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The Power of Image: International Conference on Caricatures

Mar 13, 2011

Heidelberg University’s Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe” organises a conference in Egypt  

Caricatures as vehicles of political and social propaganda are the subject of an international conference organised in Egypt by Heidelberg University’s Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” in conjunction with the Fayoum Arts Centre. The conference will take place from 24 to 27 March 2011 at the Museum of Caricature in Fayoum Oasis. Under the title “The Power of Image”, scholars from eight countries will be discussing caricatures from different cultures, most of them from the era of imperialism and colonialism. Reference will however also be made to recent examples of caricature, notably in connection with the revolutionary events taking place in Tunisia and Egypt in the past weeks.

“Caricatures are excellent at expressing criticism and can even cause uprisings in a society,” says Eliane Ettmüller of the Heidelberg Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe”. “The point is that they not only have aesthetic value but are also vehicles for moral messages and political propaganda.” How caricatures from different cultures lampoon power constellations and social hierarchies is one of the central issues to be addressed at the conference. The lectures will examine caricatures from Japan, India and Iran as well as satirical cartoons published in Arab, British and French daily newspapers as comments on the recent revolutionary events occurring in Tunisia and Egypt. Another talk homes in on “The 99” by Kuwaiti artist Naif Al-Mutawa, a superhero comic very popular with Muslim youngsters at present. It combines traditional Islamic tenets with values upheld in the West.

The conference “The Power of Image – Caricatures as Transcultural Media for Political and Social Propaganda in the Era of Imperialism and Colonialism” is organised by Heidelberg scholars participating in the “Satire” research project run by the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” and coordinated by Prof. Dr. Hans Harder. Collaboration partner is the Fayoum Arts Centre in Egypt, the only institution in the Arab region to boast a museum of caricature. For more information on the conference and the research project, go to

Dr. Alexander Häntzschel
Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context”
phone: +49 6221 544008  


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