Eventbrite - The Only Thing Worth Globalizing is Dissent

‘The Only Thing Worth Globalizing Is Dissent’


Translation and the Many Languages of Resistance


A three-day conference to be held in Cairo, 6-8 March 2015

Funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council, UK


Organized by Mona Baker, Yasmin El Rifae, and Mada Masr


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First Call for Contributions

Activists from various regions and countries connect with and influence one another through practices involving various types of translation, including video subtitling, written translation, and oral interpretation. The Egyptian Revolution and the activists and collectives who have worked to move it forward have been highly visible to other protest movements in large part through such practices. This conference aims to explore themes related to translation and its role in creating a global image for protest movements, and in connecting different movements to one another.

Held in Cairo, the conference will engage extensively with the Egyptian Revolution and the values and practices that Egyptian activist groups have shared with other groups around the world. It will also accommodate contributions relating to other protest movements insofar as they shed light on some of the ways in which global networks of solidarity are enabled and mediated by different types of translational practice. The event is ultimately intended to highlight the political import of translation and to provide a space for local, regional and international activists to reflect on the processes of mediation that allow them to connect with other movements and publics.

Translation is understood here in both its narrow and broad senses. In its narrow sense, translation involves rendering fully articulated stretches of textual material from one national language into another, and encompasses various modalities such as written translation, subtitling and oral interpreting. This type of translation is part of the fabric of practically all oppositional groups in Egypt – from the written translation of statements and campaigns by groups such as No to Military Trials to the subtitling of videos by collectives such as Mosireen and Words of Women from the Egyptian Revolution. As Rizk (2013)* explains, it is translation that allows activists involved in a group such as Mosireen to connect with protest movements elsewhere and to see themselves “within a broader struggle and not an atomized battle against local dictatorship”. In its broad sense, translation involves the mediation of diffuse symbols, narratives and linguistic signs of varying lengths across modalities (e.g. words into image), levels of language (e.g. fusha and ‘amiyya) and cultural spaces, the latter without necessarily crossing a language boundary. As such it also encompasses the use of languages other than Arabic in writings and discussions about the Egyptian Revolution, the use of (forms of) Arabic in addressing regional audiences, as well as the journey of visual and musical artefacts across social and national boundaries.

Themes to be addressed include but are not limited to the following:

  • Forms of mutual solidarity that are enabled and enhanced by various acts of translation;
  • Video activism and the role of subtitling in negotiating the shift from representation to narration;
  • Critical appraisals of the internet savvy middle class in Egypt as translators and interpreters of the Revolution;
  • The role of translation in situating the Egyptian Revolution within broader struggles, especially in the global south (Argentina, Brazil, Turkey, etc.);
  • Case studies of the contribution of translation to specific activist projects connected with the Egyptian Revolution or with similar movements elsewhere (Turkey, Greece, Argentina, etc.);
  • The political import of creative strategies of translation, in its narrow and broad senses, in the context of protest movements;
  • The extent to which new technologies and software support or restrict the subversive potential of translation;
  • The interaction between textual and visual media, and between different languages, in sites of protest such as graffiti and street performance.

Speakers will include activists, writers and academics.


The languages of the conference are English and Arabic (with volunteer interpreting provided where feasible).


Conference Organizers

Mona Baker, University of Manchester, UK

Yasmin El-Rifae, freelance writer, Palestine Festival of Literature

Mada Masr, independent, free and critical news coverage of Egypt and beyond     *



Rizk, Philip, Interviewed by Shuruq Harb (May 2013). Available at

31 replies

  1. Call for Contributions: Translation and the Many Languages of Resistance, Cairo, March 2015. Posted on Jadaliyya.

  2. Who is eligible to attend this conference?

  3. I published the event on my page and provided links to this wordpress.
    Wishing you all the best of luck
    Rania-PhD candidate in comparative literature-Suny Binghamton.

  4. I would like to attend but I’m not sure of how and whether I can get a visa. What about accommodation ?

    • HI Sally, We will be posting information on the website before the end of September giving tips on things like accommodation and visas. Unfortunately I don’t have any funding to sponsor anyone – all the funding is used to waive registration fees. So you will need to find your own funds, but we can certainly give advice on accommodation nearer the date. Visa issues are complex and depend very much on your passport. I have no way of influencing or facilitating these processes. Mona

  5. I am from india, i would like to attend in this great seminar, my subject is related to kerala, is it eligible to present there?

    • I’ve just sent you a response by email – we will consider your abstract with other submissions and let you know by or before the end of September. But you can certainly attend any way – you don’t have to be a presenter to attend the conference. And registration is free.

  6. Great, I’m looking forward to be there; I’ve just finished a paper I believe is related to the main themes entitled “The Americanization of Film Subtitles: A Sociocultural Linguistic Perspective to Subtitling Translation in the Arab World” and just sent it to your email.

  7. I’ve always wanted to attend a conference organized by Prof Mona. I would like to ask how the conference is to be held in Cairo, 6-8 March 2015 and the extended deadline for abstracts is on 15 October 2015? Will all the participants have to speak?

    • My apologies for the misprint regarding the deadline for abstracts. It was meant to be October 2014. You don’t have to speak at the conference to be able to attend. You just need to register. Hope to see you there.

  8. Would you please provide further details of the address? I’m from Alexandria and don’t know what Rawabet is or downtown is.

  9. thank you very much Dr Mona for your prompt reply.

  10. You’re welcome. Info already on the site now.

  11. Prof. Mona, how many hours a day it willbe?

  12. Dr Mona
    I’ve registered now but I need a confirmation that my registration is successful

  13. Thank you very much for giving me the chance to join you. I would like to ask will the sessions be recorded? and will the papers be published?. I am afraid that I will not be able to make it for all of the three days and I am really interested in all of the topics. Thanks

    • Some of the sessions will be recorded (only the plenaries). Can you tell me which days you plan to attend? Or are you going to go in and out of sessions every day?

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