Call for Papers – “The Future in Comics”

Stockholm University (Stockholm, Sweden)
September 3-5

Future in Comics

“This conference aims to investigate ways in which comics explore the idea of ‘future.’ Its goal is to gather scholars from the field of comic studies and related fields, such as linguistics, philosophy, literary studies, cultural studies, sociology, anthropology, film studies as well as others that can discover a conceptual connection to the rigorous study of comics. Given our broad and yet specific purpose, we aim to discuss work on comics originating from all major traditions: French bande desineé, American and British comics, Italian fumetti, Japanese manga, and so on. In pursuing this cross-cultural approach, we wish to discuss not only how different conceptions of the future in comics can be compared and analysed, but also how comics offer unorthodox modes of representation that allow for creative, intellectual freedom that may be different from literature and cinema. In particular, we are interested in, but not limited to, discussing these themes:

  • The cross-roads between utopia and dystopia (e.g. Gundam‘s Universal Century, Transmetropolitan‘s representation of life in “the city”, Harlock‘s 30th century, the world of Rogue Trooper);

  • Apocalypses and new beginnings (e.g. Nausicaä‘s tragic millennium, Authority‘s new world, X-Men‘s days of future past, El eternauta‘s alien invasion);
  • The cities of the future (e.g. Dredd‘s Mega city one, Akira‘s neo-Tokyo, RanXeroX‘s Rome);
  • The humans of the future: mutants, augmented humans and cyborgs (e.g. Major Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell, Tony Stark in Iron Man; 2000 A.D.‘s ABC Warriors);
  • The politics of the future (e.g. Bilal’s Nicopol Trilogy, Oshi’s Patlabor trilogy, Marvel’s Civil War);
  • Time and history (e.g. Watchmen, Planetary, Neon Genesis Evangelion);
  • Nostalgia for future pasts (e.g. Nadia, Arzach, Tom Strong, Satellite Sam);
  • Elaborations and revisitations of futures in comics (Pluto, Time2, Le Transperceneige);
  • Futures set in stone, and how to avoid or reach them (X-Men‘s days of future past, AppleSeed, The Invisibles).

We hope to create a conference that not only discusses these topics and uncovers how they have been addressed in comics about the future, but also to lay the foundations of future research on these topics and develop new tools for advanced comics studies.”

Submission instructions: Please submit abstracts of between 400 and 500 words, excluding references and title, to francesco.ursini@english.su.se or adnan.mahmutovic@english.su.se.

Abstract submission deadline: April 15

Authors of accepted presentations will be notified by: May 10

Additional information: “At the moment, we are aiming at securing publishing rights for selected papers from this conference, aiming at publication in December 2016.”

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