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Category Archives: ComFor Updates

CfP: Graphic Realities: Comics as Documentary, History, and Journalism

Graphic Realities: Comics as Documentary, History, and Journalism

International Conference

22.-23.02.2018, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen/GCSC

While comics have traditionally been associated with fictional, especially funny and/or fantastic stories, they have in recent decades become a major vehicle for nonfiction, as well. This development coincides with a time that has been described as ‘post-truth’, in which established news media face a crisis of confidence. The turn towards comics is a turn towards a medium, which inherently promotes simplification and exaggeration. Cartoon imagery thus immediately exhibits the subjectivity of the artist and her or his interpretation – but what could be considered a hindrance towards factual reporting has become an important resource. The overt display of subjectivity and medial limitations as a show of honesty has been described as an authentication strategy of graphic nonfiction. In contrast to formats based on camera-recorded images like photography and film nonfiction comics cannot lay claim to indexing premedial reality. Rather, individual graphic styles index their own creator who as witness becomes the main authenticator. Thus, comics shift the weight of authentication from medial prerequisites towards their authors and artists and thus the textual properties referencing them. One of the questions that will be discussed at the conference is thus the relation of inherent medial properties of comics as vehicle for nonfiction. While among graphic nonfiction life

While among graphic nonfiction life writing in particular has received widespread scholarly attention, this conference will focus on recent approaches to comics as documentary, history, and journalism. As opposed to graphic memoirs in which authors reflect upon their own lives and experiences, these works focus on the lives and experiences of others. Thus, authors and artists need to do justice towards their subjects, as well as to their own experience and negotiate their own voices within their stories. This becomes especially relevant as a majority of graphic reportages centers around highly traumatizing crises and catastrophes, such as war, displacement, natural disasters, and oppression. The conference is intended to explore how authors and artists utilize the medium of comics for nonfiction and address these ‘graphic realities’.

Invited Speakers:
 Prof. Dr. Jörn Ahrens (Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen)
 Dr. Nina Mickwitz (University of the Arts London)
 Prof. Dr. Dirk Vanderbeke (Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena)
 Prof. Dr. Wibke Weber (Züricher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften
Winterthur)

Submission for talks should address one or more of the following questions:
 How is the medium of comics employed for reportage, history writing, and to report
on war, crises, and trauma?
 Which narrative and aesthetic strategies do authors and artists employ to present and
authenticate their comics as nonfiction?
 How do the genres of ‘documentary’, ‘history’, and ‘journalism’ in comics relate to
each other and how do they relate to other genres of graphic nonfiction such as ‘lifewriting’ or educational formats?
 Does the medium of comics inherently support nonfictionality, or does it depend on con- and paratexual framing practices?
 How do different ‘transfer media’ such as comic books or webcomics affect the
potential of comics for factual reporting?
 How and to what extent is nonfictionality created through intermediality, especially
with regard to more conventionally ‘factual’ media such as photography and film?
 In how far do different comics traditions differ transnationally and -culturally with
regard to their status as nonfiction?

Please submit your proposals (no longer than 300 words) for talks (20 min) and a short CV including your affiliation to graphicrealities@gcsc.uni-giessen.de until November 3rd, 2017.

The conference is organized as collaboration between the International Centre for the Study of Culture Giessen (GCSC) and the Comics Studies Working Group (AG Comicforschung) of the German Society for Media Studies (GfM) by Laura Schlichting (Justus-Liebig-University Giessen) and Johannes C. P. Schmid (University of Hamburg).

A membership in the Comics Studies Working Group is not mandatory for participation.

 
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Posted by on 2017/09/04 in ComFor Updates, General, News

 

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The Bi-monthly ComFor update for July 2017

By Lukas R.A. Wilde

We are back with some more accounts of what was going on in German comic studies recently… After the following update, the ComFor editorial team will take some time off for a short holiday break. The weeks and months since Julia’s last update in May, however, have been nothing short of a rollercoaster. In some of our columns it has been challenging to not just recount the ‘German corner’ of the News Reviews (Martin de la Iglesia deserves all our credit for his excellent coverage of German events); this time, on the contrary, I have to remind myself not to let this get out of hand.

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Posted by on 2017/07/14 in ComFor Updates

 

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The Bi-Monthly ComFor Update for May 2017

By Julia Ingold

 

Just recently, Germany’s Gesellschaft für Comicforschung (Society for Comic Studies, short: ComFor) published the date and a call for papers for its 12th annual conference. Scholars from home and abroad are invited to come together, present, and discuss their latest research under the topic “Comics and their Popularity” from December 1 to 3, 2017. The conference will take place at Bonn University, hosted by Joachim Trinkwitz and his team, who might be well known for their astonishing work on the Bonner Online-Bibliographie zur Comicforschung (Bonn Online Bibliography for Comics Research).

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Posted by on 2017/05/15 in ComFor Updates

 

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The Bi-Monthly ComFor Update for February 2017

By Lukas R. A. Wilde

The ComFor editorial team concluded the last year – which already feels like ages ago – with a more detailed self-introduction of our new staff and started off again with the 2016/17 installment of comic book reading recommendations by some of ComFor’s members. Shortly after, an extensive and long-awaited ComFor-publication was released by the Christian A. Bachmann publishing house: Comics an der Grenze. Sub/Versionen von Form und Inhalt [Comics Crossing Borders. Sub/versions of Form and Content], edited by Matthias Harbeck, Marie Schröer and Linda Heyden. This collection of 25 articles (with a sensational cover illustration by Paul Paetzel) collects some of the papers presented at ComFor’s 9th annual conference held in Berlin in 2014. Scholars from various fields question, on the one hand, the many medial, cultural, national, generic and disciplinary boundaries that are crossed by comics as a form, as well as, on the other hand, the representations of threshold conditions of gender, bodies and borders within individual works. Five of the contributions are in English, including a must-read conversation with Black Kirby (an artist collective comprised of John Jennings and Stacey ‘Blackstar’ Robinson) that created a spectacular exhibition on the intersections of Black history, AfroFuturism and comic book culture.

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Posted by on 2017/02/15 in ComFor Updates

 

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The Bi-Monthly ComFor Update for December 2016

by Laura Oehme

Looking back on 2016, I have to say that it was a great year for comics studies in Germany. The past two months in particular were yet again full of academic events and publications, but also festivals and exhibitions around the comics medium. From a distinct ComFor perspective, the annual ComFor meeting in November was certainly a highlight of the year. As Stephan already mentioned in his last update, this year’s ComFor conference focused on comics’ didactics and brought together academia and teachers in very productive ways.

Speaking from an even more specific perspective of the ComFor online editorial team, the past two months have seen two very particular novelties. For one, we asked all ComFor members to let us know about their lectures and seminars with a comics focus in the winter semester 2016/17 and collected them in an unprecedented overview post on the ComFor website. Secondly, we were lucky enough to gain two new members for our (still rather small) editorial team, but also lost one of our core editors who has been a beloved team member for many years now. Thus, to use a rough translation of a German idiom “with one sad and two cheerful eyes”, we say a heartfelt “goodbye and farewell” to Nina Heindl (Art History, University of Cologne), and welcome Alexandra Hentschel (museum’s director, Erika-Fuchs-Haus) as well as Julia Ingold (German literature, University of Kiel) to the team! We are very grateful for all the hard work that Nina has invested over the years and we are looking forward to the “breath of fresh air” that our newest team members will certainly bring to the ComFor website!

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Posted by on 2016/12/16 in ComFor Updates

 

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