CFP: Satire and the Editorial Cartoon


Ever since the days of William Hogarth and his brand of pictorial satire, expressing an opinion on the politics of the day in print demanded a combination of humor, hyperbole, and caricature in its illustration. By the 19th century, the periodical Punch appropriated the term ‘cartoon’—a finished preliminary sketch on a large piece of cardboard—to refer to its political, pictorial editorials. At the height of the turn of the century, the editorial cartoon was deeply imbedded in commenting on art, politics, and immigration in order to draw attention to corruption and other social ills.

The Discussion Group on Comics and Graphic Narratives seeks papers that examine cross-cultural early editorial cartoons, periodicals and the cartoonists, from 18th century to early 20th century (i.e. George Townsend, James Gillray, Thomas Nast, Punch, The Masses, Richard Outcault, John Tenniel), and the subverting nature of the satirical mode in text and image to respond and critique the socio-political problems of the day.

Send 300-word abstract and CV by March 10 ( This is a guaranteed MLA panel. All prospective participants must be MLA members by April 7 2015.

CPF: Charlie Hebdo and its Publics

Charlie-Hebdo and its Publics


Ever since the tragic murders of staff members of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, there have been heated discussions in the public sphere regarding free speech, religious expression, and the power of satire. Reactions have differed dramatically among national and social groups, East and West. These varied discourses are amplified by the globalization and the internet, and raise questions about how images can or cannot circulate within specific national or religious contexts.

For the 2016 MLA theme “Literature and its Publics,” this panel seeks contributions that examine the Charlie Hebdo in the context of different traditions of editorial cartooning, and from the perspective of different “publics.” Relevant questions include:

-What is the significance of Charlie Hebdo in the French satirical tradition?

-How is the representation of images of Mohammed complicated by the social and political status of Muslims in France?

-How does the satirical tradition of Charlie Hebdo compare to other national traditions of satirical cartooning? Cross-cultural comparisons are especially welcome.

–Analyze the reaction of various cartoonists to the Charlie Hebdo controversy (Joe Sacco, Art Spiegleman, and others)

Send 300-word abstr. + CV by March 10 (

PLEASE NOTE: This CFP is for a proposed, not guaranteed, session at MLA 2016, which means that the session is contingent on approval by the MLA Program Committee. Responses to individual submissions will be sent out by the beginning of April, but the MLA Program Committee will not consider the entire session proposal until after that date. All prospective presenters must be current MLA members by no later than 7 April 2015.