No Laughing Matter: Political Cartoons and the Arkansas Historical Perspective

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An Educational Symposium
Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016
Little Rock Marriott Hotel and Statehouse Convention Center
Petit Jean Room

The following sessions are designed for educators, scholars, enthusiasts, high school and college students, and the general public. This is a free event. Space is limited.

8-9 AM: Persuasion, Comedy, and Politics: The Rhetorical Impact of Satire in Political Cartoons

What is the purpose of political cartoons? It has little to do with politics. Contemporary politics is just the subject, cartoons are satire. Attendees will learn how humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule is used to expose and criticize society’s vices.


  • George Jensen, UALR Department of Rhetoric and Writing
  • J. Bradley Minnick, UALR Department of English


9:10-10:10 AM: Illustrating History: Jon Kennedy and Historical Representation

Political cartoons reflect the human condition at a point in time, like literature, they offer an emotional, sense-based context to historical facts not offered in modern reporting. The drawings are persuasive and evoke an emotional response from the viewer. Responses range from a call to action to reflection or deeper thought on a particular issue. Attendees will analyze editorial drawings by Jon Kennedy between 1940 and 1980 to tell the story of Arkansas political history.


  • Barclay Key, UALR Department of History
  • John Deering, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette


10:20-11:20 AM: The Political Cartoonist as Entrepreneur: Arkansas Cartoonists Working Both Sides of Campaigns

Modern political cartooning uses two styles–traditional and linear–to depict visual metaphor. Regardless of style, editorial cartoons express current events in a comical manner. This session will review these styles and offer suggestions of how analysis of each can be incorporated into classroom topics.


  • Revis Edmonds, Department of Arkansas Heritage
  • Joeseph Giammo, UALR Department of Political Science
  • John Deering, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette


4:10-5:10 PM: Modernizing History: Developing and Publishing a Virtual Exhibit for the Modern Student

Attendees will learn how to create a strategy for creating a virtual exhibit for the modern student using primary sources.


  • Chad Garrett, UALR Collections and Archives
  • Shannon Lausch, UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture
  • Stan James, eStem Public Charter School