CFP: GSA Comics Studies Network Panels, Indianapolis (31.01.2021)

Elizabeth Nijdam's picture

Dear colleagues,

The GSA Comics Studies Network welcomes abstract proposals for the following panels at the 45th Annual German Studies Association Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, from Sept. 30-Oct. 3, 2021. Deadline for submission is January 31, 2021.


The GSA Comics Studies Network Organizers


GSA Comics Studies I & II: Teaching and Reading Nora Krug’s Belonging (2018)

It was arguably the comics medium’s thematization of the Holocaust and World War II that put sequential art on the proverbial map. Art Spiegelman’s award of the Pulitzer Prize in 1992 for Maus (1980–1991) demonstrated to both general and academic audiences that comics and graphic novels are capable of presenting traumatic experiences of historical significance, while intervening in important debates on how to remember World War II. In turn, Maus became the foundation for several important scholarly engagements with the ethics and effects of representing the Holocaust.


Since this critical moment in comics history, graphic narrative has become an essential part of research and teaching on the history of World War II. Yet, while Spiegelman’s comic art provided an important intervention in Holocaust memory culture, inspiring dozens of subsequent comics and graphic novels, until very recently no other example of graphic narration thematizing the darkest period of the German past has received comparable scholarly attention. In 2018, however, Nora Krug published Belonging: A German Reckons with History and Home, in which the author examines her own family’s history in relationship to National Socialism from a German perspective. While Krug’s graphic narrative provides a crucial counterpoint to Spiegelman’s Maus in its exploration of the concepts of Mitläufer and Täter, Belonging also offers entry points to a number of more recent debates in Holocaust studies, German studies, cultural studies, memory studies, and beyond.


This two-part panel series seeks presentations on how to read and teach Nora Krug’s Belonging. In particular, we are interested in Belonging’s formal, cultural, and narrative strategies as well as how these techniques diverge from or are in dialog with Maus and other texts thematizing the Holocaust. With the intention of positioning Krug’s graphic narrative in relationship to a number of debates in German studies, while interrogating the its many different ways of engaging the Holocaust, post-memory, and trans- and intergenerational trauma, this panel series seeks diverse proposals from interdisciplinary perspectives to introduce scholars inside and outside of comics studies to the possibilities of engaging graphic narrative in their research and teaching.


Potential topics include:

·      Photography in Belonging and Holocaust memory culture

·      Erasure and Presence in Belonging

·      Objects, material culture, and exhibition strategies in Belonging

·      Teaching Belonging and Maus in Dialog

·      Belonging in the context of memory studies

·      The tensions between text and image in Belonging

·      Belonging and Discourses in Holocaust studies

·      Belonging in comparison to the representation of other important historical and collective traumatic events

·      Autographics and Graphic Biography

·      Issues of translation in Belonging


Please send a 350-word abstract and short bio by January 31st, 2021, to Biz Nijdam ( and John Benjamin (


GSA Comics Studies III: German-language Comics Journalism

Comics journalism, also referred to as graphic journalism or comic reportage, uses the comic form to cover news or nonfiction events. It has been an important genre for comics and graphic novels since the publication of Joe Sacco’s Palestine (1993), but the genre also evokes earlier forms of news illustration as well as the tradition of the editorial cartoon. While many examples of comics journalism are published online in forums such as The Nib, Graphic News, and Symbolia (2012-2014), comics journalism has also been appearing in the international press in the last decade, with popular news outlets, such as The New York Times, regularly featuring examples of comic reportage. Similarly, in German-speaking Europe, comics journalism has emerged as an essential forum for comics artists, including Reinhard Kleist, Birgit Wehye, and Barbara Yelin, looking to publish in newspapers and journals, such as the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and Tagesspiegel. This is particularly true for coverage on contemporary global migration, which includes graphic novel such as Peter’s Eickmeyer’s Liebe deinen Nächsten: Auf Rettungsfahrt im Mittelmeer an Bord der Aquarius (2017) and Olivier Kugler’s Dem Krieg entronnen: Begegnungen mit Syrern auf der Flucht (2017) as well as shorter projects such as Reinhard Kleist’s "Kawergosk - 5 Sterne" published in arte online, Barbara Yelin’s "Es passiert" in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and Birgit Wehye’s “Lebenslinien” in the Tagesspiegel.


However, comics art’s ability to capture real-life events for news organizations, publications or publishers (in graphic novel format) continues to be perceived as fraught. With the rules for comics journalism not yet codified, many examples of graphic journalism don’t even cite their sources, while others demonstrate a great commitment to journalistic transparency. Furthermore, while some comics artists work independently on their pieces of comic reportages, others collaborate with journalists who contribute fact-based expertise on the topics chosen (Alphabet des Ankommens, 2017). Yet, even while the public continues to debate the validity of comics journalism, it is unequivocal that, as a genre, it is at an all-time high.


This panel seeks presentations on the efficacy and complexity of German-language graphic journalism. How does the genre of comics journalism mimic, contradict, or augment the strategies of more traditional forms of news journalism? What role does comic journalism play in discourses on the politics of media representation? What interventions is comics journalism making in the contemporary media landscape? And how does comics journalism create or increase awareness of pressing current issues?


Potential texts include:

Peter’s Eickmeyer’s Liebe deinen Nächsten: Auf Rettungsfahrt im Mittelmeer an Bord der Aquarius (2017)

Olivier Kugler’s Dem Krieg entronnen: Begegnungen mit Syrern auf der Flucht (2017)

Ulli Lust’s Fashionvictims.Trendverächter: Bildkolumnen und Minireportagen aus Berlin (2008)

Tim Dinter’s Cargo: Comic Journalism: Israel, Germany (2005)

Reinhard Kleist’s "Kawergosk - 5 Sterne" published in arte online

Barbara Yelin’s "Es passiert" in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Birgit Wehye’s “Lebenslinien” in the Tagesspiegel.

Alphabet des Ankommens


Please send a 350-word abstract and short bio by January 31st, 2021, to Biz Nijdam ( and John Benjamin (



Redaktion: Constanze Baum – Lukas Büsse – Mark-Georg Dehrmann – Nils Gelker – Markus Malo – Alexander Nebrig – Johannes Schmidt

Diese Ankündigung wurde von H-GERMANISTIK [Constanze Baum] betreut –