“Why Can’t I Just Disappear?”: Creating a Space of Your Own in Weaver’s Graphic Memoir “Darkroom”

Sophie Bürgi , University of Basel

Lila Quintero Weavers autobiographical comic «Darkroom. A Memoir in Black and White» (2012) presents the authors childhood which was shaped by the experience of migration when her family moved from Argentina to Alabama in the 1960s. A the same time, «Darkroom» also gives account of important events of the Civil Rights Movement (e.g. the Selma to Montgomery Marches), many of which had taken place in close distance to the protagonist’s home. In this way, the comic not only shows racist violence and protests against racism in the public sphere, but it also reveals the embodied dimension of intersectional power structures in everyday life, like the painful process of female socialization and ordinary racist practices in the 60s, where black citizens face dehumanization and social exclusion. The form of Weaver’s comic opens up spaces for reflection on how childhoods are shaped by historically situated power structures that make the protagonist wish that she could just disappear. Furthermore, Weaver not only documents the racism and gender norms that affected herself, but emphasizes the importance of solidarity with the struggle of black citizens for civil rights. In this way, “Darkroom” creatively analyzes whose experiences often disappear from history. My paper will show how Weaver harnesses the potential of the comic medium for marginalized individuals to create a space of their own – on the page of the comic and in society at large – through solidarity with others.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 72. Seeing Childhood History through Graphic Memoirs