The cultural status of the comic book

Université Catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve
02/05/13 - 03/05/13
The international symposium "Le statut culturel de la bande dessinée: ambiguïtés et évolutions" will be organised at the Université Catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve. The main language will be French (with some parts of the conference in English).

Two Polish researchers from the University of Gdańsk - Tomasz Swoboda and Filip Szałasek - will participate in the symposium!

Practical information | programme | subject of the conference (in French)
>>> Louvain-la-Neuve, UCLouvain (Salle du Conseil, Collège Erasme)
>>> 2 and 3 May 2013
>>> Free

Although the production and consumption of comics is growing at an unprecedented rate, accompanied by an equally unprecedented dynamism, comics remain, as Thierry Groensteen has famously pointed out, “unidentified cultural objects”.
No longer quite ignored as popular culture artefacts, comics, or what are frequently called graphic novels, are attracting the attention of literary prizes and fine art museums (ranging from the Pulitzer Prize and Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Maus more than two decades agotothe David Prudhomme exhibition in the Louvre this year). It is however noteworthy that such acknowledgement, far from being a dissolution – or at least readjustment - of the boundaries between the higher and lower arts, only reinforces them (further underscored, as Groensteen points out, by the appearance of the graphic novel term). This persistence of the distinction between the higher and lower arts in the age of so-called postmodernity that has apparently rejected grand narratives, de-centralized and possibly undermined hierarchies could be revealing for the workings of a culture industry that still relies heavily on categorization.
In addition if there is one tradition that remains relatively consistent in comics, it is that of laughing and rebelling, more in the Bakhtinian sense of a counter-culture than being comical per se. Could this enfant terrible ever find a place in the higher ranks of culture ? What changes does such a place, however temporary, entail for comics as well as the various institutions of art and culture?
Bearing these questions in mind, this conference aims at comprehending and charting out aspects contributing to the cultural status of comics, its problematic nature as well as the changes ocurring therein. These include, without being limited to, the following dimensions :
  • Visual techniques, literary devices, interaction with other media;
  • Genres;
  • Social, political and cultural engagement;
  • Reception (including critique and audiences) on a global scale as well as cultural nuances and traditions;
  • The role of institutions in fostering the higher and lower/ popular arts.



_____Thursday 2 May

9h00-9h30 > Accueil et ouverture du colloque

9h30-11h00 > Panel 1 > Échanges entre la bande dessinée et des modes d’expression concurrents (I) [Président de séance : Benoît Berthou (Paris XIII)]

- Benoît Glaude (Louvain-la-Neuve), La littérarisation des dialogues de bande dessinée francophone comme stratégie esthétique d'exportation (Töpffer, Hergé et Goscinny)
- Jean-Matthieu Méon (Metz), L’artiste plutôt que son art : ambivalences de la reconnaissance de la bande dessinée par l'exposition

11h00-11h15 > Pause café

11h15-12h45 > Panel 2 > Échanges entre la bande dessinée et des modes d’expression concurrents (II) [Président de séance : Benoît Berthou (Paris XIII)

- Philippe Marion (Louvain-la-Neuve), Cinéma et bande dessinée : histoire croisée de quelques crises identitaires
- Pierre Marlet (Bruxelles), La bande dessinée a-t-elle une légitimité journalistique ?

12h45–14h15 > Déjeuner

14h15-15h45 > Panel 3 > Artistic Self-Manifestation and Cultural Exchange in Comics [Présidente de séance : Véronique Bragard (Louvain-la-Neuve)]

- Martin Lund (Lund), Will Eisner’s Will Eisner. Self-Creation and Search for Institutionalized Cultural Capital in the Life-Narratives of Comics’ Grand Old Man
- Jens Meinrenken (Berlin), From Berlin to India. Artistic Self-Portraits and Cultural Contemplations in German Comics

15h45-16h00 > Pause café

16h00-17h30 > Panel 4 > Interaction of Genres and Media in Comics (I) [Présidente de séance : Maaheen Ahmed (Louvain-la-Neuve)]

- Filip Szalasek (Gdańsk), Almost Naked in Ruins: Search for Memory and Identity in Paulo Serpieri’s Druuna Series
- Julia Round (Bournemouth), Gothic Comics and Ghosts in the Gutter

_____Vendredi 3 mai 2013

9h30-10h15 > Panel 5 > Interaction of Genres and Media in Comics (II) [Président de séance : Matthieu Sergier (Louvain-la-Neuve/Bruxelles)]

- Maaheen Ahmed (Louvain-la-Neuve), Collages in Comics: the Case of Dave McKean

10h15-10h30 > Pause café

10h30-12H00 > Panel 6 > Transformations du champ de la bande dessinée contre-culturelle [Président de séance : Jean-Louis Tilleuil (Louvain-la-Neuve/Lille 3)]

- Tomasz Swoboda (Gdańsk), Osiedle Swoboda [Le Quartier Liberté] de Sledziu : d’une bande dessinée contre-culturelle au témoignage socioculturel
- Olivier Odaert (Limoges), Figurations de l’auteur de bande dessinée et légitimité : l'exemple de L'Association

12h00–13h30 > Déjeuner

13h30-15h00 > Panel 7 > Problèmes de légitimité (I) [Président de séance : Matthieu Sergier (Louvain-la-Neuve/Bruxelles)]

- Benoît Berthou (Paris XIII), Pour une nouvelle conception de la légitimité : le cas de la bande dessinée
- Fabrice Preyat (Bruxelles), Se nommer, nommer sa pratique. La légitimation bancale du roman graphique (1920-2010)

15h00-15h15 > Pause café

15h15-16h45 > Panel 8 > Problèmes de légitimité (II) [Président de séance : Fabrice Preyat (Bruxelles)]

- Sabrina Messing (Lille 3/Louvain-la-Neuve), De case en case, faire bouger les lignes : évolution de la place et du traitement de la bande dessinée dans Beaux Arts Magazine
- Florie Steyaert et Jean-Louis Tilleuil (Louvain-la-Neuve), La bande dessinée à l’école : un caillou dans le soulier de la légitimation

16h45-17h15 > Conclusion


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