AUB Libraries Online Exhibits

Gender and Nation


غلاف مجلة سمير، العدد 1111  - تهامي – القاهرة: دار الهلال، 1977

Every nation needs its folklore, a space to build around so that it can construct its imagined community, feed into the creation and consolidation of its Nation building efforts, and of its National Discourse. Deeply ingrained images of the Nation as a caring mother, as Mother Earth, woman as an entry point and a guarantee of a primordial "heaven",  are all images and symbols commonly tapped into in the service of consolidating the imagined space of any given discourse or nationhood. Comics here, as one such element feeding into the visual culture, emotional repertoire and symbolism of this Arab and Egyptian "imagined community" and national discourse, are no strangers to this effort. An image of Egypt as a mother, its Nile feeding it life, are put on display for readers of Samir, thus tapping into  a deep emotional reservoir in the service of the National imagined community of modern Egypt: Mama Misr. The repercussions and implications both for the national identity and discourse, as well as for women's identities and discourses can only be reckoned.


غلاف مجلة سمير، العدد 1081 –  تهامي -  القاهرة: دار الهلال، 1976

The image of the leader as a paternal caring figure is another element that is commonly tapped into and fed to the emerging youth: "Baba Sadat" here is portrayed as the "Guardian of the Nation": his children, the Nation's children, are bound to wish him a happy Birthday, and participate in this "nation building" "family ritual".


غلاف مجلة سمير، العدد 1101 – محمد الصغير– القاهرة: دار الهلال، 1977

The "Mother Nation", and the "Leader Father", all get together for a celebration of a happy family in this cover of Samir: once again, deeply ingrained archetypical images, and commonly shared emotional reservoir are being put at the service of the Nation, and of its discourse!