Creating the Enemy: Forms and Functions of the Enemy Image

For an upcoming issue of Angles: New Perspectives on the Anglophone World, a peer-reviewed journal indexed by MLA, ERIH-Plus, EBSCO and others, we welcome proposals on “Creating the Enemy: Forms and Functions of the Enemy Image”.

This issue will be guest edited by Jacob Maillet ( and Cécile Dudouyt (

    1. Call for papers

This issue of Angles proposes to explore processes of othering and scapegoating through the creation of “enemy images” in Anglophone countries, from the early modern period and onwards, in the press, fiction, political discourse, film and social media. The concept of the “enemy image” was particularly developed in the final chapter of the Cold War by American psychiatrist Jerome D. Frank (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine) and Soviet researcher Andrei Y. Melville (Institute of USA and Canada Studies). Building on the idea of “mirror images” in International Relations, Frank and Melville showed that in times of conflict, evil characteristics will be attributed to an enemy and that such negative perceptions will show in the media coverage of the conflict, thus fueling hatred on both sides. They posited as well that the enemy image also had a number of domestic functions:

[…] the hysteria about the outer threat is often used as justification for secrecy and suspicion, covert actions, policies creating “mobilized” societies, artificial national unity, “witch hunts,” and policies suppressing dissent, all ignoring domestic problems and distracting attention from them.

The creation of enemy images is similar to the process of othering “by which a dominant in-group (‘Us,’ the Self) constructs one or many dominated out-groups (‘Them,’ Other) by stigmatizing a difference — real or imagined — presented as a negation of identity and thus a motive for potential discrimination.” (Staszak, 2008). German political scientist Ragnhild Fiebig-von Hase defined the enemy image as “a culturally influenced, very negative and stereotypical evaluation of the ‘other’ — be it individuals, groups, nations, or ideologies” (1997).

Since the end of the Cold War, other instances of enemy images have appeared and been studied, such as that of Saddam Hussein's Iraq (White 1991). The concept has also been applied to previous conflicts in U.S. history (Fiebig-von Hase and Lehmkuhl 1997, Vuorinen 2012).

In this issue, we would like to widen the scope of this concept by discussing the “enemy image” throughout history in the Anglophone world, in fictional and non-fictional form.

Proposals may explore the different ways in which the enemy image is created or subverted, in real-life politics or in fiction, along the following lines (but without being limited to them):

  • Analyses of the representation of enemy images in fictional contexts (novels, TV shows, film, theatre and performance, comic books, etc.), especially the means an author or artist can use to convey the evil characteristics of the enemy to the reader/viewer (eg. anti-catholic portrayal of French leaders of the Saint Bartholomew Massacre in Christopher Marlowe's Massacre at Paris; confrontation with the Napoleonic arch-enemy in Dickens' The Seven Poor Travelers; faces of the Russian enemy in Le Carré, Clancy or Fleming; the figure of the evil alien in Star Trek, etc.);

  • Theoretical discussions on the functions of the enemy image, and its uses in propaganda (Keen, 1991), including posters and cartoons. This may include, among others, its use for electoral reasons (Logevall, 2004), to reinforce national identity (Smith, 2017), or legitimize racial conflict (Hunt, 1987) (eg. Anti-royalist propaganda in the years leading to and following the execution of Charles I; Anti-Japanese sentiment after Pearl Harbor; parody and deconstruction of State propaganda in Orwell's Animal Farm and 1984, etc.);

  • Linguistic analyses of discourses that aim at creating enemy images;

  • Detailed historical examples of enemy images in foreign or domestic policy (eg. during the French and Indian Wars, the US Civil War, the World Wars, Vietnam, etc.). Studies on all geographical areas and time-periods are welcome;

  • The uses of the “enemy image” in digital environments. In an age of disinformation, digital social media and mass entertainment, collective perceptions and representations are more fluid and susceptible to manipulation than ever.

Angles fosters scholarly risk-taking and experimentation by junior and senior researchers. Angles accepts academic contributions partly, or wholly, in non-traditional forms (documentary film, short story, comic book, manifesto, pamphlet…). Angles also encourages proposals from specialists wishing to explore a different field of study than their own.

    1. Deadlines

500-word abstracts must be sent to the Guest editor at and by March 17, 2019. Proposals will be selected on a rolling deadline and no later than March 20, 2019.

Completed articles must be received by July 25, 2019.

The issue is scheduled for publication as the Fall 2019 issue.

    1. Submission procedure

Submissions must follow the in-house style:

For non-traditional submissions, please contact the Guest editor and the General editor for more information.

    1. References

  • Ragnhild Fiebig-von-Hase and Ursula Lehmkuhl. Enemy Images in American History. Oxford: Berghahn Books, 1997.

  • Jerome D. Frank and Andrei Y. Melville. “The enemy image and the process of change”. In Anatoly Gromyko and Martin Hellman (eds), Breakthrough: Emerging New Thinking: Soviet and Western Scholars Issue a Challenge to Build a World Beyond War. New York: Walker and Company, 1988.

  • Michael Hunt. Ideology and U.S. Foreign Policy. London: Yale University Press, 1987.

  • Sam Keen. Faces of the Enemy: Reflections of the Hostile Imagination. New York: Harper Collins, 1991 (2nd edition).

  • Fredrik Logevall. “A Critique of Containment”, Diplomatic History, September 2004, Volume 28, Issue 4, pages 473–499.

  • Anthony D. Smith. Nationalism. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2017 (2nd edition).

  • Jean-François Staszak. “Other/otherness”. In Rob Kitchin and Nigel Thrift, International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, 2008, Elsevier, volume 8, p. 43.

  • Marja Vuorinen. Enemy Images in War Propaganda. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012.

  • Raph K. White. “Enemy Images in the United Nations-Iraq and East-West Conflicts”. In R.W. Rieber R.W. (eds), The Psychology of War and Peace. Boston: Springer, 1991.