University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies


A review of "Can One Laugh at Everything? Satire and Free Speech After Charlie"

A review of "Can One Laugh at Everything? Satire and Free Speech After Charlie"

On January 29 the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, the Center for Jewish Studies and the Department of French & Italian as well as several other centers and departments at the University of Minnesota hosted a discussion "Can One Laugh at Everything? Satire and Free Speech After Charlie." Speakers included Anthony Winer (William Mitchell College of Law); William Beeman (Anthropology); Jane Kirtley (Journalism); Bruno Chaouat (French & Italian); and Steven Sack (Editorial Cartoonist, Minneapolis Star Tribune).


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The conversation addressed the topic of free speech after the attacks on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo in early January from a variety of perspectives: comparing U.S. and European legislative contexts, addressing figurative representation in the Islamic tradition, and the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe. Free speech, issues of power, inequality, racism, and hate speech were also brought up. Steven Sack made a case for the simultaneous potency and vulnerability of cartoons as a medium. The organizers noted that this event was intended as a starting point to a larger conversation and hoped that the discussion continues both in classrooms and beyond.
Initially covered by MPR, press coverage after the event has continued to be strong, particularly regarding controversy over the image used in the flyer to promote the talk in the days and weeks leading up to it. Read about the controversy in Inside Higher Ed, the Washington Post, and the local Star and Tribune.
Click here for an audio recording of the talks.
Here for the visuals accompanying Bill Beeman's talk.
Here for the visuals accompanying Bruno Chaouat's talk.

photos below courtesy of Steve Foldes (left to right, top to bottom): Anthony Winer, William Beeman, Jane Kirtley, Bruno Chaouat, and Steven Sack.
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