26 Feb

ISA 2015: Animating Anti Extremism

Last week I presented a paper at the International Studies Association’s 56th Annual Convention.  The event took place in New Orleans from 18-21 February, tying in nicely with Mardi Gras.

I presented a paper ‘Animating Anti Extremism’ as part of the panel: Aesthetic Visions of International Relations – Comics and the Comic.  The panel included papers on comics and geopolitics in the case of the Cheonan sinking (by David Shim); editorial cartoons in response to 9/11 (by David Mutimer); the link between cartoons and international relations, with the role of cartoons in South Africa discussed (by Peter Vale); and cartooning the Holocaust (by Alister Wedderburn).

The panel offered an interesting insight into various roles that cartoons, comics and animation can and do play in international relations.

Here is the abstract for my paper:

Comics, graphic novels and animation have become increasingly popular ways of depicting and disseminating interpretations of political violence, yet remain overlooked in international studies. Changes in cultural production have resulted in a shift of emphasis from text to the rising importance of images, while the visuality of terrorism underscores the important role of visual media in representing and interpreting political violence acts. The popularity and the increasingly didactic aim of many works is being recognised within a key policy area – Countering Violent Extremism (CVE). Counter-narrative is a major preoccupation within CVE, with billions of Euro earmarked for projects in the EU alone, coming as a direct response to the spread of jihadi narratives in different formats, including graphic imagery-based content. Taking the example of Abdullah- X, a series of animated shorts developed specifically with CVE aims, this paper explores the use of this form within a CVE framework. By analysing the work, investigating the context of its creation and locating it within the broader spectrum of comics/animations that have dealt with such issues, this paper investigates the ways in which this form is being used in the area of CVE.