Surveillance, social order, and gendered subversions in Batman comics, 1986-2011

Diamond, Aidan (2017) Surveillance, social order, and gendered subversions in Batman comics, 1986-2011. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Batman is “the world’s most popular superhero.”¹ An icon of American exceptionalism, Batman has been featured in radio programmes, television shows, musicals, and more films than any other superhero since his 1939 comic book inception. While Batman has also been the subject of more scholarship than any other superhero, sustained scholarly inquiry of his vigilante infrastructures and their effects upon those Batman deems criminal is scarce; instead, critical readers prefer to interrogate his fascist undertones. This thesis aims to ameliorate this lack of scholarship by interrogating Batman’s regulatory surveillance assemblage, particularly how it is negotiated and subverted by Barbara Gordon/Oracle and Selina Kyle/Catwoman. Using Foucault’s theories of criminality, Lyon’s articulation of surveillance, Haraway’s cyborg hybridizations, Mulvey’s deconstruction of the gaze, and Butler’s and Tasker’s respective conceptualizations of gender, I argue that female characters problematize and complicate the otherwise unquestioned authority of Batman’s surveillance assemblage in the 1986-2011 DC continuity. ¹ “Batman Day Returns!” DC Comics. 14 June 2016, Accessed 16 July 2017.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 13007
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 117-122).
Keywords: Batman, Surveillance, Superheroes, Comics, Gender
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature
Date: October 2017
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Batman (Comic strip)--Criticism, Textual; Gender identity in literature; Electronic surveillance in art.

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