Friday, July 13, 2007

'Comics in the Academy' at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival

I'm organizing the 'Comics in the Academy' panel at this year's Toronto Comic Arts Festival (August 18-19), and I'm currently looking for people interested in participating as panelists. Respond if you're interested, and pass it along if you know someone or some people that it might appeal to. Details below...

“Comics in the Academy:
How to Study Comics and Why”

Toronto Comic Arts Festival ( )
Old Victoria College, University of Toronto /// Sunday, August 19th (time TBD)

Since its emergence in Europe, Japan, and North America during the 1930s, and especially in the past two decades, the modern comic book has enjoyed increasing legitimacy as an artistic and literary medium. That said, the study of comic books in the University remains a marginal project: many still dismiss comics as (gasp!) popular culture or (gaaah!) ephemera, most academic papers appear in little-read and/or hard-to-find journals, and new scholars are often at a loss as to where and how they should begin their research.

The proposals being sought for this panel at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) are not for analyses of particular comics (though they can/should certainly be used as examples) or a defense of the study of comics itself (as we will take their worthiness to be a given), but rather for the presentation of a particular disciplinary or interdisciplinary approach to the comic book form and/or its various subject matter. In short, we are looking to discuss the various ways of embarking on a study of comics (“how to study comics…”), as well as an explanation of the merit and/or necessity of such an approach (“…and why”). However, as the TCAF is a public event, submitters should be mindful of the fact that their audience will likely consist of many (if not mostly) non-academics, and so presentations should be very accessible, even conversational, and avoid academic jargon and the ever-dreaded “name-dropping” of theorists wherever possible.

Presentations will be approximately 15 minutes, and it is expected that panelists will submit a preliminary (if not finished) copy of their paper/discussion notes a week in advance, so as to allow the organizer and their fellow panelists the opportunity to prepare thoughtful questions and enter into dialogue with them. Submitters are asked to prepare a 250-350 word proposal and brief biographical statement in a single Word or Rich Text file and submit them to the panel organizer, Neil Shyminsky ( All proposals will be accepted for consideration until at least July 25th, and questions of any sort can be submitted to the organizer at the same email address.

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