The 14th Annual Conference of the Society for Comics Studies (ComFor) is dedicated to the idea of comparative comics studies: relations and transformations within the art form that cross and bridge cultural, lingual, economic, juridical, political, and media divisions. These include referential and derivative formats such as citation, parody, pastiche, travesty, imitation, and emulation of genres, characters, and motifs, in which one comic recalls another comic, or any other medium. In all of these cases, a relation is established that connects one or more comics to others. But the scope of comparative comics studies also includes translations, transfers, adaptations, and many other kinds of metamorphosis. These take place not merely from one language to another, but also take into account changes in audience orientation, in technical and economic conditions, in legal and conventional rules, and any other co-determining circumstance that leaves its traces: on the new comic’s text, sometimes on its pictures as well, and always on the mechanisms of production, marketing, media practices, and interpretations to which comics are subjected.
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The conference topic Spaces Between – Gender, Diversity and Identity in Comics will draw our attention to the nexus between the medium of comics and categories of difference and identity such as gender, dis/ability, age, and ethnicity, in order to open and deepen an interdisciplinary conversation between comics studies and intersectional identity studies within the international comics studies community. In this respect, the 13th annual conference of the German Society for Comics Studies will not only contribute to the disclosure of exclusions, power structures and (hetero)normative allocations in comics, but will also critically analyse their socio‐political and communicative forms of (re)production.
Potential topics for contributions may include, but are not limited to, the following:
constructions of gender in comics
- the interplay of gender and genre in comics
- conceptions of identity and their (de)construction in comics
- intersectionality and comics
- the (re)production and constitution of difference and power structures in comics
- manifestations of heteronormative structures and allocations in comics
- mechanisms of hegemonic exclusion(s) in comics
- queerness and comics
- historic dimensions of identities in comics
- diversity and normalisation processes in comics
- race, class and ethnic stereotypes in comics
- comics and postcolonial studies
- body images in comics
- representations of dis/ability in comics
- the interrelation of comics, health and corporeality in the realm of graphic medicine
- economies of difference: gender, identity and diversity on the (international) comics market
spaces between, centres and peripheries: transnationality and diversity in comics culture
See the PDF here for more information.
University of Siegen, Germany. July 31st – August 5th 2017
Authors: Amadeo Gandolfo, Pablo Turnes, Laura Nallely Hernández Nieto, Lia Roxana Donadon
The first Transnational Graphic Narratives Summer School (abbreviated TGN) was held at the University of Siegen, Campus Unteres Schloß, from July 31st to August 5th of 2017. The participants included the following scholars (in alphabetical order): José Alaniz (University of Washington, USA), Benoît Crucifix (Université de Liège, Belgium), Veronica Dean (University of Los Angeles, USA), Subir Dey (Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, India), Harriet Earle (Sheffield Hallam University, England), Franca Feil (Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany), Moritz Fink (Academy for Civic Education Tutzing, Germany), Amadeo Gandolfo and Pablo Turnes (National University of Buenos Aires / CONICET, Argentina), Isabelle Guillaume (Universiy of Bordeaux Montagne, France), Olivia Hicks (University of Dundee, Scotland), Ganiyu A. Jimoh (University of Lagos, Nigeria), Kenan Koçak (Bilecik Şeyh Edebali University, Turkey), Sarah Lightman (University of Glasgow, Scotland), Suraya Md Nasir (Kyoto Seika University, Japan), Laura Nallely Hernández Nieto (National Autonomous University of Mexico), Barbara Postema (Concordia University, Canada), Johannes Schmid (University of Hamburg, Germany), Pfunzo Sidogi (Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa), Simon Turner (Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Culture, England), Jocelyn Wright (University of Texas, USA), Tobias Yu-Kiener (University of the Arts London, Great Britain), Giorgio Buzzi Rizzi (University of Bologna, Italy), Lia Roxana Donadon (University of Siegen, Germany).
Graphic Realities: Comics as Documentary, History, and Journalism
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’.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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 Simon Turner’s international 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.