During the many occupations of Tahrir Square from January 2011-July 2013, Egyptian demonstrators engaged in a wide range of activities, from the banal to the spectacular. They marched. They set up camps and checkpoints. They organized and deliberated. They sat around and made tea. They shared stories and argued ideology. They wrote petitions, texted friends, and posted updates to Facebook pages. They erected public kitchens, bathrooms, field hospitals, and theatrical stages. They fought the police, created art and danced. But throughout the downtime and even during street battles, they sang songs and slogans.
Why are slogans such a central part of protest culture in Egypt? As actions, what do slogans accomplish? What is their significance within the repertoires of social movements in Egypt and how do they transform during a protest cycle? This presentation explores some of the slogans and poetry of the 2011 revolution, with a special focus on aspects of performance, literary genre and history.
Elliott Colla is associate professor of Arabic and Islamic studies at Georgetown University with research interests in the links between social movements and literary production. He is the author of "Conflicted Antiquities: Egyptology, Egyptomania, Egyptian Modernity" (Duke University Press, 2007) and essays on modern Arab literature, culture, and politics. He is the author of one novel, "Baghdad Central" (Bitter Lemon Press, 2014), and has translated many works of contemporary Arabic literature, including Ibrahim al-Koni’s "Gold Dust" (American University in Cairo Press, 2008) and Raba‘i al-Madhoun’s "The Lady from Tel Aviv" (Telegram Books, 2014).
Monday, November 6 at 6:00pm
Community Foundation Theater in the Gund Gallery
101 1/2 College Drive, Gambier, Ohio 43022