Veronika Martinez (JMU Würzburg)
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Maria Eisenmann
The 9/11 attacks have dramatically changed the situation of people of Arab descent all over the world. Under the influence of global U.S. politics and the media, a Western gaze was constructed presenting Westerners as victims and people of Arab descent or affiliated with Islam as perpetrators. Not only did such a perception pave the way for patterns of aggression against Arabs and Muslims, but – at the same time - created and aggravated an artificial confrontation between a monolithic Western perspective and Arabian fundamentalism. This overt conflict, which in a broader sense may also be seen as a “battle” between cosmopolitanism and fundamentalism, substantiates the educational demand for instilling transcultural competences in the foreign language classroom.
In the context of transcultural learning the role of literature had often been highlighted. Since the attacks and political reactions as well as the cultural and artistic responses have especially been carried out on a symbolic and visual level, it may not come as a surprise that all over the USA comics and graphic novels were among the first products to deal with the issue. Their genre-immanent transphenomena support the transcultural potential of graphic fiction.
This paper aims at demonstrating the potential of comics and graphic novels in transcultural learning processes in deconstructing post-9/11-ideas of binary identities through the reconstruction of transcultural spaces.