TRACE UF initiative: What is Sequentials?

The TRACE innovation initiative is a research endeavor developed and maintained by the University of Florida’s Department of English. TRACE works at the intersection of ecology, posthumanism, and writing studies. Invoking the mission of TRACE, Sequentials recognizes the unique capability of images to relay knowledge by soliciting and publishing interpretations of various academic subjects or themes drawn and explained through the comics medium. This session will be of particular interest to anyone interested in visual rhetoric, graphic storytelling, and comics.

By “comics,” we loosely mean illustrated, sequential images that may or may not incorporate words and may or may not be bounded within panels or other boundary markers. Because the term “comics” is still a contested one and has thus far evaded definition, this TRACE project asks contributors to (re)imagine the meanings of both the subject they are drawing about and the form that their interpretation takes. By encouraging contributors to conceptualize their work in a distinctly visual way, this project highlights the unique creative capabilities of the comics medium and reflects TRACE’s overall focus on innovative research and production.

A large focus of the Sequentials project is on developments of form. Given that chosen submissions will be published online, the framing of the page and screen will inevitably provide boundaries to what can be presented or created. We recognize the limitations of this two-dimensional space, but believe in the enormous creative potential of the comics form. Therefore, we ask contributors to consider how the form of their illustrations and panel structures might influence how viewers receive creative interpretations. The Sequentials team will circulate a CFC (call for comics) bi-monthly and will publish submissions accordingly. Subjects will range from theoretical terms like “deconstructivism” to fields of study such as “ecocriticism” or “animal studies.” In seeking visual submissions, we hope to destabilize the notion that words alone are the most effective way of conveying knowledge; we encourage contributors utilize the comics medium to its fullest, exploring how meaning can be displayed in creative ways. Contributors from all academic disciplines, regardless of their level of experience or illustration “skill” are welcome to submit. Further, submissions are encouraged from non-academics as well, and the editorial team will consider all submissions equally.

Categories: Session Proposals, Session: Make, Session: Talk | Tags: , , , , |

About Anastasia Kozak

Anastasia Kozak grew up in Vancouver, Canada. She is Ph.D. candidate in English at the University of Florida and also holds a B.A. in Humanities from Simon Fraser University (Canada) and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing (fiction) from the University of Florida. Her interests include translation, composition, and new media studies.

3 Responses to TRACE UF initiative: What is Sequentials?

  1. OOh, will there be examples to walk us through? Can people contribute their own? Great session idea!

  2. When you talk about the contested definition of “comics,” especially with the kind of quotation marks that merit their own <soCalled> element in TEI, I get the feeling that you’re dancing around another term: prestige. Scholarship has shied away from a number of genres with potentially learned authors and high circulation and cultural impact, genres including declamation and paradoxical encomia and comics, because they lack prestige or fall under the heading of “low” literature. Does the digital toolset give scholars a way to challenge that barrier of generic prestige directly?

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