Graphic Novels as Cultural Artifacts at NeMLA

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Catherine Ross / Southwestern University
contact email: 

This call for papers is for the NeMLA conference which is scheduled to take place in person in Niagara Falls, NY between March 23-26, 2023.

Graphic novels, due to their nature as both visual and verbal texts, occupy a fertile ground for expression. As Jonathan C. Evans and Thomas Giddens stated in Cultural Excavation and Formal Expression in the Graphic Novel (2013), “The graphic novel is a tool: of self-expression and personal identity; of cultural understanding and philosophical exploration; of history and hope. Comics and graphic novels traverse themes such as heroism, identity, philosophy, gender, history, and colonialism.” As examples, works like Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis and Lynda J. Barry’s One Hundred Demons illustrate how graphic novels speak to their audiences through the juxtaposition of image and words. Graphic novels such as these, that function both as fiction and memoir, work through issues of self-identification and the negotiation of (trans)cultural identity. This panel will present papers from different cultural perspectives that use the graphic novel as a space for questioning cultural heritage, identity negotiation and self reflection. The panel attempts to explain the power of graphic novels to interpret and express ethnic identity and transnational politics. We look for papers that examine how recent graphic novels work both aesthetically and as cultural artifacts.

This in-person panel will present papers from different cultural perspectives that use the graphic novel as a space for questioning cultural heritage, identity negotiation and self reflection. The panel attempts to explain the power of graphic novels to interpret and express ethnic identity and transnational politics. We look for papers that examine how recent graphic novels work both aesthetically and as cultural artifacts.