Middle East Studies

Bibliographic Review



Caricature and cartoon arts are among the most important expressive arts in Egypt. They shed light on the identity of the people and society through drama presented in comedic form.

This type of art conveys multiple layers of meaning as it presents a sometimes critical but often accurate commentary on society and culture.  Caricature represents the characteristics of a person or a subject in order to deliver the idea deliberately using a cynical, exaggerated style. Egypt has a list of fine cartoonists and caricaturists, such as Doaa el-Adl, Andeel, George Bahgoury, Gomaa Frahat, Ahmad Hijazi, Salah Jahin, Ahmd Nady, Bahgat Osman, Alexander Saroukhan, Tarek Shahin, Ahmad Toughan and many others.

Cartoons and caricatures commenting on Egypt’s polices, government, social and economic conditions. 

Fī al-ṣamīm : kārīkātīr ʻAmr Fahmī ; taqdīm D. Muṣtạfá al-Fiqī  is a book of caricatures commenting upon the economic, political and social conditions in Egypt in a humorous way..  

The author addressed a variety of issues, ranging from Urabi’s revolution of 1882, to the January 25th Revolution.  The cartoons contained here offered a commentary on popular resistance against the British occupation; demonstrations against the cancellation of the constitution;  the fifties era which brought down the curtain on the reign of the dynasty of the Muhammad Ali family; the short term of office of Muhammad Najib; the ruling period of Gamel Nasser which witnessed the rise of Egyptian nationalism, the setback of 1967 war with Israel; the period of Anwar the-Sadat which ushered in the Peace Treaty with Israel; and finally, the thirty year rule of Mubarak which led to the youth revolution. For more about Amr Fahmi Cartoons,
Rānyā Ṣāliḥ’s al Kārīkātīr al-siyāsī :mundhu thawratʻArābī wa-ḥattá thawrat 25 Yanāyīr  contains cartoons and satire covering roughly the same time period of the above work.  

Tārīkh al-rasm al-ṣuḥufī fī Miṣr by Nāṣir ʻIrāqIn this pictorial work, Nasir Iraqi presents Egyptian wit and humor and the history of caricatures and cartoons in the Egyptian press.   Chapter 3, “Thawrat al-mutamarridin 1952-1976” is of particular interest as it illustrates in cartoons and text the political developments of the period. 

 al-Waraqah by Islām Jāwīsh; “Nuqṭah wa-min awwal al-saṭr by Khālid Khamīsī” ; “Naẓar” and “100 rasm wa-akthar  by al-Labbād”; and “Maʻa al-nās bi-rīshat Ṭūghān offer commentary in cartoon form on Egypt’s social conditions.

A bit of air by Walid Taher  translated by Anita Husen is a graphic novel In English and Arabic by an award-winning Egyptian children's author and illustrator Walid Taher. Inspired by the long tradition of Egyptian colloquial poetry and its relation to social and political movements in Egypt, Taher creates a unique blend of visual art, poetry, and architecture. These darkly humorous poems and their accompanying images are snapshots of a state of mind and a space of fantasy that convey the absurd, the comical, the profound, and the idiosyncratic. This illustrated, bilingual edition comes at a time of political and literary upheaval. An unprecedented number of Arab authors are producing new and noteworthy works by appropriating the language of blogs, poetry, comic strips, and film, to name a few. This mixing of media gives shape to new experiences emerging from and redefining a rapidly changing social and political reality.  A new generation is ushering in a new language, a new literature, and a new Arab world.

Caricatures and Cartoons on Specific Subjects

al-Iksibrīs : qiṣaṣ muṣawwarah by Aḥmad ʻAbd al-ʻAzīz, al-Shaymāʼ Zahrān, Rashā al-Dīb, Sadīm Shuʻayb, Samar al-Jayyār, Fāṭimah Hārūn, Muḥammad al-Naḥḥās, Muḥammad Saʻīd, Muṣṭafá Zakī. The “Express” includes a collection of comic books drawn and written by Comic artists from the provinces, telling stories of everyday life. The author co-published the book incooperation with the Danish-Egyptian Institute. The name “Express” came from the idea of a fast train passing through the Egyptian governorates.

al-Qāhirah bi-qalam wa-iskitsh Muḥammad Wahbah al-Shinnāwī  is a pictorial work that illustrates the largest city of Egypt in a comic way. The black and white images in this book encourage the readers to imagine the life, the detailed pictures of buildings and the historical places.  The caption under each comic provides the reader with information about each location.

