CFP: An Alternative Gaze: (Italian) Comics beyond Reality

Panel at
51st Annual Convention of the Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA)
Marriott Copley Place
March 5 - 8, 2020
Stichtag: 30.09.2019

Fascinated by the subversive potential of the “system of comics” (Thierry Groensteen, The System of Comics), and by the concept of “comics enunciation” (Daniele Barbieri, Semiotica del fumetto), we wish to gather scholars interested in comics’ representation of marginality, especially, but not exclusively, in Italian culture. We aim at reflecting on the (aesth)ethics of comics art, examining a wide scope of realities that comics portray, propose, imagine, and re-create, along with its socio-political embroilment. Embracing Versaci’s idea that comics books are a “mindful form of escapism that uses a unique kind of language to invite us into a different world in order to better understand our own” (Rocco Versaci, Comics as Literature), we seek papers that examine different representations of reality, focusing on an artistic genre that, despite its poignant social potential, has long been marginalized. We are persuaded that, within marginality, we can find enriching and unusual sensibilities, frames, and imaginaries. We hope to investigate different aesthetics and editorial products, from underground to mainstream, and to unfold their socio-political entanglement.

We are therefore looking for papers about comics/graphic novels which are themed around, but not limited to, any of the following:

  • Story-worlds in comics history
  • Story-worlds and transmedia universe creation/iterations of characters
  • Copyright and ownership issues
  • Fandom creators/creations
  • Comic book serialization of trans-medial universes
  • Alternative histories and parallel universes
  • Reboots and revisions
  • Comics and myth-making
  • Comics and convergence culture
  •  Underground comics
  • Auteur comics and graphic novels
  • Comics functioning and representation of marginality
  • Comics and (Italian) society

Presentations are not to exceed 20 minutes and may be given in either Italian or English. Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words and a brief bio to by September 30, 2019. The title of the paper, speaker’s name, affiliation, and e-mail address should appear in the body of the email to which the abstract is attached. No reading of papers in absentia is allowed.

Valentina Frasisti (Harvard University)
Carlotta Vacchelli (Indiana University – Bloomington)​

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