1st Edition

Identity in Animation
A Journey into Self, Difference, Culture and the Body

ISBN 9781138849785
Published February 16, 2017 by Routledge
192 Pages 38 B/W Illustrations

USD $46.95

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Book Description

Identity in Animation: A Journey into Self, Difference, Culture and the Body uncovers the meaning behind some of the most influential characters in the history of animation and questions their unique sense of who they are and how they are formed.

Jane Batkin explores how identity politics shape the inner psychology of the character and their exterior motivation, often buoyed along by their questioning of ‘place’ and ‘belonging’ and driven by issues of self, difference, gender and the body. Through this, Identity in Animation illustrates and questions the construction of stereotypes as well as unconventional representations within American, European and Eastern animation. It does so with examples such as the strong gender tropes of Japan’s Hayao Miyazaki, the strange relationships created by Australian director Adam Elliot and Nick Park’s depiction of Britishness. In addition, this book discusses Betty Boop’s sexuality and ultimate repression, Warner Bros’ anarchic, self-aware characters and Disney’s fascinating representation of self and society.

Identity in Animation is an ideal book for students and researchers of animation studies, as well as any media and film studies students taking modules on animation as part of their course.

Table of Contents


1 The boop-oop-a-doop girl: culture, body and Betty Boop

2 Disney: self, patriarchy and punishment

3 Conflict and connection, body and performance: how Looney Tunes broke out of the asylum

4 The case for Wallace and Gromit: Britishness, horror, slapstick and the real

5 Who am I? Gender at play: guys in corsets, girls in love

6 The misfits: bodies, difference and wandering in the Clayography films of Adam Elliot

7 Hayao Miyazaki: place, nostalgia and adolescence

8 The ‘thingness’ of CG and the life of the object


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Jane Batkin is a Senior Lecturer and joint Programme Leader of the BA (Hons) Animation course at the University of Lincoln, UK. She is a member of the Society of Animation Studies and Society of Film and Media Studies and has presented at the SAS Conference in Toronto, in Canterbury and at the Toy Story at 20 Symposium. Her article ‘Rethinking the Rabbit’, exploring the history and culture of Looney Tunes, was published by the Society of Animation Studies Journal and she is currently contributing to a forthcoming anthology celebrating Toy Story.


‘With Identity in Animation, Jane Batkin offers us an illuminating look into the ways that a character can be seen to incorporate ideas of self, the nation, and culture, while reminding us that our understanding of a character is influenced by the physicality of animation combined with our notions of personality.’

Amy Davis, Lecturer in Film and Television Studies, University of Hull, UK

‘Combining textual analysis and interview, Batkin provides a welcome reason to revisit the likes of Betty Boop, Bugs Bunny, Princess Mononoke, and many others, considering afresh their significance as identifying markers of personal, cultural, and industrial change. Essential reading for anyone interested in animation, identity politics, and social history.’

Chris Pallant, Senior Lecturer in Film and Digital Media, Canterbury Christ Church University, UK