CFP for panel proposal on "Family Networks in Jewish Graphic Narratives", MESEA 2018, Graz, May 30 - June 2, 2018

Dana Mihailescu's picture
Call for Papers
October 1, 2017
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, Ethnic History / Studies, Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Jewish History / Studies

This is a call for papers for a panel proposal on "Family Networks in Jewish Graphic Narratives" for the Eleventh Biennial MESEA Conference Ethnicity and Kinship: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Family, Community, and Difference, May 30 – June 2, 2018, University of Graz, Austria (organizers: Dana Mihailescu, University of Bucharest and Karolina Krasuska, University of Warsaw)

Panel description: Family networks have lately become a primary category of analysis for many scholars working in the interdisciplinary fields of gender, ethnic, memory and trauma studies, especially thanks to the gender-informed work of Pascale Rachel Bos analyzing gender difference during World War II (“Women and the Holocaust: Analyzing Gender Difference,” 2002) as well as to Marianne Hirsch’s earlier influential concept of “family frames” developed in relation to postmemory (Family Frames, 1997).  We can read their works as posing the challenging problem of how to ethically relate to present-day violence and nationalist politics using family networks for the creation of forms of resistance. It is especially in the 2015 edited book Jewish Families in Europe 1939-Present. History, Representation and Memory (Brandeis University Press) that Joanna Beata Michlic and the volume contributors propose to broaden the understanding of wartime and postwar histories and representations of Central / East European Jewry through the perspective of the family (xvi). Likewise, in Engaging the Past. Mass Culture and the Production of Historical Knowledge (Columbia University Press, 2015), Alison Landsberg highlights “what an affective personal relationship to the past implies for the project of history” and “the acquisition of historical knowledge in the contemporary, mass-mediated public sphere” (3) and talks about “the complexity of being touched by history” (10). Simultaneously, however, the concept of the “family” is problematized through queer theory inspired research, as exemplified by Jordana Silverstein’s recent work around Jewish heteronormativity.

Our panel means to contribute to this ongoing conversation by exploring the innovative insights cultural studies scholars can gain from considering family networks in connection to intergenerational and/or transcultural memories in Jewish graphic narratives. We hope to especially address some significant loose ends in need of scholarly attention, such as:

  • the relationship between family networks for migrant families and the representation of World War II, communist and (post)communist experiences in graphic narrative format;
  • the transcultural transmission of memory and historical knowledge in the Jewish family including acts of migration, as represented in graphic narratives;
  • representations of family, political upheavals and kinship in the face of systemic racism and nationalism in Jewish graphic narratives that highlight forced migration, families in transit, negotiations of citizenship through kinship;
  • graphic narrative presence of families that go beyond the normative, which may allow for further contextualization of normativity within Jewish family networks.

We welcome abstract proposals for 20-minute paper presentations on these topics. Please send a title of your proposal accompanied by a 200-word abstract and a 100-word biographical note with details regarding your affiliation and professional career to Dana Mihailescu ( and Karolina Krasuska ( by October 1, 2017. Please note that in order to be able and participate in the MESEA 2018 conference, you will need to be(come) a member of the association and also pay the conference registration fee. For further details about MESEA membership costs and registration fees please visit the MESEA website:

Contact Info: 

Dana Mihailescu (University of Bucharest) and Karolina Krasuska (University of Warsaw)

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