Ukraine at the Center of the Universe: Ukrainian Comic Book Realities and Emergent National Identity

Jennifer Ann Dickinson (University of Vermont)

This paper examines representations of Ukraine and Ukrainian-ness in comic book alternative realities, focusing on several Ukrainian examples from 2014-2018 that, perhaps prophetically, reimagine Ukraine at the center of global events and conflicts, and Ukrainian superheroes as the world’s protectors. The paper explores the complex of features that authors and illustrators choose and put forth visually, linguistically, and symbolically to create an expressive model for representing ethnic and civic components of Ukrainian ethnic national identity. The paper concludes by considering how shifts in expressive culture since 2014 have contributed to the reconceptualization and broadening of Ukrainian national identity.

Part of V1-04 Growing in the Gutter: Comics, Culture, and Vernacular Narrative Art, Wednesday, October 11, 1:00 pm–3:00 pm