Translating Egypt's Revolution
Understanding the language of Tahrir
Thursday 15 March, 6.30pm,
University of East London, Docklands Campus Room EBG.06, East Building
(Docklands Campus is adjacent to Cyprus Station, DLR)
Egypt’s revolution has echoed around
the world. The word Tahrir has become
synonymous with resistance and radical change. In a host of demonstrations
against the Mubarak regime Egyptians first used their voices and rich humour to
express grievances, to challenge the police state, to reach for freedom, to
laugh at their oppressors – and even at themselves. They have since continued
to press for change, producing a mass of documents, leaflets, videos and online
How to communicate the meanings of this mass of written, oral and visual material? A group of academics and students at The American University in Cairo have been participants in/ observers of recent events. Samia Mehrez and Laura Gribbon talk about their unique interdisciplinary publishing project - Translating Egypt’s Revolution - a re-enactment of the infectious revolutionary spirit of Egypt today.
Translating Egypt’s Revolution is the culmination of research and translation work conducted by researchers and students of varying cultural and linguistic backgrounds who continue to witness Egypt's ongoing revolution. They have selectively translated chants, banners, jokes, poems and interviews, as well as presidential speeches and military communiques. Translating Egypt’s Revolution will be published by AUC Press in April 2012.
Samia Mehrez currently teaches modern Arabic literature, as well as courses on translation studies and theory in the Department of Arab and Islamic Civilizations at the American University in Cairo (AUC). She is founding director of the AUC Center for Translation Studies and has published numerous articles in the fields of modern Arabic literature, postcolonial literature, translation studies, gender studies and cultural studies. She is the author of Egyptian Writers between History and Fiction: Essays on Naguib Mahfouz, Sonallah Ibrahim and Gamal al-Ghitani, AUC Press, 1994 and 2005; Egypt’s Culture Wars: Politics and Practice, Routledge 2008, AUC Press 2010 and The Literary Life of Cairo, AUC Press 2011. She is the editor of a book soon to be released by AUC Press & Oxford Press, 2012, Translating Egypt’s Revolution: The Language of Tahrir.
Laura Gribbon has a BA in International Development with NGO Management from the University of East London (UEL), which culminated in a semester at the American University in Cairo (January-June 2011). She is currently studying for an MSc in Middle East politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Her professional background is in youth and community relations, working in the UK and Northern Ireland on the politics of identity. Arriving in Cairo in early January 2011, and living close to Tahrir, she was often in the midan speaking to people and taking pictures. Laura is co-author with Sarah Hawas of Signs and Signifiers: Visual Translations of Revolt in Translating Egypt’s Revolution: The Language of Tahrir, AUC Press & Oxford Press 2012. She is currently researching the role of martyrdom in the Egyptian uprisings of 2011/12.