The focus of this project is feminist comic art and graphic novels from Sweden, Finland, Germany, and Russia. The multidisciplinary team of researchers is united by a view of comics as political action and social commentary, looking specifically at the role of comic art in operationalizing a feminist movement. The project members willexplicate how format, language, and materiality serve as vehicles for depicting female perspectives, sharing private trauma, addressing taboo subjects, exploring sexuality, or challenging gender roles. Furthermore, the team will investigate how feminist critique is communicated and made accessible -and how violent, abusive, discriminatory, or embarrassing experiences are rendered all the more disarming -when depicted in the medium of comic art.With the inclusion of works by creators from Sweden and its neighboring countries of Germany and Finland, as well as Russia, a transnational perspective on the feminist comics landscape of the Baltic Sea region is adopted. The transnational approach also acknowledges recurring strategies of visualizing and narrating female experiences, and similarities in aesthetics, materiality, and thematic content. the comic art in focus encompasses themes of gender, sexuality, power, vulnerability, assault, abuse, taboo, and trauma, often expressed with humorous undertones of nostalgia, anxiety, or social criticism.The investigation of feminist comic art and graphic narrative will be conducted by a seven-member team representing the Baltic Sea region and the disciplines of linguistics, literary studies, art history, and history with the aim of collaboratively exploring visual and verbal strategies in comics as a medium of feminist critique. Over-arching research questions include:
• In what way are feminist ideas and politics expressed thematically, visually, and linguistically through the comics medium?• How are constructions of corporeality, sexuality, and gender called into question or renegotiated by the visual and material affordances of comics?
• How do strategies of verbal and visual rhetoric in comics encode resistance toor compliance with social and cultural norms?
• How do verbal and visual expressions of affect, emotion, trauma, and power constitute forms of feminist critique in the medium of comic art?
• What are the national characteristics, salient distinguishing features, and transnational commonalities of women’s comic art and graphic narrative in the Baltic Sea region?