Monday, September 01, 2008

CFP: UF 2009 - "Convergences: Comics, Culture and Globalization"

The University of Florida's
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

is pleased to announce the
UF Conference on Comics and Graphic Novels:
Comics, Culture and Globalization"

Gainesville, Florida, March 21-22, 2009.

This seventh annual conference on comics will focus on issues of globalization and reception. Comics are, now more than ever, an international phenomenon, but scholarly accounts of comics are often limited by an exclusive focus on examples from a single national or continental comics industry. This problem is exacerbated by the scarcity of translations. Furthermore, one of the many obstacles facing the emergent discipline of comics studies is the difficulty of communication between scholars working in different national and cultural contexts. This conference is intended as a small step toward meeting these challenges. The goal of this conference, therefore, is to consider the history and reception of comics on a global level. We are interested in papers that focus on international comics and animation markets, cross-cultural reception of comics, and the differential status of comics in different cultures (e.g. as a children's / mass medium or as a mainstream form of literature). Here we are using "comics" in its broadest sense, embracing animation, manga, anime, graphic novels, webcomics, political cartoons, and even some "fine art." In addition to theoretically grounded work, we encourage submission of archival and historical research.

Special guests will include Susan Napier (From Impressionism to Anime: Japan as Fantasy and Fan Cult in the Mind of the West), Jessica Abel (La Perdida), Matt Madden (99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style) and Sara Cooper (Founder, MLA Discussion Group on Cuban and Cuban Diaspora Cultural Production).

Possible topics include but are not limited to:
  • The reception of comics outside their original cultural context, both by fans (e.g. manga fandom in the United States) and by creators (e.g. American comics' influence on the development of manga and BD, the "nouvelle manga" movement).
  • Connections between comics form and cultural status. How have views of the cultural position of comics (e.g. as a children's versus an adult medium or as a mass-cultural versus a literary medium) evolved differently in various cultures? What does this have to do with the formal properties of the medium, such as sequentiality and hybrid image-textuality?
  • Comics as a global market: migrations of talent between multiple comics industries (e.g. the Spanish and Filipino "invasions" of British and American comics in the 1960s and 1970s, the Korean influence on U.S. animation) and cross-national collaborations (e.g. mangakas working for Marvel and DC).
  • Comics studies as a global discipline. What barriers exist to the study of comics from a global perspective and to collaborations between comics scholars from different cultures? How might such barriers be removed?
  • The impact of the internet on the global comics market. How have scanlations and filesharing helped or hindered global comics industries?
  • Canon formation and expansion. What happens when works from unfamiliar cultural contexts (e.g. Persepolis and Epileptic) enter a national comics canon?
  • Comics and travel/tourism, e.g. in Craig Thompson's Carnet de Voyage.
  • Comics and issues of postcolonial identity, e.g. in Abouet & Oubrerie's Aya, Baru's Road to America, Horrocks's Hicksville.
  • Translations of comics, both official and unofficial, e.g. scanlation. What are the unique difficulties and advantages of comics translation as opposed to prose translation? What are the unique difficulties and approaches to translating comics from different cultures? How, if at all, do "official" and "unofficial" translators approach comics translations differently?
Abstract submissions should be approximately 250-500 words in length. Presentations will be 15 minutes with 5 minutes of question and answer.

The deadline for abstract submissions is December 1, 2008. Abstracts or questions should be submitted to Aaron Kashtan at akashtan[at] or Tania Darlington at tdarlington1[at] See the conference website for schedules and additional information:

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