Dear Colleagues,

The deadline for submissions for our special issue of *Seminar* is
approaching quickly. We welcome contributions in English, French or German.

Please circulate widely and my apologies for crossposting.

All the best,


*Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies*

*Call for Papers: German Comics and Graphic Literature*

While contemplating the sequential art of Rodolphe Töpffer, the Swiss
grandfather of modern comics, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe made an insightful
observation on the potential of the medium. He commented that“[i]f Töpffer
did not have such an insignificant text before him, he would invent things
which would surpass all our expectations.” Since that historic remark in
1830, Goethe’s assessment of comics’ potential has manifested globally.
Today, comic art is regarded as an important transnational medium that
broaches a range of subject matter, engaging both regional and global
themes. In German-speaking Europe, in particular, graphic narrative has
emerged as an essential form to examine German history and memory while
representing the experiences of marginalized groups.

The multimodal dimensions of the comics medium renders it a unique form
through which to discuss social justice and human rights issues. With its
history of radical politics worldwide and ability to visualize bodies,
comics draw attention to issues of representation – as well as to
representation itself – in ways unlike other media. Through visualization
and spatial and temporal fragmentation, the articulation of social justice
themes – as well as our reading experience of them – differs dramatically
from their engagement in more traditional texts. Visual cues of ethnicity,
gender, class, religion and ability are not easily flattened into
single-issue subjects, making comics fundamentally intersectional, while
the history of the form itself asks readers to question assumptions,
stereotypes and the impact of specific narrative strategies on social
justice issues. Moreover, comics demonstrate why representation matters,
communicating experiences that are often difficult to translate into words
alone, such as chronic illness, depression, oppression, trauma and silence.
Finally, through comics written by and about the LGBTQ community, people of
colour and other minority groups, authors and artists are able to
communicate subjective experiences of oppression and segregation visually,
contributing a first-person perspective into larger discourses of
inequality, bigotry or discrimination.

This special issue of *Seminar* seeks to demonstrate the diverse themes of
German comics studies with a particular interest in social justice and
human rights issues. How do German-language comics and graphic novels
engage ethnicity, class, religion and ability through form and content? How
are German-language comics and graphic novels in dialog with comics outside
of German-speaking Europe through their social justice and human rights
concerns? And what work do German-language comics and graphic novels still
have to do?

We welcome submissions with a variety of focal points in German, Austrian
and Swiss comics and graphic literature, including but not limited to the

●      comics and the experience of migration and displacement

●      comics and the representation of ethnicity and racialized identities

●      comics and the representation of marginalized or persecuted

●      graphic medicine and the representation of disability in comics

●      comics and LGBTQ rights and representation

●      comics and social justice work/activism

●      political cartoons and caricature

●      teaching social justice and human rights issues with comics and
graphic narratives in the post-secondary German Studies curriculum

Please send a 500-word abstract and short bio to Biz Nijdam (
[log in to unmask]) and Charlotte Schallié ([log in to unmask]) by June 15,
2019. The editors will notify contributors by June 30, 2019 and final
submissions (5000- 9000 words; MLA 8th ed.) will be due no later than
December 1, 2019 (preferably earlier). Submissions are welcome in English,
French or German.

Elizabeth "Biz" Nijdam
Assistant Professor, Department of Central, Eastern and Northern European
Studies, University of British Columbia
Secretary, Executive Committee, International Comic Arts Forum
President, Graduate Student Caucus, Comics Studies Society

Pronouns: she, her, hers

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