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Graphic Satire and the UK in the Long Nineteenth Century

September 4, 2017
School of Humanities, Nottingham University

University Park
Nottingham NG7 2RD
United Kingdom

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Please Note: This is a call for papers for an event planned for early September 2017 (week beginning 4 September). The confirmed date, together with information about the Registration process, will be advertised in the spring of 2017.

Confirmed keynote speaker Professor Brian Maidment (Liverpool John Moores University)

This one-day international symposium seeks to interrogate the nature of the United Kingdom’s status as a global power in the long nineteenth century (c.1780-1920) by considering the varied ways in which it was viewed, and represented, in graphic satire during this period.

The years from c.1780- 1920 encompassed events with widely-felt repercussions, generating interest and commentary well outside the countries in which they occurred. In turn, these events required the United Kingdom – which came into existence with the union between Great Britain and Ireland in 1801 - to consider its reach, role and reputation on a global scale. In the period up to 1815, for example, the American Wars of Independence (1775-83), the French Revolution of 1789, the wars against Revolutionary and Napoleonic France (1793-1815) and the Battle of Waterloo (1815), all made the United Kingdom think outside its purely domestic political situation. The establishment of peace terms in 1815 ushered in what historians once described as the ‘Pax Britannica’ or century of ‘British’ peace. Over the course of the next century, the United Kingdom became increasingly defined by the range of its global interests, both in terms of its formal and informal empire, its diplomatic activity and its continuing participation in naval and military conflict. By the end of the period, the United Kingdom’s global status was challenged by the repercussions of World War One (1914-18) and the impending dissolution of the Union with Ireland (1922).

The symposium provides an opportunity to explore the United Kingdom’s global relationships in this period in graphic political and personal satires. It builds on a growing body of work which explores the subject from the perspective of individual satirists such as Gillray, Rowlandson, Cruikshank and Doyle, as well as studies of well-known satirical print titles like Punch and personifications of ‘Britishness’ such as John Bull. Papers which consider the United Kingdom’s global relationships from the perspective of the constituent parts of the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland) and from overseas would be particularly welcome, as would papers which reflect upon issues of race, gender, nationhood and ethnicity across the period in question.

Anyone interested in submitting a paper is invited to send an outline of 500-1000 words to graphicsatire@nottingham.ac.uk by 1 September 2016.Informal enquiries may also be directed to the same address.

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