Department of Culture and Learning

Ten years after: The Muhammad Cartoons: Perspectives, Reflections, and Challenges

conference in aalborg

September 28 - 29, 2015

Aalborg University

Press coordinator: Anette Marcher Jensen, email:, phone: +45 2120 0241.

Ten years have gone since the Danish newspaper Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten decided to publish 12 Muhammad cartoons of the prophet Muhammad as cartoonists ‘imagined him’. The cartoons and the stories about them cost the lives of 150 people. Denmark’s reputation abroad and export to Arab speaking countries were severely impacted. In addition, it has affected the opportunities of immigrants, who experience they are being stigmatized and not fully allowed to be Danes. Many Danes have had their ideas of womanhood among Muslims re-enforced, ideas of incompatible values have been strengthened, and the debate about freedom of speech reified. For many non-Western Muslims, the cartoon story has become an icon of Western arrogance and hatred towards Islam. Their anger came from a deep sense that they are not respected, that they and their most cherished feelings are “fair game.”

New research suggest that increased racial discrimination and enforcement of racial-cultural logics of belonging facilitates mobilization of minority youth groups to crime, violence, political activism, carelessness and terrorism. This development exposes a “schismogenetic” process that merits academic attention analysis and solutions.

Some of the questions for the conference:

  • How is the gap between “the academics” and “the politicals” being played out?
  • Is there a gap between the understanding of the crisis in Denmark and abroad?
  • What are the differences in the debates about Islam in contemporary Denmark and other non-Muslim countries?
  • Ten years after – did the insult, the ridicule, and the mocking lead to a better society?
  • How does the cartoon story relate to the moralization of Danish society and the emergence of online social media?
  • How are democratic values and free speech affected ten years after by the spread of Islamophobia, policies, and confrontational news media coverage and debate?

Confirmed keynote speakers are Lene Hansen, Mark Allen Peterson, Arun Kundnani, Deepa Kumar, and Peter Hervik. Chairs of workshops are Carsten Stage, Signe Kjær Jørgensen, Anja Kublitz, and Mikkel Rytter. 

Please send your title, abstract, affiliation and contact information before 28 August via this link


Opening by Per Michael Johansen

Headmaster of Aalborg University, Per Michael Johansen, will open this international academic conference on the Muhammad cartoons ten years after they were originally published. During the conference on September 28 – 29, 2015. Researchers from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, USA, Algeria and UK and elsewhere will discuss some of the most important global political and cultural issues of the 21st century. In addition to the question outlined in the call for papers, we also ask why we so readily talk about their culture but not our politics? What is “the new normal” and what are the consequences of the “dumbing down” in much of the political communication? 


Conference coordinator Peter Hervik

Conference secretary Ulla Langballe

Further conference information