Comicgesellschaft

CFP COMFOR-Conference 2018: “Spaces Between – Gender, Diversity and Identity in Comics”

Termin:
2018 09 17 - 2018 09 19

Deadline: 1st of April, 2018
Spaces Between – Gender, Diversity and Identity in Comics

13th Annual Conference of the German Society for Comics Studies (ComFor), University of Cologne, 17/09/2018 – 19/09/2018

Illustration: Aisha Franz 2018

For decades, comics have been perceived as a mass phenomenon situated in popular culture, which manifests, establishes and perpetuates stereotypical (gender)  representations. Hence, the image of a particularly helpless, passive, but all the more attractive female victim is at home in the repertoire of the medium no less than the representation of a radiant, muscular, white, heterosexual hero, whose first duty consists of protecting the world and its inhabitants from catastrophe. In this sense, comics might seem alike to other forms of mass media in the age of mechanical reproduction and their tendency towards generalisations and clichés. From a historical perspective, reactions to the worldwide anti-comics campaigns of the 1950s, including self-censorship among numerous comic book publishers, also exemplarily point to heteronormative and xenophobic tendencies within mass media comics culture, which was in turn long reflected in the demographics of its readership. However, as a popular and oftentimes marginalised medium, comics never completely became one with this role of a (reactionary) stabilising force. Rather, comics are imbued with a socio-political dimension that has always encouraged comics artists to use the spaces between in a creative way,  and to question and subvert (social) norms.

Comics are both visual and sequential art: they constitute a visual medium that is defined by  the sequence of its static images as well as by the spaces between the panels. Hence, the succession of sequential images in comics is by no means seamless. Rather, the conglomeration of (blank) spaces interconnects and separates them at the same time. These ‚spaces between’ might be used or construed as a reference to a realm of the ‚unshown’, wherein notions of a final, self-contained truth  are renounced and alternative worldviews that challenge the social status quo are enhanced. At the same time, the theme of the planned conference on ‚spaces between’ refers to the hybridity and ambiguity of the art form that combines picture and text: As an ‘inter-medium’, comics constitute a transgressive form which resists common classifications and mechanisms of exclusion based on hierarchical and hegemonic structures. In this respect, comics have the potential to destabilise and blur binary oppositions such as subject/object, nature/culture, man/woman, authentic/artificial, good/bad, normal/abnormal or black/white that are usually perceived as ‘natural’ and ‘given’. In certain circumstances, the medium thus has the potential to break up rigid dichotomies, and to open up spaces for the representation of ‘shades between’ – of fractions, differences and diversity.

The 13th annual conference of the German Society for Comics Studies will examine this productive potential of comics by uncovering and analysing different forms of the ‘spaces between’ within the art form itself, but also within its production and its audience. The internationally and inderdisciplinarily assembled  talks will focus on the question how gender, identity and diversity are represented and negotiated in sequential art. The conference topic Spaces Between – Gender, Diversity and Identity in Comics will draw our attention to the nexus between the medium of comics and categories of difference and identity such as gender, dis/ability, age, and ethnicity, in order to open and deepen an interdisciplinary conversation between comics studies and intersectional identity studies within the international comics studies community. In this respect, the 13th annual conference of the German Society for Comics Studies will not only contribute to the disclosure of exclusions, power structures and (hetero-)normative allocations in comics, but will also critically analyse their socio-political and communicative forms of (re-)production.

Potential topics for contributions may include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • constructions of gender in comics
  • the interplay of gender and genre in comics
  • conceptions of identity and their (de-)construction in comics
  • intersectionality and comics
  • the (re-)production and constitution of difference and power structures in comics
  • manifestations of heteronormative structures and allocations in comics
  • mechanisms of hegemonic exclusion(s) in comics
  • queerness and comics
  • historic dimensions of identities in comics
  • diversity and normalisation processes in comics
  • race, class and ethnic stereotypes in comics
  • comics and postcolonial studies
  • body images in comics
  • representations of dis/ability in comics
  • the interrelation of comics, health and corporeality in the realm of graphic medicine
  • economies of difference: gender, identity and diversity on the (international) comics market
  • spaces between, centres and peripheries: transnationality and diversity in comics culture
Open Workshop:

Beyond the discussion of each year’s special topic, the German Society for Comics Studies aims to further co-operation and dialogue in all areas of comics research. The 13th Annual Conference in Cologne will therefore continue an open workshop format that allows researchers to present and gather feedback on on-going projects within comics studies in all stages of development, and without any thematic restrictions – not limited to the conference topic. The invitation stands for colleagues in all phases of academic careers to discuss any projects on which they are currently working.

