A little over six months ago, I was approached by the fantastic WWAC editorial team about bringing back Comics Academe. Comics Academe was how I came to be a part of this amazing team of women writing about comics, and I am so appreciative for the opportunity to invite more women who are or have been in academia into this space.
I’m proud to say that today is the start of the Comics Academe renaissance. I use renaissance not only in the sense of rebirth, but also for the image it evokes of the 15th and 16th centuries, when the concept of discrete disciplines competing against each other had yet to become indoctrinated in academia and higher education.
This is my vision for Comics Academe; an interdisciplinary space for women across disciplines who see something in comics that relates to their teaching, their research, their profession, or academia more broadly speaking. When I was in graduate school, a few of my fellow grad students and I decided to have a weekly comics reading group. We met off campus, in little coffee shops and restaurants, and talked about comics as academics since there was no space for us to do that in the academy itself. It’s one of my favorite memories, when I learned that being an academic wasn’t something you only did in academic spaces. You could make your own space.
If writing about comics in the academy—and by that I mean presenting at conferences and writing in peer-reviewed journals—is what you do on campus, Comics Academe is that coffee shop just off campus. There’s a tone of informality, an emphasis on the personal as having value, and a place to develop your individual voice in writing in one of the few contexts where you’re not being assessed.
To that end, today’s article is a personal story of writing a dissertation on comics, but also general advice. This advice is intended for those who have not yet written their dissertations, but also for those who may not have even chosen their fields of study and may wonder if they can do the research that they want in the field that they want and also incorporate comics. I’m also pleased to note that this first article is by the same contributor who wrote the last Comics Academe, which was published in October 2014.
In January, we will begin an ongoing series on teaching with comics from women in different disciplines. This series is near and dear to my heart, as it continues the work that I started with my first two articles, How do you Teach Comics? and Teaching Comics Part 2. While we already have accepted a few articles with which to begin our series, the series will be ongoing, and we want more!
In addition to this ongoing series on pedagogy and comics, we are also seeking completed articles or presentations on a variety of topics relating to comics, education, and academic study. These articles can be short essays or long form researched articles or any combination thereof. We’re also hoping to begin reviewing academic texts and textbooks about comics, with a focus on women’s issues, gender, and inclusivity and intersectionality.
Comics Academe is seeking submissions for an ongoing series on pedagogy and comics. Examples include stories about:
- Teaching comics in K-12 or higher education;
- Teaching comics abroad;
- Teaching comics from educators in non-Western countries;
- Teaching comics in disciplines other than language arts, especially STEM fields;
- Teaching comics in translation (including both comics in languages other than English that have been translated into English or comics originally in English translated into other languages);
- Using comics in the classroom in discussion with topics such as race, gender, and sexuality; or
- Having students create comics as part of an assignment.
Submissions can be in the form of completed articles from 1000-5000 words, or 250 word abstracts submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comics Academe is also seeking short essays and/or long form researched articles on a variety of topics, including but not limited to:
- Intersectional feminism and comics;
- Race and comics;
- Gender and comics;
- Women’s Studies and comics;
- Transmedia storytelling where comics is the primary medium;
- Attitudinal shifts in academia with regards to comics and comics studies; or
- Campus-wide comics selection such as Purdue University’s Campus-wide initiative with Our Cancer Year in 2010.
Comics Academe also seeks to start a monthly book review on books published by academic presses on comics, including textbooks. We are looking for reviewers who can commit to reviewing one book or textbook per academic quarter (approximately one book review every three months). Reviews typically run 500-1500 words.