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Reconsidering religious gender normativity in graphic novel adaptations: a quantitative and qualitative case study

Talia Hurwich (Department of Applied Statistics, Social Science and Humanities in the Professions, NYU, New York, New York, USA)

English Teaching: Practice & Critique

ISSN: 1175-8708

Article publication date: 1 March 2021

Issue publication date: 20 July 2021




This paper aims to illustrate how graphic novel adaptations can engage adolescents in conversations about gender and society, particularly when adaptations are weighed against messaging found in a student’s everyday life such as religiously motivated gender normativity.


This paper is based on quantitative and qualitative analyzes of the interview, think-aloud and survey data collected from 15 adolescents who self-identified as Modern Orthodox Jewish women. Texts used for think-aloud were three graphic novel adaptations that critically adapted potentially misogynistic readings and interpretations of religious Jewish texts such as the Bible.


Epistemic network analysis and constructivist grounded theory show that visual elements found in each adaptation can spark deeply personal reflections on topics that are often explicitly or implicitly suppressed by social norms such as gender normativity in Jewish texts and practices.


This paper is timely and contributes to understanding the apparent cultural clash between religious conservativism and movements for social change, using the graphic novel to mediate between them.



Hurwich, T. (2021), "Reconsidering religious gender normativity in graphic novel adaptations: a quantitative and qualitative case study", English Teaching: Practice & Critique, Vol. 20 No. 2, pp. 180-195.



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