Call for Submissions: ‘Comic Ethnographies’ special issue of European Comic Art

Guest edited by Sophie Fuggle and James Walker, Nottingham Trent University 

This special issue of European Comic Art explores the growing use of comics and graphic novels as visual ethnographies. Comics have long been used by activists and researchers as a tool for sharing complex and important information with wider audiences. The Real Cost of Prisons (PM Press, 2008) pamphlets provided a useful infographic format which could be shared with prisoner communities. More recently, comics and graphic novels have also developed sophisticated narratives which not only offer sensitive representation of the lived experiences of vulnerable communities but emphasize the positionality of researchers and activists as they engage with different communities and uncover difficult or forgotten histories. The possibilities of the comic form allow for multiple temporalities allowing for historical contextualisation, personal memory in the form of flashback and even imagined futures. Additional opportunities exist to re-humanize marginalised and oppressed groups and individuals via visual representation which affirms personal identity whilst, where necessary, maintaining anonymity. Finally, comics not only provide the means to explore scientific data in a visually accessible way but also actively challenge accepted forms of (Western) knowledge production and the aesthetic representation of such knowledge. 

In addition to the traditional journal article format, we also welcome interviews and discussions between researchers, activists and artists/designers, reviews of recent comics and graphic novels which use ethnography and/or oral history and other non-standard or visual essays dedicated to the topic. 

Topics and approaches might include but are not limited to: 

  • Visualising and narrating lived experience and oral histories 
  • Positioning the researcher/activist within the narrative 
  • Ethics of representation of marginalised and vulnerable communities 
  • Representing complex temporalities and geographies 
  • Dissemination, readership and community engagement 
  • Re-imagining classic anthropological texts in comic format 
  • Adapting fieldnotes, photography and other paratexts 
  • Decolonising scientific knowledge and praxis 
  • Partnership and collaboration methods 
  • Co-creation with participants 

Please submit a 400-word abstract to the guest editors if you would like to be considered for inclusion. Please indicate if the full submission will take the standard journal article format (6-7,000 words) or a shorter interview (2,500 words), review essay (1,500 words) or visual essay (3,000 words + 8-10 images).

E-mail: and 
 Deadline for abstract: 30 September 2023. Full article due: 30 March 2024.