Call for Papers: Graphic Details: Confessional Comics by Jewish Women

Art by and © Miss Lasko Gross

Art by and © Miss Lasko Gross

The deadline for abstracts for “Graphic Details: Confessional Comics by Jewish Women” (Communities of Experience) is fast approaching (15th May), to be considered for presentation at a One Day Symposium to be held on 12th November 2014 at JW3, The New Jewish Community Centre, London.

The symposium is in conjunction with the opening of the eponymous exhibition, at Space Station Sixty-Five, London, (September – December 2014), which features work by cheaters from across the world, including Britain.

Comics and graphic narratives are currently receiving substantial attention in popular culture and academic disciplines across the arts and humanities. The rise of genres such as graphic memoirs, graphic journalism and graphic histories, for example, indicates that the representation of lived experience in comics form has become central to explorations of individual and collective identities, and to the documentation of historical and social events.

But how, if at all, does the representation of often deeply personal feelings and individual experiences connect to collective events and identities? Can we identify shared themes and concerns in the work of contemporary Jewish women comics artists?

This interdisciplinary one-day symposium will put academics and cartoonists in dialogue with one another to discuss comics by and about Jewish women.

This event runs in conjunction with the opening of Graphic Details: Confessional Comics by Jewish Women, at Space Station 65, Kennington (September- December 2014). Graphic Details has been touring since it opened in San Francisco in 2010 and then moved to Toronto, New York, Washington, Portland and Miami and is the first museum exhibit dedicated to the contribution Jewish women have made to the genre of autobiographical comic.

The artists, who hail from the United States, Canada, Israel and the UK include Vanessa Davis; Bernice Eisenstein; Sarah Glidden; Miriam Katin; Aline Kominsky-Crumb; Miss Lasko-Gross; Sarah Lazarovic; Miriam Libicki; Sarah Lightman; Diane Noomin; Corinne Pearlman; Trina Robbins; Racheli Rotner; Sharon Rudahl; Laurie Sandell; Ariel Schrag; Lauren Weinstein; and Ilana Zeffren.

Graphic Details is co-curated by Sarah Lightman and Michael Kaminer and is sponsored by The Jewish Daily Forward. Graphic Details: Essays on Confessional Comics by Jewish Women, edited by Sarah Lightman, will be published by McFarland in 2014.

The exhibition is complemented by the symposium, which provides a forum for sharing ideas, research and artwork: a space for dialogues both on and off the page, in both text and image. Confirmed participants include Dr. David Brauner (University of Reading) and Dr Ariela Freedman (Concordia University), Dr Pnina Rosenberg (Israel), Ariel Kahn (University of Roehampton), and Graphic Details Artist Corinne Pearlman (Playing the Jewish Card). The day will conclude with a cartoonist roundtable open to the public.

The organisers are inviting contributions for 20-minute papers that explore the intersections between Jewishness and other forms of identification and identity in comics and graphic narratives by women. Papers may address but are no limited to the following themes and issues:

Literary & Cultural Contexts, for example

  • The role of women in Jewish comic storytelling and the traditions of Jewish literature
  • The role of comics by Jewish women in contemporary literature
  • The genres of confession, memoir, and autobiographical literature
  • Theoretical frameworks for reading Jewish women’s comics individually and collectively

Religion & Politics, for example

  • Comic book writing about Israel and Palestine
  • Depictions of marriage, partnerships, and interfaith relationships
  • Portraying Judaism and religion in graphic detail
  • The cultural politics of heroes and villains

Gender, Sexuality & the Body, e.g.

  • The “Jewish Body” and its transformations in comics
  • Gender identification in changing social and artistic discourses
  • Mothers, daughters, and other family dynamics reflected in graphic storytelling
  • Intimacy and sexuality; feminism and sexual politics
  • Representations of illness

Proposals for 20 minute papers or panels comprising three papers should be emailed by 15th May 2014 to the organizers Sarah Lightman, and Heike Bauer Please include a 300-word abstract plus a short biographical note. You are welcome to submit images to supplement your abstract submission.

As part of this project and Symposium, Studies in Comics 6.2 (2015) will be specially dedicated to this conference and proceedings, and guest edited by Sarah Lightman and Heike Bauer.

This symposium is supported by JW3, The Jewish Daily Forward, Space Station 65, McFarland, Birkbeck College London, Stirling Maxwell Centre (University of Glasgow), The Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies (UCL), Slade School of Art, (UCL) and Studies in Comics (Intellect Publishing).

• For more information on the exhibition, Graphic Details: Confessional Comics by Jewish Women at Space Station Sixty-Five, London, (September – December 2014), visit:

The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek Magazine) and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of "Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies" for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.

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