[UPDATE]: The Conversations Project: Interdscisplinary Conversations About Comics, Literacy, and Scholarship

full name / name of organization: 
James Bucky Carter/ Washington State University
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The Conversations Project: Interdisciplinary Conversations About Comics, Literacy, and Scholarship

Dr. James Bucky Carter seeks papers for an edited collection entitled _The Conversations Project_.

Comics scholarship has grown substantially over the last twenty years and has always inhabited an interdisciplinary domain. However, rarely do the myriad voices have an opportunity to intersect and interact like they might. This is especially true between those involved in humanities-based comics scholarship and those who explore comics from pedagogical potentialities – and an even more salient divide exists when one looks at those who are doing work with comics in the humanities and those who study comics’ k-12 applications and potentials.

The editor argues that this has had a limiting effect on comics scholarship and offers the Conversations Project as a mode of addressing the issue (while, of course, recognizing that there are figures who work in and across multiple disciplines).

The goal of the Conversations Project is to bring together leading and emergent voices in often distinctive and divergent sub-fields of comics scholarship via pairing those who study comics primarily from a humanities scholarship perspective with those who study comics mostly from the social sciences/ education/ literacy perspectives.

Each chapter of the project should be an informed, scholarly dialogue or conversation, preferably between two figures, one involved mostly in humanities-based comics scholarship and the other mostly involved in literacy/education-based comics scholarship. Chapters comprised of larger groupings will be considered.

Non-exhaustive examples of possible pairings:

• A children’s literature scholar might pair with a literacy scholar.
• Someone studying reader response theory in comics might pair with an education professor or practicing k-12 teacher
• A librarian of a comics collection at a university might pair with a public. school librarian or a librarian studying literacy issues associated with comics.
• A visual rhetoric scholar might pair with a social scientist studying how young people read or decode the language/systems of comics.
• A scholar of a specific cartoonist or comics work might pair with a k-12 teacher who has used that artist’s works or the specific text.
• A scholar-practitioner of Design might pair with a literacy educator or k-12 teacher.
• An art historian might pair with an Art educator or k-12 art teacher
• An academic who runs an after-school program connecting comics and literacy might pair with a practicing k-12 teacher who does the same.
• Someone who studies media might pair up with a media literacy educator.

Partners should craft their narrative in the form of a mutual interview, similar to and inspired by the format of the University Press of Mississippi’s Conversations series, where each voice is clearly distinguished and labeled each time it speaks. Editors will provide a brief introduction of both figures to introduce the readership to the authors, their areas of expertise, and the general gist of their arguments presented in the chapter.

Pairs might consider the following:

• What are your big questions and concerns regarding how the “other side” seems to view comics.
• How could your own work be used to advance understandings for the “other side.”
• Where do you see common ground in your work and theories and big ideas on comics, their value, use, and importance?
• Where do you and your paired partner agree? Disagree? Mine these spots for communication. Cite scholarship to assert your claims. Can you find middle ground?
• What major texts and figures inform thoughts?
• What new perspectives have you gained from working with your partner? What new avenues do you feel you may have opened up for readers who might also be looking to bridge the space between one form of comics scholarship and another?

The editor will craft a summative chapter that treats the bulk of the collection as qualitative data and will draw conclusions and make recommendations to readers based on emerging ideas, theories, and problem areas across the contributions. In this way, the book is similar to Aldema’s work in _Multicultural Comics: From Zap to Blue Beetle and Your Brain on Latina Comics_.

Interested parties should contact general editor Dr. James Bucky Carter at jbcarter777@gmail.com or jamesbucky.carter@wsu.edu.

Deadline for submissions is March 1, 2014.

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