Political Cartoons in the Middle East

The imagery of political cartoons provides a unique yet under-studied insight into how Middle Eastern societies think. By combining the indigenous comic tradition of shadow plays with the imported Western print form, and by drawing on both visual and verbal narratives, Middle Eastern political cartoons free the imagination, challenge the intellect, and resist state domination.

The essays in this collection focus on the multiple cultural spaces that political cartoons in the Middle East create across societies. Palmira Brummett analyzes the images of women in Ottoman cartoons, while Shiva Balaghi studies issues of nationalism in caricatures from Qajar Iranian newspapers. Ayhan Akman concentrates on the issue of modernity in Turkish cartoons during the 1930–1975 period. Mohamed-Salah Omri takes up the issue of war and cartoons as he comments on the politicization of Tunisian cartoons during the Gulf War.

Fatma Müge Göçek (University of Michigan) is the author of three books, including The Rise of Bourgeoisie, Demise of Empire: Ottoman Westernization and Social Change. Her essay “The Legal Recourse of Minorities in History: Eighteenth-Century Appeals to the Islamic Court of Galata” was featured in Minorities in the Ottoman Empire (also available from Markus Wiener).