CFP: The Visual Politics of Borders, Migration and Human Rights in Comics and Graphic Narratives

Conference Panel
Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association
October 26-29, 2023
Portland, Oregon
Stichtag: 2023 05 31

This panel aims to explore the ways in which borders intersect with human rights in graphic narratives, whether in fiction or non-fiction. One of the theoretical frameworks for examining borders could be through the lens of border aesthetics, which considers borders as linguistic, cultural, social, political, and spatial entities that can both enable and exclude. The panel will examine how graphic narratives denaturalize and politicize the current global border regime and bordering practices that invariably reproduce the colonial binaries as well as stereotypes about migrants/refugees. The focus will also be on how graphic narratives may reinforce the exclusionary function of borders or reduce the migrants/refugees into mere abject modes of being. The panel is concerned with how these frictions and changes become manifested in graphic narratives and aims to bring together comics studies on migration and human rights. The panel invites submissions that examine any aspect of human rights violations occurring in or enabled by borders, which are understood as both positive interactions and exclusionary practices.

Submissions are welcome on any of the following aspects of comics studies and human rights, as well as broader interpretations of the themes that provide a more detailed understanding of border and migration studies:

  1. Comics form and human rights
  2. Graphic representations of survival
  3. Visual-verbal medium and cultural silencing of migrants/refugees
  4. Narrative mediation and narrative violence in graphic representations
  5. Borders, experiential lives and embodied frames
  6. Gender and Child Rights
  7. Queer and Trans migrations in graphic novels
  8. War zones and the politics of violence
  9. Ethics and politics of representing human rights violations in comics and graphic narratives
  10. Comics, affect and the immigrant
  11. Displacement, disability, dystopia in graphic memoirs
  12. Border aesthetics, frames of recognition and empathy

Please submit abstracts of 250-300 words along with a brief bio (not more than 100 words) via the online submission form available on the PAMLA website. You will have to go to to login or create an account first. The deadline to submit abstract proposals is May 31, 2023. The web address for this session’s CFP is:

For any queries, please reach out to:
Leenu Sugathan –
Mohit Abrol –

Important Dates:

  • PAMLA Membership Payment Deadline: Friday, July 1
  • Abstract Proposal Deadline: Wednesday, May 31
  • Conference Early Bird Payment Deadline: Wednesday, May 31
  • Late Conference Payment Fee Period: August 21-September 15

(After September 1, those who haven’t paid their membership fees will be removed from the program; after September 15, those who haven’t paid their conference fees will be removed from the program)

The Conference (at last!): Thursday, October 26 through Sunday, October 29, 2023