Composting #17: Graphic Temporality

Tuesday May 9, 4-5:30 | Facilitated by Thomas Wickert | Readings: McGuire (2014) Here and Roberts (2012) ‘Écriture Futuriste.’

Graphic novel publications have enjoyed a modest amount of scholarly attention in the last century, primarily as an area of cultural studies departing from an even older area of both literature and ancient/modern historical research. What has yet to be fully uncovered of this pictorial, sequential and tactile mode of storytelling is the unique and diverse range of techniques through which subjectivities can be presented, aestheticised and narrated to audiences. Much like fine art practices that consist of artist/audience/gallery assemblages, graphic novels are increasingly being re-worked as distinct forms of pictorial and textual communication, capable of opening-up, performing and even experimenting with the intangible, the fringe and states of ‘otherness’. Of particular interest to me, and possibly for the reading group, is this question, “Does, or can, the graphic novel poke holes through the linearity/hegemony of existing worlds and singular, oppressive narratives of time and history?”

The recent Here by Richard McGuire (2014) uses the format of graphic novel to collapse and contrast time and narrative. This is a similar method used by academics in writing, that is, to contextually provide an invisible, oppressed narrative of the ‘other’ alongside and in dialogue with an established, oppressive narrative in order to challenge the power relations of those narratives in order to open up space to question and address the ethical issues that become apparent. Putting McGuire in deep reading and cross-talk with Simone Roberts’ (2012) ‘Écriture Futuriste’, this composting session seeks to work through the idea of ‘swervy’ feminist time and how this might enrich our reading of McGuire’s Here.

LOCATION: Brennan McCallum building, Level 8, SOPHI Common Room, the University of Sydney


McGuire, R 2014, Here, Pantheon Books, New York

Roberts, M F Simone 2012, ‘Écriture Futuriste’, in Henriette Gunkel, Chrysanthi Nigianni and Fanny Söderbäck (eds), Undutiful daughters: New directions in feminist thought and practice, Palgrave Macmillan: New York  pp. 49-61


McGuire, R 2014, Here, Pantheon Books, New York (file 3)

McCloud, S 1993, ‘Time Frames’, in Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, Tundra Publishing: M.A, pp. 94-109

Header Image by Richard McGuire.


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