CFP: Exploring the In-Betweens: Comics in Flux

University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)
May 20-22, 2022
Stichtag: 18.02.2022

The Graduate Comics Organization at the University of Florida, Gainesville now invites proposals to our 18th annual conference: “Exploring the In-Betweens: Comics in Flux.” Our hybrid conference will be held virtually over Zoom and in-person from May 20th-22nd, 2022. We welcome applicants from all stages of their careers to submit papers addressing any aspect of the conference topic. Independent scholars, as well as creative and community practitioners, are especially encouraged to apply.

Comics can be considered a liminal medium: despite often being collections of still images, comics are incredibly dynamic. Reading comics requires us to engage in movement: we may move our eyes across an inky page; we may swipe a finger down a phone screen; we may read aloud a superhero’s latest exploits; or we may craft a new set of images to expand on an unsatisfying cliffhanger.  Comics transcend the static nature of the printed page to portray action and motion; they necessarily move and ask us to be moved in turn. How do comics both move and remain static—and how does scholarship acknowledge this im/mobility? How does this medium straddle multiple realms, and allow us to play with the spaces in-between?

We invite a wide range of papers, from both scholars and comics creators, exploring how and why comics articulate liminal spaces, or sites of unfolding and becoming. Our conference aims to explore comics as flux, or comics as fruitful places for articulating change and transformation. We’re particularly interested in comic readings that expand our potential understandings of gender, race, sexuality, politics, and culture, considering how they emphasize and inspire physical and ideologically change within these and other arenas.

Possible topics may include but are by no means limited to:

  • Formal comic readings including theoretical approaches to closure, comic gutters, sequence, etc.
  • Coming-of-age graphic narratives or graphic memoirs
  • Representations of other, future, fantastic, or alien worlds in comics
  • Graphic narratives centering around non-human characters (e.g. monsters, animals, etc.)
  • Presentations of change or transformation of the self by comics’ creators
  • Evolutions or transformations of a comic character, trope, narrative form, or artistic style, etc.
  • Contemporary adaptation of comic properties into other mediums (e.g. DC’s recent Hanna-Barbera line)
  • Rejections of flux in comic narrative (e.g. time, character death, character agelessness, etc.)
  • Comics censorship and reprinting in response to sociopolitical and cultural shifts
  • Emerging comics forms (webtoons, interactive comics, memes etc.)
  • The future of comics scholarship methodologies
  • Cosplay and costume adaptations of comics characters
  • COVID-19’s impact on comics’ production, distribution, and reach (or comic cons, fan communities, etc.)

We encourage presentations on any of these themes, including traditional academic papers. We especially welcome creative and hybrid creative/academic work by scholar-practitioners. Presentations should be 15-20 minutes in length. We are unable to evaluate abstracts in languages besides English, but we welcome multilingual presentations and will do our best to support such work. Sign language interpreters will be made available on request. Proposals should be 200-300 words, plus a short bio, your modality preference (Zoom or in-person attendance), and A/V requirements–optionally including your present job title. All individual proposals should be submitted to by February 18, 2022.

Discussion panels from multiple presenters coordinated around a central topic or theme are welcome. Panel proposals should also be 200-300 words in length, plus short bios for every presenter, modality preference (Zoom or in-person attendance), and the panel’s A/V requirements–optionally including your present job title. Panel proposals should be submitted to by February 18, 2022.