University of Kentucky prof to examine cartoonists' reactions to bin Laden’s death

BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sept. 9, 2011) — For three weeks following Seal Team Six’s daring raid into Pakistan, a raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden,  University of Kentucky professor Dr. Stanley Brunn examined more than 400 political cartoons about the raid and bin Laden’s death from all over the world looking for dominant themes.

On Thursday, Sept. 15, Brunn will be at Bemidji State University for a presentation on his findings, entitled “Cartooning bin Laden’s Death: Celebration, Deception and Electoral Politics.” His presentation will be held from noon-1 p.m. in Hagg Sauer 102 on the Bemidji State campus.

Geography’s recent emphasis on visuals has ushered in studies that examine state images, such as flags, currencies, maps, stamps, and websites, as well as political cartoons and comics. These popular images provide valuable insight into the depictions of places, individuals and events. While many of the cartoons Brunn examined depicted multiple themes, he was able to identify dominant themes celebrating bin Laden’s death, American hubris, President Obama as a victor and Pakistani military incompetence.

Brunn also identified secondary themes that included ocean creatures, bin Laden being welcomed to his afterlife by the devil, the Republican response to President Obama’s announcement of the successful raid, the persistence of terrorism and the discovery of bin Laden’s penchant for pornography in post-raid examinations of his Pakistani stronghold.

Cartoons by these visual gatekeepers, Brunn claims, provide useful barometers to measure the national and international impact of major political events.

Brunn earned his doctorate from Ohio State University and taught at the University of Florida and Michigan State University before joining the geography department at Kentucky as chair in 1980. His teaching and research interests include political, social and urban geographies, the geographies of information and communication, and time-space geographies and innovative cartographies. Brunn also has offered presentations on technological hazards, cyberspace, humane geographies and peace and reconciliation.

For more information on Brunn’s presentation, contact Bemidji State’s geography department at (218) 755-2880.

Sept. 15 — noon-1 p.m. — Bemidji State University hosts lecture by Dr. Stanley D. Brunn, professor of geography at the University of Kentucky: “Cartooning bin Laden’s Death: Celebration, Deception and Electoral Politics,” an examination of dominant themes in 400 international political cartoons in the three weeks following bin Laden’s death. Location: Sattgast 208. Admission: Free. Information: (218) 755-2880.

Dr. Stanley Brunn bio