We have a lovely team of researchers contributing to the realization of this year’s theme of ethics and choices in History in Comics. Read about them below or follow the links to see their latest work!
Elizabeth Allyn Woock
Olomouc, Czech Republic
About me: I’m an assistant professor in the Department of English and American Studies at Palacky University in the beautiful city of Olomouc, in the Czech Republic. I’m happily occupying a little corner of the American Literature section of our department, where I teach courses on American and British history, comic book studies, and late 19th or early 20th century American literature. I’m a sneaky medievalist who gave up studying 13th century religious disputes to research medievalism (and the spooky or fantastic versions of it) in comic books, graphic novels and memes.
For the theme of this year’s project, ethics and choices, I will be focusing on the uses and abuses of Ancient and Medieval histories in memes and comics (though in practice the Early-Modern period gets blended in there too) drawing from an ideologies and fan studies perspective.
I’m the project organizer, so if the muffins at the conference are stale, you know whose fault it is.
Visit my website!
You can find all my info here, plus all issues of my academic comic series (Th)inking, free to download in pdf form.
About me: I am a Lecturer in English for Academic Purposes at the University of Groningen, after having spent time teaching at universities in New Zealand, Canada, and the US. In my comics scholarship I focus on issues of form and narration, and I have written research contributions on comics theory, on Canadian comics, and on wordless comics. My monograph Narrative Structure in Comics was published in a Brazilian translation in 2018, and I have published work on comics in Image and Narrative, the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, 9a Arte, and the International Journal of Comic Art, as well as collections such as The Routledge Companion to Comics and Graphic Novels, The Cambridge History of the Graphic Novel, and Abstraction and Comics. From 2013-2015 I held a SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship at Ryerson University, during which time I began work on my study of silent comics. I am a former president of the Canadian Society of the Study of Comics and a founding member of the Comics Studies Society, where I currently serve as a Member at Large. With Candida Rifkind and Nhora Lucía Serrano, I am a co-editor of the Wilfrid Laurier UP book series Crossing Lines: Transcultural/ Transnational Comics Studies.
For this project I am continuing to focus on silent comics, and since images do not contain tenses, I am thinking about what particular visual techniques are used to show historical narrative in silent comics and how images represent historicity or pastness.
Find me on Goodreads
where I keep track of what I am reading and will hopefully get around to reading, and where I occasionally post reviews.
About me: I’m a lecturer at the University of Bucharest, where I teach courses in contemporary American literature, cultural memory studies, and media studies. My current research deals primarily with the figure of the perpetrator in British and American historical comics and focuses on the following questions: how can narratives about the past contribute to a more nuanced understanding of perpetration? How do they contribute to the cultural memory of perpetration, particularly when the depiction of well-known historical figures is mixed with elements of fantasy? What is the benefit of producing an ethics of empathy, wherein the perpetrator is both humanized and even made to appear endearing or comical? How can stories that offer perpetrators a platform, thus positioning their audience in intimate proximity to the (largely imagined) workings of their psyche, negotiate the risk of being co-opted by extremist ideologies and their proponents?
About me: I’m an associate professor at the American Studies program in the Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures at University of Bucharest. My work explores the graphic representation of violence (particularly in the context of war and conflict), post-traumatic memory, autobiography, and subversive femininity. I have also co-edited three special issues of the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics (on War and Conflict and Sexual Violence; with Rebecca Scherr).
I’m interested in what happens when perpetrators become familiar figures, either because their representation is well-circulated in literature and popular culture (more specifically, comics), in ways that make the audience feel intimately connected to them, or simply because they are represented by their own family members and friends. I’m also interested in how the figure of the monster is appropriated by victims/survivors of violence during historical events or processes that position them in vulnerable situations. Some of the questions I’m pondering at this time are: What are the implications of a perpetrator becoming familiar, intimately close to the public, either because they are portrayed by a family member, or because they are the subject of a work that presents them in such a light that inevitably draws the audience into their intimate space? What happens when acts of perpetration become so familiar that we no longer identify/read them as such because they have already moved into a realm of inevitability and everydayness? How can we employ heavily theorized and emotionally laden terms such as “trauma” and “postmemory”—terms that originate in the study of the experience of Holocaust survivors and have generally been applied to victims of violence—in order to better comprehend the aftermath of perpetration and the effects of perpetration upon the families of the perpetrators? What can comics contribute to the current conversation about the proper representation of perpetrators? How does the examination of the perpetrator shade new light on what it means to be human/monstrous, as the quality (being human/monstrous) is usually mobilized either as a descriptive for the victim or the perpetrator?
My latest publications
(with Dragoș Manea) “‘Who were you crying for?’ Empathy, fantasy and the framing of the perpetrator in Nina Bunjevac’s Bezimena.” Studies in Comics, Volume 11, Number 2, November 2020, pp. 373-386 (14), https://doi.org/10.1386/stic_00036_1
Check out my latest publication!
About me: I am a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Flensburg and associate editor of Amerikastudien / American Studies: A Quarterly, the official journal of the German Society for American Studies. I am also co-organizier of an editorial board member for [Inter]sections – The American Studies Journal at the University of Bucharest.
Previously, I worked as a research assistant in the research project Media-Aesthetic Strategies of Framing and Translation in Graphic Novels as part of the Forschungsverbund Übersetzen und Rahmen. Praktiken medialer Transformation (FÜR) at the University of Hamburg. My research interests include (nonfiction) comics, photography, (digital) visual culture, and video games.
In line with my recent publication Frames and Framing in Documentary Comics (Palgrave Macmillan 2021), my research focus will be exactly what this title suggests. I want to examine how graphic narrative books both frame history and are framed as history via parataxis, framing narratives, and through their materialization as comics. I am particularly interested in the works of Joe Sacco and Sarah Glidden. One general question that I find fascinating is in how far graphic reportage is always inherently historical by the fact that it is so time-consuming to produce.