2016 PCEA Conference: Comics and/as Rhetoric

deadline for submissions: 
July 15, 2016
full name / name of organization: 
Pennsylvania College English Association
contact email: 

2016 PCEA Conference CFP

Comics and/as Rhetoric: (Anti)Static Narratives

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

October 21-22, 2016

Newly Extended Deadline: July 16, 2016


Keynote Speaker, Conor McCreery, Kill Shakespeare Writer

In the past several years comic books and graphic novels have gained increasing scholarly attention as literary, rhetorical, and pedagogical texts. MLA’s annual conference now includes panels sponsored by the Comics and Graphic Narratives Discussion Group; the most recent issues of Composition Studies and Works & Days address comics as multimodal texts; and comics scholarship in comic book form has multiplied. This year’s conference participates in and extends these lines of interest, inquiry, and practice by looking at the ways in which comics jump the gutters between narrative and rhetoric. 

As classics scholar Anthony Boyle notes, “the decision to write epic . . . was in most cases never simply a poetic one,” and tracing the classical Roman reinterpretations of Homeric epic narrative, particularly in the transition from Virgil’s Aeneid to Lucan’s De Bello Civili, or the Pharsalia, reveals the rhetorical use of mythological allusion and narrative structure in constructing politically and culturally motivated views of history that served, in part, as critical commentary on Virgil’s and Lucan’s Rome. Antistasis, the rhetorical trope in which a word is repeated in a different or contrary sense, plays a key role in this commentary as it provides the requisite recontextualization necessary to challenge the original meaning and/or create newmeaning. Antistatic allusion is also readily apparent in comics’ own long history of repurposing characters and plotlines from both classical Greco-Roman literature and the comic book universe, famously intersecting in the superhero comic book genre. An important parallel thus exists between the development of classical epic and comics, based not on the faithfulrepresentation of classical texts but on intentionally antistatic allusion to them. We, therefore, seek proposals that address the ways in which comics have/can recontextualize narrative elements and structures, as well as the rhetorical significance of these recontextualizations.

While we are particularly interested in proposals that relate to this theme, we also invite submissions from faculty, graduate students, and independent scholars from all areas of English studies—literature, film, composition, professional writing, creative writing, linguistics, popular culture, criticism, etc. We also welcome the reading of original creative writing. Please email abstracts (250 words for individual proposals; 500 for panel proposals) to Oriana Gatta (ogatta@iup.edu) by July 15, 2016.


2016 PCEA Conference Graduate Student Writing Contest

Submission Deadline: August 1, 2016

Graduate students who submit an abstract for a presentation at the PCEA 2016 Conference (or who will be part of a pre-arranged panel) are also invited to compete for the PCEA Best Student Writing Awards. Awards are given in three separate categories: 1) Critical Essay, 2) Creative Poetry, and 3) Creative Prose.

Students who compete must be PCEA members.  Award winners will also be considered for publication in PCEA’s journal, Pennsylvania English. To compete, graduate students should submit their complete work no later than August 1, 2015 to the PCEA Program Chair, Dr. Oriana Gatta (ogatta@iup.edu). 

Submission Guidelines

  • ¥Designate “PCEA Contest Entry” in the subject line of the submission email addressed to Dr. Oriana Gatta (ogatta@iup.edu).
  • ¥Include the title of the work and the author’s name in the email message.
  • ¥Remove student’s name from the work.
  • ¥Submit papers as. docx files attached to the submission email
  • ¥Critical essays should be no longer than 10 pages, including notes and Works Cited, and follow MLA format.
  • ¥Creative poetry submissions should include no more than 5 poems.
  • ¥Creative prose submissions should be no longer than 10 pages
  • ¥Contest entrants must present their submissions at the conference to be considered.
  • ¥Submissions that do not follow the above guidelines will not be considered.
  • ¥Work submitted after the deadline will not be considered.


Pennsylvania English Publication Opportunity, Deadline: August 1, 2016

Also, in conjunction with the 2016 PCEA Conference, Pennsylvania English, the journal of the Pennsylvania College English Association, invites 2,500 – 5,000 word essays on the interrelationship between comics and/or graphic novels and literature from any literary period in any literary genre. Critical essays that illuminate both traditional and comic/graphic literature are especially welcome. Please submit completed essays in MLA format to Dr. John Marsden (marsden@iup.edu  and Dr. Michael T. Williamson (mtwill@iup.edu) at https://paenglish.submittable.com/submit before August 1, 2016.