It’s difficult, and probably outright impossible, to put together any real numbers, but intuitively, I am confident in saying that the manga titles that are licensed for translation into English and commercial publication outside Japan represent only a small percentage of all manga that is actually published in Japan. In turn, this means that unless Western manga scholars are fluent in Japanese, they will be limited to only studying a relatively small portion of all manga that is potentially available for analysis. Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, comics scholars – and the “comics studies” community, still largely do not interact with manga, or, for that matter, other comics that are not immediately available in English.

Comics scholars Dr Harriet Earle (Sheffield Hallam University) and Dr Martin Lund (Linnaeus University) are both acutely aware of this issue. And to approach it, they are proposing a focused edited essay collection in the new Routledge Global Perspectives in Comics Studies series – “Against Translation: Global Comics History and Memory” – “to bring together original scholarship on comics that are potentially not receiving the scholarly attention they deserve due to their lack of English translation or that have been studied in scholarship unavailable to an Anglophone audience.” Although the Call for Papers that they have prepared does not specifically mention manga, Dr Earle has invited me to share it on Anime and Manga Studies. The deadline for submitting a 300-word abstract is December 20, 2019, with full chapter manuscripts of up to 8,000 words due on May 15, 2020, and final submissions after all revisions and corrections on July 17, 2020.

The full Call for Papers is reproduced below, and available for download. All additional questions can be directed to the editors at translation.autographics@gmail.com.

Against Translation: Global Comics History and Memory

Editors: Harriet E.H. Earle and Martin Lund

Just as comics is an international narrative form, practiced across the globe, Comics Studies is pursued across international academia. However, while Comics Studies does not insist upon a monolingual research community and neither do comics texts, Anglophone scholarship rarely looks beyond the Anglosphere in discussing the medium. While comics translation is a huge industry (and one that has garnered scholarly attention), many texts across a wide range of genres and styles remain untranslated and thus out of reach for speakers of other languages than the original.

Much research has focused on comics as a vehicle for historiography and life writing, which includes biographies of famous people and accounts of all manner of historical events, including conflicts, political regimes, and geopolitical movement. However, there remains a tremendous corpus of comics work that looks at nationally or culturally located stories that remain unknown in Anglophone scholarship. These texts can add richness and diversity to the corpus that Anglophone comics scholars can access, broaden the collective perspective of the field, and offer contributions to the global academic conversation in new, innovative ways.

The primary objective of this collection is to bring together original scholarship on comics that are potentially not receiving the scholarly attention they deserve due to their lack of English translation or that have been studied in scholarship unavailable to an Anglophone audience. In addition, the collection’s focus will allow contributors the freedom to collocate works by creators from different national and analytical traditions, as well as genres within the form, to forge links across the field and give attention to comics in all their various guises.

We invite chapters on comics that are not available in English translation. We have no limitations on the original source text but ask that authors include translations for all quotations in the source language. Chapters need not discuss the issue of translation but should follow the typical format for academic writing, being both original and rigorous in research focus.

Chapters should be 8000 words maximum, inclusive of all notes and bibliographies. We ask that all authors follow the Harvard referencing guide, use footnotes, and use British English spellings (and the Oxford/serial comma).

This collection will be proposed to the Global Perspectives in Comics Studies series (Routledge).

Themes may include (but are not limited to):
– Biographical comics
– War comics
– Historiography in comics form
– Comics Journalism
– Autobiographical comics
– Adaptations of historical/mythological texts
– Comics with historical settings (e.g. Fantomen, Johan Vilde, Slaveskipet Fredensborg)

Other themes will be considered, and enquiries on this matter are welcome.

Deadline for submission of 300-word abstracts and a short author note (c.150 words): December 20, 2019.

Publication timeline:
Abstracts deadline: 20th December 2019
Notification of acceptance: 12th January 2020
Chapter deadline: 15th May 2020
Corrections/Comments by: 19th June 2020
Final articles: 17th July 2020

Please address all enquiries to the editors:
Dr. Harriet Earle and Dr. Martin Lund – translation.autographics@gmail.com

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