Understanding Superheroes: An Interdisciplinary Conference at the University of Oregon

full name / name of organization: 
Ben Saunders/ Department of English, University of Oregon
contact email: 
ben@uoregon.edu

Understanding Superheroes: An Interdisciplinary Conference at the University of Oregon

Location: The University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
Dates: October 23-24, 2009

“Understanding Superheroes” is conceived as an interdisciplinary multi-media event, held in conjunction with a simultaneous exhibition of original comic art at the UO’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.

This exhibition, “Faster Than A Speeding Bullet,” will feature over 150 pages of original superhero comic art from the 1940s to the present, with examples of key works by many major creators in the industry, including Neal Adams, Mike Allred, C C Beck, Gene Colan, Steve Ditko, Will Eisner, Bill Everett, Lou Fine, Ramona Fradon, Dave Gibbons, Don Heck, Carmine Infantino, J G Jones, Gil Kane, Jack Kirby, Joe Kubert, Mort Meskin, Frank Miller, Joe Orlando, George Perez, H G Peter, Mac Raboy, John Romita Sr., Alex Ross, Marie Severin, Bill Sienkiewicz, Matt Wagner, and Berni Wrightson.

Keynote Speakers include Danny Fingeroth (author of Superheroes On The Couch and Disguised As Clark Kent) and Charles Hatfield (author of Alternative Comics: An Emerging Literature).

Guests Panelists include Kurt Busiek (author of numerous Superhero titles for Marvel and DC, and creator of the award-winning Astro City series), Greg Rucka (co-creator of Gotham Central, White Out, Queen & Country, and many projects for Marvel and DC), and Gail Simone (writer on Marvel’s Deadpool, DC’s Birds of Prey, co-creator of Welcome To Tranquility for Wildstorm, and current Wonder Woman scribe)!

Other guests TBA.

We invite 1-2 page proposals for 20-30 minute conference papers considering the implications of superhero fantasies for our understanding of such diverse topics as gender identity, queerness, theological yearning, and nationalist politics. We also welcome appreciative discussions of superhero comics as significant aesthetic achievements — particularly insofar as those discussions contribute to the ongoing project within contemporary Comics Studies, to map the unique conventions of the comic art form. Above all, we are interested in sophisticated, lucidly written analyses that utilize the conceptual tools and hermeneutic lenses of contemporary literary and cultural theory.

It is our hope that this conference will help all participants, student and professional, skeptic and fan, to understand the extraordinary imaginative appeal of the costumed adventurer — an appeal that overlaps significant distinctions of age, gender, nation, and culture, and which no amount of silliness or cynicism seems quite able to dispel.

Please address queries and submit proposals via email to Ben Saunders, Associate Professor, Department of English by Monday, June 15th, 2009. (Email address: ben@uoregon.edu )

cfp categories: 
african-american
american
childrens_literature
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches
ethnicity_and_national_identity
film_and_television
gender_studies_and_sexuality
humanities_computing_and_the_internet
popular_culture
science_and_culture
theory
twentieth_century_and_beyond