*German Studies Association Conference*
September 29-October 2, 2016, San Diego, California

*Panel Series: The German Graphic Novel*

In the past decade there has been an explosion of comics production in
German-speaking Europe. The impressive artistic quality and thematic
breadth of comics coming out of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland today has
attracted public and critical attention, both domestically and
internationally. From historical comics that open new perspectives on the
GDR and reunification to comics journalism on right-wing extremism; from
biographies of Martin Luther, Fidel Castro, and Johnny Cash to adaptations
of Goethe, Kafka, Schnitzler, Thomas Bernhard and beyond; from Berliner
vampires to time traveling *Junge Pioniere*, the landscape of German comics
is vibrant, diverse, and challenging. As comics are increasingly
incorporated into university curricula, as well as into the fields of
inquiry of Literary and Media Studies, German Studies is also beginning to
recognize comics as a legitimate object of scholarly analysis. For the
third consecutive year, we invite papers on German-language comics old and
new, organized around three thematic constellations: Gender and Sexuality –
Age – Nation and Identity. We include individual calls for papers for each
panel, and submissions of approximately 250 words—as well as a short
bio—should be directed to the appropriate organizer by February 12, 2016.

*The German Graphic Novel (I): **Gender and Sexuality*

Organizer: Julia Ludewig ([log in to unmask])

Even though issues of gender and sexuality as well as comic studies have
gained traction in German studies, the intersection of these two fields is
still in its infancy. This panel invites scholars to present analyses of
one or several comics or graphic novels from the German-speaking world that
tackle themes of gender and sexuality. Prominent examples of such novels
include Ulli Lust’s *Heute ist der letzte Tag vom Rest deines Lebens*, the
erotica series *Springpoem* to which Lust contributed as well, Anke
Feuchtenberger’s *Die Hure H.*, Manuel Fiore’s *Fräulein Else, *Jakob
Hinrich’s *Traumnovelle, *the anthology *Bettgeschichten*, Ralf König’s *Der
Bewegte Mann*, Suskas Lötzerich’s* Hexenblut, *or even more or less
reverent fairy tale adaptations. Possible lines of inquiry include, but are
not limited to the following questions:

·                  gender identity and transgender

·                  heteronormativity and its alternatives

·                  artistic techniques:  interpretative process,
*mis-en-page*, realism vs. abstraction etc.

·                  area/culture-specific trends in gender/sexuality-themed

·                  theoretical concepts across the disciplines (e.g. gaze
theory, *plaisir* and *juissance*)

·                  the boundary between pornography and art

·                  adaptions from or into other media (e.g. literature,
film) of comics on gender and sexuality

·                  alternative comic formats (e.g. web comics)

·                  pedagogy for comics on gender and sexuality: challenges
and chances

*The German Graphic Novel (II): **Age*

Organizer: Brett Sterling ([log in to unmask])

Since its beginnings, the graphic novel has been used frequently as a
vehicle for “life writing,” that is, for personal stories, autobiographies,
and memoirs. This is especially true in German-speaking Europe, where
numerous artists have interpreted their own stories through comics (ex. Ulli
Lust’s *Heute ist der letzte Tag vom Rest deines Lebens*, Simon Schwarz’s
*drüben!*, Volker Reiche’s *Kiesgrubennacht*, etc.). Each of these comics,
as the story of a lived life, is inherently concerned with the passage of
time, of aging. The theme of age opens up a range of fruitful topics which
can be discussed in the context of comics: from “coming of age” stories
(Mawil’s *Kinderland*, Lukas Jüliger’s *Vakuum*, etc.) to comics about
dementia (Flix’s *Don Quixote*), the aging European population (Marijpol’s
*Eremit*), mortality and the afterlife (Felix Pestemer’s *Staub der Ahnen*),
to the evolution of life and the human species (Jens Harder’s *Alpha:
Directions* and *Beta: Civilizations*). This panel invites papers on the
theme of age in German comics, topics for which could include, but are not
limited to:

·                  Reflection, recollection, remembering

·                  The fallibility of memory

·                  Life writing

·                  Generations, generational conflicts

·                  Age groups, cohorts

·                  Youth vs. maturity

·                  Stages of life and development

·                  Death and dying

·                  Vitality and the decline of the body

·                  Depictions of time

·                  Past – Present – Future

·                  (D)evolution

·                  How themes, styles, and works age

*The German Graphic Novel (III): Nation and Identity*

Organizer: Elizabeth (Biz) Nijdam ([log in to unmask])

With its close relationship to caricature, the comics medium has been
linked to concepts of nation and national identity since its inception.
Furthermore, in light of the recent attack on the Paris headquarters
of satirical
magazine *Charlie Hebdo* and subsequent *Je suis Charlie *campaign, it’s
clear that comics and cartoons still play an important role in matters of
nation and national identity. In the German-speaking context, national
history has become particularly significant in negotiating national
identity in contemporary comics. Since the 20th anniversary of the fall of
the Berlin Wall, East German authors have engaged the medium to represent
the East German past and complicate the portrayal of citizens of the German
Democratic Republic as supporters of the regime (Simon Schwarz’s
*drüben!, *Thomas
Henseler and Susanne Buddenberg’s *Grenzfall, *Mawil’s *Kinderland*). More
recently, graphic novels have also begun to offer a space for the
representation of marginalized members of the German public, and the
fringes of German national identity are finding their voice within panels.
Yi Luo’s *Running Girl *recounts the author’s immigration from Tianjin,
China to Augsburg, while both Paula Bulling’s *Im Land der Frühaufsteher*
and the Comic Festival Munich’s recent exhibition and anthology “Gestrandet
and Verwurzelt” chronicle the lives of Germany’s refugees. Moreover, the
German government has turned to comics to educate the population. In the
German Federal Agency for Civic Education’s fictive world of *Hanisauland*,
for example, children learn about governmental systems as hippos, hares and
wild boar attempt to build a democracy. The Interior Ministry of
Nordrhein-Westfalen, on the other hand, has published three issues of their
comics series *Andi* instructing on Islamicism and right-wing and left-wing

This panel invites scholars to consider the role of nation and national
identity in German comics today. Topics include but are not limited to the

·                  German national identity in contemporary German comics

·                  German stereotypes at home and internationally

·                  Comics and (im)migration

·                  Comics and diaspora

·                  Comics, politics and the state

·                  Caricature in the German context

·                  Comics and East German identity

·                  Comics and national history

·                  Comics and refugees

·                  Comics and marginalized voices

·                  The German comics scene as a national movement

·                  Comics educating German citizens

·                  Comics reportage

The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Sean Franzel
Assistant Editor:  Olaf Schmidt
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
Info available at: