Call For Presentations

3rd Global Conference

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Wednesday 3rd September – Friday 5th September 2014
Mansfield College, Oxford, United Kingdom


Call for Presentations

“Behind this mask there is more than just flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea… and ideas are bulletproof.”
(Alan Moore, V for Vendetta)

This inter- and multi-disciplinary conference aims to examine, explore and critically engage with issues in and around the production, creation and reading of all forms of comics and graphic novels. Taken as a form of pictographic narrative it has been with us since the first cave paintings and even in the 21st century remains a hugely popular, vibrant and culturally relevant means of communication whether expressed as sequential art, graphic literature, bandes dessinees, tebeos, fumetti, manga, manhwa, komiks, strips, historietas, quadrinhos, beeldverhalen, or just plain old comics. (as noted by Paul Gravett)

Whilst the form itself became established in the 19th Century it is perhaps not until the 20th century that comic book heroes like Superman (who has been around since 1938) became, not just beloved characters, but national icons. With the globalisation of publishing brands such as Marvel and DC  it is no accident that there has been an increase in graphic novel adaptations and their associated merchandising. Movies such as  X-men, Iron man, Watchmen and the recent Thor have grossed millions of dollars across the world and many television series have been continued off-screen in the graphic form, Buffy, Firefly and Farscape to name a few.

Of course America and Europe is not the only base of this art form and the Far East and Japan have their own traditions as well as a huge influence on graphic representations across the globe. In particular Japanese manga has influenced comics in Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, China, France and the United States, and have created an amazing array of reflexive appropriations and re-appropriations, in not just in comics but in anime as well.

Of equal importance in this growth and relevance of the graphic novel are the smaller and independent publishers that have produced influential works such as Maus by Art Spiegleman, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, Palestine by Joe Sacco,  Epileptic by David B and even Jimmy Corrigan by Chris Ware  that explore, often on a personal level, contemporary concerns such as gender, diaspora, post-colonialism, sexuality, globalisation and approaches to health, terror and identity. Further to this the techniques and styles of the graphic novel have taken further form online creating entirely web-comics and hypertexts, as in John Cei Douglas’ Lost and Found and Shelley Jackson’s Patchwork Girl, as well as forming part of larger trans-media narratives and submersive worlds, as in the True Blood franchise that invites fans to enter and participate in constructing a narrative in many varied formats and locations.

This projects invites proposals that consider the place of the comic or graphic novel in both history and location and the ways that it appropriates and is appropriated by other media in the enactment of individual, social and cultural identity.

Presentations, reports, work-in-progress, workshops and pre-formed panels are invited on issues related to (but not limited to) the following themes:

  • Just what makes a Graphic Novel so Graphic and so Novel?:
    ~Sources, early representations and historical contexts of the form.
    ~Landmarks in development, format and narratology.
    ~Cartoons, comics, graphic novels and artists books.
    ~Words, images, texture and colour and what makes a GN
    ~Format, layout, speech bubbles and “where the *@#% do we go from here?”
  • The Inner and Outer Worlds of the Graphic Novel:
    ~Outer and Inner spaces; Thoughts, cities, and galaxies and other representations of graphic place and space.
    ~ Differing temporalities, Chronotopes and “time flies”: Intertextuality, editing and the nature of Graphic and/or Deleuzian time.
    ~ Graphic Superstars and Words versus Pictures: Alan Moore v Dave Gibbons (Watchmen) Neil Gaiman v Jack Kirby (Sandman).
    ~Performance and performativity of, in and around graphic representations.
    ~Transcriptions and translations: literature into pictures, films into novels and high/low graphic arts.
  • Identity, Meanings and Otherness:
    ~GN as autobiography, witnessing, diary and narrative
    ~Representations of disability, illness, coping and normality
    ~Cultural appropriations, east to west and globalisation
    ~National identity, cultural icons and stereo-typical villains
    ~Immigration, postcolonial and stories of exile
    ~Representing gender, sexualities and non-normative identities.
    ~Politics, prejudices and polemics: banned, censored and comix that are “just plain wrong”
    ~Other cultures, other voices, other words
  • To Infinity and Beyond: The Graphic Novel in the 21st Century:
    ~Fanzines and Slash-mags: individual identity through appropriation.
    ~Creator and Created: Interactions and interpolations between authors and audience.
    ~Hypertext, Multiple formats and inter-active narratives.
    ~Cross media appropriation, GN into film, gaming and merchandisng and vice versa
    ~Graphic Myths and visions of the future: Sandman, Hellboy, Ghost in the Shell.
    ~Restarting the Canon: what are the implication of the restart in universes such as Marcel and DC and do they represent the opportunity to reopen ongoing conversations?

Presentations  will be accepted which deal with related areas and themes.

In order to support and encourage interdisciplinarity engagement, it is our intention to create the possibility of starting dialogues between the parallel events running during this conference. Delegates are welcome to attend up to two sessions in each of the concurrent conferences. We also propose to produce cross-over sessions between these groups – and we welcome proposals which deal with the relationship between The Graphic Novel and Augmentation.

What to Send:
300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 4th April 2014. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 11th July 2014. Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word or RTF formats with the following information and in this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.
E-mails should be entitled: GN3 Abstract Submission

Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.

Organising Chairs

Nadine Farghaly: Nadine.Farghaly@nullgmx.net
Rob Fisher:gn3@nullinter-disciplinary.net

The conference is part of the Education Hub series of research projects, which in turn belong to the At the Interface programmes of Inter-Disciplinary.Net. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore discussions which are innovative and challenging. All proposals accepted for and presented at the conference must be in English and will be eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook.  Selected proposals may be developed for publication in a themed hard copy volume(s). All publications from the conference will require editors, to be chosen from interested delegates from the conference.

Inter-Disciplinary.Net believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract for presentation.

Details on the conference running alongside this project in 2014 can be found here: Augmentation

Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence.