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Braided geographies: bordered forms and cross-border formations in refugee comics

Davies, D. ORCID: 0000-0002-3584-5789 (2019). Braided geographies: bordered forms and cross-border formations in refugee comics. Journal for Cultural Research, doi: 10.1080/14797585.2019.1665892


This article offers a close analysis of a trilogy of ‘refugee comics’ entitled ‘A Perilous Journey’, which were produced in 2015 by the non-profit organisation PositiveNegatives, to conceive of comics as a bordered form able to establish alternative cross-border formations, or ‘counter-geographies’, as it calls them. Drawing on the work of Martina Tazzioloi, Thierry Groensteen, Jason Dittmer, Michael Rothberg and others, the article argues that it is by building braided, multi-directional relationships between different geographic spaces, both past and present, that refugee comics realise a set of counter-geographic and potentially decolonising imaginaries. Through their spatial form, refugee comics disassemble geographic space to reveal counter-geographies of multiple synchronic and diachronic relations and coformations, as these occur between different regions and locations, and as they accumulate through complex aggregations of traumatic and other affective memories. The article contends that we need an interdisciplinary combination of the critical reading skills of humanities scholars and the rigorous anthropological, sociological and theoretical work of the social sciences to make sense of the visualisation of these counter-geographic movements in comics. It concludes by showing how the counter-geographies visualised by refugee comics can subvert the geopolitical landscape of discrete nation-states and their territorially bound imagined communities.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal for Cultural Research on 12 Sep 2019, available online:
Publisher Keywords: Refugee comics, counter-geographies, braiding, decolonise, imagined communities
Subjects: J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
N Fine Arts > NC Drawing Design Illustration
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Media, Culture & Creative Industries > English, Publishing & Creative Writing
Text - Accepted Version
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