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Panels open for submissions

The following panels are open for submission:

Please find below a description for each panel as well as the contact details for the panel conveners.

Paper Submission should be sent directly to the panel convener no later than February 15, 2016.

Understanding Supervillains

That American superhero narratives are relevant to audiences today cannot have escaped anyone’s notice. Whether in comic book, film, television series, videogame, or animation, such stories are now prominent in the mainstream American cultural output, and looking at previous research, superheroes have been exposed to a great deal of attention. In focusing on the superhero, these studies often overlook an important element in these kinds of narratives: the supervillain. Like superheroes, supervillains tend to be complex cultural phenomena with much history. Add to this the fact that many of these villains today are part of stories told in several different media and that complexity multiplies. This calls for interdisciplinary approaches that focus on supervillains. One such effort resulted in the anthology The Joker: A Serious Study of the Clown Prince of Crime (Peaslee and Weiner, 2015), in which scholars from a variety of disciplines study the Joker, and it makes up a relevant example.

The purpose of this panel is thus to aim the spotlight(s) on the supervillain. It strives for variety in terms of approaches, perspectives, and media, and thus hopes to include participants from different disciplines. Topics include, but are not limited to: the politics of supervillains, the philosophy of supervillains, and the psychology of supervillains, representations of gender, ethnicity, or class, aesthetic and formal considerations, and issues of intermediality and/or transmedia storytelling.

Panel convener:

Johan Nilsson, Senior lecturer in film and media studies at Örebro University, Sweden.
Email: Johan.nilsson@oru.se

Comics in America: The Big Two and their Shadows

Two mainstream publishers, DC and Marvel Comics, have largely dominated the American comics market. Comics criticism has also tended to focus either on these, or create a contrast to the strong Underground scene and its related indie market. However, the middle ground of smaller publishers has grown substantially over the last decades with companies like Image, Dark Horse, IDW, and Valiant offering a wide range of competition in a variety of genres (e.g. superheroes, fantasy, science fiction, horror, and crime). Our panel looks at the production within the big publishing and that which takes place in its shadow, but not entirely divorced from it.

Panel convener:

Adnan Mahmutovic, Assistant professor at the Department of English, Stockholm University.
Email: adnan.mahmutovic@english.su.se

Reproducing Differently: Representations of Reproduction and Reproductive Technologies in North American Speculative Fiction

Reproduction, far from being simply a matter of the private choices of individuals, is a public, even national concern. Questions of who reproduces with whom, and how, are legally, medically, socially and culturally framed in inescapable ways. The scope of experimentation, exploration and extrapolation that works of speculative fiction provide enable them to expose, examine and explode these frames in numerous ways.

Speculative fiction, as an umbrella term encompassing works in different media as well as in diverse genres such as science fiction and fantasy as well as works that resist or play with such genre borders, has a long history of engaging with reproductive technologies. This trope or theme can be traced back at least to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and if fantastic literature in the form of fairy tales and mythic tales are included, we are dealing with traditions that are thousands of years old.

This panel will explore the ways in which works of speculative fiction in North America in the 20th and 21st century imagine forms of reproduction and reproductive technology that fall outside of the conventional processes of conception and reproduction as well as discuss how reproduction is connected to questions of power, identity, nation and family in these texts. While these themes have been important in speculative fiction for a long time, they are currently being reinterpreted or reinvented and this panel will explore both lines of continuity and instances of change.

Panel convener:

Jenny Bonnevier, Senior lecturer in English at Örebro University, Sweden.
Email: jenny.bonnevier@oru.se

The treatment of history in Canadian Literature

The panel aims at showing how Canadian history might appear in fiction, poetry and drama as well as in documentary form. It concerns stories from the First Nations, the pioneer and colonisation period as well as the effects of different ethnic origins on Canadian lives. In this context it is of special interest to see how Swedish immigrants settled and were integrated in Canadian society. Another field of investigation is the literary formation of concepts like survival, garrison mentality and the bush garden against the background of Canadian history.

Panel convener:

Britta Olinder, Docent emerita at the Department of Languages and Literatures, Gothenburg University, Sweden.
Email: britta.olinder@eng.gu.se

Preserving U.S. History, Memorializing Shame

This panel will explore recent partisan attempts to sanitize U.S. history and present potential methods of preserving historical truth in response to such attempts. A prime example of historical sanitization comes from the Texas Board of Education, which has headlined the news several times in the last five years for its controversial moves to control the content of textbooks. Among other content changes, several dishonorable events and moments in U.S. history have been rearticulated in these textbooks in a manner that conceals the destruction of lives and livelihoods. For instance, in one textbook currently in circulation, slaves are referred to as “workers from Africa” and McCarthyism is rationalized. Presenters on this panel will either interrogate particular instances of historical sanitization or explore examples of recent efforts to preserve and memorialize the more egregious moments of U.S. history. Examples may be drawn from educational efforts, public campaigns, social media, print publications, or visual representations, including such things as political cartoons, museums, and monuments.

Panel convener:

Melissa Bender, Lecturer in the University Writing Program at the University of California, Davis.
Email: mmbender@ucdavis.edu

Teaching American literature in Sweden

The panel explores the teaching and learning of American literature in the context of Swedish higher education. It invites presentations that treat different aspects of this topic, with particular focus on the premises for studies in the field and what these mean for how we envision and practise our profession. Questions that can be considered include, but are not limited to: How ought we to understand the function of studies in American literature in Swedish higher education? What characterizes the study of literature for (teacher) students of English in the country and what are the consequences thereof? What does it entail for the subject that Swedish research in American literature is expected to be on par with research produced in institutions of higher education in English-speaking countries, given that undergraduate studies of English in Sweden are offered within the framework of English for speakers of other languages (ESOL)? What are the conditions, in Sweden, for educating students in the field and how are literary studies best taught in the different stages of our students’ education?

Panel convener:

Katherina Dodou, Senior lecturer in English at Dalarna University.
Email: kdo@du.se

Conference convener

Chloé Avril, Senior lecturer, English literature


For more information about the conference and about SAAS check our website: www.saasinfo.se

Sidansvarig: Fredrik Fällman|Sidan uppdaterades: 2016-05-23

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