Comics of the Margins: Visions from the Periphery in World Graphic Narratives (Panel)

Comparative Literature / Cultural Studies and Media Studies

Camila Gutierrez (Pennsylvania State University)

Irenae Aigbedion (Pennsylvania State University University Park)

Notwithstanding the significant progress in the legitimization of comics as an object of academic inquiry, there is a persisting contradictory tendency to narrate the history of comics as U.S. American, despite the recognition of comics as a medium originating in different cultures. For the purpose of this panel, comics will be understood as a long form of graphic narrative resulting out of the crossbreeding of East-West visual and verbal forms of representation, with a temporal origin in the encounters between East Asia and the West in the second half of the 19th century. Granted that throughout the 20th century the U.S. tradition of comics has become a point of etiological, etymological and epistemological reference for the entire medium, this panel welcomes submissions that look at comics now situated, consequently, in a peripheral position. Our interest lies in the ways that world literatures have either imported or re-appropriated this narrative form and its genres, and made them suitable to their own particular cultural contexts throughout the 20th century.

Looking forward to addressing comics and graphic narratives originating in the periphery, thereby decentering the US as the primary hub around which scholarship revolves, this panel welcomes papers that introduce diversity into the discourses surrounding comics and graphic narratives, help disrupt the paradigmatic role that the US has held in the development of the medium, and explore the ways in which themes, genres, and ideologies shift from one context to another, “from centre to periphery, from the periphery to the centre, from one periphery to another, while some original [ideas] of consequence may not move much at all” (Kristal, “Considering Coldly,” 73-74). What propagandistic, cosmological, religious, moralistic, or ideological views undergird these comics? How do the rhetorical and aesthetic devices of comics vary along with these alternative cultures and worldviews?

This panel welcomes papers that examine the propagandistic, cosmological, religious, or ideological subtexts of comic books and longer graphic narratives originating in literatures outside of the paradigm of U.S. American comics. Please submit 300 word abstracts