Egyptian Comics and the Challenge to Patriarchal Authoritarianism

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Høigilt, Jacob (2017) Egyptian Comics and the Challenge to Patriarchal Authoritarianism, International Journal of Middle East Studies 49(1): 111–131.

​Adult comics are a new medium in the Arab world. This article is the first in-depth study of their emergence and role within Arab societies. Focused on Egypt, it shows how adult comics have boldly addressed political and social questions. Seeing them as part of a broader cultural efflorescence in Egypt, I argue that, against patriarchal authoritarianism, adult comics have expressed an alternative ideology of tolerance, civic rights and duties, individualism, creativity, and criticism of power. Specifically, they present a damning critique of Egypt's authoritarian order, as well as of the marginalization of women and broader gender dynamics in Egyptian society. Through frank humor, a playful style, and explicit graphics, they give voice to the concerns of young Egyptians. Connecting comics to other art forms such as music, graffiti, and political cartoons, I situate them within a critical cultural movement that came to the fore with the Egyptian uprising of 2011.

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Jacob Høigilt

Jacob Høigilt

Research Professor