Date of Award


Document Type

M.A. Essay

First Advisor

Petra McGillen

Second Advisor

Chad Ellias


By analyzing three different comics on Instagram by the Lebanese political cartoonist, the Art of Boo, this essay argues that comics generate political meaning through emulating the medium of Instagram on the one hand, and by inviting the audience to become active participants on the other. Although a lot has been written about digital activism and political cartoons in the Arab world, little has been theorized about what makes this form of political artistic expression and dissent powerful on digital platforms. By drawing on Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics, this essay demonstrates that the medium of comics operates as a multifold mirror: it reflects the medium of Instagram while also enabling the audience to observe, detect, and perceive themselves vis-à-vis what they are not. The simple, repetitive, stylistic attributes of cartooning prompt the viewer’s imagination and encourage political meaning production. Here, I contend that it is exactly in this simplicity that the comics ascend from solely being the medium of political protest to the message itself.