Prof. Deborah McGrady

United States
Domaine scientifique
mai, 2024 - août, 2024
LE STUDIUM Visiting Researcher


University of Virginia - USA 

In residence at

POuvoirs, LEttres, Normes (POLEN)  / University of Orléans - FR 

Host scientist

Prof. Philippe Haugeard


Deborah McGrady is Professor of French and Director of Medieval Studies at the University of Virginia. Her research interests are focused on the socio-cultural context of late medieval France. She has written on reader reception, patronage dynamics, and text-image relations in medieval manuscripts. Her forthcoming book focuses on the long and enduring history of the medieval, which she has explored through the legacy of Joan of Arc, from medieval to modern. She is now turning her attention to modern socio-political uses of the medieval to articulate progressive ideas in French comics.


The Return of Joan of Arc: The Maiden's Adventures in BDs, Mangas and Graphic Novels

This project revisits the role of Joan of Arc in 9th-art creations, that is, bandes dessinées, mangas, and graphic novels, with a special focus on titles from post-1980. Joan is unique given her national and global celebrity as one of the most popular historical female subjects to appear with consistent regularity in this genre and yet there has only been limited study of this corpus for which we still lack a complete bibliography. Initial scholarship has recognized the frequent use of Joan’s life story in 9th-art works to promote conservative political and religious agendas. What has been overlooked are cases where she is deployed as an iconoclastic figure, that is, as a figure from the past who challenges modern readers to question established norms.  My study sets out to provide the first comparative study of 9th-art material on Joan in French, Japanese, and American traditions with the goal of examining how her life and story are reimagined in ways that disrupt norms, whether speaking of gender, sexuality, and national identity or the aesthetic conventions governing these work that often reify conservative standards (especially the reductive representation of women in 9th-art book arts to caricatures and stereotypes). In addition to providing a counter-example of Joan serving to argue against conservative ideologies, this study answers recent calls for greater attention given to women as creators, readers, and subjects of 9th-art works. This intense scholarly focus on Joan of Arc represents the first phase in a larger project dedicated to the innovative use of the premodern past in 9th-art works to address modern cultural dilemmas, ranging from migration and the environment to gender, sexuality, and national identity.