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Tights and Tiaras: Female Superheroes and Media Cultures

In 2010, the 600th issue of Wonder Woman celebrated the Amazonian superhero’s longevity in print media. To mark the occasion, the issue reinvented the superhero’s iconic costume to make it less revealing, introducing dark trousers and a blue, starred jacket. This shift to more practical, less sexualised wear arguably reflects changing attitudes about gender and the growing female presence in the comics industry. Nonetheless, the change prompted some controversy online amongst fan communities, again highlighting the problematic history of the representation of women as powerful figures.

‘Tights and Tiaras: Female Superheroes and Media Cultures’ a two day interrogation of the construct of the ‘superhero’ as female and more generally of the representation of powerful female figures in fantasy and science fiction. Looking at a range of print and visual media, papers will explore the range of female characters in superhero narratives, the material history of the female superhero, and how visual and textual constructs of female heroes - and anti-heroes - have been re-imagined, re-invented a nd re-packaged over time.

Tights and Tiaras in the press: The Age Article "Women in tights: unmasking super heroines"


12 - 13 August 2011


Japanese Studies Centre, Monash University

Call for papers

Possible topics include:

Call for papers, and the deadline for abstracts, closes on 26 April 2011.

Please email abstracts of no more than 250 words and a brief biography to Tights&Tiaras.

Conference schedule and programme

Draft conference programme.

Conference dinner

The Conference Dinner will commence from 6.30pm on Friday 12 August. The Conference Dinner is not included as part of the registration cost. The Dinner will cost $60 AUD and includes a two-course menu.

The venue for the Conference Dinner is MamaDuke Café, Bar & Restaurant, located at Monash University Caulfield Campus (Basement Building H, 878 Dandenong Road East Caulfield 3147).

Public buses operate from Monash Clayton to Monash Caulfield Campus (Bay 8, route 900).

Monash University Staff and Students may choose to use the Shuttle Bus service operating between campuses.

Please contact the conference convenors if you require transport to the Dinner venue and they will arrange alternative means.

A detailed menu will also be provided prior to the Conference dates. Please note that special dietary requirements may be specified at the eCart.

Register online at the Faculty of Arts eCart.


All participants must register to attend the Conference. Registration includes lunch, morning and afternoon tea on both days, and also includes a conference pack. Pre-registration via e-cart is preferred as the event will be catered and there will be NO handling of cash on the days of the event. EFTPOS and Credit Card payment will, however, be accepted.

Registration fees

Type Early bird registration (ends 29 July 2011) Full registration
Full$80 AUD$110 AUD
Concession$60 AUD $90 AUD
Day Registration (Full)$50 AUD $70 AUD
Day Registration (Concession)$40 AUD$60 AUD
Conference Dinner$60 AUD 

Register online at the Faculty of Arts eCart.

Information about Monash

Japanese Studies Centre

The Japanese Studies Centre was formally established in 1981 as a non-profit organisation incorporated in the State of Victoria. Established by academics from four tertiary institutions in Melbourne which teach and conduct research about Japan – La Trobe University, Monash University, the University of Melbourne and Swinburne Institute of Technology (now Swinburne University) – in 1989 the Centre became one of the affiliated centres of the Monash Asia Institute at Monash University.

The Centre is housed in its own building which was designed by Monash University architect Alan Scott, and erected in 1983. This Conference will be held in the Centre’s main Auditorium, which provides a welcoming, and comfortable, communal space for both presenters and participants.

Clayton campus

The Clayton campus was opened in 1961 as the first Monash University campus. Clayton is the largest Australian campus (100 hectares) and has more than 23,000 students. All ten Monash faculties offer courses at Clayton. Clayton campus is located on the corner of Wellington Road and Princes Highway, 20 km from Melbourne’s city centre. Information about travelling to Clayton campus.

A useful map of the Clayton Campus.


Links: Monash university

Monash University Home Page

Centre for the book

Links: local Melbourne comic book stores


All Star Comics

Comics ‘R’ Us

Links: libraries and archives

Monash University Sir Louis Matheson Library

State Library of Victoria, Melbourne

Links: general

Melbourne Airport

Tourist Information, City of Melbourne

Tourist Information, State of Victoria

Information on Melbourne

For detailed information about Melbourne, including a guide to what’s on, places to visit, shopping, dining and nightlife, visit the City of Melbourne visitor site.

Keynote speakers

Karen Healey is the writer of the popular archived feminist comics blog, Girls Read Comics (And They're Pissed). She is currently an acclaimed author of young adult fiction and is completing a dissertation on superhero comics as fan-created text at the University of Melbourne.



Conference convenor

Dr Rebecca-Anne Do Rozario


Centre for the Book


Past and Present Conferences and Seminars

Visit our archives of conferences and seminars - recordings of many papers are available for download: