ACME Speaker Series — Pablo Turnes

Trauma, memory and history. The (re)construction of the recent past in 21st Century Latin American comics

26 November 2021 — 16:00   |   ULB, Campus du Solbosch, Bâtiment A, Porte Z, 4e niveau, local 103 (salle de réunion) : A.Z.4.103

Jeús Cossio - Conga. Vida y muerte en tiempos del extractivismo (2014)

Jeús Cossio – Conga. Vida y muerte en tiempos del extractivismo (2014)

The Argentinian comics scholar Pablo Turnes will share an in-progress research project.

Project description

Since Maurice Halbwachs’ reflections, ‘collective memory’ has become an increasingly complex subject. How to tackle this issue from contemporary comics? Studies on memory and its representation in comics have been booming since the publication of Art Spiegelman’s Maus (1980-1991) and its impact on key memory studies scholars such as Marianne Hirsch, Michael Rothberg and Andreas Huyssen. These works were crucial to develop a reflection on how popular culture could contribute to new ways of grappling such complex historical events like the Shoah. Furthermore, a work such as Maus was able to present new ways of representing traumatic events beyond the literary and cinematographic established forms via its own graphic resources. While diverse, all of these approaches have been leading my research towards memory studies related to Latin American recent history. Within this frame, image-narrative production is privileged as a cultural strategy to transmit and keep social and historical memories. Moreover, the idea is not to isolate images as a decontextualized practice, but rather to understand that practice as part of a larger cultural corpus in dialogue with other aesthetic and narrative mediums. New critical approaches to comics studies and its relation to the visual arts and literature grant new methodological and interpretative tools to start reflecting on comics production in the 21st Century. This project is a step towards that objective. While the subject of trauma representation in comics has been largely debated in North America and Europe, this project aims to contribute specifically through a Latin American perspective. While other historical events have been thoroughly researched and reconstructed, Latin American works remain relatively underresearched. The thriving production of graphic novels in the region needs to be better asserted with the objective of contributing to this field of studies.

Pablo Turnes (Mar del Plata, Argentina, 1979). Professor in History from the National University of Mar del Plata, M.A. in History of Argentine and Latin American Art from the Institute of High Social Studies – National University of San Martín and Doctor in Social Sciences from the University of Buenos Aires. He completed his doctorate as a fellow of the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET). He was an organizing member of the International Comics Conference « Viñetas Serias » in its three editions (2010; 2012 and 2014). He provides comic critic workshops with Amadeo Gandolfo, with whom he also co-edits the web magazine Kamandi ( His Master’s thesis published in 2018 by Tren en Movimiento under the title The exile of forms. Alack Sinner by José Muñoz and Carlos Sampayo. His doctoral thesis was published in 2019 by Miño&Dávila under the title The exception within the rule. The comics work of Alberto Breccia (1962-1993). He is currently living in Berlin as a postdoctoral fellow for the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. His research – under the direction of Dr. Stefan Rinke (LAI-Freie Universität Berlin), focuses on the issue of contemporary Latin American comics and their relationship to memory, trauma and recent Latin American history.

Cette conférence est organisée à la suite d’une réunion du groupe de contact FNRS « ACME » et bénéficie de son soutien financer pour l’organisation de cette rencontre.


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