Picturing the Perpetrator in Comics and Graphic Narratives CFP



The Center for American Studies at the University of Bucharest

invites proposals for their workshop on the topic

Picturing the Perpetrator in Comics and Graphic Narratives 

to be held online

on May 7 2022


The study of perpetrators (as well as adjacent categories such as bystander, beneficiary, and accomplice) in comics and graphic narratives may allow us to consider crucial social, cultural, and political conditions such as: the factors that facilitate the production of genocide; the instability of difficult social positions such as “victim” and “perpetrator,” which can often become interchangeable; the value of empathy in the construction of an ethics that positions the perpetrator outside of unproductive categories such as that of the monster or the mentally ill patient; and the dynamic between social norms and conditions and the acts of perpetration they may unwittingly (or willingly) generate. In this context, the conversation about how we represent perpetrators, as well as related figures such as victims, bystanders, or beneficiaries is more urgent than ever.  This workshop considers the role that comics and graphic novels can play in offering unique insight into the mind frame of the perpetrator and contemporary (mis)perceptions about what causes the repeated proliferation of evil deeds.

This workshop, as such, invites papers that shed light on essential questions such as:

  • 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?

Submission Guidelines

Please submit the following:

  1. a 300-word abstract.
  2. a short bio (no more than 100 words)
  3. contact information (name, affiliation, and email address).

Please send your submissions to dragos.manea@lls.unibuc.ro.

Deadline for submissions: March 6 2022.

For any further questions, please contact Dr. Dragoș Manea ( dragos.manea@lls.unibuc.ro )  

This workshop is supported by research grant PN-III-P1-1.1-PD-2019-0460, no. 85/2020, “The Representation of the Perpetrator and the Ethics of Empathy in American Graphic Narratives,” offered by UEFISCDI.