CFP: Comics – A Transgressive Art: Theoretical Foundations and Intersections

German Studies Association Annual Conference
Washington, D.C.
October 1-4, 2020,
Stichtag: 27.01.2020

Seminar Description:
This seminar builds on the work of the newly established Comics Studies Network of the German Studies Association. Past panels and roundtables on various historical and thematic aspects of comics provide evidence for the medium’s critical intervention in discussions of individual identity and issues of social justice. Recognizing the transgressive potential of comics to enable synergies between research and teaching and to invite dialogue among creators, consumers, and critics, we also see the demand for a more robust theoretical discussion of the affordances of comics. The seminar will thus examine foundational works of Comics Studies in order to establish a systematic theoretical framework within which to situate specific investigations. To explore the interdisciplinary possibilities of comics scholarship, we are interested in attracting scholars from a variety of disciplines and positions, including graduate students, who employ diverse approaches to questions of form, function, production, and reception with regard to German-language comics.

The Comics Studies Network has made great strides toward highlighting the role of comics and graphic novels within German Studies. This seminar will build on and intensify the discussions that have developed over the past years. While we have seen exciting case studies of German-language comics and graphic novels, we have yet to situate these specific investigations within a systematic theoretical framework. We are particularly keen to develop the interdisciplinary possibilities of bringing German Studies and Comics Studies into dialogue. By exploring intersectionality in comics from a variety of theoretical angles, this seminar will also make a contribution to the recent and urgent discussions around diversifying German Studies. We hope to attract both current network members and new participants at all career stages, including graduate students. In addition to solidifying the theoretical foundation for the future activities of the GSA Comics Studies Network, the seminar also aims to deepen ties to related research initiatives in the US and abroad, including the Graphic Narratives Network at Michigan State University, the Gesellschaft für Comicforschung (ComFor) in Germany, the Austrian Association for the Research and Promotion of Comics (OeGeC) and the Comics Studies Society (CSS). We are considering publishing an edited selection of the seminar’s outcome in Konturen. 

Seminar Format:
The seminar sessions will discuss theoretical and methodological readings, starting from pre-circulated position papers (ca. 1,000 words each) from all participants. In April 2020, a list of core readings will be circulated for participants to read and engage with in their position papers. In August, participants will submit their position papers to the conveners for distribution to the entire seminar.

Application Procedure:
Please submit a brief statement of interest and description of your research as it relates to the seminar topic (250-500 words) as well as a brief CV/bio-bib (500-100 words) electronically through the GSA website:  The GSA seminar application portal is open from January 6, 2020 to January 27, 2020. You must be an active GSA member in order to apply.

Please contact the seminar conveners with any questions:

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