Symposium „Comics and Feminism“

Vom 19. bis 21. Februar findet an der Södertörn Universität das Symposium „Comics and Feminism“ statt. Organisiert von Kristy Beers Fägersten, Anna Nordenstam und Margareta Wallin Wictorin (Södertörn University) sowie Anna Vuorinne und Laura Antola (Nordic Summer University) bietet das Symposium ein dreitägiges, prall gefülltes Programm mit Vorträgen und Diskussionspanels zu Themen im Einzugsbereich der feministischen Comicwissenschaft. Neben Wissenschaftler*innen präsentieren auch Künstler*innen  ihre Arbeiten; seitens der ComFor beteiligen sich Anna Beckmann, Biz Nijdam, sowie Marina Rauchenbacher und Katharina Serles mit Vorträgen.


Auszug aus dem CfP

In the third symposium, the focus is on transnational perspectives on comic art and feminism, particularly in the Nordic countries and the Baltic Sea region. Given that comic art has always been an international form, it is no surprise that comics should also reflect and respond to trends of globalization. If the rise of graphic narrative genres in multiple national contexts may in itself be seen as an effect of cultural globalization, comic art is, at the same time, deeply enmeshed in local histories and contexts. In the Anglo-American context, the emergence of women’s comic art and graphic narratives was closely associated with second-wave feminism, “which enabled a body of work that was explicitly political to sprout” (Chute 2010:20). At this time, self-published, underground ‘comix’ were proliferating, which gave rise to comics with a decidedly feminist orientation (Robbins 1999), albeit as “more a reaction to [underground comix] than their outgrowth” (Sabin 1993:224). Women’s underground comix thus paved the way for contemporary feminist comic art, and a growing number of contemporary comics are continuing to explore themes of feminism by creating new discursive spaces for problematizing gender, gender roles, and social norms. Indeed, many women creators in particular have achieved mainstream recognition thanks to the expanding graphic novel market and the popularity of autobiographical comics.

The symposium aims to explore, on the one hand, how the relationship between comic art and feminism has been shaped by global, transnational, and local trends, and on the other hand, how salient national features and transnational commonalities characterize feminist comic art. Included papers will illuminate defining features of aesthetics, materiality, and thematic content as well as recurring strategies of visualizing and narrating female experiences. Particularly welcome are papers which offer analyses of multinational comic art that encompasses themes of gender, sexuality, power, vulnerability, assault, abuse, taboo, and trauma, often expressed with humorous undertones of self-reflection or social criticism.


Wednesday, 19 February 2020

09.30 – 10.00 Registration

10.00 – 10.15 Welcome address: Kristy Beers Fägersten and Anna Vuorinne

10.15 – 11.55 Session 1: Feminist and anti-feminist expressions
Chair: Anna Nordenstam

Oskari Rantala, University of Jyväskylä: “A story of being seriously pissed off”. Anti-feminist subversion of comics intertexts and manufacturing political controversy

Katja Kontturi, University of Jyväskylä: Kullervo as a Finnish myth of (toxic) masculinity

Susi E. Mikael Nousiainen, University of Jyväskylä: Discussing sexual play and normativity in ​Sunstone

Ralf Kauranen & Olli Löytty, University of Turku: Feminist information and empowerment confronting online misogyny: Johanna Vehkoo and Emmi Nieminen’s Vihan ja inhon internet

12.00 – 13.00 Lunch

13.10 – 14.25 Session 2: Sexual agency and sexual abuse in comics
Chair: Laura Antola

Raisa Aho, Tampere University: Reframing the story: Isolation and community in two contemporary graphic narratives about sexual violence

Dragoş Manea & Mihaela Precup, University of Bucharest: “Who are you crying for?”: Sexual abuse and the ethics of empathy in Nina Bunjevac’s Bezimena

Anna Vuorinne, University of Turku: For sex-positivity: Sexual agency, polyamory, and pleasure in Ulli Lust’s Wie ich versuchte, ein guter Mensch zu sein

14.25 – 14.45 Break

14.45 – 16.00 Keynote lecture:

Leena Romu, Tampere University
The narrative complexity of showing and telling sexual violence – Kati Kovács’s comics as a test case

16.00 – 16.15 Break

16.15 – 17.05 Session 3: Victimhood and trauma
Chair: Anna Vuorinne

Malgorzata Olsza, Adam Mickiewicz University: The questions of feminism, Fun Home, and form in Wanda Hagedorn’s graphic memoir Totalnie Nie Nostalgia

