CfP: Transtions 6 – New Directions in Comics Studies

The TRANSITIONS 6 – New Directions in Comics Studies 2015 Symposium
Birkbeck, University of London
31st October 2015
Stichtag: 31.07.2015

The TRANSITIONS 6 – New Directions in Comics Studies 2015 Symposium will take place on 31st October 2015 at Birkbeck, University of London and a Call For Papers has just gone out.

The Respondent will be Professor Roger Sabin (of Central Saint Martins) and the Keynote will be given byUK comics scholar and consultant Dr Mel Gibson of the University of Northumbria.

“We are pleased to announce the call for papers for the forthcoming 6th Transitions symposium,” say organisers, “promoting new research and multi-disciplinary academic study of comics/ comix/ manga/ bande dessinée and other forms of sequential art.”

Part of Comica – The London International Comics Festival, Transitions is currently the only regular academic comics event based in London. It’s devoted to promoting new research into comics in all their forms, aiming specifically to provide a forum for research by postgraduate students and early career lecturers/researchers.

By deliberately not appointing a set theme the organising team hope to put together a programme reflecting the diversity of comics studies.

They welcome abstracts for twenty minute papers as well as proposals for panels.

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • text-oriented approaches; studies of key creators
  • historical and contemporary studies of production and circulation of comics
  • readerships and fan cultures
  • critical reception
  • formats, platforms and contexts
  • the (im)materiality of comics
  • archival concerns
  • formalist/narratological approaches
  • comics and aesthetics
  • adaptation, convergence and remediation
  • international iterations and transnational comics
  • children’s comics
  • political comics
  • comics and cultural theory
  • ideological/discursive critiques
  • web comics
  • graphic medicine
  • non-fiction comics
  • comics as historiography
  • comics practice and theory
  • cultural histories/geographies

“Comics studies encourage cross-disciplinary pollination and a convergence of distinct knowledges,” say the team, “literary and cultural studies, visual arts and media, modern languages, sociology, geography and more.

“By thinking about comics across different disciplines, we hope to stimulate and provoke debate and to address a wide spectrum of questions, to map new trends and provide a space for dialogue and further collaboration.”

Keynote speaker Mel Gibson is a UK based comics scholar and consultant. She has run training and promotional events about comics and graphic novels for libraries, schools and other organizations since 1993 when she contributed to Graphic Account on developing graphic novels collections for 16-25 year olds, published by the Youth Libraries Group.

As a consultant, Mel runs training events on manga, working with young adults in libraries, working with picture books and the links between children’s books and the Internet.

Event Respondent Professor Roger Sabin is currently working on two books: one about comic books in the 19th century and the character ‘Ally Sloper’, for the University Press of Mississippi and one about American TV cop shows (Kojak, The Wire, etc.) for McFarland Press.  Previous books include Comics, Comix & Graphic Novels (Phaidon), Adult Comics (New Accents) (Routledge), The Lasting of the Mohicans (as co-author, Uni Press of Mississippi); and Punk Rock: So What? (as Ed, Routledge) and Below Critical Radar (as Co-Ed, Codex), and The Movie Book (as Co-Ed, Phaidon).

Abstracts for twenty minute papers should be no more than 250 – 300 words. Proposals for papers and panels should be sent as Word documents, with a short biography appended, and submitted by the 31st July 2015 to Hallvard, Tony, John and Nina at

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