A cultural history of feminist cartoons and comics in Britain from 1970 to 2010

Plowman, Nicola Streeten (2017) A cultural history of feminist cartoons and comics in Britain from 1970 to 2010. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

This thesis makes an original contribution to knowledge by showing that, since the 1970s, British feminist cartoons and comics have played an important part in the Women’s Movement in Britain. A key component of this has been humour. This aspect of feminist history in Britain has not previously been documented. The thesis questions why and how British feminists have used humour in comics form to present serious political messages. It also interrogates what the implications have been for the development of feminist cartoons and for the popularising of feminism in Britain. The work responds to recent North American feminist comics scholarship that concentrates on North American autobiographical comics of trauma by women. This thesis highlights the relevance of humour and provides a comparative British perspective.

The timeframe of the research is 1970 to 2010, chosen as representative of a significant historical period for the development of feminist cartoon and comics activity and of feminist theory and practice. The research methods included archival data collection, complemented by interviews with selected cartoonists. A close visual and textual analysis of specific examples was also conducted, drawing on literature from humour theory, comics studies and feminist theory. The examples have also been considered as responses to the economic, social and political contexts in which they were produced. The main finding is that the increased visibility of feminist cartoons and comics today, often in the form of the graphic novel, is a result of structures built and consolidated by feminist activity since the 1970s. These structures include those created around the means of production, distribution and reception of feminist cartoons and comics, such as feminist publishing companies. This finding suggests that feminist activity continues to be crucial in ensuring gender parity in all aspects of the industry.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Media and Film
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The Family. Marriage. Women > HQ1101 Women. Feminism
N Fine Arts > NC Drawing. Design. Illustration > NC1764 Comic books, strips, etc.
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2017 15:56
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2019 13:23
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/70775

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