Locations Egypt

Interview with Eliane Ettmüller


Scholar Eliane Ettmüller makes a case in this interview for revisiting the work of noted Egyptian satirist Jacob Sanua (1839–1912). After Sanua had been blacklisted as a playwright, he wrote articles be to read aloud and performed by hãkis (local storytellers) in coffeeshops in colloquial Egyptian dialect.  Calling himself ‘a khowaja from Egypt’ (an honorific title), Sanua created multiple alter egos to bypass censorship to circulate a prolific volume of newspaper journals to the Egyptian people for over thirty years. One of these journals, Abou Nadarra, is on display in the exhibition From Visionaries to Vloggers (spring 2020).


Postdoctoral researcher Eliane Ettmüller is a lecturer at the Heidelberg Center for Transcultural Studies and the author of The Construct of Egypt’s National Self in James Sanua’s Early Satire and Caricature (De Gruyter, 2012). Her work considers the work of Jacob Sanua, author of what is known as the Abou Nadarra collection, produced between 1878 and 1910.