1st Edition

Comics and Migration Representation and Other Practices

    298 Pages 16 Color & 39 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    298 Pages 16 Color & 39 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    298 Pages 16 Color & 39 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    Comics and human mobility have a long history of connections. This volume explores these entanglements with a focus on both how comics represent migration and what applied uses comics have in relation to migration. The volume examines both individual works of comic art and examples of practical applications of comics from across the world.

    Comics are well-suited to create understanding, highlight truthful information, and engender empathy in their audiences, but are also an art form that is preconditioned or even limited by its representational and practical conventions. Through analyses of various practices and representations, this book questions the uncritical belief in the capacity of comics, assesses their potential to represent stories of exile and immigration with compassion, and discusses how xenophobia and nationalism are both reinforced and questioned in comics. The book includes essays by both researchers and practitioners such as activists and journalists whose work has combined a focus on comics and migration. It predominantly scrutinises comics and activities from more peripheral areas such as the Nordic region, the German-language countries, Latin America, and southern Asia to analyse the treatment and visual representation of migration in these regions.

    This topical and engaging volume in the Global Perspectives in Comics Studies series will be of interest to researchers and students of comics studies, literary studies, visual art studies, cultural studies, migration, and sociology. It will also be useful reading for a wider academic audience interested in discourses around global migration and comics traditions.

    List of figures

    List of contributors


    1. Introduction: The entanglements of comics and migration

    Anna Vuorinne and Ralf Kauranen

    Part I.  Migration and the use of comics

    2. The long road to Almanya: Comics in language education for "guest workers" in West Germany, 1970s–1980s

    Sylvia Kesper-Biermann

    3. Feminist comics activism: Stories about migrant women in Sweden by Amalia Alvarez and Daria Bogdanska

    Anna Nordenstam and Margareta Wallin Wictorin

    4. Contracts via comics: Migrant workers and Thai fishing vessel employment contracts

    Anne Ketola, Eliisa Pitkäsalo, and Robert de Rooy

    5. From representations of suffering migrants to appreciation of the Mexican-American legacy in the US: The NGO-produced comics Historias migrantes

    Laura Nallely Hernández Nieto and Iván Facundo Rubinstein

    6. Collaborative work, migrant representativity, and racism

    Adrián Groglopo and Amalia Alvarez

    Part II. Configurations of nationalism and migration

    7. V for pissed-offedness: Anti-immigrant subversion of dystopian superhero intertexts

    Oskari Rantala

    8. On the "good" side: Hegemonic masculinity and transnational intervention in the representation of US–Mexico border enforcement

    Anna Marta Marini

    9. The politics of inversion in Americatown: Limits in public pedagogy

    Christina M. Knopf

    10. Racist and national(ist) symbols in a Finnish antiracist comics zine

    Olli Löytty

    Part III. Conventions and revisions of migration narratives

    11. Absented from his master’s service: Benjamin Franklin House, slavery, and comics

    Kremena Dimitrova

    12. Tears of a refugee: Melodramatic life writing and Reinhard Kleist’s Der Traum von Olympia

    Anna Vuorinne

    13. To see and to show: Photography, drawing, and refugee representation in comics journalism on refugee camps

    Aura Nikkilä

    14. Humans on the move: Some thoughts about approaching migration as a journalist in comics

    Taina Tervonen

    15. Intolerable fictions: Composing refugee realities in comics

    Dominic Davies



    Ralf Kauranen is a sociologist and comics scholar affiliated to the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Turku, Finland. He led the project "Comics and Migration: Belonging, Narration, Activism", funded by the Kone Foundation and located at the Department of Finnish Literature, University of Turku, in 2018–2021.

    Olli Löytty is an adjunct professor at the University of Turku, Finland. His research focuses on postcolonialism, nationalism, multilingualism, and representations of cultural encounters in literature. He is currently working on the project "Literature and Reading in the Era of Climate Crisis" at the University of Helsinki.

    Aura Nikkilä is a doctoral researcher in art history at the University of Turku, Finland. Nikkilä’s doctoral project concerns the role of photography in migration-themed comics. She has published on multilingualism and transnationalism in comics as well as on empathy and activism in relation to graphic narratives.

    Anna Vuorinne is a doctoral researcher in the Department of Comparative Literature, University of Turku, Finland. Her dissertation examines the conventions of human rights narration in contemporary German comics depicting migration. In her publications on comics, she has also written about the questions of gender, sexuality, and feminism.