Invitation to London docklands to translate the Egyptian revolution

Come and discuss how the ideals of the Egyptian revolution were expressed through chants, banners, jokes, poems and interviews, as well as presidential speeches and military communiques.

Arab Awakening
14 March 2012

The Arab Awakening section of openDemocracy has partnered with the University of East London to host an event series on the Tahrir Square Meme. Our second event hosts two scholars who were in Egypt from the outset of the #Jan25 revolution to offer a fresh perspective on how the language of the revolutionaries was expressed through various mediums. The event is free and open to the public and is taking place this Thursday at 6:30pm at the University of East London, Docklands Campus EBG.06, East Building (Docklands Campus is adjacent to Cyprus Station, DLR). Directions Here

Photo slideshow preview of what will be discussed

A preview of the edited book Translating Egypt's Revolution, which served as inspiration for the event

Event Details

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 materials.

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.

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