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UF Conference: "Comics Read but Seldom Seen: Diversity and Representation in Comics and Related Media" (April 10-12, 2015)
full name / name of organization:
Najwa Al-Tabaa / University of Florida Graduate Comics Organization
The Graduate Comics Organization at the University of Florida invites applicants to submit proposals to the 12th UF Conference on Comics and Graphic Novels, "Comics Read but Seldom Seen: Diversity and Representation in Comics and Related Media." The conference will be held from Friday, April 10th, 2015 to Sunday, April 12th, 2015. Proposals are due January 1st, 2015.
The analysis of diversity and representation in comic books is an integral and growing part of Comics Studies. For example, in only the past few years, Adilifu Nama published Super Black: American Pop Culture and Black Superheroes (2011), which provides a historical overview of black comic-book superheroes and racial dynamics in superhero comics; Sheena C. Howard and Ronald L. Jackson II edited Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation (2013), an essay collection which explores representations of race in both comic books and comic strips; and Joseph J. Darowski came out with X-Men and the Mutant Metaphor: Race and Gender in the Comic Books, which examines and tracks race and gender identity in the Uncanny X-Men roster of heroes and villains (2014).
Mainstream comics have been increasingly open to experimenting with diversity in sexuality, race, gender, and disability. Marvel has a new Muslim woman superhero; "traditionally" straight superheroes have been coming out in new universes/continuities; and disability often crosses over into hyperability (as in the cases of Daredevil and Echo, Professor X, Cyborg, and Batgirl/Oracle). However, many of these experiments in diversity have been limited or problematic, and have at times generated controversy (for example, Batwoman's infamously canceled wedding). Alternative and independent comics, from the underground comix scene on, have long been a space for writers and artists to depict diverse characters who do not fit into the narrow mold of the straight, white, cissexual, neurotypical, and able-bodied male hero.
The goal of "Comics Read but Seldom Seen” is to celebrate and interrogate the representation of marginalized groups in comics and related media. "Related media” can include film and TV comic-book adaptations (as well as their promotional tie-ins), illustrated blogs, video games, news stories with accompanying photographs, street art, museum exhibits, advertisements, and all other cultural objects which juxtapose image and text to create new meaning. We are looking not only for critiques of those instances where imagetexts fall short in their representations of the marginalized, but also for thoughtful examinations of how and when comics and related media "get it right."
Possible topics may include but are not limited to:
Proposals should be between 200 and 300 words, and are due January 1, 2015. All proposals should be submitted to Najwa Al-Tabaa at firstname.lastname@example.org.