Since January 2011 revolutionary events and spectacles occurred on the streets and squares in Egypt. For a while, it seemed as though the public space had been appropriated by people. However, since July 2013, the military regime has forbidden any protests or demonstrations and jailed thousands of people who tried to challenge their order. The public space was closed but resistance is still going on. For the activists, the battle is not only about rights and justice but it is also about contested spaces, about having a stage, agency and voice (Rancière).
Professor Botros will argue that the stage of resistance against political power has been shifted to the prison, a negative place (Bachelard) in which Sisi’s regime tried to dissolve political activists and dissents to keep their resistant voices silent. But, in fact, the prison has now become the new stage of resistance. Letters, memoirs, stories, poems, photos or paintings from, about or to political detainees are published and circulated in the social media regularly denouncing the violent, repressive and illegal practices of the Egyptian state. These materials on the prison function as a counter-archive to the regime’s official narrative. Texts written by political detainees cross the walls to the outside world to tell about the inside world of prisons, and about the precarious political and social realities in Egypt today. These cultural productions thus depict a new mode of resistance. Analysing materials produced by or about prisoners between 2013 and 2016, Botros will demonstrate how these daily streams of words and images create a virtual presence of those who are physically isolated and banned. Resistance figures that are supposed to be forgotten thus acquire a voice and agency through their new stage behind the prison bars.
Atef Botros Al Attar is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, Qatar. He studied German Literature at the Heinrich Heine Universität, Düsseldorf, and obtained his PhD from the University of Leipzig/Erfurt in Comparative Literature and Arabic Studies with a dissertation on the Arabic reception of Kafka. From 2001 to 2005 he held a scholarship of the Heinrich Böll Foundation. Atef Botros Al Attar has been visiting scholar at the University of Michigan and Cairo University. Since November 2007, he has been employed as an Assistant Professor at the Arabic Studies Department of the Center for Near and Middle Eastern Studies at the Philipps University of Marburg. He is author of "Kafka - Ein Jüdischer Schriftsteller aus arabischer Sicht" ["Kafka – a Jewish Writer from an Arab Perspective"], (Wiesbaden 2009), and editor of "Der Nahe Osten – Ein Teil Europas?" ["The Middle East - a Part of Europe? Reflections on Space and Cultural Conceptions in the Modern Middle East"] (Würzburg 2006). His focal points in teaching and research are set on comparative and modern Arabic literature and intellectual history, cultural resistance in the ‘Arab’ world, and approaches to critical humanism in Arabic literature.
The lecture is organised by Prof. Dr. Islam Dayeh (Arabistik)
03.05.2017 | 16:00 - 18:00
"Holzlaube", Raum 2.2058 (2. Obergeschoss)