PAMLA Panel: Comics of Babel: Exploring the Power of Multilingual Graphic Fictions

deadline for submissions: 
June 1, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Robyn Johnson Pacific Atlantic Modern Language Association
contact email: 

PAMLA Panel: Comics of Babel: Exploring the Power of Multilingual Graphic Fictions

November 12th-15th

Las Vegas, NV

The story of the Tower of Babel claims that God punished man for attempting to build a tower that could reach the heavens by making it so the world spoke many languages, destroying communication and understanding. While we continue to struggle with communication, even with people of our same language, we have made progress in bridging the gaps. One of the most powerful advancement has been in creation and support of multilingual graphic fictions. Minority authors, especially North American Indigenous ones, have begun publishing more texts which interweave English and their native languages in revitalization efforts. Not only does this exhibit the continuing importance of minority languages, but it also impresses upon reader the power of these languages as they add culture, context, and heritage to the visual stories. This panel seeks to explore the ways in which multilingual graphic fictions empower authors and readers as they simultaneously help bridge the gap created by the worlds’ many babbles. Graphic fictions, whether comics, graphic novels, manga, and so on, are the most popular form of literature, bringing in about $1.05 billion in the U.S. and Canada alone in 2018. Their ability to influence their followers is immense as can be seen in the massive international Comic Cons and Indian Comic Cons. As their popularity continues to maintain and even increase, the need to study the innovative and powerful technique used by minority authors increases as well. These works speak across generational and now linguistic lines, creating a location that allows for serious discuss and analysis of the power of language.

For this panel we are open to papers that talk about but are not limited to: 

  • The use of non-Major languages in predominantly Major language graphic fictions
  • Artistic representation of non-dominant cultures 
  • Graphic fictions abilities to communicate or open communication
  • Graphic fictions in revitalization movements
  • the importance of language
  • the connection between language and visual culture
  • location of culture in graphic fictions

Abstract Proposal Opening: Friday, March 20th

Abstract Proposal Deadline: Monday, June 1

Submissions must be submitted on 

Other Important Dates:

Conference Early Bird Payment Deadline: Tuesday, June 30

PAMLA Membership Due for All Accepted Panelists: Wednesday, July 1

Late Conference Payment Fee Period: September 17-November 1

(After November 2, those who haven't paid their conference and membership fees will be removed from the program)
The Conference (at last!): Thursday, November 12 through Sunday, November 15

For questions about this panel, please contact Robyn Johnson at