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St Mary’s Law Lecturer Edits Book on Comics and Law

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Dr Thomas Giddens, Lecturer in Law and Co-Director of the Centre for Law and Culture at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, has edited a book entitled Graphic Justice: Intersections of Comics and Law, to be published in April 2015. The book, published by Routledge, establishes the medium of graphic fiction as a critical resource for interdisciplinary legal studies and is the first collection to address the intersection of comics and law. Graphic fiction has gained enormous cultural capital and academic interest over recent years. From mass entertainment and consumerism to political activism and violence, society is now surrounded by emanations of graphic storytelling. And the rise of academic disciplines such as comics studies clearly demonstrate that assumptions that the medium is juvenile or simplistic, and therefore cannot add depth to academic research, are outdated. The book uses this as a basis to critically discuss how comics offer an important resource for making sense of the contemporary place and role of law in society and culture, whether in the representation of lawyers and the legal system, dystopian imaginings, the treatment of issues of justice and social order, or in the superheroic protection of the innocent and the punishment or capture of those who would harm them. In the context of a now well-established interest in cultural legal studies, the book showcases the critical potential of comics and graphic fiction as a resource for interdisciplinary legal studies and legal theory. Dr Giddens said of editing the book, “The book developed from a one-day symposium on law and graphic fiction, held at St Mary’s in 2013. Comics are woefully under-researched in law, but this seems to be changing, and I’m excited to be a part of that. The collection, being the first of its kind, represents a significant step forward in cultural legal studies, and really invigorates the academic and legal interest in this global cultural medium we call comics or graphic fiction. It has been a real privilege to work with this group of international contributors, and to engage with their various different perspectives on the complex relationship between comics and law. There is still a lot more to explore in this area, and I look forward to undertaking similar projects in the future as part of the wider cultural engagement within St Mary’s Centre for Law and Culture.” For more details on the book and to order your copy please click here. Other upcoming activities in the Centre for Law and Culture: The Centre for Law and Culture at St Mary’s will be hosting a lecture entitled Counter-terrorism and a culture of accountability: challenges for law and rights as part of its current lecture series. The Centre will also be hosting a conference entitled Change in September; further information and the call for papers can be found here.
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