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The Power of Humor

Charlie Hebdo Untouchables CoverThe Power of Humor: Politics, Religion and Charlie Hebdo began as a comparative study of extreme French and American satire. In the early stage of my research, I decided to switch my focus solely to Charlie Hebdo, as there is not a comparable controversial American satirical magazine. For the purpose of collecting data, I focused primarily on major controversies or major events within the past decade, and reviewed the issues directly before and after each controversy. I reached out directly to Charlie Hebdo via email, and reviewed editorial pieces written by Charlie Hebdo editors. While reviewing the issues, I focused on the frequency of themes depicted, and the ways in which they were depicted. I took into account the context of the cartoon within the theme of each page (some pages focused more on one religion, or a particular political party), as well as the size and visibility of each cartoon within the layout of the page. I then compiled this information to understand Charlie Hebdo on a larger scale.

Research Goals: 1-Answering the primary question: “What are the impacts of Charlie Hebdo on French society?” 2-Exploring the impacts and implications of extreme satire, 3-Understanding the motivation for creating and distributing extreme satire
Research Outcomes
Brandi McConahay and Dr. Neringa Klumbyte stand in front of a poster presentation at the Undergraduate Research Forum
Undergraduate Research Forum 2016

The Power of Humor: Politics, Religion and Charlie Hebdo was presented at the Miami University Undergraduate Research Forum in April 2016. The paper was awarded the Carl Jantzen Award for the Best Paper in Cultural Anthropology by the Miami University Department of Anthropology in May 2016.

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Carl Jantzen Award Best Paper in Cultural Anthropology, Miami University 2016

Bowen, John R. 2004. "Does French Islam Have Borders? Dilemmas of Domestication in a Global Religious Field." American Anthropologist 106(1): 43-55.

Bowen, John R. 2015. "Muslims and Citizenship in Western Europe- An Introduction." Council for European Studies European Muslims after Charlie Hebdo.

Biard, Gerard. 2015. "Est-ce Qu'il y Aura Encore de "Oui, Mais"?" Editorial. Charlie Hebdo 14 Jan: 2-3.

2015. "Charlie Hebdo Attack: Three Days of Terror." British Broadcasting Corporation, 14 Jan.

El Qadim, Nora. 2015. "The January 2015 Attacks and the Debate on Deprivation of Citizenship in France." Council for European Studies European Muslims after Charlie Hebdo.

Fernando, M. L. 2010. "Reconfiguring freedom: Muslim piety and the limits of secular law and public discourse in France." American Ethnologist 37(1): 19-35.

Fouché, Gwladys. 2007. "Cartoon Court Case Begins." The Guardian, 7 Feb.

2011. "French Satirical Paper Charlie Hebdo Attacked in Paris." BBC News, 2 Nov.

Gibson, Megan. 2015. "The Provocative History of French Weekly Newspaper 'Charlie Hebdo'" Time, 7 Jan.

Haugerud, Angelique. 2013. No Billionaire Left Behind. Stanford University Press.

Klumbyte, N. 2011. Political Intimacy. EEPS.

Memmott, Mark. 2012. "France On Alert, Closing Embassies, After Magazine Publishes Muhammad Cartoons." National Public Radio, 19 Sept.

Mignot, Jean-François, and Celine Goffette. 2015. "Non, « Charlie Hebdo » N'est Pas Obsédé Par L'islam." Le Monde, 24 Feb.

Müller, Marion G., and Esra Özcan. 2007. "The Political Iconography of Muhammad Cartoons: Understanding Cultural Conflict and Political Action." PS: Political Science & Politics 40(2).

Santi, Pascale. 2006. "Cavanna Et 'les Cons'" Le Monde, 14 Feb.

Silva, Cristina. 2015. "Charlie Hebdo Attack: The Prophet Muhammad Cartoons That May Have Caused Paris Magazine Massacre." International Business Times, 07 Jan.

Tejani, Riaz. "'A Logic of Camps': French Antiracism as Competitive Nationalism." PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review.

Vandoorne, Saskya. 2010. "French Senate Approves Burqa Ban." Cable News Network, 15 Sept.

Special Thanks to: Dr. Neringa Klumbyte, Miami University Department of Anthropology
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