Shromona Das, Jawaharlal Nehru University: The perfect victim: Reading victimhood in rape narratives in Indian comics

18.00 – 19.00 Tour of Serieteket: Ola Hellsten, Elin Jansson, Tomas Antila

End of day


Thursday, 20 February

08.50 Announcements

09.00 – 11.00 Session 4: Artist panel
Chair: Margareta Wallin Wictorin

Mētra Saberova, London South Bank University: Animation and radical body art-reaching beyond the border

Juliana Hyrri, Helsinki: Spaceship to the unknown

Taina Hakala, Helsinki: Women in art history

Johanna Rojola, University of Turku/University of Helsinki: “Money, race, gender, and economics in comics” 2014-2016 – Investigating and drawing the power structures in comics on our own

Rakel Stammer, Malmö: The underground of fanzines

11.00 – 11.10 Break

11.10 – 12.40 Session 5: Gender perspectives on comics in Italian and German
Chair: Biz Nijdam

Rebecca Scherr,University of Oslo: Background stories in Gina Siciliano’s The Life and Times of Artemisia Gentileschi

Camilla Storskog, University of Milan: Modest Maiden, Poster Girl, Liberated Woman? The stripping of A Doll’s House in the Italian 1970s

Marina Rauchenbacher and Katharina Serles, University of Vienna: Theorizing visualities of gender and feminism in German-language comics

Anna Beckmann, Free University Berlin: Ambiguous gender identities in German comics

12.45 – 13.45 Lunch

13.50 – 15.30 Session 6: Educational, sociological and philosophical perspectives on comics
Chair: Mike Classon Frangos

Gunnar Krantz, Malmö university: Safety in numbers – Challenging norms on the Swedish field of comics

Lars Wallner & Robert Aman, Linköping University: Challenging gender norms through comics in the classroom

Sara Teleman, Konstfack: Feminist comics, the next generation – Intersectionality in practice

Marco Favaro, Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg: Super(anti)heroines: The threatening and revolutionary force of superwomen

15.30 – 16.00 Break

16.00 – 18.00 Artist roundtable, moderated by Anna Vuorinne and Laura Antola

Sofia Olsson, Artist and Publisher at Galago (Sweden)
Nina Hemmingsson, Artist and Publisher at Kaunitz-Olsson (Sweden)
Moa Romanova, Artist (Sweden)
H-P Lehkonen, Artist (Finland)
Ingrīda Pičukāne, Artist (Latvia)

18.00 – 18.30 Drink/mingle

18.30 – 20.30 Dinner

End of day


Friday, 21 February

08.50 Announcements

09.00 – 10.40 Session 7: Women War Witnesses. Panel on war comics by women: Challenging genre and gender norms while doing justice to the past
Chair: Leena Romu

Warda Ahmed, Artist/University of Turku
Ainur Elmgren, Artist/University of Helsinki
Reetta Laitinen, Archivist/Finnish Comics Society
Tiitu Takalo, Artist

10.40 – 10.50 Break

10.50 – 12.05 Keynote lecture:

Elisabeth El Refaie, Cardiff University
Challenging binary categories of gender, sexuality and corporeality through metaphor in autobiographical comics

12.10 – 13.10 Lunch

13.15 – 14.30 Session 8: Women in Asian comics
Chair: José Alaniz

Shambhavi Singh, Aalto University: In search of the ‘common woman’

Wajeehah Aayeshah, University of Melbourne: Exploring the F in P:

Feminism in contemporary Pakistani comics

Henri Nerg, University of Jyväskylä: Christian allegory and feminist re-contextualization of Puella Magi Madoka Magica

14.30 – 14.40 Break

14.40 – 16.00 Session 9: A multidisciplinary study of feminist comic art. Papers from a research project funded by the Foundation for Baltic and Eastern European Studies (Östersjöstiftelsen)
Chair: Kristy Beers Fägersten

Anna Nordenstam, Gothenburg University & Margareta Wallin Wictorin, Karlstad University

José Alaniz, University of Washington

Elizabeth ’Biz’ Nijdam, University of British Columbia

16.00 – 16.15 Closing remarks: Laura Antola, Anna Nordenstam, Margareta Wallin Wictorin

End of symposium


Weitere Informationen gibt es auf Veranstaltungsseite sowie auf der Seite der Södertörn University.

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