12 January 2018

From September to December 2017, ULIP lecturer Catriona MacLeod undertook a semester of research sabbatical. This period of dedicated research time allowed her to complete key sections of her forthcoming book, Invisible Presence: The Representation of Women in the Bande Dessinée, to be published by Intellect.

The book, a monograph issuing from Dr MacLeod's doctoral thesis, looks at women in the bande dessinée (the French-language graphic novel), examining how they are represented and why, and tracing the historical development of these modes of representation.

The francophone bande dessinée came of age in the late twentieth century, earning the title of “Ninth Art” and becoming increasingly accepted as a focus of critical discussion and academic analysis. However, despite this impressive evolution, the representation of women in the bande dessinée remains vastly understudied. It is hoped that Invisible Presence will help to remedy this gap in the existing scholarship. Overwhelmingly male-dominated in terms of its creators and its content, bande dessinée makes a fascinating field for the study of the female. Invisible Presence considers both the depiction of female primary and secondary figures created by both male and female artists in key examples of the medium. It argues that a long history exists in French and Francophone graphic novels of rendering female characters ‘invisible’ via the tactical manipulation of artistic features specific to the comic art medium.

Dr MacLeod said that "It was great to have a period of release from my teaching and administrative responsibilities enabling me to make significant progress with this longstanding project."