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TitleRe-appropriating abjection: feminism, comics, and the macabre coming-of-age
Author(s)Mandolini, Nicoletta
Ana Caspão
Feminist criticism
Issue date1-Sep-2023
JournalFeminist Encounters
CitationMandolini, N. (2023). Re-appropriating Abjection: Feminism, Comics and the Macabre Coming-of-Age. Feminist Encounters: A Journal of Critical Studies in Culture and Politics, 7(2), 32.
Abstract(s)Julia Kristeva’s theories on the abject have proven fruitful for feminist criticism, which has produced a huge body of research on the representation of motherhood and femininity as macabre. More recently, the concept of abjection has been blamed for supposedly legitimising, instead of questioning, hetero-patriarchal erasure of women’s subjectivity. Despite this theoretical controversy, a growing number of comics and graphic novels, where the abject is used as a technique to illustrate the formation of women and girls’ gendered identity, have been published in the last decade. This article contends that the study of graphic narratives that are concerned with a macabre coming-of-age is a crucial site for the re-appropriation of abjection. This position sees abjection as a productive critical category that reflects an ongoing effort by feminist authors to portray the troubled construction of a female Self. To corroborate this idea, the article engages with previous scholarly close readings of comics/graphic novels on girlhood and the macabre. Further recognition of the fecundity of the abject category in the realm of graphic narratives is guaranteed by the in-depth analysis of the comic zine Fundo do nada (2017), by the Portuguese artist Ana Caspão. This comic zine, which has been so far ignored by critics, serves as case study given its ability to describe, by means of the medium-specific features of comics, a young woman’s coming-of-age, in which the abject functions as a tool to express the disquieting process of negotiating subjectivity from a feminine positioning.
Publisher version
AccessOpen access
Appears in Collections:CECS - Artigos em revistas internacionais / Articles in international journals

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