CfP: German Graphic Novel Panel Series
Annual Conference of the German Studies Association
October 5-8, 2017 Atlanta, GA
For this year’s annual GSA conference in Atlanta, we are soliciting submissions for a planned series on German-language comics and visual narratives. Please send submissions to the individual organizers listed on each CfP.
The German Graphic Novel I: Diversity and Inclusion
Comics, like most expressive media in Western culture, have long been produced and controlled primarily by individuals belonging to majority groups whose attributes established the parameters of “normal” experience: white, heterosexual, cisgender, able men. As a result, mainstream comics traditions—and even many of the more subversive underground comix—have tended to erase, neglect, pathologize, exploit, and/or malign the experience of individuals outside of these categories. In the 21st century, there is the expectation and demand by many that media should become more diverse and inclusive, reclaiming spaces of creation and representation for historically marginalized and underrepresented groups.
Within the world of German-language comics, a number of artists and works have disrupted the historically homogeneous landscape. Non-native Germans like Li Yuo (Yinfinity), Sohyun Jung, and Hamed Eshrat have created acclaimed comics in German. PoC artists, including Mikiko Ponczeck, Judith Park, and Nana Yaa are fan-favorite exponents of German manga. Daniela Schreiter has used comics to describe life with autism, and Reto Gloor has reflected on multiple sclerosis. Ralf König is an international star of the gay comics scene, while Sarah Barczyk and Suskas Lötzerich have created comics about transgender and intersex experiences. This panel will explore topics of diversity and inclusion (or challenges to the same) in German-language comics within the context of ongoing political debates over identity, language, integration, accessibility, etc.
Possible topics include:
• integration, assimilation, cultural identity
• difference, Fremdheit, and their visual renderings
• stereotypes, tokenism, exoticism, colonialism
• cultural appropriation
• representation of vs. representation by underrepresented groups
• multiculturalism, pluralism
• race, ethnicity, and racism
• the authority of (German) language
• gender and sexuality; misogyny, homophobia, transphobia
• accessibility, disability, ableism
• (mental) illness and related stigmas
• religious freedom, religious prejudice
• class difference; elitism, classism
• tolerance vs. acceptance
Please send abstracts of approx. 300 words and a short biographical statement to Brett Sterling ([log in to unmask]) by February 10, 2017.
The German Graphic Novel II: Language and Form
Characterized by the speech balloon and the spatiotemporality of its frames, its realization in the Sunday funnies and serialized superhero comic books, its changing readership, and its relationship to popular culture, the comics form has proven difficult for readers, authors, artists, critics, and academics to define. Add in the graphic novel, and the connection between terminology and form becomes even less clear.
The form of the graphic novel in German-speaking countries is especially interesting. Though indebted to American, Franco-Belgian, and Japanese traditions, the German-language graphic novel also descends from the Bildgeschichtentradition. Each of these interconnected traditions interacts in a unique manner with the interplay of text and image, all of which result in today’s German-language graphic novel. Yet how do these components interact? Does the text dominate the images? How do different venues for text—speech balloons, thought balloons, text outside frames—shape its role? How is temporality altered by the presence or absence of text?
Discussions of text and form in comics also extend beyond individual components to a collective consideration of them as a verbal-visual language. Recent work has asked if there is a comics language (Frahm, 2010; Groensteen, 2007) as well how comics make use of systematic visual elements that could be described as language.
Finally, claims regarding the language and form of comics must be understood in relation to the cultures in which they find expression. How are the visual language(s)and form(s) of comics related to national comics traditions? Are there German, Austrian, or Swiss formal traditions?
This panel invites scholars to further consider the role of language and form in German-language comics today. Topics include but are not limited to the following:
• Comics and formal play
• Comics and literature
• The German graphic novel
• Comics vs. graphic novels
• German language and identity in comics
• The comics form as language
• National traditions and form/language
• Comics and reading/readers
• Comics and genre
• Comics and literacy
• Comics and (language) education
Please send abstracts of approx. 300 words and a short biographical statement to John Benjamin ([log in to unmask]) by February 10, 2017.
The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Sean Franzel
Assistant Editor: Olaf Schmidt
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
Info available at: https://grs.missouri.edu/german/resources