Submissions and contact:

Please address your abstracts of roughly 300 words plus a short biography (as a word and pdf file) no later than April 1st 2018 to: comfortagung2018@gmail.com

Contributions to the conference will be accepted in English or German and should not exceed 20 minutes. The presentations in the open workshop are limited to 15 minutes.

We plan to publish selected contributions in an edited volume.

Participants are not required to be members of the German Society for Comics Studies. Contributions from non-members welcome!

Conference organizers:

Véronique Sina (University of Cologne, Department of Media Culture and Theatre)
Nina Heindl (University of Cologne, Department of Art History)
Christine Gundermann (University of Cologne, Department of History)

Program of the 12th Annual ComFor Conference in Bonn: “Comics and their Popularity”

Termin:
2017 12 01 - 2017 12 03

The University of Bonn warmly invites to the 12th annual research conference of the German Society for Comics Studies (ComFor) from December 1 to 3, 2017: “Comics and their Popularity”. It is organized by Joachim Trinkwitz and Rolf Lohse.

Visitors are kindly requested to register at comicforschung@uni-bonn.de. The conference fee will be 30 € for guests (ComFor-members pay a reduced fee of 20€ and students 10 €). Please transfer to:

Universitätskasse Bonn
Sparkasse KölnBonn
IBAN: DE08 3705 0198 0000 0576 95
BIC: COLSDE 33
Important notice: Please always include the follwing:
61 117 / 282 11 / PN 73125016

Short invitation:

“Comics might currently seem to show some ambivalence towards their own popularity. On the one hand, multitudes have access to these media that provide entertainment and, increasingly, information. On the other hand, it is their very popularity that has in the past given rise to popular suspicions against comics. It is no later than in the 1950s that parents and pedagogues all over the world begin to fear that comics might lead children and teenagers astray, prompting them to limit access, which has in turn constrained the formal and topical development of the art form. At the same time, rendering comics as harmless entertainment for kids attracted criticism of immaturity, excluding it from the canonical reading for self-defined members of the educated classes. In the 1970s, the art form could thus be rediscovered as a subversive mode of expression. The attempt to use the term ‘graphic novel’ as a vehicle to approach new audiences was again met with ambivalence: While the traditional fan scene, often wary of outsiders, saw its identity and large parts of its reading conventions at risk, publishers, reviewers and book sellers saw an opportunity to gain new readership and popularity. For some parts of academia, it was only then that comics became an object of cultural research. It is these dialectics of exclusions and inclusions, access and constraint, that the conference on Comics and their Popularity at Bonn University will discuss. ”

Zum vollständigen Programm

“Re-Animate Europe”-Comic competition 2017

ReAnimate Europe

Twice already, in 2013 and 2015, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom organised the International Comic Competition “Animate Europe”. End of February, a seven-head strong international expert jury will again select seven comic artists who will then be asked to finish an eight-page graphic short story by Monday, 22. May 2017. The finalists will receive a grant of 800€. Their entries will be published in an anthology at the end of the competition and they will travel around Europe in form of a travelling exhibition. The winner will be announced at an award ceremony on 11 July 2017 at the Belgian Comic Strip Center in Brussels and will receive a prize of 500€.

Organizer’s announcement:
“We’re thrilled to announce that “Animate Europe” will be running for a third round, starting now! This time, we’re looking for your creative ideas to „Re-Animate Europe“! After many external crises and internal shake-ups, from the migration crisis to Brexit to a lack of trust, the once strong and confident body of the European Union seems tattered and tired. The European heartbeat has lost its rhythm. How can we help to get Europe back on its feet? Who or what will be the healer, who can find the magic potion for Europe’s ailing heart? Share your vision with us – send us your „medication“ for a healthy European heartbeat!”

Continue to the organizer’s page

The Bonn Online Bibliography is up to 10,000 entries

donald
Last weekend the Bonn Online Bibliography for Comics Research has arrived at the mark of 10,000 entries and meanwhile gotten beyond this milestone. The free of charge accessible database is collecting scholarly works about all aspects of comics and lets the user research them in numerous ways, through search masks, a keyword catalogue and cross-linking of all the entries. The ComFor is sponsoring the bibliography regularly to carry on its progress. We’d like to congratulate Joachim Trinkwitz to this succcess, who has been overseeing the project since its beginnings in 2008, and we’d also like to express our gratitude for his tireless dedication.

Continue to the Bonn Online Bibliography for Comics Research

PROGRAM: 10th COMFOR-Annual Conference in Frankfurt/M.

