PAMLA 2021 Panel: Comics of Babel: Exploring the Power of Multilingual Graphic Fictions

deadline for submissions: 
June 30, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association
contact email: 

PAMLA 2021 Conference 

November 11-14th, 2021

Las Vega, Nevada


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


*Please note that this panel will be heldvirtually*



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 advancements has been in the creation and support of multilingual graphic fiction. 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 the 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 discussion and analysis of the power of language.


To apply for this panel, please submit a title, a 50-word abstract, a 250-500 word proposal, and a brief bio by June 30th, 2020

Apply by submitting abstracts to PAMLA Panel webpage: 

If you have any questions, please contact Robyn Johnson at