatization of performativity, and a method for visualizing the absent and the impossible, animation is a diverse tool that envisions (for better or worse) mediated imaginaries ripe for political intervention.

Read the full CFP on ImageText’s website.

July 25-27
Ryerson University
Toronto, Canada

This 2nd annual conference seeks to bring together scholars, artists, and other members of the international Comics Studies community for critical conversations about the intersections between comics and politics across forms, genres, media, experiences, regions, and cultures. Presentations may take the form of traditional 20-minute research papers or shorter contributions in roundtables organized around a specific theme.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • The political histories of comics, canonization, censorship, awards
  • The politics of comics historiography, periodization, surveying, mapping
  • The politics of publishing, translation, distribution, consumption
  • The politics of genre: traditions, rewrites, mash-ups
  • The politics of the page: form and style
  • The politics of creation and production
  • Political comics, editorial cartoons, propaganda, educational & activist comics
  • Comics journalism, documentary comics, graphic witness
  • Comix, indies, mini comics, zines, countercultural, underground, taboo comics
  • Critical race theory, ethnicity studies and comics
  • Queer theory, sexuality studies, the body and comics
  • Women’s comics, wimmen’s comix, gender studies and comics
  • Indigenous comics and settler colonialism
  • Migration, diaspora, conflict comics
  • Ecopolitics, the Anthropocene, animals, non-humans, and comics
  • Disability studies and comics studies
  • The politics of the family, childhood, coming-of-age
  • Politics of the future: fantasy, speculative, SF comics
  • Politics of the past: nostalgia, retro, pastiche comics
  • Intermedial politics, adaptations, remediations, hypermediations
  • The politics of comics research, scholarly publishing, academia
  • Pedagogical politics, comics in the classroom, literacies
  • The politics of comics collecting, curating, display & exhibition
  • Comics librarianship, acquisitions, cataloguing

For more information, visit the full CFP here.

May 10-11
Bloor Yorkville Marriott and Toronto Reference Library
Toronto, Canada

The Canadian Society for the Study of Comics invites proposals for 15 to 20-minute papers to be presented at our annual conference, on any and all aspects of comics, graphic narrative, picturebooks, and textual-visual arts. This year we would once again be particularly interested in receiving proposals on comics by and/or about indigenous peoples. Proposals from academics and independent scholars in all fields are welcome.

We are very pleased to announce that the academic keynote speaker for 2018 will be Canadian comics scholar Dr. Bart Beaty. The creative keynote, a joint presentation with TCAF’s Librarian and Educator Day will be announced at a later date. Please find information about the CSSC and our previous conferences on our website: http://comics-scholars.com.

Submit a proposed paper title and 200-word abstract, along with a 50-word biography and contact information, to Barbara at csscscebd@gmail.com by January 15, 2017.

See the full CFP here.