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Revolution in Verse: Protest Culture in Egypt

Egyptian Graffiti, Cairo 2014

Graffiti from Cairo, 2014

When Egyptians took to the streets five years ago, they armed themselves with poems. During the initial 18-day period of revolution, the soundtrack was that of rhyming couplets and song, through which revolutionaries managed to articulate a wide range of demands, complaints and dreams. What is it about poetry that makes it so useful to protest movements? What can the study of slogans teach us about poetry and literature? 

We are delighted to begin 2016 with our first talk of the semester featuring the work of Elliott Colla, a professor of Arabic Literature at Georgetown University on Friday, February 19 at 12:00 p.m. in 228 Battelle-Tompkins

Elliott Colla is a scholar of modern Arabic literature and has translated novels by Ibrahim al-Koni, Raba’i al-Madhoun, Ibrahim Aslan and Idris Ali. He is the author of many articles on modern political culture in the Arab world and a book on the place of ancient Egypt in modern Egyptian history, entitled: Conflicted Antiquities: Egyptology, Egyptomania, Egyptian Modernity (Duke University Press, 2007). Colla teaches Arabic literature and attends committee meetings at Georgetown University. His first crime novel, Baghdad Central, was published by Bitter Lemon Press in 2014. 

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