"Un/Making Graphic History: BD and Narratives of Resistance in French"

deadline for submissions: 
June 1, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Charly Verstraet / Jennifer Boum Make
contact email: 

"Un/Making Graphic History:
BD and Narratives of Resistance in French"

Call for Papers

In recent years, bande dessinées and graphic novels, as both fiction and/or documentary, have become a popular medium to shed light on unknown or forgotten parts of history or to raise awareness on current socio-political realities and challenges. BDs and graphic novels in French have tackled various topics such as the environmental and socio-economic impact of urban growth (Rural!, 2001), the chlordecone pollution in the French Antilles from 1972 to 1993 (Tropiques toxiques, 2020), the infestation of sargassum seaweed on the shores of Caribbean islands (Mission Pas Possible-Opération Sargasses, 2020), the deportation of children from Réunion to rural hexagonal France (mainly Creuse) from 1964 to 1984 (Piments zoizos: les enfants oubliés de La Réunion, 2020), or the formation of the Vietnamese diaspora in French territories in the context of the Vietnam War (series Mémoires de Viet-Kieu, 2010 - 2020).

We invite chapter proposals in English for a forthcoming edited volume with New Directions in Francophone Studies: Diversity, Decolonization, Queerness (an EUP series). This collection will examine the political, aesthetic, and ethical gestures embedded in bande dessinées and graphic novels in order to bear witness to, inform, or question our past and contemporary realities. Through the combination of image and text, the medium encourages us to reconsider the possibilities and limits of documentary and/or fictional, personal, and collective accounts, examining the historical, political, aesthetic, and pedagogical relevance of the medium. This volume will explore some of the following questions: how do BDs and graphic novels examine environmental, gender, racial, religious, political, and social questions? How do the media, through the combination of text and image, engage with notions of voice, power, bias, and perspective? How are the media relevant to the exploration of individual and collective identity de/construction? How are BDs and graphic novels a valuable pedagogical tool to discuss diversity, decolonization, inclusion, and social justice issues?

Chapters may investigate the intersection between graphic novels/bande dessinées, aesthetics, and history. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • -  bande dessinée as pedagogical tool

  • -  border, migration, exile

  • -  colonialism and imperialism

  • -  diversity and representation

  • -  ecology

  • -  gender and queer identity

  • -  graphic novels/bande dessinées as a form of activism

  • -  multilingualism and translation

  • -  place of graphic novels/bande dessinées in historical narratives

  • -  race

  • -  religion

  • -  universalism

Abstracts (300 words) and bios (100 words) for proposed chapters should be submitted by June 1, 2022 to the editors of the collection, Jennifer Boum Make (jb2899@georgetown.edu) and Charly Verstraet (cverstr@uab.edu). By June 7, potential contributors will be contacted regarding the status of their abstract. Ultimately, articles should be between 4000 and 5000 words including footnotes and references. Complete chapters will be due December 15, 2022.

Publication Schedule:
June 1, 2022: Submission for Abstracts
June 7, 2022: Notification of Acceptance
Summer 2022: Book proposal submitted to NDFS/EUP for review and contractDecember 15, 2022: Chapter Submission (5,000 words max)
Early 2023: Peer-review process and revisions
Early 2024: Publication