CFP: Comprehending Comics – Exploring Methodologies and Approaches to Comic Studies in History and the Social Sciences

Online Conference
Comics Lab at Palacky University, Czech Republic.
September 8-9, 2024
Stichtag: 01.05.2024

Interest in comic studies have generated wide and varied interests from an exploration of visual language and narrative in sequential art to the use of technologies in comics, to considerations current questions in both contemporary society and history. These have led to fruitful research which cross disciplines and produced diverse and complex scholarship. Richard Scully have written extensively on political cartoons and their relationship with imperialism and colonialism. Amy Matthewson’s Cartooning China examined the British popular satirical magazine Punch and situated the series of cartoons of China and Chinese people within their geopolitical frameworks. Sheena Howard and Ronald Jackson’s Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation brought together a range of critical essays exploring contributions of Black graphic artists. Collections such as Drawing the Past Vol. 1 and Vol. (2022), edited by Dorian Alexander, Michael Goodrum, and Philip Smith, brought a range of scholars to unite around the broad theme of the historical imagination in American popular media.

There is still an evolving consensus on which the methodologies that scholars specialized in fields of history and social sciences could use when engaging with comics. Often, research focused on comics-formatted primary sources is pigeonholed into literary study, or in other cases the linguistic framework of describing and analyzing comics fails to translate to a discussion of material culture. As the range of demonstrated methodologies is vast, and as the advancement of comics-based research offers new potential for the study of history and the social sciences, it is a crucial time to reflect and take stock of current practice and possible future directions.

We are interested in all aspects of comics-format works, comics and graphic novels, and methodologies and themes that might address (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Representation in comics
  • The challenges of comics-based research studies as applied to the study of history
  • Historical aspects of visualities and comics in particular
  • The future of comics in research
  • Archeology and comics
  • Ancient and medieval history in comics
  • The effects of digital tools in comic studies
  • Comics and the politics of methodology – race, gender, sexuality, class, etc.
  • The transnational, transcultural, and/or interdisciplinary nature of comic studies
  • Teaching history with or through comics
  • Teaching comics-based research methods
  • Comics in memory studies
  • Tensions and concordances between art history and history of comics and graphic novels

We are now accepting proposals for papers (20 minutes) and panels (of 2 or 3 papers). Graduate students are also invited to submit a poster, which will be displayed online for the duration of the conference. The poster section will enable asynchronous comments, and a presentation session where participants give a short 3-5 minute summary of the poster content. Please submit the following to or by May 1st 2024:

  • abstract of 300 words
  • a biography of 50 words including your name, email, affiliation, and gender pronouns

This will be an online conference hosted by the Comics Lab at Palacky University, Czech Republic. Given the international spread of contributors, participant time zones will be considered when scheduling panels. The conference will take place September 8-9, 2024.