Modules for History Lessons
Colonial Patterns of Interpretation in Swiss Comics
Introduction to the Module
“Globi” is a Swiss comic book figure. He was invented in the 1930s and originally served as an advertising figure for a chain of large department stores called “Globus” (“the Globe”), selling – among other things – “exotic” products from the colonies (“Kolonialwaren”). The Globi stories quickly became very popular in the German-speaking part of Switzerland in particular. The series continues until today.1
As Swiss philosopher Patricia Purtschert has pointed out, the Globi books were part of a larger series of children’s books and audio tapes in the 20th century, using colonial images to contrast some of the “Swiss” virtues of the stories’ main characters: their boldness, industriousness and smartness. As in most Western countries, the 1970s in Switzerland were also marked by the beginnings of anti-racist criticism. Social movements and social scientists thus started denouncing “Globi” and other children’s books’ blatant racism, sexism and generally chauvinistic attitudes.2
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