Member information

Kai Mikkonen

PhD, Associate Professor, Comparative Literature, Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies University of Helsinki, Finland

Kai Mikkonen earned his M.A. at the University of Iowa in 1991, and Ph.D. at the University of Tampere in 1997. His current research and teaching interests focus on modern French and British literature, travel writing, word and image studies, graphic narratives and comics, narrative theory and theory of fiction. He is the author of Narrative Paths: African Travel in Modern Fiction and Nonfiction (The Ohio State University Press, to be published in 2015); Kuva ja sana [Image and Word] (Gaudeamus, 2005) and The Plot Machine: the French Novel and the Bachelor Machines in the Electric Years 1880-1914 (Rodopi, 2001) as well as various articles in periodicals such as StyleNarrative, Word & Image, Marvels & Tales, and European Review. See also research database Tuhat at the University of Helsinki:

Kai Mikkonen is currently pursuing a research project entitled “Transmedial narratology and the challenge of graphic narratives” where he is interested in how comics (or graphic narratives) present a challenge to narratological concepts and models due to their medium-specific features. Such features include, for instance, that the reader is required to integrate perceptual information from different semiotic channels (verbal and visual) in ways that are both similar to, and different from, other forms of multimodal narration, or that the sequential nature of the medium poses a particular challenge to the understanding of time in narratives, or that the graphic nature of the medium affects the way in which the question of narrative style may be formulated. The premise of the research is that in  any transmedial narrative theory problems will arise if one assumes that theoretical notions of narrative mediation can be transferred from one medium to another without due modification. The main examples of this research include various contemporary longer graphic narratives in French and English, and in translations of manga, or comics without words. Articles relating to this project have been published in From Comic Strips to Graphic Novels. Contributions to the Theory and History of Graphic Narrative (Eds. Daniel Stein and Jan-Noël Thon,2013), Scandinavian Journal of Comics Art 1/2012, American Studies/Amerikastudien 56.4. (2011), Narrative & Image  11. 4 (2010) and Partial Answers 6:2 (June 2008).

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