‘Graphic Justice: Law, Comics, and Related Visual Media’ stream at the Socio-Legal Studies Association 2018

Great news – for the third year running, we will be convening a stream at the SLSA conference. This year it is in the wonderful city of Bristol from 26-28 March 2018. Further details here:  https://www.slsa2018.com/graphic-justice. Here is the call:

This stream invites submissions exploring the intersections of law and justice with comics, graphic fiction, and related visual media.

Critical interest in the comics medium has exploded in recent decades, and is steadily growing within the legal academy. Indeed, comics and graphic fiction—and their related visual emanations, including film, video games, and wider ‘geek culture’—are of huge and on-going significance to law, justice, and legal studies.

On a socio-cultural level, comics are historically embroiled in debates of free speech whilst today they inspire countless pop culture adaptations—from television to cinema to video games, as well as performance activities such as cosplay—and can be seen to reflect and shape popular visions of justice, morality, politics, and law. On the level of content, from mainstream superhero narratives tackling overt issues of justice, governance and authority, to countless themes related to morality, justice, and humanity in stories within and far beyond the mainstream, comics are rich with legal material. On the level of form, the comics medium’s unique and restless blending of different media and types of representation (text, image, visuality, aesthetics, inter alia) radically opens up discourse beyond the confines of the word, enabling greater critical engagement amidst our increasingly visual age. On the level of production, comics are a complex art-form, with multiple creators working in individual, group, commercial, and industrial contexts, raising questions of ownership and exploitation—issues exacerbated by comics’ transmedia proliferation.

In short, comics and their related visual media bring rich cultural, practical, and aesthetic contexts and mediations to long-standing and emerging legal problems and settings. Broad questions framing this ‘graphic justice’ intersection might include:

  • ​What are the relationships between comics and related visual media, and law—culturally, socially, formally, theoretically, jurisprudentially…?
  • How can we use comics and related visual media in law—in practice, education, theory, research…?
  • Can we consider comics as objects of legal regulation in their own right—raising issues of definition, ownership, consumption, value…?

The crossover between law, comics, and related media is an expansive and open one. The examples above are merely indicative of possible issues and questions; the graphic justice stream welcomes submissions for papers that traverse any potential intersection between law and comics or related visual media—all broadly defined.

Information about previous conferences, including the programmes from the Lancaster and Newcastle conferences – which include the titles of our previous streams – is available on the SLSA website here: https://www.slsa.ac.uk/index.php/past-conferences.

For further discussion and please contact Thomas Giddens, Angus Nurse, or David Yuratich, whose emails can be found here: https://www.slsa2018.com/graphic-justice

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