Public Release: 

The state of the editorial political cartoon: an APSA symposium

American Political Science Association

Washington, DC--As the recent protests over the Danish cartoon controversy in 2005 demonstrate, editorial cartoons reflect important issues of the day and make notable contributions to journalism and popular culture. The American Political Science Association (APSA), in the April issue of PS: Political Science and Politics, has published a compelling collection of articles by noted scholars and cartoonists regarding this important commercial art form.

"This symposium considers the state of editorial cartooning around the globe," observes Symposium Editor Kent Worcester (Marymount Manhattan College) "from representations of gender, religion, student life, and popular culture in the United States, to visual culture in Indonesia, Yemen, Turkey, and South Africa." Through the perspective of researchers and cartoonists, it also explores the historical and contemporary roles of editorial cartoons as a subversive medium in democratic and authoritarian regimes, as well as the controversial issue of censorship. The collection of 20 articles is available online at: www.apsanet.org/content_38789.cfm.

Cartoons are more than just an art form that appears in newspapers. "As the transnational protests and economic boycotts over the cartoons published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in September 2005 made abundantly clear," Worcester notes, "editorial cartoons can also serve as lightning rods for controversy." Moreover, editorial cartoons enjoy a fair degree of autonomy from the editorials that surround them in newspapers and reflect changing social conditions as well as prevailing winds of fashion and taste.

Notably, despite the declining number of political cartoonists today and the emergence of new and competing forms of news dissemination around the world, political cartooning is enjoying a newfound cultural clout. By assembling this vibrant and insightful collection of contributions by scholars and cartoonists, the American Political Science Association is encouraging a better understanding of how cartoons affect influence public opinion and their role in the broader political process.

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The American Political Science Association (est. 1903) is the leading professional organization for the study of politics and has over 14,000 members in 80 countries. For more news and information about political science research visit the APSA media website, www.politicalsciencenews.org.

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