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Author: Olga Michael

Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic, New Directions in Life Narrative

Series editors: Kate Douglas, John David Zuern, Anna Poletti 


Short Description:



Surveying print and digital graphic life narratives about people who become 'othered' within Western contexts, this book investigates how comics and graphic novels witness human rights transgressions in contemporary Anglophone culture and how they can promote social justice. With thought given to how the graphic form can offer a powerful counterpoint to the legal, humanitarian and media discourses that dehumanise the most violated and dispossessed, but also how these works may unconsciously reproduce Western neo-colonial presentations of the 'other,' Olga Michael focuses on gender, death, space, and border violence within graphic life narratives depicting suffering across different geo- and biopolitical locations. Combining the familiar with the lesser-known, this book covers works by artists such as Joe Sacco, Thi Bui, Mia Kirshner, Phoebe Gloeckner, Kamel KhélifFrancesca SannaGabi Froden, Benjamin Dix and Lindsay Pollock, as well as Safdar Ahmed and Ali Dorani/EatenFish.


Interdisciplinary in its consideration of life writing, comics and human rights studies, and comparative in approach, this book explores such topics as the aesthetics of visualised suffering; spatial articulations of human rights violations; the occurrence of violations whilst crossing borders; the gendered dimensions of visually captured violence; and how human rights discourses intersect with graphic depictions of the dead. In so doing, Michael establishes how to read human rights and social justice comics in relation to an escalating global crisis and deftly complicates negotiations of 'otherness.' A vitally important work to the humanities sector, this book underscores the significance of postcolonial decolonized reading acts as forms of secondary witness.

Network members Linda Haapajarvi and Nada Afiouni have worked on a special issue on Migrant death in the context of the pandemic with scholars from the Institut Convergences Migrations' "Mort Covid en Migration" research project.


The issue is out now and can be found here:


Here's the abstract: 


This special issue examines the experiences, representations, and practices surrounding death in migration in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, from the perspective of the geographical, legal, social, and symbolic boundaries that shape the (im)mobility of international migrants. It highlights the multiplicity of these boundaries and their dissimilar consequences on the (im)mobility of the living and the dead. The five contributions gathered here deal with the management of death in migration in the context of the health crisis, and focus on different situations: deaths occurring on migratory routes (notably when crossing the Mediterranean), the experience of elderly immigrants faced with the risk of dying from Covid-19, or the reconfigurations of funeral practices of minorities established in French, English and Swiss cities. Together, these texts set up a mirror game between questions on death, migration, and the pandemic: they seize the health crisis to examine how the horizon of death structures migratory experiences and, based on the specificities of these experiences, renew reflection on the frontiers that draw the contours of the migrant condition in contemporary societies shaped by ever-increasing but also ever more contested international mobilities.

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