Borders in the South Asian Graphic Novel

deadline for submissions: 
October 31, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
ACLA 2021
contact email: 

The graphic novel’s openness to auto/biographical and historical content and its explicit demotic allegiances enable it to perform a range of political-affective stances including subversion, resistance, solidarity, memorialization, loss, complicity, capitulation, defiant interiority, and cautious hope. Graphic novels are therefore emerging as a powerful tool for mapping the uncertain and liminal spaces that complicate the neat divisions and borders that map out national/sexual/ethnic/religious/caste/personal identities in South Asia. This seminar seeks to address how graphic novels negotiate these borders and boundaries as they imagine the histories--both private and public, personal and collective--of South Asia. Proposals (250-300 words) are invited for papers discussing graphic novels and comics from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka in the context of this problematic; focus on a particular country or locality rather than a broad South-Asian perspective is entirely acceptable. Specific topics can include but are not limited to: gender, sexuality, caste, religion, and ethnicity as sites for negotiating boundaries; the partition of British India; the delineation and delimitation of identity; autobiography and community; collective identity and solidarity; problems of pictorial form that involve borders, including framing, guttering, speech bubbles, and negative spacing; and word-image boundaries.

Please submit proposals to this session via the ACLA Annual Meeting website. Here are the instructions from ALCA for submitting proposals.

1.) You can reach the virtual conference platform on the following page by clicking the button reading "Access Virtual Conference Platform": 

2.) You will be prompted to log in using your ACLA account information. If you do not currently have an account you will be able to create one at that time.

3.) After logging in you will reach the Home page for the ACLA 2021 conference shown in the screenshot below. All conference information is displayed on this page. In order to view the seminars, click the menu for "View Seminars" at the top of the screen.

 4.) You can scroll through the seminars or use the keyword search tool on the right side of the screen to find a particular seminar. Once you are ready to apply, click the button beneath the seminar title reading "Apply to this Seminar" (see screenshot below). Follow the steps to submit your paper abstract. 

Abstracts must be received by 11:59pm EST on Saturday, October 31st, 2020.

Current ACLA guidelines specify that each ACLA member may submit only ONE PAPER to ONE SEMINAR for consideration for the 2021 Annual Meeting.

A few helpful reminders

  • Submitting a paper here does NOT guarantee your participation in the conference. The organizer of the seminar to which you are submitting your paper will review and provisionally accept or decline your submission by 11:59pm EST on Monday, November 9th, 2020.
  • The ACLA Program Committee will then review all seminar proposals in November and notify seminar organizers of acceptance or rejection after November 24th.
  • Please note that this year you will not receive an automatic email after submitting your paper proposal. You will only be contacted after the review processes has been completed. A confirmation screen will appear after you have submitted your proposal. You can also check your account to view your submitted abstract there as well. Return to the home screen and you will see categories in the menu for Incomplete and Complete (see screenshot below for reference). Note in the example below the highlighted "Complete (1)". If you click that menu you will see your paper abstract displayed on the right. If your abstract is only displaying under "Incomplete" then you should finish editing and click Submit.