ComFor-Jahrestagung 2015_klein

1. Frankfurt Symposium on Comics Studies:
“History in Comics – History of Comics”

Directly to the registration

As the title indicates, the contributions and discussions of the conference will focus on comics and graphic literature with a double perspective: One field of interest will consist of the historical topics and subjects, ranging from antiquity to contemporary history, that are depicted in works of sequential art from all over the world and attract the attention of a broad readership. Contributing considerably to an international archive of cultural memory, comics play an important role in academic research as both historical source material and as depictions and interpretations of historical events. This provides a fertile ground for interdisciplinary research that combines approaches from academic disciplines such as literature, art, media, and cultural studies and history in particular.
Another field of interest – closely linked to and in correspondence with the aspects mentioned above – consists of the historicisation of the phenomenon ‘comic’, its contemporary varieties and its readership(s) as well as the analysis of its international developments. Focusing on history and the historical in picture stories, it is adequate and relevant to ask about the lines of tradition of the medium and their preconditions: not least since the debates on new (or seemingly new) trends such as manga and graphic novel, seriality, media culture, the relation of comics and picture books, comics in traditional and modern media, etc. raise questions on the nature of graphic literature.

Continue reading: Program and registration

Call for Papers: History in Comics – History of Comics

10. Annual Conference of the „Gesellschaft für Comicforschung“ (ComFor)
04/09/2015 – 06/09/2015

Goethe-University Frankfurt, Campus Westend

As the title indicates, the contributions and discussions of the conference will focus on comics and graphic literature with a double perspective: One field of interest will consist of the historical topics and subjects, ranging from antiquity to contemporary history, that are depicted in works of sequential art from all over the world and attract the attention of a broad readership. Contributing considerably to an international archive of cultural memory, comics play an important role in academic research as both historical source material and as depictions and interpretations of historical events. This provides a fertile ground for interdisciplinary research that combines approaches from academic disciplines such as literature, art, media, and cultural studies and history in particular.

Another field of interest – closely linked to and in correspondence with the aspects mentioned above – consists of the historicisation of the phenomenon ‘comic’, its contemporary varieties and its readership(s) as well as the analysis of its international developments. Focusing on history and the historical in picture stories, it is adequate and relevant to ask about the lines of tradition of the medium and their preconditions: not least since the debates on new (or seemingly new) trends such as manga and graphic novel, seriality, media culture, the relation of comics and picture books, comics in traditional and modern media, etc. raise questions on the nature of graphic literature. Continue Reading

A Conversation about Comics and Police Brutality with American Cartoonist Keith Knight

Keith KnightDaniel Stein and American Cartoonist Keith Knight, creator of The K Chronicles, (Th)ink, and The Knight Life, discuss the racial politics behind recent cases of American police brutality such as the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. Their conversation centers on the political potential of cartoons and comic strips and on the role of the cartoonist as a cultural commentator.

In Keith Knight’s comics and cartoons, racial conflicts and the peculiar experience of the African American community have always been central themes. “I was writing about racism long before I was making fun of presidents,” he noted in an interview we did a few years ago [see Stein 2011]. Whether it’s his longest-running autobiographical strip The K Chronicles, his nationally syndicated daily strip The Knight Life, or his single-panel cartoon (Th)ink, Knight invests his take on the ironies and absurdities of living in contemporary America with a keen sense of personal insight and a broad spectrum of humor ranging from visual slapstick and verbal puns to full-blown satire. Even though he often tells his audiences that the bulk of his material has a positive rather than an angry slant (an assessment that is certainly true), some of his most controversial and most poignant work attacks the status quo of American race relations.

Continue Reading the Interview

CfP: History in Comics – History of Comics

Termin:
2015 09 04 - 2015 09 06
10. Wissenschaftstagung der Gesellschaft für Comicforschung (ComFor)

10. Annual Conference of the „Gesellschaft für Comicforschung“ (ComFor)
04/09/2015 – 06/09/2015

Goethe-University Frankfurt, Campus Westend

As the title indicates, the contributions and discussions of the conference will focus on comics and graphic literature with a double perspective: One field of interest will consist of the historical topics and subjects, ranging from antiquity to contemporary history, that are depicted in works of sequential art from all over the world and attract the attention of a broad readership. Contributing considerably to an international archive of cultural memory, comics play an important role in academic research as both historical source material and as depictions and interpretations of historical events. This provides a fertile ground for interdisciplinary research that combines approaches from academic disciplines such as literature, art, media, and cultural studies and history in particular.

Another field of interest – closely linked to and in correspondence with the aspects mentioned above – consists of the historicisation of the phenomenon ‘comic’, its contemporary varieties and its readership(s) as well as the analysis of its international developments. Focusing on history and the historical in picture stories, it is adequate and relevant to ask about the lines of tradition of the medium and their preconditions: not least since the debates on new (or seemingly new) trends such as manga and graphic novel, seriality, media culture, the relation of comics and picture books, comics in traditional and modern media, etc. raise questions on the nature of graphic literature. Continue Reading