Remapping evil: Locating, spatializing, and depicting morality

Christie Lynn Daniels, University of Texas at El Paso


This dissertation expands upon critical studies of difference by exploring one particular ideological construct and how its use propagates, maintains, and exacerbates ubiquitously existent social inequalities. The concept of evil has been employed in a way that marginalizes and villainizes individuals, groups, and even entire communities. Moreover, when they are deployed in a visual medium, the ideas and concepts conveyed are often not interrogated as closely as a written work would be. As a result, the guiding question of inquiry for this project is: How have western notions of good and evil been deployed and employed as a mechanism of hegemony and marginalization ? In order to answer this question, this dissertation is primarily concerned with the visual depiction of morality. That is, it seeks to examine how good and evil are depicted images and how those depictions are ideologically-based. As a starting point, I examine textual representations of evil and posit “the text” as a hegemonic and established object of study and the visual as often dismissed as non-academic, trivial, or frivolous. Consequently, I argue that images and visuals in popular culture represent an important tool for imparting ideology.^ This project represents a marrying of many rhetorical areas of inquiry by examining a core but accessible object of study. The perceived good/evil dichotomy is one that plays itself out in a variety of societal arenas. Particularly, graphic novels, whose adaptations form one of the more recent trends in popular film, provide fertile ground for the interrogation of societal values and mores. As such, pop culture artifacts represent an important area of study due to their ready acceptance by the public often without resistance or critical engagement.^

Subject Area

Language, Rhetoric and Composition

Recommended Citation

Daniels, Christie Lynn, "Remapping evil: Locating, spatializing, and depicting morality" (2010). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3426844.