Call for Papers: Ethno/Graphic Storytelling

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AAA 2017: Anthropology Matters
November 29-December 3, 2017
Washington, DC

Ethno/Graphic Storytelling: Communicating research through graphic novels and animation

Co-Organizers:
Archaeologist Sonya Atalay (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
Cultural Anthropologist Jen Shannon (University of Colorado-Boulder)

We can all agree that anthropology matters – how can we get this message to a broader public? This panel focuses on the potential of comics, graphic novels, and animation as valuable tools for thinking through, and communicating, our research to others. These non-traditional media formats and their potential are reflected in the creation of a new book series at University of Toronto Press called ethnoGRAPHIC: Ethnography in Graphic Form.

In our hyper-visual culture, presenting research in a visually engaging way can have a powerful impact. Visual methods, like comics and animation, aid us in telling engaging, memorable stories about our work. Storytelling is an important skill in the research toolkit— it brings much needed creativity to our work lives and to our research, while at the same time helping to democratize knowledge, and fulfilling our ethical responsibilities to share scholarship outside the academy. Comics and animations are not only great for communicating, they are also excellent for thinking. They challenge you to clearly explain complex concepts and ideas, using words and images together to interweave multiple lines of evidence into a coherent, compelling, and engaging visual narrative. These tools allow us to move academic knowledge into the hands and minds of public audiences, policy makers, community partners, and other scholars, in our own field and across disciplines.

We welcome contributions by anthropologists and graduate students who have experimented with and expressed their research through the genre of comics, a graphic novel, or animation. Or, perhaps this is a challenge you’d like to take up for this panel? Session proposals are due to AAA April 14, 2017.

Please send an abstract and a note about the format and status towards completion of your project to jshannon@colorado.edu by April 10, 2017. Feel free to send us questions in preparation of your abstract.

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