The 22nd Annual Society for Animation Studies Conference

Paul Ward

“Never forget who you are and where you are from”: Persepolis as urban memoir (preconstituted panel: ‘Urbanimation’: representations of the city in animation)

his paper will examine how Persepolis (2007) represents urban locations and cityscapes, intimately linking them to the deeply personal story – the memoir – of the protagonist Marjane Satrapi. Cities can often be seen as ‘personalities’, as anthropomorphically-charged spaces that come to stand for broader aspects of cultural (and national) identity. The paper will examine the notion of ‘autobiogeography’ and de Certeau’s (1984) work on how individuals navigate themselves physically, psychically and politically through urban space. Persepolis explores these topics via the graphic novel-inspired aesthetics of the animated film, offering a potent combination of popular culture, personal memory and urban history.

Biographical statement:
Paul Ward is a Principal Lecturer in the School of Media at the Arts University College at Bournemouth, UK. He teaches on the BA (Hons) Animation Production course and contributes to a cross-disciplinary MA course. His research interests are in the fields of animation and documentary film and television. Published work includes articles for the journals animation: an interdisciplinary journal, Animation Journal, and the Historical Journal for Film, Radio and Television, as well as numerous anthology essays. Paul is also the author of Documentary: The Margins of Reality (Wallflower Press, 2005) and TV Genres: Animation (Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming; co-authored with Nichola Dobson). He serves on the Editorial Boards of animation: an interdisciplinary journal and Animation Studies and is a member of the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council Peer Review College with special interest in animation and documentary research proposals. Paul is the current President of the Society for Animation Studies.