Call for Chapters
Sinophone Comics: New Perspectives
Edited by Adina Zemanek
Recent books such as John Lent’s Asian Comics (2015) and Paul Gravett’s Mangasia (2017) showcase for a broad audience the richness and vibrancy of comics across the Asian continent, within a timespan ranging from beginnings to contemporary trends. Despite doing justice to the diversity of local traditions and highlighting transcultural exchange within and beyond Asia, both the title and the foreword of the latter work frame Asian comics through the lens of regional cultural flows originating in and led by Japan. The availability of these valuable and extensive introductions calls for further, detailed academic inquiries into Asian comics from perspectives that would decenter the hegemony of Japan. This book turns towards the Sinophone sphere, hitherto less visible in terms of international popularity and scholarly attention, especially with respect to recent comics production. It does not aim to nationalize research or artificially sever connections with manga (often so entrenched as to be taken for granted even within the Sinophone world), but to foreground the chosen cultural sphere in its own terms.
The Sinophone framework will ensure both thematic coherence and an opportunity for highlighting diversity, as it offers scope for contributions discussing comics art originating both within and beyond Greater China. This concept, in dialogue with (post)colonial, migration/diaspora, ethnic and linguistic studies, both encompasses China and decenters Sinocentrism, as it accounts for the margins of China and Chineseness within and beyond China’s geopolitical boundaries. As a starting point inviting critical dialogue, this project draws on two established approaches. Shu-mei Shih, who formulates a postcolonial critique of diaspora as an identity category centred on Han Chineseness, defines it as a chronotope – place-based cultural practices with geopolitical and historical situatedness. She draws attention to long-term processes of localizing and heterogenizing undergone by Chinese culture and Sinitic languages within communities marginal with respect to both the nation and nationalness, emphasizing the plurality of cultural identities, ethnicities and linguistic practices within such communities across the world. David Der-Wei Wang, on the other hand, proposes post-loyalism as an alternative, temporal framework for the Sinophone as a psychological condition, which allows for including cultural production from China itself. It places the emphasis on temporal change caused by factors other than colonialism (such as migration), and migrants’ keeping alive memories of an imaginary homeland.
The project also aims to constitute a platform for reflection on the contemporary world. We encourage contributing authors to consider new social, political, cultural processes or issues of current concern, with global or regional (Asian) relevance. We also invite contributors to engage in a dialogue with recent trends and ongoing debates in cultural and media studies, such as neoliberalism, postcolonialism, environment and the anthropocene, (media) technologies and their effects etc.
We seek contributions that explore comics addressing issues pertaining to ethnic Chinese groups, produced in Asian countries and other locations with a predominantly Chinese population (China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore), but also beyond the Asian region. Contributors are invited to consider texts as well as practices of production, dissemination or reception. The book places special emphasis on recent comics but is also open to contributions proposing an outlook with contemporary resonance upon earlier comics. As the term 漫畫 blurs the distinction between comics and cartoons, this project will cover both sequential narratives and comic strips.
Contributors are welcome to consider (but not limit themselves to) themes such as:
- the concept of 漫畫/漫画and its manifold implications: blurring distinctions between comics and cartoons in the Sinophone tradition; connections with (and dis-connections from) manga and their potential ideological or economic motivations;
- the concept of Sinophone; its localized nature in various multilingual/multicultural configurations; artists’ self-positioning with regard to this sphere;
- relevance of the nation and transnational connections: what kinds of actors are involved in claiming/shaping cultural identification within and beyond the nation, how and for what kinds of audiences?
- the role of comics in reproducing or challenging established, colonial cultural hierarchies;
- mediality – historically situated ways and means of mediation shaping access to social reality; changes in markets and patterns of media production and consumption having an impact on comics; formal strategies (visual, linguistic, narrative, layout etc.) emerging in response to such changes or channeling new kinds of reading experiences or media awareness;
- materiality of comics – meanings and impact on marketing, purchase, consumption, reading experiences etc.
- formal strategies (visual, linguistic, narrative, layout etc.) employed to represent recent disruptive changes (historical, economic, political, social) affecting larger groups or individuals’ personal lives;
- new practices involving comics artists and publishers, or new genres, as outcomes of institutional changes at various levels (national, regional, global) and of transnational exchange;
- new patterns of practice involving comics artists as creative professionals; cultural capital articulated in comics – possessed, constructed and perceived by producers and/or consumers;
- new patterns of funding for comics – forms; sustainability; transmedia networks
Chapter length: 8,000 words (including notes). Work that has already been published or submitted for review will not be considered.
Contributors are encouraged to include illustrations. These should have the format of double page spreads rather than single panels, accompanied by English translation. Whenever available, please provide links to existing online archives or translations of works discussed into European languages, and available translations as references.
Deadline for manuscript submission: 20 January 2023.
Please send a proposed title, 300-word abstract and 100-word biographical note to email@example.com by 20 August 2022.
About the editor
Adina Zemanek is a Lecturer in Asia Pacific Studies and Affiliated Research Fellow of the Institute for the Study of the Asia Pacific at the University of Central Lancashire. Her teaching has covered topics such as East Asian popular culture, and the cultural and creative industries in East Asia. Her research interests include Taiwan’s nation branding and citizen diplomacy in Europe; banal and everyday nationalism in Taiwanese visual culture; history and memory in Taiwanese graphic narratives and tourist souvenirs. Her research has been published in journals such as positions: asia critique, Culture, Theory and Critique, China Perspectives, and as chapters in books such as Positioning Taiwan in a Global Context: Being and Becoming (Routledge). She served as executive board member of the European Association of Taiwan Studies between 2016 and 2022.