The Role and The Self-Image of the Satirist in the 20th and 21st Centuries

Imen Neffati's picture
June 6, 2018
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Social History / Studies, Philosophy, Journalism and Media Studies

A one-day symposium convened by doctoral researchers Imen Neffati, Stephanie Williams, Allis Moss, from the Beyond Charlie, Anticlericalism and Freedom of the Press network. This network and the symposium are generously supported by the White Rose College of the Arts & Humanities).

The event will take place on Wednesday 6 June 2018, at the St Bride Foundation, in Fleet Street, London. The symposium warmly invites contributions from practitioners, journalists, political cartoonists, editors, artists, writers  and academics.

The symposium will be structured as a round table discussing the ways in which artists, journalists and cartoonists defined their role in the press and used satire to articulate their politics, commitment to freedom of speech, and sense of self.  This will provide an opportunity to explore the development of the artist’s role in journalism and to ask whether the artist perceives that role differently to journalists and the wider public. We will also use this symposium to ask questions about satire’s relevance to the modern world, the future of journalism, the impact of censorship, and the ethics of selfcensorship.

This one-day international symposium seeks to interrogate the satirist/ dessinateur de presse/ political cartoonist’s role and image in society from a European, particularly French, perspective over the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.  The symposium will open with presentations from Stephanie Williams (University of York), Allis Moss (University of Leeds), and Imen Neffati (University of Sheffield) on various aspects of their research. Stephanie Williams’ research interrogates the self-projected role of the satirical artist in the anarchist community of Paris between 1900 and 1914, concentrating on the perceived relationships between art, politics and satire. (Allis will include a short description of her research here). Imen Neffati’s research scrutinises the history of Charlie Hebdo from the magazine’s inception in 1960 until the attack in January 2015, with a special focus on its anti-clerical and anti-Islam discourses.  

Between 1900 and 2015 journalism has transformed from a loosely defined and organised group of intellectuals who published their opinions on current events and contemporary culture to a highly specialised institution charged with providing the public with information and a critical view of the official authorities. While the right to freedom of expression has been a constant value in journalism since its inception in the eighteenth century, varies regimes of censorship and the influence of public opinion have complicated this right. The role of the satirist who provokes ridicule and introspection has also developed over this period to become more selfconsciously identified as a form of journalism. The provocative nature of satire often leads to ethical debates as to the right of satirists and journalists to set up themselves up as authorities and make outspoken comments?



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Imen Neffati