Zachary Winchcombe (he/him)

Nominated by member scholarly associations of the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, the 2022 Congress Graduate Merit Awards recognize exceptional graduate students who will be presenting their work at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. 

Photo of Zachary Winchcombe, CGMA recipient


Tell us about yourself. 

Zachary Winchcombe is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English at McGill University. His research challenges discourses of legitimization in Anglo-American comics studies by examining them within a global context. He argues that discourses in manga studies, often grounded in socio-political approaches, offer a counterpoint to discourses of legitimization. 

List the scholarly association(s) of which you are currently a member. 

Canadian Society for the Study of Comics (CSSC) 

Comics Studies Society (CSS) 

At which conference(s) will you be presenting and/or attending? 

Conference of the Canadian Society for the Study of Comics (Congress 2022) 

International Graphic Novel and Comics Conference (Dún Laoghaire, Ireland) 

What is the title of your Congress 2022 presentation?  

Alternative to… Tatsumi East and West 

How would you describe the research you will be presenting at Congress 2022?

My presentation will explore the way that the work of Japanese cartoonist Tatsumi Yoshihiro has been adapted by Canadian publisher Drawn & Quarterly for an English audience. I will be arguing that the adaptation of Tatsumi’s work for a Western market has been predicated on notions of recovery and has embraced a marketing strategy that typifies his work as literary alternative comics. Ultimately, I will show that attempts to interpret his work according to the distribution and history of North American alternative comics occludes the original institutional history and social context within which his works are embedded.  

How does the research you will be presenting connect with the Congress 2022 theme, Transitions

My research connects with the theme of Transitions in its consideration of the trans-national and trans-cultural adaptation, publication, and reception of Tatsumi’s work. My work, here, is concerned with the transitions and transformations that occur when texts produced and embedded in locally situated discourses emerge into the global imagination and are re-appropriated by other local discourses. 

Share your hopes for Congress 2022.

I believe that comics studies, as an academic field, is in the midst of a transitionary moment. While the field has long been concerned, particularly in North America, with understanding and exploring comics’ formal characteristics, there is a growing tendency to prioritize sociological approaches and methods. By participating in the Canadian Society for the Study of Comics’ conference as part of Congress 2022 I have the chance not only to share my own research, which emphasizes the social life of comics, with other comics scholars but also with other researchers from across disciplines in the social sciences and humanities.