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Title: The representation of Middle East identities in comics journalism
Author: Kocak, Kenan
ISNI:       0000 0004 5361 4807
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2015
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The present thesis investigates comics journalism, which is a subsection within the comics medium combining sequential images and journalism, and which has met with popular acclaim in the wake of Joe Sacco’s popularity in the 1990s. Since then, many examples of comics journalism have been published. However, the subject has not been comprehensively studied except for extensive research focusing on Sacco. This study aims to go some way towards filling this gap. This thesis focuses mainly on comics war journalism covering the turmoil in the Middle East and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by selecting graphic novels by two different authors from divergent backgrounds: Ayşegül Savaşta: Irak Şahini (Ayşegül at War: The Iraqi Falcon) by Kemal Gökhan Gürses from Turkey, and Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City by the Quebecois author Guy Delisle. There are four main chapters in this thesis. The first chapter, ‘Comics Journalism’, analyses this hybrid genre and tries to place it with a theoretical framework. The second chapter, ‘National Identities and Comics Journalism’, discusses how national identities are represented in comics journalism. The third chapter examines Ayşegül Savaşta: Irak Şahini and shows how comics journalism can function as a response to a war. The fourth chapter discusses Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City and explores comics journalism as cultural reportage. This thesis argues that the roots of comics journalism can be found in the Glasgow Looking Glass of 1825. While Joyce Brabner and Lou Ann Merkle together created today’s understanding of comics journalism, Joe Sacco popularized the genre via his coverage of the Palestinian issue and the Bosnian War. Another conclusion is that the September 11 attacks explain the rise of comics journalism, as output related to comics journalism has since blossomed. I will claim that comics journalism functions as an alternative to mainstream journalism and serves to show unreported news. Additionally this thesis will find that stereotypes play a very important role in picturing the relationship between comics and national identities, and will show how Muslim stereotypes have changed in comics, especially in superhero comics, produced after 9/11. This observation leads me to argue that comics journalists, regardless of their backgrounds, use essentially the same stereotypes when they draw Middle Easterners, Arabs especially, although negative Muslim stereotypes are very rare in comics journalism. Since religion and nationalism are undeniably intermingled in the Middle East, the comics journalists studied here employ Islam as a part of their narratives.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: JC Political theory ; N Visual arts (General) For photography ; see TR ; PN Literature (General)