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TitelGSA 2016 panel: The German Graphic Novel
BeschreibungGerman Studies Association Conference
September 29-October 2, 2016, San Diego, California

Panel Series: The German Graphic Novel

In the past decade there has been an explosion of comics production in
German-speaking Europe. The impressive artistic quality and thematic
breadth of comics coming out of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland today
has attracted public and critical attention, both domestically and
internationally. From historical comics that open new perspectives on
the GDR and reunification to comics journalism on right-wing extremism;
from biographies of Martin Luther, Fidel Castro, and Johnny Cash to
adaptations of Goethe, Kafka, Schnitzler, Thomas Bernhard and beyond;
from Berliner vampires to time traveling Junge Pioniere, the landscape
of German comics is vibrant, diverse, and challenging. As comics are
increasingly incorporated into university curricula, as well as into the
fields of inquiry of Literary and Media Studies, German Studies is also
beginning to recognize comics as a legitimate object of scholarly
analysis. For the third consecutive year, we invite papers on
German-language comics old and new, organized around three thematic
constellations: Gender and Sexuality – Age – Nation and Identity. We
include individual calls for papers for each panel, and submissions of
approximately 250 words—as well as a short bio—should be directed to the
appropriate organizer by February 12, 2016.

The German Graphic Novel (I): Gender and Sexuality
Organizer: Julia Ludewig (

Even though issues of gender and sexuality as well as comic studies have
gained traction in German studies, the intersection of these two fields
is still in its infancy. This panel invites scholars to present analyses
of one or several comics or graphic novels from the German-speaking
world that tackle themes of gender and sexuality. Prominent examples of
such novels include Ulli Lust’s Heute ist der letzte Tag vom Rest deines
Lebens, the erotica series Springpoem to which Lust contributed as well,
Anke Feuchtenberger’s Die Hure H., Manuel Fiore’s Fräulein Else, Jakob
Hinrich’s Traumnovelle, the anthology Bettgeschichten, Ralf König’s Der
Bewegte Mann, Suskas Lötzerich’s Hexenblut, or even more or less
reverent fairy tale adaptations. Possible lines of inquiry include, but
are not limited to the following questions:

· gender identity and transgender
· heteronormativity and its alternatives
· artistic techniques: interpretative process,
mis-en-page, realism vs. abstraction etc.
· area/culture-specific trends in
gender/sexuality-themed comics
· theoretical concepts across the disciplines (e.g.
gaze theory, plaisir and juissance)
· the boundary between pornography and art
· adaptions from or into other media (e.g. literature,
film) of comics on gender and sexuality
· alternative comic formats (e.g. web comics)
· pedagogy for comics on gender and sexuality:
challenges and chances

The German Graphic Novel (II): Age
Organizer: Brett Sterling (

Since its beginnings, the graphic novel has been used frequently as a
vehicle for “life writing,” that is, for personal stories,
autobiographies, and memoirs. This is especially true in German-speaking
Europe, where numerous artists have interpreted their own stories
through comics (ex. Ulli Lust’s Heute ist der letzte Tag vom Rest deines
Lebens, Simon Schwarz’s drüben!, Volker Reiche’s Kiesgrubennacht, etc.).
Each of these comics, as the story of a lived life, is inherently
concerned with the passage of time, of aging. The theme of age opens up
a range of fruitful topics which can be discussed in the context of
comics: from “coming of age” stories (Mawil’s Kinderland, Lukas
Jüliger’s Vakuum, etc.) to comics about dementia (Flix’s Don Quixote),
the aging European population (Marijpol’s Eremit), mortality and the
afterlife (Felix Pestemer’s Staub der Ahnen), to the evolution of life
and the human species (Jens Harder’s Alpha: Directions and Beta:
Civilizations). This panel invites papers on the theme of age in German
comics, topics for which could include, but are not limited to:
· Reflection, recollection, remembering
· The fallibility of memory
· Life writing
· Generations, generational conflicts
· Age groups, cohorts
· Youth vs. maturity
· Stages of life and development
· Death and dying
· Vitality and the decline of the body
· Depictions of time
· Past – Present – Future
· (D)evolution
· How themes, styles, and works age

The German Graphic Novel (III): Nation and Identity
Organizer: Elizabeth (Biz) Nijdam (

With its close relationship to caricature, the comics medium has been
linked to concepts of nation and national identity since its inception.
Furthermore, in light of the recent attack on the Paris headquarters of
satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and subsequent Je suis Charlie
campaign, it’s clear that comics and cartoons still play an important
role in matters of nation and national identity. In the German-speaking
context, national history has become particularly significant in
negotiating national identity in contemporary comics. Since the 20th
anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, East German authors have
engaged the medium to represent the East German past and complicate the
portrayal of citizens of the German Democratic Republic as supporters of
the regime (Simon Schwarz’s drüben!, Thomas Henseler and Susanne
Buddenberg’s Grenzfall, Mawil’s Kinderland). More recently, graphic
novels have also begun to offer a space for the representation of
marginalized members of the German public, and the fringes of German
national identity are finding their voice within panels. Yi Luo’s
Running Girl recounts the author’s immigration from Tianjin, China to
Augsburg, while both Paula Bulling’s Im Land der Frühaufsteher and the
Comic Festival Munich’s recent exhibition and anthology “Gestrandet and
Verwurzelt” chronicle the lives of Germany’s refugees. Moreover, the
German government has turned to comics to educate the population. In the
German Federal Agency for Civic Education’s fictive world of
Hanisauland, for example, children learn about governmental systems as
hippos, hares and wild boar attempt to build a democracy. The Interior
Ministry of Nordrhein-Westfalen, on the other hand, has published three
issues of their comics series Andi instructing on Islamicism and
right-wing and left-wing extremism.
This panel invites scholars to consider the role of nation and national
identity in German comics today. Topics include but are not limited to
the following:
· German national identity in contemporary German
· German stereotypes at home and internationally
· Comics and (im)migration
· Comics and diaspora
· Comics, politics and the state
· Caricature in the German context
· Comics and East German identity
· Comics and national history
· Comics and refugees
· Comics and marginalized voices
· The German comics scene as a national movement
· Comics educating German citizens
· Comics reportage
Quelle der BeschreibungInformation des Anbieters
VeranstaltungsortSan Diego
PersonName: Brett Sterling 
Funktion: Organisator 
Ediert von  H-Germanistik
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