Wiccan, Hulking and Batwoman: Gendered Representation in American Superhero Comics

There is no seminar this week, but please join us on 12th November (TORCH, 5.15 pm) for the last event of this term. Esther De Dauw (University of Leicester) will deliver a paper entitled “Wiccan, Hulking and Batwoman: Gendered Representation in American Superhero Comics”.

In the early 2000s, the American cultural landscape was dominated by both a turn towards conservatism following 9/11 and increased legislative protections for members of the LGBTQ communities. This talk’s analysis of Billy Kaplan (known as Wiccan), Teddy Altman (known as Hulking) and Kate Kane (known as Batwoman) examines the development of the legislation enacted in the early 2000s, the rise of conservative cultural forces and in what way these three heroes inadvertently re-inscribe conservative gender roles through their performance of gender and sexuality. It touches on Lisa Duggan’s concept of homonormativity, domestinormativity as used by Katharine M. Franke and gender performativity as set out by Judith Butler.

Esther De Dauw is currently working on several publication projects, such as the monograph based on her thesis, Hot Pants and Spandex Suits: Gendered Representation in American Superhero Comics, and an edited volume Toxic Masculinity: Mapping the Monstrous in Our Heroes. She works closely with the David Wilson University Library to provide support for the Read@Leicester project, encouraging students to read more through the Monthly Graphic Novel Recommendation and the We’ve Got Issues podcast.

All welcome and refreshments provided as usual!