Sunday, September 26, 2010

CFP: Gender and Superheroes (Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics; January 1)

Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics
Special Issue: Gender and Superheroes
Editors: David Huxley and Joan Ormrod
Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
Consulting Editor: Roger Sabin

The superhero genre dominates the comics industry with representations of hypermuscular action men or sexy women wearing costumes that show off their near naked bodies. There are examples of more diverse approaches to both creating and analysing these figures but they remain, as yet, in the minority. Much of this work is produced by mainly male creators for similarly constructed audiences. Whilst that does not limit the possibilities of the superhero, to date there has been little substantial work in superheroes and gender beyond Trina Robbins work on women superheroes and Ndalianis’s edited collection of essays on heroism in which a few essays touch upon superheroes. This area, however, is of great interest to academia as evidenced by a significant proportion of papers submitted to the journal in recent months. We are, therefore, proposing a special issue in which this topic can be examined in a more sustained manner. Submissions are invited of papers 5000-7000 words by January 1, 2011 relating but not limited to the following topics:

  • Representing gender: masculinity, femininity, gay, transvestite superheroes – transgression or queer readings
  • The superhero/ine body
  • Superheroes in other nations – eg: British, Indian or Latin American superheroes and how they hail transnational and national identities
  • Representing superheroes in comics – eg: Love and Rockets, Kim Dietch’s The Cat
  • Revisioning of the character – for instance, the reworking of Catwoman
Theoretical Issues
  • Feminist theory and gendered identities – Judith Butler
  • Gaze and psychoanalytic
  • Class and the superhero
  • Manga superheroes and their audiences
  • Girls reading superheroes
  • Fanboys and specific heroes
  • Fan production – slash fiction, changing gendered identities
History and Industry
  • Online comics – fan production or industrial production
  • Tracing specific characters within an industrial context
  • Creators’ representations of gender – eg: Alan Moore, Promethea, Grant Morrison, The Invisibles
We’ll be happy to address any queries about the issue if you email either Dave Huxley or Joan Ormrod

If you are submitting an article please remember to check our format guidelines and obtain agreement from copyright holders for any images you plan to use. If you have queries about this then visit the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics website for clarification. We can publish black and white or colour images.

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

CFP: Sequential Art, Graphic Novels, and Comics in Education (edited collection; Jan 15)

Sequential Art, Graphic Novels,
and Comics in Education
Edited by
Robert G. Weiner and Carrye Syma
Texas Tech University Library

In recent years the use of graphic novels, comics, and sequential art in education has exploded. This is due not only to the boom in superhero movies that are based on comic book characters, but also to the wide literary range that graphic novels now have. There are now literally hundreds of college and university courses all over the world that are using graphic novels in their curriculum. The days when comics were just seen as children’s trash, with no redeeming literary or educational value, are hopefully behind us.

Contrary to the idea that comics “dumb” down material, it takes both sides of the brain to read and interpret sequential art stories: the right side to interpret the pictures and the left side to understand the narrative text. Our goal with this collection is to provide the educator and scholar with a collection of essays that show how graphic novels and comics are being used in the classroom today, as well as some historical pieces that detail how the educational fields often have and have had a “rocky” relationship with the use of comics in educational settings. We want both theoretical and practical essays showing how sequential art can be and is being used to teach and illustrate concepts and ideas. We are especially keen on pieces related to higher education, military and government uses of comics to educate, but all aspects of comics and education are under consideration. In addition, we would like to have educators from a wide spectrum of the educational fields from K-12, to undergraduate and graduate educational levels. Those using sequential art in adult education and pre-school are encouraged.

Some possible questions/ideas that could be addressed include:
  • The Military’s use of comics to teach.
  • Graphic Novels and comics in library science education.
  • How relationships can be understood through the use of graphic novels in human science education.
  • Teaching mathematical concepts using graphic narrative.
  • Grade school use of comics.
  • Middle school use of comics.
  • High school use of sequential art (say something like Maus to teach the Holocaust).
  • Comics and Film to teach about blockbuster cinema.
  • Philosophical issues raised by graphic novels (The Watchmen in a philosophy class about ethics).
  • Biological and scientific concepts using graphic novels.
  • The use of mainstream superhero stories in the classroom.
  • Superman, Batman, Spider-Man to further understand the concept of the hero Mythology (i.e., Odysseys, Hercules etc.).
  • Graphic Novels and history, how effective a tool is the graphic novel in teaching a historical concept?
  • Sequential art in teaching foreign language or English as a second language.
  • Comics in literacy and adult education programs.
  • Graduate courses using graphic novels.
  • The History of sequential art in education.
  • Medical education using comics. 
Please send 200 word abstracts by January 15th 2011 to Rob Weiner

Final papers will be due February 28th 2011. No exceptions. Please note the submission of an essay does NOT necessarily mean publication in the volume. Essays will be going through a rigorous peer review process and we have asked a number of scholars to serve in this capacity. We are striving to put together as an excellent collection with diverse viewpoints covering all aspects of comics and education. Authors are also expected to follow the editor’s style guide and be willing to have their work edited.

Thank you

Carry Syma
Texas Tech University Library

Rob Weiner
Texas Tech University Library

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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

CFP: Comic Books and American Cultural History (collection; 12/20)

Call for Papers:
Comic Books and
American Cultural History

Essays are currently being solicited for Comic Books and American Cultural History, a new anthology that will examine the ways in which comic books can be used to help us understand the history of the United States. Each essay of this proposed book will focus on a particular comic book, story/story arc, or graphic novel as a tool for analyzing some aspect of its original cultural and historical context. The essays in this anthology will not focus on the history of comic books per se, but rather on the history of the United States, with comic books being used as primary texts to support specific interpretations of American history. Because of this emphasis on the connections between comic books and America’s past, Comic Books and American Cultural History will prove to be a useful book for comics scholars, historians, and history teachers who want to integrate more popular culture into their courses.

The field of comics studies has seen a proliferation of book-length works in the last twenty years, but few of those books have examined American cultural history. For example, Of Comics and Men, by Jean-Paul Gabilliet, includes a very thorough explanation of the production and distribution history of American comic books, but there is less analysis of the actual content of the comic books themselves. Bradford Wright’s Comic Book Nation does examine some specific stories, but his work is a survey and, as such, cannot go into much depth about any one historical moment. In Secret Identity Crisis, Matthew Costello’s focus on the Cold War allows him to analyze his sources deeply, but other events and comics that do not fit into his framework are sometimes ignored. Comic Books and American Cultural History seeks to build off of these important works while also expanding the scope of comics scholarship by bringing together analyses on a wider variety of topics than what is possible in any of these books. In this way, Comic Books and American Cultural History will be especially useful as a collection of case studies demonstrating the ways in which comic books can be useful primary sources for the study of American cultural history.

The essays in Comic Books and American Cultural History will examine many different comic books and many different topics in American history. Possible sources can range from the 1930s to the present, and the collection will include essays focusing on mainstream, underground, alternative, and independent comics. Historical topics might feature discussions of the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, the Counterculture of the 1960s, and 9/11, all examined from a cultural history perspective. Essays about aspects of gender, class, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation will be especially encouraged. The more specific the essay, the better it will fit into this collection in that it will allow for greater depth than would be possible with a more broadly defined primary text and a more broadly defined historical connection.

Completed essays will be between 5,000 and 7,000 words long.

Please send 500 word abstracts, complete contact information, and brief biographies of authors (as Word documents) to:

Matthew Pustz
Economics, History, and Political Science Department
Fitchburg State University
Fitchburg, MA 01420

Abstracts are due December 20, 2010. Completed essays will be due the beginning of June 2011.

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