CfP: Comic Empires: The Imperialism of Cartoons, Caricature, and Satirical Art


Stichtag: 28. Juni 2013

In recent years, the cultural turn in the history of empire and imperialism has shed much new light on how imperialism and subject populations functioned. Yet despite ample attention being given to the role played by commercial advertising, print capitalism, travel and tourism, and other cultural forms, there has been little analysis of the key function of cartoons, satirical art, and caricature in sustaining, and challenging, imperial systems. Aside from useful surveys by Roy Douglas (Great Nations Still Enchained, 1994) and Mark Bryant (Wars of Empire in Cartoons, 2008), there exists no thorough, scholarly, interrogation of the relationship between cartoons and empire. This is a significant omission, for it is almost impossible to imagine the ‘New Imperialism’ in Africa without picturing Linley Sambourne’s ‘Rhodes Colossus’ standing astride the continent from Cape to Cairo. Similarly, Thomas Theodor Heine’s famous representation of the different Belgian, French, British, and German methods of colonialism continues to colour our understandings of imperial exploitation, as do numerous similar works by American, Japanese, and cartoonists of other nationalities. Cartoonists and satirical art also played an important role in the resistance to imperial regimes, and the recovery of their voice has been an important aspect of the postcolonial enterprise. This study therefore aims to bring together what is still a disparate field of inquiry, and offer a consolidated approach to understanding the relationship between cartoons and imperialism.

Scope: This edited volume aims to explore the importance of cartoons, caricatures and satirical art in the imperial context through a series of case-studies spanning the age of High Imperialism (c.1815-1945) from European and non-European contexts. It will cover important threads of support, resistance and criticism, to imperialism in both metropole and periphery, explore the question of orientalism, and look at colonial development, as well as any other theme relating to empire. Already committed to the project are the editors of the collection, Dr Richard Scully (University of New England) and Dr Andrekos Varnava (Flinders University, South Australia). The editors are looking to receive proposals on the cartoons, caricature and satirical art emanating from journals published in Europe (including Ottoman Empire), the US and non-Western traditions, such as Japan.

Proposals: Please send an abstract (150-200 words) and short professional biography to Dr Richard Scully, University of New England, at:, and Dr Andrekos Varnava, Flinders University, South Australia, at by 28 June 2013.

All those who send in a proposal will be notified of the result by 22 July 2013, and the full book proposal will be sent to Manchester University Press, to be considered as part of the Studies in Imperialism Series at the end of July 2013. The series editors of Studies in Imperialism, Manchester University Press, Professors John MacKenzie and Andrew Thompson, have expressed an interest in considering such a volume. Contributors will have until July 2014 to submit their finished drafts, which should be no more than 8,000 words in length (including footnotes), with a view to the volume being published in 2015. The volume will be published in English.

For further information:
Dr Richard Scully, University of New England,, and Dr Andrekos Varnava, Flinders University, South Australia,

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