Translating Dissent: Voices from and with the Egyptian Revolution

Translating Dissent cover 2-page-001ICWA: Institute of Current World Affairs Jonathan Guyer has contributed a chapter to Translating Dissent: Voices from and with the Egyptian Revolution, a forthcoming book from Routledge. His chapter focuses on the translation of Arabic political cartoons. Here is Jonathan’s abstract: This chapter reflects critically on the translation of Arabic political cartoons, both in broad and narrow terms. The questions I address include the following: How does one translate humour and satire? How does one convey symbols that are rooted in local contexts (and thus illegible to outside audiences)? How does one communicate the immediacy of a political cartoon’s punch line without diminishing from its semantic meaning? The word karikatur, which can be defined as either ‘political cartoon’ or ‘caricature’, is used to frame my interrogation of the multiple meanings of each illustration. Interpreting ‘translation’ broadly, I examine the utility of cartoons as a mechanism for communicating Egyptian politics to an international readership. In terms of interlingual translation issues, I explore political cartoons as self-contained mini texts packed with homegrown symbols as well as cultural creations that engage with music, film and other pop culture genres. Translating Dissent features writing by many other scholars, activists and artists focused on the Egyptian experience since 2011. It is now available for preorder.

About the Author

From Cairo, Jonathan will focus on examining connections between cultural currents and political change across the region. He has been living and working in Egypt since 2012, where he is senior editor of the Cairo Review of Global Affairs, a policy journal published by the American University in Cairo. Managing the journal’s digital strategy, Jonathan edits the Cairo Review’s blog and books section. From 2012 to 2013, he was a Fulbright fellow researching political cartoons in Egypt. He previously served as a program associate for the New America Foundation’s Middle East Task Force in Washington, DC, and as assistant editor of Foreign Policy’s Middle East Channel. A frequent analyst on Public Radio International, he has contributed to Guernica, The New Yorker, The Paris Review Daily, New York Magazine, Nieman Reports, The Guardian, Salon, and others. His research on Egyptian satire has been cited by the Associated Press, CNN, The Economist, The Nation, New Statesman, Reuters, and TIME, as well a variety of international news outlets. A cartoonist himself, he blogs about Arabic comics and caricature at oumcartoon.tumblr.com. Indeed, Jonathan has been in high demand by the media in the wake of the terrorist killings of cartoonists in Paris at the Charlie Hebdo newspaper. http://www.icwa.org/translating-dissent-voices-from-and-within-the-egyptian-revolution/