Researchers studying how comic strips reflected popular attitudes during the world wars will spend six months searching for fresh evidence in the archives of the world’s largest library – The Library of Congress in Washington DC.
The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is to fund Andrew Kerr and Adam Sherif to study at the prestigious US institution as part of their PhDs for the ‘Comics and the World Wars- a cultural record’ grant project, led by Professor Jane Chapman of the University of Lincoln.
The two research students from Lincoln’s School of Humanities will have their work cut out: The Library of Congress has more than 150 million items in its collection, including almost 35 million books and printed materials, spread across more than 830 miles of shelving.
However, the US authorities will allocate special support to the pair, including their own archivist consultants, individual offices, free photocopying services and networking lunches where they will meet other international scholars.
Adam’s research is investigating how gender and ethnicity are reflected in world war comics. Andrew’s work looks at representations of heroes and villains in the same period – including ways in which political enemies were satirised.
Their research proposals for the AHRC’s highly competitive International Placement Scheme achieved marks by external peer reviewers that are near to the top. The awards come in addition to the grant scholarships that both Andrew and Adam are already receiving. The extra resources will enable them to travel to the US and to live in Washington while studying at the largest single publications archive in the world.
Research supervisor and principal investigator on the grant project, Prof. Jane Chapman, said: “The Library of Congress is the most incredible resource for scholars of any discipline. It is a vibrant knowledge hub where great minds from around the world congregate and it will be a marvellous experience and privilege for Andrew and Adam to have such access to its vast archives of printed material.
“This is the first time Lincoln researchers have been awarded funding for Library of Congress by the AHRC. It is further proof of the importance that the AHRC attaches to our project.”
Andrew said: “The Library of Congress is the most valuable resource for any researcher in the world. To get this opportunity to work there in this early stage of my career is incredible.”
Adam said: “They have the greatest comic book holdings in the world. I’m really looking forward to seeing genuine Golden Age comic books. As much as you can search for material through online catalogues, there’s no way of telling what’s really in there other than reading it.”
Andrew will start his six-month placement at the Library of Congress in October 2012 and Adam will start in January 2013.
Ian Richards – PR Officer
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