Comics as a modern genre and modern European colonization emerged simultaneously in the late nineteenth century. It is no wonder that Africa has been the setting for numberless popular comics made in the ‘West’ ever since. On the other hand, African societies have integrated comics and caricatures into their visual cultures very easily and creatively. The proposed panel attempts to investigate both, Africa and Africans in past and present non-African comics as well as Africa as the place of comic production and reception.
As a rule, comics use hyperboles and simplification so that they have had the power to generate and vulgarize stereotypes. In this regard, colonialist – or anti-colonialist – propaganda has been spread in cartoon strips. However, comic as a ‘global genre’ has also been used as a subversive instrument of critique and self-expression in and about Africa. Moreover, comics have always connected artists with colleagues and readerships from other cultures, because of the limited faculty of language required and due to the self-reflecting and self-referring nature of that genre.
In our panel, history will meet fine arts and Africanists from various disciplines in order to discuss Africa’s role in the past and present ‘World of Comics’. In this way, we will study the connectedness of Africa with the global sphere by processes of making, distributing, reading, and interpreting comics.
Stephanie Zehnle (University of Duisburg-Essen)
Felix Schürmann (University of Kassel)
Proposals should be sent to
by 30 November 2017