CFP: Family and Conflict in Graphic Narratives

Special Issue for Studies in Comics
Stichtag: 15.11.2020

Even though family relationships are at the heart of many graphic narratives, particularly relationships between parents and children (one can think of examples like Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and Art Spiegelman’s Maus), few studies have examined how the family is used as a trope in graphic narratives.

Considering the role of family is important, as Anne McClintock reminds us, since the trope of the family ‘offers a “natural” figure for sanctioning social hierarchy within a putative organic unity of interests’ (63, original emphasis). In a similar vein, Sarah Harwood has argued the family has become ‘a primary way of organising and understanding [material] reality across all cultural forms’ (3).

Moreover, in discussing how popular literature depicts conflict, specifically the conflict in Israel/Palestine, Toine van Teeffelen has suggested that popular literature ‘tends to metaphorically understand political and social life through the experiences of persons and small groups’ (390).

This special issue asks how the trope of the family is used to understand and organise conflict, including how it functions as a way to illustrate material realities and ideologies.

Articles might address, but are not limited to, the following questions:

  • How is the family used as an allegory for the nation?
  • How is the trope of the family used to reflect wider concerns in relation to conflict, including the possibility of a resolution of the conflict?
  • How does the family work to make conflict accessible to outsiders?
  • To what extent are different family members used to illustrate contrasting (political) positions?
  • How is an emphasis on family used to counteract fears about change and fragmentation that are heightened during conflict?

Please send submissions by 15th November 2020 to the appropriate editor.

The editors will provide initial feedback by 15th January 2021.

Revised articles and comics will be due by 1 May 2021 and will then be sent out for double blind peer-review by Studies in Comics. Please see attached CFP for more details about submissions.

Dr Isabelle Hesse,
Lecturer, Department of English, The University of Sydney
The Politics of Jewishness in Contemporary World Literature: The Holocaust, Zionism, and Colonialism (Bloomsbury Academic, 2016)

Dr Sarah Lightman,
Honorary Research Fellow, Birkbeck, University of London
The Book of Sarah (Myriad Editions, Penn State University Press 2019)

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