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The Editors

European Comic Art has moved from Liverpool to Oxford, and we are happy to be working with Mark Stanton and his colleagues at Berghahn Books, whose headquarters are within sight of a dreaming spire or two but just as close to East Oxford, where the longest-standing continuous annual comics festival in Britain, ‘Caption’, has been held every summer since 1992.

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The Editors

The treatment of cultural difference and diversity by French-speaking cartoonists has changed radically over the last few decades, as four articles in this special issue demonstrate. What has not changed since the nineteenth century is the centrality of these themes to comics, which have been a globalizing medium in a shrinking world throughout the period. French-language comics are exemplary of these transformations, insofar as France was a major imperialist power during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Moreover, France has long been home to ethnic and religious minorities, and was a major center of immigration during the twentieth century. These socio-historical trends have left a huge imprint on comics within France itself, but the French also exported the form along with their language to most of their colonies, which has given rise to (post-)colonial traditions of cartooning in French-speaking regions across the globe.

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Introduction

Comics, the Social World and Challenging Consensus

The Editors

Comics, and in particular European comics, has always engaged with the social world, whether to contest or to uphold its norms. From its antecedents in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century caricature, it inherited a strong current of satire and critique. In the adventure genre that marked the emergence of European comics in its modern form in the first part of the twentieth century, engagement with the world was no less evident, but most often served, rather, to defend the dominant order, colonial or anti-communist, as heroes set off to right wrongs in far-flung places.

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Editorial

Perspectives on Authors, Perspectives from Authors

The Editors

Creation and criticism, in comics, as in all types of artistic expression, become intertwined, and all the more so as the form develops self-awareness and seeks defi nition. One of the main precursors of the tradition of graphic storytelling, William Hogarth (1697–1764), told of the social tribulations of the London in which he lived via multi-image series such as A Rake’s Progress (c. 1735) and A Harlot’s Progress (c. 1732), but was also known for his Analysis of Beauty (1753), in which he elaborates the notion of the central S shape as key to the visual expression of attractiveness; this serpentine ‘line of beauty’ can still be detected in the characters of comic books today.

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The Editors

When we agreed in 2014 to devote this special issue of Israel Studies Review to the subject “Resisting Liberalism in Israel,” we did not realize how timely it would be. At this point in early 2016, it is a truism to say that Israel has moved well to the right, both politically and religiously—a phenomenon that is equally obvious to this trend’s proponents and opponents. It is thus particularly important that the articles in this issue examine different aspects of the reasons that ‘liberalism’, broadly understood, has little appeal to the disparate group of approximately half of Jewish Israelis generally gathered under the rubric ‘Mizrahim’.

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The Editors

We have perhaps been remiss in not calling attention earlier to the appearance of a major new institution in the field of Israel Studies, located just a few miles from us in downtown Washington, DC. This is the Israel Institute, founded in 2012 and headed by Itamar Rabinovich, a former President of Tel Aviv University and, before that, Israel’s Ambassador to the US, who is currently a Distinguished Global Professor at New York University. Primarily funded by the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, the Israel Institute “supports scholarship, research, and cultural exchanges to build a multi-faceted field of Israel Studies and expand opportunities to explore the diversity and complexity of contemporary Israel.”

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The Editors

Were Israel Studies Review a monthly, or even a quarterly, journal, we would have commented at some length on—and perhaps even dedicated a forum discussion to—the important proposed ‘ethics code’ for Israeli institutions of higher education that was prepared by Professor Asa Kasher at the request of the Ministry of Education and made public in June of this year. However, since we come out only every six months (a schedule that is going to change), we know that the situation will be different by the time you read this. Nevertheless, we cannot completely ignore this unprecedented phenomenon.

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The Editors

One of the great anthems of the romantically famed 1960s was Dylan’s ‘The times, they are a-changing’. But are they ever not? They certainly are right now, and radically. As a subject concerned with what one might, in slightly old-fashioned terms, describe as ‘the human condition’, anthropology ought to pay attention to and engage with these changes. That attention and engagement ought to be visible in the pages of its journals, and across the spectrum of journals, it certainly has been. For small journals like AJEC, this poses particular challenges. When the editorial board met last year during the EASA conference in Tallinn, we discussed these challenges and how best to respond to them. The journal has been doing exceptionally well in a difficult publishing climate, and the changes to the management and of format of AJEC, agreed in Tallinn and complemented by subsequent consultation, will build on this success.

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Editors' Note

Slouching toward Armageddon

The Editors

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is famously multilayered. It includes a struggle between two national movements over the right of self-determination, a political battle between two peoples over the same small piece of land, and a clash between two cultures. For many decades it reflected the global competition between the superpowers, while more recently it has been partially subsumed into a struggle between regional powers. In addition, of course, religion is increasingly involved. Fortunately, the leaders of both nations have generally been aware that if the religious dimension came to the point of overshadowing the others, it would lead to havoc and destruction for all. Therefore, although this dimension was embedded in the conflict, it was generally somewhat subdued and not as visible as many of the other issues.

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Editors' Note

Threats to Academic Freedom

The Editors

As we prepare this issue to go to print, the Association for Israel Studies is facing a serious challenge. The Israeli government recently escalated its measures against the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement and announced that it may ban BDS supporters belonging to specified organizations from entering Israel. This escalation is supported in Israel not only by the government coalition but also by the opposition parties, most of the public at large, and the media.