002 - Future Directions in Comics Studies

 

ICLA Graphic Narratives Research Committee/Prof. Umberto Rossi

English

 

Proponents: Fernanda Diaz-Basteris (Cornell College), Tracy Lassiter (University of New Mexico) & Umberto Rossi (Sapienza University of Rome)

 

As we emerge from a year of stasis and fear, we look hopefully at the future. Thus, a discussion of future directions in comics studies potentially offers a large-sized panel compatible with the main issues of the 2022 ICLA Congress. Since comics are a combination of words and images, or exclusively visual narrative sequences, their interpretation necessarily crosses literary and critical borders; this hallmark intersectionality reflects both the present and future of comics and literary studies. Moreover, the visual component of comics facilitates their circulation across national/cultural borders, such as those dividing (but at the same time connecting) East and West, Global South and Global North. Comics are also an increasingly important communication channel for ethnic minorities retelling the history of migrations, issues of colonial/postcolonial history/politics/culture, and themes of discrimination/racism. Other matters that comics more frequently deal with are those of gender and sexuality, focusing on the experiences of LGBT+ people and addressing the issues of intolerance vs. inclusion, as well as self-awareness. Finally, the questions of digital culture are highly relevant to comics, since digital comics are on the rise, and graphic narratives are often characterized by transmediality and intermediality; moreover, the reading experience is changing, as we may now experience comics on a screen, not necessarily a printed page. After a year of heavy reliance on technology, we can appreciate these new frontiers more than ever.

We are thus interested in hosting presentations which focus on these and related issues, outlining new fields of inquiry and scholarly discussion of sequential art in its current forms and genres and their future developments.

This group session is sponsored by the ICLA Graphic Narratives Research Committee