Illustrating Activism

deadline for submissions: 
April 5, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Midwest Modern Language Association

#MMLA17 Illustrated Texts: Illustrating Activism
Permanent Session CFP, Christopher Martiniano, Chair

For this year’s conference theme, “Arts & Activism,” the Illustrated Texts panel welcomes papers as well as innovative, illustrative presentations that interrogate text/image activism. Specifically, this panel understands text in its broadest possible context. How, for example, is activism “illustrated?” What artistic, image elements illustrate and activate a protest? In addition to proposals that explore traditionally illustrated texts, this panel also invites proposals that question the illustrative nature of much of our own, scholarly work.
For this panel, “Illustrated” can refer to any activist image, figure, diagram, visualization, graph, infographic, table, and/or map in traditional media, digital, or experiential forms.

Types of “Illustrated Texts” to consider are Illuminated Bibles, alchemical tracts, emblem books, books of hours, scientific texts, illustrated poetry and novels, critical/theoretical/philosophical works that ‘diagram’ their arguments, or protest art. Proposals that interrogate the illustrated nature of periodicals, journals, newspapers, cartoons, graphic novels, websites, video games, as well as advertising are also very welcome. Additionally, we invite proposals that examine the illustrative nature of digital humanities and computer-aided visualization of data, archives, and patterns in current research.

We invite participation and lively dialogue among scholars from a variety of disciplines who work with illustrated texts, illustrate texts, or who think about illustration critically and the visual in relation to or opposition of the textual. We look forward to exploring the pictorial elements that interpret, critique, subvert, amplify, or otherwise activate the text they illustrate. Please send abstracts of 250 words by April 5, 2017 to Christopher Martiniano at We look forward to reading your proposals.

Possible topics to consider are:
The history of illustrated “protest” or activist texts
Illustrations that fail to illustrate
The graphic novel and/or the comic book and its relations to activism
Intertextuality, hypertextuality, digital media
Ut Pictura Poesis
Data Visualization/Digital Media/The Digital Divide
Video Games
Literary use of the physical or figural image
The use of verbal signs in the visual arts
Verbal and visual ontology
Illuminated manuscripts
Artists’ notebooks / scrapbooks
Iconography and iconology
Newspapers and broadsides
Street art and graffiti