The Graduate Comics Organization at the University of Florida invites applicants from all stages of their careers, including independent scholars and imagetext creators, to submit proposals to their 16th annual conference, “ImageText in Motion: Animation and Comics.” The conference will be held from Friday, April 12 through Sunday, April 14, 2019.
Animation and comics are two tangled pictorial mediums that stem from the same modernist concerns with the possibilities of the image. Animation and the cartooned bodies it brings into being are omnipresent on the screens that surround us, the advertisements that beg our attention, and the popcorn fare that draws out our inner escapists. But what are the politics of these images that simultaneously claim to be real, but constantly telegraph their artificiality? What do we gain by analyzing this medium that spans from the trashiest of visual gags to the trippiest of experimental visuals?
This conference hopes to begin answering these questions, and it aims to color those answers with concern for the politics of race, gender, ability, sexuality, and other matrices of power. Like any popular medium, animation has become an important site of conflict in cultural warfare, generating controversy as fans, critics, creators, and trolls clash over the politics of the polymorphous image as it appears on our pocket-sized slates and cinematic screens. And yet, the conflict goes beyond narrative content. As a crucial site of education and conditioning for children, a dramatization of performativity, and a method for visualizing the absent and the impossible, animation is a diverse tool that envisions (for better or worse) mediated imaginaries ripe for political intervention.
Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
- Women in animation (representations; creators, etc.)
- Queer representation and performance in animation (Steven Universe, Adventure Time, Voltron, Legend of Korra, OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes, Yuri! on Ice)
- Race in animation (racial caricature in animation; minstrelsy in animation; positive racial representation – We Bare Bears, Craig of the Creek, Coco, Moana)
- The medium-specific advantages of animation and the rhetorical and narrative possibilities that they enable
- Circumstances of producing animation (economic/ Marxist concerns; women/people of color/queer people in the writer’s room)
- Animating inanimate bodies/the toyetic (Toy Story; The Lego Movie franchise; children “animating” their toys; stop-motion; animation and the uncanny, etc.)
- Animation and the child (adult vs. child viewership; animation in education; animation as a denigrated genre, etc.)
- Fan/creator relationships (creators’ resistance to queered/racebent readings of characters; role of social media/accessibility to creators “positive”/”negative” dialogue between creators and fans; fans-becoming-creators, etc.)
- Animation and toxic fandom (harassment of creators by fans; sexism and fandom; racism and fandom; Rick and Morty; My Little Pony, etc.)
- Sexual harassment/the #metoo movement in the animation industry (Lasseter’s firing from Pixar, etc.)
- Intersections of animation and comics (motion comics; comics attempts to perform animation; movement in comics)
- Comics adaptations of animated features (Avatar The Last Airbender and Gene Luen Yang, etc.) and animated adaptations of comics
- Nostalgic reboots, recreations, and revivals of animated materials and the controversy and excitement they inspire (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic!, Samurai Jack, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Thundercats!)
- Transnational relationships between animated productions, animation studios, and animation audiences.
- Animation’s influence on politics (cartoonish insults of the American president and that president’s cartoonish insults, etc.)
- Intrusion of the animated reality (VR animation; the “Szechuan sauce” controversy; the anime mascots of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics)
- Unorthodox forms of animation (zoetropes; praxinoscopes; shadow puppetry; .gif files; crack videos)
- Parody and postmodernism in animation (The Venture Bros., Robot Chicken, Teen Titans Go!)
- Animation in video games, light novels, and other interactive media
Presentations should be 15-20 minutes in length and must be delivered in English. “ImageText in Motion” also invites creative projects related to the conference theme. Discussion panels from multiple presenters coordinated around a central topic or theme are welcome. Proposals of 200-300 words, plus a short bio and A/V requirements, should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by December 15, 2018.