The Visual Politics of Borders, Migration and Human Rights in Comics and Graphic Narratives (Seminar / In-Person)

Special Session
Visual and Arts / Languages and Linguistics

Leenu Sugathan (George Washington University)
leen@****.com (Log-in to reveal)

Mohit Abrol (Indian Institute of Technology Delhi)
mohi@****.com (Log-in to reveal)

This panel invites papers that examine how graphic narratives explore the intersection of borders and human rights, considering how borders can both enable and exclude. It aims to explore how graphic narratives denaturalize and politicize current border regimes, while also examining how they may reinforce exclusionary functions or reduce migrants/refugees to abject modes of being. The panel invites submissions on any aspect of human rights violations occurring in or enabled by borders, including comics form, survival, cultural silencing, narrative mediation/violence, experiential lives, gender/child rights, queer/trans migrations, war zones, ethics/politics of representation, affect and immigration, displacement/disability/dystopia, and border aesthetics/recognition/empathy.

This panel aims to explore the ways in which borders intersect with human rights in graphic narratives, whether in fiction or non-fiction. One of the theoretical frameworks for examining borders could be through the lens of border aesthetics, which considers borders as linguistic, cultural, social, political, and spatial entities that can both enable and exclude. The panel will examine how graphic narratives denaturalize and politicize the current global border regime and bordering practices that invariably reproduce the colonial binaries as well as stereotypes about migrants/refugees. The focus will also be on how graphic narratives may reinforce the exclusionary function of borders or reduce the migrants/refugees into mere abject modes of being. The panel is concerned with how these frictions and changes become manifested in graphic narratives and aims to bring together comics studies on migration and human rights. The panel invites submissions that examine any aspect of human rights violations occurring in or enabled by borders, which are understood as both positive interactions and exclusionary practices.

Submissions are welcome on any of the following aspects of comics studies and human rights, as well as broader interpretations of the themes that provide a more detailed understanding of border and migration studies:

1. Comics form and human rights

2. Graphic representations of survival

3. Visual-verbal medium and cultural silencing of migrants/refugees

4. Narrative mediation and narrative violence in graphic representations

5. Borders, experiential lives and embodied frames

6. Gender and Child Rights

7. Queer and Trans migrations in graphic novels

8. War zones and the politics of violence

9. Ethics and politics of representing human rights violations in comics and graphic narratives

10. Comics, affect and the immigrant

11. Displacement, disability, dystopia in graphic memoirs

12. Border aesthetics, frames of recognition and empathy