Considering Kitsch: The Representation of Genocide in Graphic Narratives

in ‘t Veld, Laurike, C. (2016) Considering Kitsch: The Representation of Genocide in Graphic Narratives. Doctoral thesis, UNIVERSITY OF CHICHESTER.

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Abstract

Graphic narratives that deal with genocide inevitably respond to and intervene in ongoing
debates around (in)appropriate forms of genocide representation. This thesis mobilises the
concept of kitsch to investigate the tensions around the representation of genocide in
international graphic narratives that focus on the Holocaust and the genocides in Armenia,
Rwanda, and Bosnia. In response to the predominantly negative readings of kitsch as
meaningless or inappropriate, this thesis takes a more productive approach that considers how
some of the kitsch strategies employed in these works can produce meaning, while also
facilitating interaction with the genocide narrative. These productive strategies include the use
of the visual metaphors of the animal and the doll figure and the explicit and excessive
depictions of mass violence. It also carefully analyses where kitsch strategies still produce
problems, taking a more critical stance towards the use of kitsch in the representation of
perpetrators and in the visual and verbal representations of sexual violence. Furthermore, this
thesis traces how graphic narratives employ anti-kitsch strategies, which include a modernist
focus on crises in witnessing and the ways in which historical veracity is emphasised in the
paratext. Examining a range of contemporary graphic narratives, this study argues that kitsch
and excess can be used to offer compelling strategies of representation that consciously
intervene in the issues and debates around depictions of mass violence.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Genocide, Holocaust, comics, graphic narratives, kitsch, excess
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
J Political Science > JC Political theory
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Academic Areas > Institute of Arts and Humanities > History
Student Research > Doctoral
Depositing User: Brigitte Kaltenbacher
Date Deposited: 02 Aug 2022 08:42
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2022 12:03
URI: https://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/6412

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