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Workshop: "The Power of the Image - Caricatures as Transcultural Media of Political and Social Propaganda in the Era of Imperialism and Colonialism" in Fayoum (Egypt)


March 24 - 27, 2011

Research Project B1 "Satire" in collaboration with the Caricature Museum Fayoum held a workshop about "The power of the Image - Caricatures as Transcultural Media of Political and Social Propaganda in the Era of Imperialism and Colonialism" which also specifically focused on caricatures produced during the recent events of the January 25th Revolution in Egypt and other Arab countries.

Detailed program

Workshop: “The Figure of the Antihero in Contemporary Arabic Prison Poetry” by Prof. Dr. Randa Abou-Bakr - Cairo University

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Summary (written by Eliane Ursula Ettmüller)

Throughout the history of colloquial Arabic poetry, alliances were formed between poets and musicians such as Bayram at-Tūnsī (1893-1961) and Saiyyd Darwīsh (1892-1923), Fūʾād Haddad (1927-1985) and Saiyyd Makkawī (1928-1997) or Aḥmad Fūʾād Nigm (b. 1925) and Imām ʿIssā (1918-1995). Colloquial Arabic poetry already started to have a political character in the Mamluk period (1250-1517). In the 19th century it took an active part in mobilizing the masses for the ʿUrābī Revolution (1879-1882). By the use of colloquial poetry in their journals, ʿAbdallāh Nadīm (1845-1896) and Yaʿqūb Sannuʿ (1839-1912) fomented this collective form of expression and political resistance. Bayram at-Tūnsī in his collaboration with Saiyyd Darwish made colloquial poetry become an elaborated form of artistic expression. President Nasser used colloquial poetry in his political agenda for the process of nationalization. In the sixties there was a generation of poets who brought fame and glory for the Egyptian colloquial poetry. These were Fūʾād Haddad, Aḥmad Fūʾād Nigm, Salāḥ Jahīn (1930-1986), Nagīb Surūr (1932-1978), ʿAbdu-l-raḥman al-Abnūdī (b. 1938) and Zayn al-ʿAbidīn Fū̄ʾād (b. 1944). Colloquial Arabic poetry still is an important way of common expression in the Egyptian society. The poet interacts in his life-recitals with the audience. These performances find a wide distribution thanks to modern electronic media. Nevertheless, colloquial Arabic poetry has been marginalized from what is to be considered as ‘true literature’. This is the reason why much less attention was given from the academic side to colloquial poetry than to its classical counterpart. The colloquial genre is completely absent from school-books as well as from university lectures. There seems to be an overt neglect and a secret admiration for this genre.

Public Lecture: “Egyptian Colloquial Poets: The Voice of Dissent” by Prof. Dr. Randa Abou-Bakr - Cairo University

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Summary (written by Eliane Ursula Ettmüller)


Throughout the history of colloquial Arabic poetry, alliances were formed between poets and musicians such as Bayram at-Tūnsī (1893-1961) and Saiyyd Darwīsh (1892-1923), Fūʾād Haddad (1927-1985) and Saiyyd Makkawī (1928-1997) or Aḥmad Fūʾād Nigm (b. 1925) and Imām ʿIssā (1918-1995). Colloquial Arabic poetry already started to have a political character in the Mamluk period (1250-1517). In the 19th century it took an active part in mobilizing the masses for the ʿUrābī Revolution (1879-1882). By the use of colloquial poetry in their journals, ʿAbdallāh Nadīm (1845-1896) and Yaʿqūb Sannuʿ (1839-1912) fomented this collective form of expression and political resistance. Bayram at-Tūnsī in his collaboration with Saiyyd Darwish made colloquial poetry become an elaborated form of artistic expression. President Nasser used colloquial poetry in his political agenda for the process of nationalization. In the sixties there was a generation of poets who brought fame and glory for the Egyptian colloquial poetry. These were Fūʾād Haddad, Aḥmad Fūʾād Nigm, Salāḥ Jahīn (1930-1986), Nagīb Surūr (1932-1978), ʿAbdu-l-raḥman al-Abnūdī (b. 1938) and Zayn al-ʿAbidīn Fū̄ʾād (b. 1944). Colloquial Arabic poetry still is an important way of common expression in the Egyptian society. The poet interacts in his life-recitals with the audience. These performances find a wide distribution thanks to modern electronic media. Nevertheless, colloquial Arabic poetry has been marginalized from what is to be considered as ‘true literature’. This is the reason why much less attention was given from the academic side to colloquial poetry than to its classical counterpart. The colloquial genre is completely absent from school-books as well as from university lectures. There seems to be an overt neglect and a secret admiration for this genre.  

