American Comparative Literature Association Conference
Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands
Organizer: Martha Kuhlman
Co-Organizer: Jose Alaniz
July 6-9, 2017
While American, British, Japanese, and Franco-Belgian comics have received a fair amount of scholarly attention in recent years, other regions have had less exposure (at least as far as English language criticism is concerned). Dan Mazur and Alexander Danner’s ambitiously titled Comics: A Global History, 1968 to the Present (2014), for example, while admirable in the arenas that it does cover (primarily but not exclusively Anglophone and Francophone comics, in addition to Manga), does not represent the work of cartoonists from any European country east of Germany. The International Journal of Comic Art has gone the furthest in representing a truly international array of lesser-known cartoonists, but there is still a great deal of research to be done.
We invite proposals on a range of issues that would address comics culture in this context, including but not limited to the following:
How have comics circulated among countries, and what have been some of the most important or influential texts for this new generation of writers? Detailed close readings of significant works or influential cartoonists from the region are especially welcome.
To what extent do these comics venture into representing non-fiction narratives? How have the traumas of WWII and the subsequent socialist regimes been represented in comics? What special considerations or problems arise in representing these histories? What attention, if any, have these comics cultures devoted to ethnic and sexual minorities, and to the immigration crisis? How do the comics scenes of the New Europe interact or overlap with other media cultures, such as those of music, youth movements and art? Close readings of individual texts are encouraged.
What kind of alternative or independent comics scene exists in this part of the world? What has been the role of regional comics festivals (in Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, Russia, Latvia) in disseminating texts and promoting exchanges among cartoonists?
In the West, especially in American and Franco-Belgian comics, autobiography and biography have proven to be dominant forms. Is there a corresponding trend in Central Europe? Does it make sense – almost 30 years after the collapse of the Soviet bloc – to lump together these disparate, multi-linguistic comics cultures at all? Can we find alternative approaches for understanding the graphic narrative produced in this region?
Follow this link to submit a proposal: http://www.acla.org/comics-new-europe-intersections-and-reflections