CFP: Alison Bechdel on Page, Stage, and in Theory

MLA (Modern Language Association) Convention
New York
January 4 - 7, 2018
Stichtag: 15.03.2017

MLA 2018 Ignite Talk Special Session (Non-Guaranteed)

Proposals are solicited for a non-guaranteed “Ignite Talk” special session on the work of, and work done by, the media of Alison Bechdel. Using a single author as an intellectual anchor, the session hopes to promote interdisciplinary readings and approaches to Bechdel, and invites engaging presentations on theory, Bechdel, and the work done by comics and theatre. The goal of the session is to complicate and texturize discourses on common primary sources, and push dialog into broader subjects of research: to bring together different perspectives, approaches, and readings, and through active conversation consider what an analysis of Bechdel’s work may do for other objects of inquiry.

The special session will utilize a presentation format known as an “Ignite Talk,” in which speakers are allowed a set number of automatically-advancing slides (i.e. a 5-minute presentation with 20 slides that advance after 15 seconds each), strictly controlling the length of individual presentations and encouraging speakers to engage with media and offer points rapidly. Recognizing the visual nature of Bechdel’s work, the Ignite Talk format allows participants to visually map arguments and theories in the media itself, and tightly focus presentations intended to start conversations rather than offer definitive conclusions. The final length of each individual presentation will be determined after the collected panel is confirmed, but each participant will be allowed no less than five minutes and twenty media slides (like a traditional “Ignite Talk”), and no more than eight minutes and thirty media slides, equal to all other session participants, and allowing for extended dialog at the conclusion of all presentations.

Primary sources to be considered include Dykes to Watch Out For, Fun Home, Are You My Mother?, and Fun Home the Musical. Possible topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Conversations between or arguments made through two or more of Bechdel’s texts
  • Bechdel and theory (affect, queer, feminist, genre, etc)
  • Life writing, autograph, and narratives of coming out (as suggested by Janine Utell)
  • Identity and performance
  • Bechdel’s influence on women in the industry
  • Adaptation and genre
  • The work of graphic texts
  • Bechdel and audience
  • Teaching the work of Alison Bechdel
  • Interdisciplinary approaches to Bechdel
  • The influence of this work on other fields

By agreeing to participate in this panel, scholars acknowledge:

  • That panel acceptance does not assure conference acceptance;
  • That they are members in good standing of MLA, or will confirm membership no later than April 5, 2017;
  • That they will be available to present at MLA 2018 in NYC, and know of no conflicts in terms of the restrictions on MLA participation, work load, or travel requirements;
  • That all presentations must conform to the established format of the talk;
  • That presenters are expected to submit all multimedia material in advance of the conference, for the successful technical orchestration of the whole.

Interested scholars are asked to submit abstracts of 300-500 words, and brief biographies, to A. Luxx Mishou ( no later than March 15, 2017. Special session proposals will be submitted to MLA in late March/ early April.

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