Workshop: "Cynicism and Satire in Modern Arabic Poetry Battling Imperialism" by Waleed Saleh – Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

21th November 2010

Summary (written by Nina Sassani)

After a historical introduction to the British occupation of Iraq after the First World War and the use of irony and satire in Arabic poetry, Prof. Dr. Waleed Saleh Alkhalifa analyzed cynicism and contempt as a means of revolt in the Iraqi society. As an example, he presented the works of three poets, Mullā ʿAbūd al-Karkhī, Aḥmad al-Ṣāfī al-Nadjafī and Muḥammad Mahdī al-Djawāhirī.
Mullā ʿAbūd al-Karkhī not only strongly opposed British imperialism, but also the Iraqi Parliament. In 1927 he founded the al-Karkhī newspaper in Baghdad. The newspaper was closed many times by the government for its political orientations. Later he founded other newspapers such as al-Mizmār, al-Sudda and al-Karkhī. The first volume of his collected poems appeared in 1935. He then started work in Baghdad radio. As he used to recite his work as a poet which was not necessarily approved by the authorities he was imprisoned a lot of times.
Aḥmad al-Ṣāfī al-Nadjafī participated as a young man in numerous rebellions against the occupiers, particularly in the uprising of 1919. After the arrest of the British commissioner in Iraq, he had to escape to Iran. Nevertheless, after eight years of exile, on his secret return to Iraq he was promptly arrested and deported and had to pass several moths in Lebanese prisons. After several moves to Iraq and Syria he finally died in the Lebanese Civil War in 1977. Nadjafī constantly uses cynicism and disdain in his poems to attack the occupiers. A good example for this is his poetry collection "prison harvest".

Al-Djawāhirī, one of the greatest Iraqi contemporary poets worked as a teacher in Baghdad until his dismissal from the job due to one of his poems which criticized the government, but later he was appointed at the Protocol Office of the Royal Palace. In 1930 he resigned from his work and establish the al-Furāt newspaper of which only 20 issues were published before being closed down. He participated in the May Revolution of 1941and after its breakdown fled to Iran. In 1968 he returned to Iraq after the Baath Party owertook power. He then left for Syria and remained in Damascus until his death in 1997. Al-Djawāhirī lived over a century and during his entire life he never ceased his harsh critique against the British occupiers and their Iraqi agents.

The Changing Nature of Marathi Political Theatre

Wednesday, November 10, 2010, 4-6 p.m.

Makarand Sathe, playwright, was in Heidelberg to present his work on politics in the vibrant Marathi theatre tradition.

Every play is political in a sense. It may not fit in the definition of a 'political play' as such, but it does make a political statement if we place it in the contemporary socio-political reality. This is especially true regarding Marathi theatre in colonial times, as it was very vibrant and politically conscious. It developed into many complex currents. This politics in theatre or plays is the topic of the famous Makarand Sathe - not essentially 'political theatre'.

There are three distinct periods in Marathi colonial theatre :

1. 1843 to 1880 - Initial ascent, politically confused and exploring

2. 1880 to 1930 - Golden period, politically radical and articulate

3. 1930 to 1947 (1960) - Decline of theatre

There are many currents in each. Makarand Sathe tries to trace some of the major strands, and wants to look at how theatre was received, in addition to the role and nature of colonial censorship.

Colonial Satire in Marathi Literature

Friday, September 17, 2010

About the speakers:

G. P. Deshpande is a retired professor at the Centre of East Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. He is a renowned Marathi playwright, and has recieved the Lifetime achievement award 2010 from the Maharashtra Foundation.

Urmila Bhirdikar is a contract faculty in the School of Language, Literature and Cultural Studies in the newly established Central University of Gujarat in Gandhinagar. She has recently finished her doctoral thesis on 'A Sociological Study of the Practice of Female Impersonation in Marathi Theatre in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century'

Screening of a Marathi Theatre Play

Thursday, August 26, 2010, 8 p.m.

The film 'Cārśe Koti Visarbhole' (Four Billion Forgetfuls), was directed by Mohit Takalkar, and based on the play by Makarand Sathe. It is a fantasy depicting conditions as they might be in the year 3985 AD.

The film operates simultaneously on many levels. On the surface it is a science fiction telling us about time when life has become a medium of exchange. It can also be seen as a political satire on the all-encompassing nature of ruthless competition and market in the present era of late capitalism. 'Capital' acts as a metaphor as the cut-throat rivalry between a big tycoon and a couple of immortal characters from Indian mythology unfolds in the play. It also deals philosophically with concepts like time, space, immortality etc. And finally touches upon the absurdity of human existence.

