Research Society for American Periodicals ALA 2020 CFPs

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The Research Society for American Periodicals is pleased to sponsor and co-sponsor the following panels at the upcoming American Literature Association Conference from May 21-24, 2020 in San Diego ( We hope that you will consider submitting a proposal and/or helping us to spread the word.


Periodicals, Protest, and the South: Periodicals--especially those addressed to regional or other focused communities--have long been credited as potent political forces for organizing social protest movements and collectives. From radical New Orleans abolitionist papers to contemporary university publications, southern periodicals have helped to articulate and circulate protests against racism, economic exploitation, institutionalized inequality, and many other social ills. This panel takes a broad view of what constitutes a “southern” periodical, and welcomes projects that consider publications produced and/or circulating in spaces that could include but are certainly not limited to the states of the former Confederacy, or indeed even the boundaries of the United States. Given the conference location of San Diego, we especially welcome papers that consider the context of southern California and/or the American Southwest, broadly conceived. Ultimately, this panel proposes to study the relationship between periodical formats, circulation strategies, and social protest movements by featuring scholarship on southern serial publications that invoke protest as a purpose and a calling.


Possible topics include:

--the rise or fall of student/university newspapers; students and radical periodical protest

--the contours of multiethnic and multilingual periodical publishing in the region

--transnational/hemispheric communities of protest

--the forms and aesthetics of protest periodicals

--collective power and exchange in serial publications

--histories or genealogies of social protest in regional periodicals

--examples of “breaking the big story” in small regional newspapers

--narratives of success or failure


Please submit a 250-word abstract by January 17, 2020 to Sarah Salter at


(Co-sponsored with the Comics Circle)

New Approaches to Comics in Periodicals: The history of comics is intimately tied to that of periodicals such as newspapers, magazines, and comic books. Many of the most familiar conventions of comics can be traced directly to their association with periodicals: Serialized stories, recurring characters and jokes, a penchant for subversive politics, and even their reputation as “cheap” or “trashy” pop culture. All of these features resulted, at some level, from the fact that most comics are released periodically by mass publications that audiences consider ephemeral and disposable. Conversely, comics have had a significant role in shaping periodicals as well. Cover art, editorial cartoons, and comic strips have all been consistent features—and drivers of sales—in periodical media ranging from the Hearst newspapers to The New Yorker to Instagram.


With this in mind, we invite papers that explore new approaches to how comics inhabit and are produced by periodicals and periodicality. We are especially interested in essays that extend our understanding of the traditional chronological, thematic, and formal boundaries of the relationship between comics and periodicals. Topics may include (but are not limited to):


  • How conventions such as cliffhangers, character types and recurring jokes are influenced by the periodic release of comics.


  • Formal and thematic experiments resulting from comics’ appearance in periodicals.


  • How the topical and political content of comics (relating, e.g., to race, gender, class, and politics) is shaped by their periodic release schedule.
  • Serialization in comics.


  • The periodical qualities of comics in new media such as Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook.


  • Alternative periodicals that feature comics such as zines and underground comix.


  • Comparisons between comics and other literary forms such as fiction and poetry that have appeared within periodicals.


  • Commercial elements of releasing comics periodically.



Please submit a 250-word abstract by January 17, 2020, to Jean Lee Cole at and Alexander Beringer at