Virtual Women: Webcomics due March 8; Special Session for MLA 2015, January 8-11

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Modern Language Association
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How has the web provided an alternative space for women in comics that is both similar to and different from the space provided by graphic narratives in print form? In Graphic Women, Hillary Chute suggests that the graphic narrative form is particularly germane to representing the experiences of women. Scholarship has thus far focused mainly on comics in print form, with little scholarly attention given to webcomics. This panel aims to theorize webcomics as a medium by examining connections between gendered experience and the production of comics in the democratic space of the Internet. Papers could explore the following questions:

  • How has the mode of production of webcomics made way for women cartoonists?
  • In their representations of women, how are webcomics both similar to and different from graphic narratives in print form? Why is the web a space that fosters alternative representations of gender?
  • How do webcomics build virtual communities of readers? What role does gender play in this community formation?
  • How do webcomics form an archive of gendered experience?
  • What forms of narrative can webcomics take? How do the alternative narrative modes afforded by the Internet allow for varied representations of women's experience?

Please submit 250 word abstracts for 15-minute papers + a CV to Leah Misemer at lsinsheimer by March 8. Note: This is a proposed Special Session for MLA 2015 in Vancouver, January 8-11. Participation requires MLA membership by April 1, 2014.