Comics as a Minor Literature

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Erin La Cour


This article offers a reexamination of the term “graphic novel,” as a term that has been instrumentalized to both ingratiate certain comics into the literary canon and perpetuate the denigration of all others. Adding to previous inquiries into the distinctions made between graphic novels and comics, which have approached the divide from a socio-historical perspective, this article posits a consideration of comics as a “minor literature.” Rather than calling for an inclusive view of comics within the disciplinary boundaries of literary studies and the academy—or for an establishment of comics studies as a discipline in its own right—this article proposes a scholarly nomadism of comics that productively works to displace the entire question of the value attributed to cultural objects and fields of study.

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Erin La Cour

Erin La Cour is a lecturer in Comparative Literature at Utrecht University, Netherlands. She holds a PhD from the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis at the University of Amsterdam and is the co-founder, with Rik Spanjers, of the independent research consortium Amsterdam Comics (, which promotes comics research in the Netherlands. She acted as project advisor for the 2013 sequential art exhibition “Black or White” at the Van Abbemuseum, is a former editor of the Scandinavian Journal of Comic Art, and is a member of the Nordic Network for Comics Research. Her most recent publications include the co-edited anthology Comics and Power: Representing and Questioning Culture, Subjects, and Communities (Cambridge Scholars 2015) and “Social Abstraction: Toward Exhibiting Comics as Comics” in Abstraction and Comics (UP Liège, forthcoming 2017).