Its humor is very sui generis in Marathi theatre, as said by the noted playwright G. P. Deshpande. Its childlike fresh quality has the capacity of combining the harsh political satire with the humor that evolves with the philosophical realization of absurdity. The author plays freely with time and space, tossing them up and down with the delight of a child playing with a ball.

Workshop "The British Punch Magazine as a Transcultural Format of Satire and Caricature"

Some impressions of the workshop:

Workshop with Sudipta Kaviraj

November 03, 2009

Workshop with Sudipta Kaviraj (New York) on "Colonial Satire and Resistance in South Asia"

for more information, please see the calendar entry

Workshop with M. Sathe and G.M. Pawar

October 30, 2009

Workshop on "Satirical Traditions in Colonial Marathi Literature" featuring Makarand Sathe (Pune): "Major Socio-Political Trends in Colonial Marathi Theatre, With an Emphasis on Satire" and G.M. Pawar (Solapur): "Changing Satirical Trends in Colonial Marathi Literature". 

for more information, please see the calendar entry

Some impressions of the workshop:

Lecture by Jula Wildberger: "Horace's First Satire: Job Interview of a Poet?"

August 03, 2009

Review (written by Eliane Ursula Ettmueller):

Satire, in general, seems to have made its appearance among the Roman literati at an age of major political transformation and paradigmatic change. Horace is not an exception here: after having been defeated at the Battle of Philippi on the republican side, he found himself deprived of his properties in his hometown Venusia and got introduced to the circle of Maecenas’s clients – loyal followers of Octavian and the imperialist cause. Nevertheless, the first of Horace’s Satires has a shocking tone, for what can be read as a ‘Job interview’ of a hungry poet: Horace seems to explicitly attack Maecenas through his satirist persona for a senseless accumulation of wealth and therefore asks him: quid iuvat immensum te argenti pondus et auri furtim defossa timidum deponere terra? (Sat. 1.1, 41-42) (What pleasure is it for you, trembling to deposit an immense weight of silver and gold in the earth dug up by stealth? Trad. Vid. The Perseus Project). He goes on reminding the rich man of the inconvenience of avarice which causes unhappiness, a constant feeling of dissatisfaction, the permanent fear of theft, the alignment of family and friends and eventually murder. Rather abruptly, he closes his attack – maybe Maecenas was starting to be to offended and about to leave – with a short general accusation of humankind for rarely being able to leave the world like a satisfied guest the table (Sat. 1.1, 117) and closes the Satire by not wanting to add one more word (Sat. 1.1, 120-121). The philosophical message of the Satire is implicit. Verses 105 and 106 seem to allude to the importance of measure and boundaries for moral rectitude. The moral and ethical discourse of satire, however, is always refracted by the satirist’s way of presenting it. It is not forwarded by a neutral voice, but by the satirist’s persona. ‘Horace the poet’ in the first book of Satires presents the autobiography of ‘Horace the satirist’ – of his becoming a member of Maecenas’s group of amici.

The Roman satura must be understood as a genre of ‘serious literature’ at least after Quintilian’s mentioning it in the 1st CAC in a reading list for rhetoric students. Horace himself states for the first time in his Satire 1.4 that he is writing in the genre invented by Lucilius.

 
Read more about Jula Wildberger (The American University of Paris, France)...  

Lecture by Catharina Kiehnle: "Humour, Satire and Sarcasm in a Maharashtrian Religious Context"

July 27, 2009

Review (written by Swarali Paranjape):

The corpus of oral and written medieval Marathi religious literature contains ample features of what can be qualified as satire, provided our definition of satire is reflexive enough to take into account indigenous literary forms like upahās and parihās, which have been extensively commented upon in the classical Indian treatises on arts and aesthetics.

Catharina Kiehnle’s lecture covered a large field spanning almost the whole of premodern Marathi literature, virtually from the closed and exclusive religious literary traditions like the Mahānubhāv’s ‘Līḷācaritra’ in the late 13th century to the widely popular and inclusive devotional religious literature (Kīrtan) of the Saint Poet Tukārām in the late 16th and early 17th century. Tukārām used quotidian, mundane and secular idioms and proverbs in his discourse and is thereby also closely linked to the area of sayings and proverbs. These are, as Kiehnle showed in the concluding part of her presentation, themselves a field characterised by much humour and satire.

Read more about Catharina Kiehnle (University of Leipzig, Germany)...  

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