Call for Papers: Embodying Feminist Discourse in Comics & Graphic Novels
by: MAI , June 22, 2021
by: MAI , June 22, 2021
Comics and graphic novels by female practitioners that explore themes of identity and belonging from a feminist or LGBTQ+ standpoint are at the heart of a current resurgence of the medium. Whether fiction or autobiography, and across a wide range of genres and discourses, critiques of mainstream patriarchal culture are a key aspect of their narrative content, context and structure.
This CFP invites papers to explore graphic novels across cultural and social boundaries and through a range of critical methodologies. These could focus on a theme or movement or the work of salient practitioner(s).
For example, Alison Bechdel is a leading proponent of comics autobiography, using the form to interrogate received and gendered ways of being and seeing. From Rutu Modan’s range of tightly plotted urban fictions to Isabel Greenberg and Emily Carrol’s reworking of myth and fairy-tale, and Tillie Walden’s LGBTQ+-inflected SF, are just a few landmarks in this innovative, culturally and creatively diverse field. Although these examples spring from the field of “literary” comics, mainstream and superhero comics are, of course, a potentially rewarding field of study, from Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis’ Lumberjanes to G. Willow Wilson’s groundbreaking reinvention of Ms Marvel, to name but two.
In addition, as a multimedia journal, MAI welcomes original creative contributions, such as creative writing, comics and video or visual/comics form essays.
There have been a number of studies of specific genres, such as autobiographical comics, and monographs on individual authors, but this special issue seeks to bring together an exploration of feminist strands across genres and forms of the graphic novel that are usually treated separately. Linking these disparate genres, and exploring the parallel and contrasting ways they present women as embodied subjects, narrators and will enable us to trace the ways in which this form has re-energised contemporary feminist discourse.
We would especially like to encourage contributors to submit papers on the following creators, topics or texts as indicative examples. This list is by no means exhaustive:
- Alison Bechdel
- Marjane Satrapi
- Jillian and Mariko Tamaki
- Tillie Walden
- Rutu Modan
- Lucy Knisley
- Willow Wilson
- Vera Brogsol
- Manga genres and female representation
- Tarpe Mills / Miss Fury
- Wonder Woman
- Female Superheroes in mainstream comics
- YA and All-Ages comics
- Kate Beaton
- Wimmin’s Comix
- Bitch Planet
- Trina Robbins
- Licensed comics (such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Doctor Who)
- Batgirl, Batwoman and Oracle
- “Women in Refrigerators”
- Nora Krug
- Emil Ferris
A thematic approach is actively encouraged. Suggested (but not exclusive) areas of examination could include:
- Memoir, autobiography and the re-constructed female subject
- Good grief! Is grief gendered?
- Somewhere I’ve ever travelled: SF and gender/genre hybridity
- Feminist approaches to space and place, both in terms of representation and the formal spaces of the comics page
- Monsters, the monstrous and feminist approaches to subjectivity and embodiment
- Revisionist feminist history and formally hybrid narratives
- Reframing: exploring popular genre tropes/characters with a feminist lens
- Gender and play/playfulness in popular/literary comics
- Revisiting and reframing patriarchal constructions of the heroic
- Translations, adaptations and other retellings of comics
- Trans/gender and polyphony – adaptation and multimedia treatment of comics characters and narratives
- Postcolonial Feminism and non-European comics
- Gender, the gothic and myths/ fairy-tales
300 to 500-word Abstracts Deadline: 6 December 2021
Full Articles Deadline: Aug/Sept 2022
MAI considers submissions in the following formats:
Academic research articles (6000-8000 words)
Interviews (1000-3000 words)
Creative writing (poems, short stories, creative responses, max 3000 words)
Video essays (5-10 min + a brief supporting statement 800-1000 words)
Photographs or visual/audio-visual art
Comics or comics-essays
All articles will be peer-reviewed.
In addition to inclusivity of content, we are delighted to embrace the diversity of critical, cultural and personal backgrounds and orientations, and would especially encourage contributions by early-career academics.
Proposed publication date: Spring 2023
MAI formatting guidelines: http://maifeminism.com/submissions/
Please send your abstracts to: firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com
WHO SUPPORTS US
The team of MAI supporters and contributors is always expanding. We’re honoured to have a specialist collective of editors, whose enthusiasm & talent gave birth to MAI.
However, to turn our MAI dream into reality, we also relied on assistance from high-quality experts in web design, development and photography. Here we’d like to acknowledge their hard work and commitment to the feminist cause. Our feminist ‘thank you’ goes to:
Dots+Circles – a digital agency determined to make a difference, who’ve designed and built our MAI website. Their continuous support became a digital catalyst to our idealistic project.
Guy Martin – an award-winning and widely published British photographer who’s kindly agreed to share his images with our readers
Chandler Jernigan – a talented young American photographer whose portraits hugely enriched the visuals of MAI website
Matt Gillespie – a gifted professional British photographer who with no hesitation gave us permission to use some of his work
Julia Carbonell – an emerging Spanish photographer whose sharp outlook at contemporary women grasped our feminist attention
Ana Pedreira – a self-taught Portuguese photographer whose imagery from women protests beams with feminist aura
And other photographers whose images have been reproduced here: Cezanne Ali, Les Anderson, Mike Wilson, Annie Spratt, Cristian Newman, Peter Hershey