Liz Conor, “Draughtsman Jacques Arago and Racial Profiling in Early Cartooning.”

Sacha Davis's picture
September 17, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Australian and New Zealand History / Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, French History / Studies, Indigenous Studies

Announcement Description: The Historical, Cultural and Critical Inquiry Cluster at the University of Newcastle (Australia) is pleased to announce the next paper in our 2021 seminar series, on Friday 17 September 2021 from 10-11am Australian Eastern Standard Time (GMT+10). A Zoom link is below. Our presenter is:

Draughtsman Jacques Arago and Racial Profiling in Early Cartooning


Dr Liz Conor

Associate Professor, History, La Trobe University


Jacques Arago was the gregarious draughtsman on Captain Freycinet’s voyage around the world from 1817. In his appraisal of the Malgana people of Shark’s Bay, Western Australia, Arago, like other French visitors to New Holland before him, shuttled between the discursive pinions of ignoble and noble savage. For Arago these poles set up an overt asymmetry in his artworks as they documented his encounters with New Holland First Nations people, some adhering to neoclassical precepts, others seeming to draw on the facial and bodily distortion of caricature and cartooning. In this chapter I examine racialised distortion in Arago's images for his exploratory journal, Promenade autour du monde, 1822.


In some of his images we see an early form of what we have since come to call racial profiling, as it intersected with the distortions of cartooning as this genre took hold in European printing and publishing during this period. The images raise questions about derogatory racial distortion in colonial exploratory journals and their influence over cartooning conventions.


Zoom meeting ID: 870 4036 3272 (Open from 9:45am)
Password: 783069
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The event will not be recorded.


Contact Info: 

Dr Sacha Davis
The University of Newcastle
University Drive, Callaghan NSW 2308 Australia