15 December 2016

What is Graphic Justice?

Yesterday's post encouraged all interested parties to submit an abstract to the Graphic Justice theme at the upcoming SLSA 2017 conference. To find out more about the theme, please follow this link to see a handy poster produced by Thom for last year's conference explaining what Graphic Justice is all about:



14 December 2016

Join us at the SLSA 2017

The CFP for the 'Graphic Justice' stream at the 2017 SLSA conference is now live and will close at 6pm on Monday 16th January 2017.

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.

To submit an abstract please go here: http://www.slsa2017.com/graphic-justice.


Good news, everyone!

As Thom teased back in September, the secret GJRA-cave has been going through something of a makeover recently. Now that the menacing academic super-villian known only as 'Marking' has been vanquished, I would like to resolve this cliffhanger and present the new GJRA Governance Committee:
  • Lists Officer: Thomas Giddens (St Mary's University, Twickenham)
  • Web Officer (Social Media): Ashley Pearson (Griffith University)
  • Web Officer (Blog): David Yuratich (Royal Holloway, University of London)
  • Grid Officer: Thomas Giddens 
  • Events Officers: Golnar Nabizadeh (University of Western Australia) and Mitch Travis (University of Leeds)
  • Memo Officers: Simon Russell (boinggraphics.co.uk) and Dale Mitchell (Griffith University)
Of course, a list of names - even if we pretended that they were aliases for international diamond thieves (and please be reassured that they are not) - does not rank high on the list of 'exciting things to be read on the internet'. Fear not.

In the coming weeks, we will be updating the site with short bios of each officer. I hope to bring you some short posts about everyone's work, in addition to continuing our the GJRA's solemn quest to interrogate the intersections between comics and related media, law, justice, and much more. 

Would you like to write for this blog?

If you are interested in contributing anything to this blog within the GJRA's wide, and indeed widening, purview, please do not hesitate to get in touch. The best way is to contact the @LexComica twitter account, or alternatively my contact details are to be found halfway down the page here.


22 September 2016

GJRA Governance Proposal

I am looking to expand and semi-formalise the GJRA in advance of instigating an itinerant annual conference to run during late June / early July, at the end of the (UK) academic year (initially on 4-5 July 2017 at St Mary’s University, Twickenham). What follows is a proposal for a minimal governance structure, and a call for applicants to the proposed Offices and/or criticisms/alternatives to the proposed structure.

Proposal: HQ Officers

My overall aim is to create something simple, open and flexible, with the bare minimum of bureaucracy.

Thus, I propose to institute 5 GJRA HQ Officers (HQOs), who would basically operate along the lines of a steering group or senate committee. There would be no single chair or president, but different HQOs would hold certain responsibilities, as follows:
  • HQ Memo Officer: Responsible for collating and editing the GJRA Memo
  • HQ Web Officer: Responsible for growing and editing the blog
  • HQ Lists Officer: Responsible for administering memberships and the mailing list
  • HQ Social Officer: Responsible for running the @LexComica Twitter account (and/or other social media presences)
  • HQ Events Officer: Responsible for overseeing the annual conference, liaising between the organisers and the HQOs who would act in an advisory capacity. To be clear: the conference I have in mind will be organised and administered (including all finances, bookings, etc) by the hosting institution. The Conference Officer would be the point of contact between organisers in the host institution and the HQOs in their merely advisory capacity. The HQOs can decide, once established, the degree of oversight they would need/have over content (e.g. abstracts/panel submissions). 
 There would be scope, I think, for some of these Offices to be occupied by two people (e.g. 2 co-editors for the blog, 2 Events Officers should other events emerge) depending on appropriateness and interest. And scope also, should HQOs wish, to nominate one of their number as an informal chair to help run meetings and co├Ârdinate information.
The HQOs could meet annually and openly, at the conference, to discuss various matters, such as (but not limited to) the operations and development of the Alliance, variations in Offices, etc, as needed.


There will be no money involved. The only financial aspect I foresee is conference fees for the annual conference, on which GJRA Members would get a discount. These would be administered by the host institution based on their needs—not paid to/via the GJRA. I would like membership of GJRA to be kept free if possible.

Call for Applicants to HQ Officer

If you would like to be more involved in the work and development of the GJRA, please send a 1-page CV accompanied by a short statement (100-200 words) as to why you would like to take up a particular Office and your suitability to do so, by 10 October 2016. Applicants can be based anywhere—the GJRA is international.

If you have any thoughts or comments about the proposed structure/Offices, please send them over too.

Contact: thomas.giddens@stmarys.ac.uk

Initial Appointment Procedure

Appointment to the Offices would initially be by application; if any offices end up being over subscribed, an online vote would be held. Procedures for changing/tenure/etc could be decided upon once the inaugural HQOs are established. Again, I want to keep things as simple as possible—but also fair and open.