Graphicity: Revisiting Word/Image Hybridity

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English Graduate Student Society (EGSS)
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The Université de Montréal English Graduate Student Society (EGSS) invites abstracts for its 9th annual conference, March 16-17 2012.

This conference will address the growing tendency of producing hybrid literary texts that engage with visual arts in any form. This engagement generates new challenges for literary critics, who must develop specific methodologies to examine the relationship between the text and its visual components. For instance, the growing body of literary comics and graphic novels, documentary collages produced in the 70s-90s, and contemporary heavily illustrated texts such as Rohinton Mistry’s The Scream and Bernice Einsenstein’s I Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors incorporate visual elements for varied reasons and to varied effects. As scholarly attention on such works proliferates, however, there has been a tendency to sometimes neglect the specific formal hybridity of such texts, and much academic work has therefore treated the visuals in general, and individual artistic style in particular, as either illustration or as if they were simply a transparent vehicle for the storytelling.

For this conference, we would therefore like to refocus attention to one of the form’s core features, namely the hybridity of texts and images, with a strong focus on the productive role played by the presence of visuals in the creation of textual meaning.

We invite contributions discussing any literary work that includes and engages significantly with visual arts or photography, but we especially encourage papers on comics, manga, bande dessinée and graphic novels. The following is an incomplete list of potential topics:

• Visual style and its relevance to the literary text
• The immediacy of the image
• Image as tangible presence
• Image-text hybridity (comics, but also visual poetry, for example)
• Interdisciplinary approaches to comics studies
• Historical considerations of the role of the image in literary texts
• Documentary collage
• The (diminishing/increasing) role of visuals in online comics

Abstracts of no more than 300 words, along with a 50-word author bio, should be sent to Deadline for submissions is January 6, 2012.

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