It feels a bit like cheating for me to write this column, taking turns for our bi-monthly ComFor updates on German comics scholarship. July and August have been comparably quiet, due to what must be a holiday breeze, but a regular storm of conferences, festivals and events appears to be looming on the horizon. So consider this more of a teaser trailer for September and October – and most of all for the ComFor’s own annual conference on History in Comics – History of Comics in Frankfurt/M. from September 4–6 (more about that later).
First, as a quick follow-up to Laura Oehme’s last column, and the news about the successful funding of a research cooperation between the University of Paderborn and the University of Potsdam on the subject of Hybrid Narrativity: the research group, combining approaches from the cognitive sciences, digital humanities and narratology, remains prominent in the German spotlight. One of the founders, Alexander Dunst, recently gave a lecture on the topic of Reading Comics – Contributions of Empirical Humanities at the University of Göttingen to present some preliminary results already. There have been some discussions of the project from outside academia as well (notably within regular newspaper columns and in online discussion groups), asking for more information about the aims and methods of the project than can be found on the public website of the group. An extensive and very informative (albeit German-language) interview with Dr. Dunst was published on Christian Meiwald’s comics-newsblog Dreimalalles, while Hybrid Narrativity-member Oliver Moisich of Paderborn University composed a short (Geman-language) project introduction for the ComFor. Since it is sometimes compared to (or contrasted with) Bart Beaty, Benjamin Woo and Nick Sousanis’ What Were Comics? by the University of Calgary and Carleton University, the ComFor editorial board followed up with a short interview with Bart Beaty (in English), in which he explains more about the backgrounds of, and possible connections between, both approaches. On a further note, the Hybrid Narrativity group will be organizing a Master Class with renowned media scholar Lev Manovich in Potsdam on September 23, doubtless deepening these discussions.
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