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Month: December 2019




Hi CSSC/SCEBD Members and dear readers!

I’ve got two exciting CFPs to pass along that I’m sure will be of interest to some of you.

The first CFP is for the Popular Culture Association of Canada Conference, which is being held May 7-9th, 2020, at Concordia University in Montreal. The theme is “Pop and Politics: State of the Field/State of the World.” Deadline for submissions is January 15th, and you can find the call here, on the UPenn CFP database.

The second CFP is for the 2020 Graphic Medicine Conference, which is being held July 16-19th, 2020, in Toronto. The conference theme is “Graphic Medicine in Troubled Times: Health, Social Justice and Human Rights.” Deadline for submissions is January 31st, and you can find the call here, on the organization’s website.

The text of both CFPs is also pasted below.

Any questions about either conference should be directed to the organizers of those conferences.

Also, don’t forget that the deadline for our own conference, which is being held as part of the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, June 3-4th, at Western University in London, Ontario, is just one month away! You have until January 15th to submit proposals, and may find the call here in English, et ici en francais.

Happy holidays to all!
-Anna Peppard
VP Communications (English), Canadian Society for the Study of Comics

Pop and Politics:
State of the Field/State of the World

Annual Conference of the Popular Culture Association of Canada
Concordia University, Montreal, QC, May 7-9, 2020

After a one-year hiatus, the annual conference of the Popular Culture Association of Canada is back and looking forward—as well as up, left, right, down, and back. For our 9th annual conference, which will take place at Concordia University in Montreal, QC from May 7th-9th, 2020, we’re reflecting on the state of our field by inviting discussion on the relationship between popular culture and politics, broadly conceived.

Precisely because it’s popular, popular culture is often derided as politically conservative; for the same reason, it’s also critiqued as socially liberal. These disagreements are not, of course, surprising; popularity necessitates the inclusion and complex negotiation of myriad political beliefs, themes, and contexts. The rise of populist political movements around the world—and the reinvigoration of activism and progressive politics in response to these movements—has made the relationship between pop and politics especially obvious; now, more than ever, the state of popular culture is inseparable from the state of the world.

Our conference is global, interdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary; we welcome any and all perspectives on popular texts, industries, and reading practices. In addition, presentations can be historical or contemporary; we encourage reflections on the past that has shaped our present and the present that shapes our future.

Possible topics may include:

  • The depiction of political movements and controversies within popular texts (film, television, literature, fashion, comics, architecture, social media, sports, games, music, advertising, etc.)

  • Intersections of popular culture and populism

  • The politics of fandom

  • Campaigns for diversity and the backlashes against them

  • The effects of political movements and policy on media industries

  • The politics of teaching and studying popular culture

Proposals for 15 to 20-minute papers should be submitted by January 15th, 2020. Pre-constituted panels and roundtables are welcome; these should be submitted as a single package. Proposals should be a maximum of 300 words and must include a 50-word biography of the presenter(s). Panels should include individual proposals for each paper; roundtables only require a single proposal, in addition to biographies of the presenters. Proposals, and any questions about the conference, should be sent to:

All presenters will need to become members of the association in order to be featured in the program. Conference registration fees will automatically include 2020 membership. Each presenter may only present a single paper, but can participate in a roundtable in addition to presenting a paper.

Membership information and the conference program will be available on our website:

About PCAC:

The purpose of the Popular Culture Association of Canada is to promote scholarly understanding of popular culture, broadly conceived, in Canada and elsewhere.  It will serve to bring together academics, students and practitioners in the field of popular culture.

How we define the field of popular culture is open to some debate; for example, there are numerous definitions on the web.  Our conception of popular culture is deliberately broad, encompassing the communicative texts and practices of everyday life, past and present, mass-mediated and non-mass-mediated, Canadian and otherwise, local, regional, national and global in scope. At the same time, our existence as a national association is predicated in part on encouraging the study of Canadian popular culture and/or the study of popular culture interpreted from a Canadian perspective.

The Popular Culture Association of Canada is one of a number of  national or international popular culture associations: others include the Popular Culture Association of Australia and New Zealand and new associations in Europe and south-east Asia, in addition to the long-established Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association and its regional chapters in the United States.

July 16-19, 2020

The 2020 Graphic Medicine conference aims to encourage critical dialogues and interventions in/during troubled times with a specific emphasis on social justice and human rights. This year’s theme seeks connections between health, equity, and justice in an era of rapid ecological and societal upheaval. We invite submissions that address the relationship between health and such upheavals, as revealed through comics in its many forms (e.g. graphic novels, memoir, comic strips, manga, mini comics, web comics). Presentations are invited that explore the following themes (as well as others that are not listed):

  • Social determinants of health

  • Environmental racism and slow violence

  • Institutional racism and other forms of structural violence

  • Queer health

  • Food insecurity

  • Securitization of borders

  • indigenous health and healing

  • Patriarchal medicine

  • Prison justice

  • Opioid crisis

  • Care work and disability justice

  • Migrant and refugee rights

  • Market capitalism

  • Health care access

Presentation Formats:

Lightning talks: These 5-minute presentations should provide an engaging and concentrated synopsis of new, ongoing, or completed scholarly, creative, or professional work in Graphic Medicine. This format is designed with the promotion of sustained conversation in mind.

Oral presentations: These 15-20 minute presentations are largely for work that requires and engages a longer presentation format than a lightning talk.

Panel discussions: These 90-minute interviews or presentations by a panel of speakers are meant to be collaborative, interdisciplinary, or address a single topic from a variety of perspectives.

Posters: Proposals for posters should include a title and an abstract with accompanying images if necessary.

Workshops: These 90-minute, hands-on, activity-driven sessions are for participants who wish to obtain particular skills with regard to comics. Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

drawing for health

accessing personal stories

comics and storytelling

mini-comic tutorial

Submission Process:

Proposal abstracts should not exceed 300 words and may be submitted in Word or PDF format. Please include the following information in this order:

  • author(s)

  • affiliation

  • email address

  • phone number

  • title of abstract

  • body of abstract

  • sample images or web links to work being discussed (if applicable)

  • presentation format preference (see options above)

  • equipment needed (e.g. AV projection, whiteboard, easel, etc.)

Proposals should be submitted by January 31st, 2020 to:

Abstracts will be peer-reviewed by an interdisciplinary selection committee. Notification of acceptance or rejection will be completed by the week of March 15.

While we cannot guarantee that presenters will receive their first choice of presentation format, we will attempt to honour preferences, and we will acknowledge the receipt of all proposals.

Please note: Presenters are responsible for costs associated with their session (e.g. handouts and supplies) and personal expenses (travel, hotel, and registration fees). All presenters must register for the conference. Discounted rates and some limited scholarships will be available for students, artists, and others in need.

Proposals should be submitted no later than January 31st, 2020!