CfP: Charlie Hebdo and its Publics

Proposed Panel
Theme "Literature and its Publics"
Modern Language Association 2016 meeting
Austin, Texas
January 7-10, 2016
Stichtag: 10.03.2015

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.

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