Digital Humanities and Historical Graphic Narratives: A Conversation
From Mary Ton
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This roundtable was part of the DH + BH: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Digital Humanities and Book History hosted by the Digital Cultural Studies Cooperative from September 22-24, 2022. The panel included Justin Wigard, Spencer D. C. Keralis, Nicole Huff, and Zachary Rondinelli.
This roundtable focuses on the nexus of the history of the comic book and digital humanities. It builds on significant, but infrequent, conversations between comics studies and DH that have emerged in the past decade. This panel explores potential futures for how comics studies and digital scholarship can meaningfully converge to enrich both fields. We examine ways that DH approaches can disrupt normative understandings of comics across time, of historical graphic narratives. Each participant will begin with a brief position paper describing their distinct methodological and theoretical innovations: media archaelogy and software emulation with DIY queer comics; social media reader-response engagement with historical comics; comics collections as datasets that can codify race and representation; and digital visualizations of graphic narratives on a distant scale. From these points of departure, the roundtable opens into a facilitated discussion of our experiences working with DH and comics, as well as our hopes and plans for future endeavors, with generous time for audience engagement. Ultimately, we explore the possibilities of what digital technologies reveal about an inherently visual medium, presenting a syncretic vision of what a digital comics studies might be or become.