Miṣr allatī kānat fī al-Muqaṭṭam by Muḥammad al-Muʻtaṣim illustrates in cartoon and caricatures the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in the 21st century. al-Ṣiḥāfah al-nisāʼīyah fī Miṣr by Nabīl al-Samālūṭī  is a caricature representing women in Egypt and its history. 


Toughan Ahmad was born in Egypt in 1926 and raised in Cairo. In 1946, he began his career as a journalist and cartoonist in many of the Egyptian newspapers, journals and magazines. His earliest and most publicized works came during his period at Rose al-Yūsuf, the famous political weekly magazine and in Akhbar El Yom weekly magazine. In 1953, following the revolution that brought President Gamal Abdel Nasser to power, Toughan was one of the co-founders of Al Gomhuria daily newspaper. In the 1980s, Toughan created the weekly cartoon magazine, Caricature, along with his fellow cartoonist Mustafa Hussein. (Wikipedia)

Toughan has published more than 50,000 cartoons in daily newspapers, magazines and 11 illustrated books since 1946. Min ayyām zamān : lawḥāt bi-rīshat al-fannān Aḥmad Ṭūghān = From the good old days : paintings By the artist Ahmed Toughan by tarjamah D. Suʻād Faṭīm ; taqdīm ʻIzz al-Dīn Najīb ; iʻdād wa-taʻlīq ʻAbd Allāh al Ṣāwīand Sīrat fannān ṣanaʻathu al-ālām by Aḥmad Ṭūghān is a general biography of Egyptian cartoonists. It includes cartoons, paintings, and caricatures. Rakhā-- fāris al-kārīkātīr by Saʻīd Abū al-ʻAynayn is a biographical account of the famous Egyptian cartoonist Muhammad ʻAbd al-Munʻim Rakhā.

Cartoons and graphic Novel of Mubarak’s Egypt:

Metro : a story of Cairo by Magdy El Shafee; translated by Chip Rossetti. When Shihab runs afoul of a loan shark, all avenues of salvation in Mubarak's corrupt, oppressive Egypt are closed to him but one: robbing a bank. Things go wrong: In their blow against their crumbling society, Shihab and his friend Mustafa happen on evidence of vice that points to the upper reaches of the regime. On a wild chase through Cairo's metro system, Shihab and Mustafa turn to family and friends for refuge, which is offered only by Dina, a muckraking journalist who, for Shihab, will take the greatest of risks. In art, as alive and immediate as Cairo itself, Magdy El Shafee has delivered an arresting and prescient portrait of a crumbling society and Egypt's coming eruption. A powerful story of comrades on the lam and an impossible love, Metro also sounds the cry for a better, freer future. 



The Palestine – Israel conflict was the focal point of many cartoonists and caricaturists.  This type of arts provides a unique, informative way to learn about what’s going on in countries that are undergoing painful transition. Through drawing, authors are allowed to give a detailed, relentless, personal illustration of violence and oppression while also inserting a filter — the comic format — between the reader and the described events, which softens the blow enough to make the content palatable.

Nājī al-ʻAlī

Nājī al-ʻAlī, drew over 40,000 cartoons, which often reflected Palestinian and Arab public opinion, and were sharply critical commentaries on Palestinian and Arab politics and political leaders. Nājī al-ʻAlī was assassinated in London in 1987.  Here are six works that were written by him or about him: 

Nājī Al-ʻAlī, 1985-1987 :Kārīkātīr are caricatures that represent the Arab-Israeli conflict. The second book, Al-hadīyah lam taṣil baʻd : maqālāt wa-kārīkātīr, represents selected cartoons of Al Ali and a biographical caricature about him. Some cartoons on the Palestinian Intifada and Arabic political satire were also included. The third book, Nājī al-ʻAlī, was written by Walīd al-Ghāzī and is about the assassination of Naji Ali. It includes many of Naji’s cartoons and caricatures. The fourth book, Nājī Al-ʻAlī, kāmil al-turāb Al-Filasṭīnī : Min ajl hādhā qatalunī is another biographical work about Naji.  It also addresses cartoons about the Arab-Israeli conflict. 
Nājī al-ʻAlī : al-fannān, al-insān, al-qaḍīyah by Markaz Nājī al-ʻAlī al-Thaqāfī   and al-Shahīd Nājī al-ʻAlī by Fuʼād Muʻammar  are also biographical books about Naji.  They offer commentary on Jewish-Arabs relations between 1973 -1993 and the assassination of Naji. These two books include chapters of Naji’s cartoons and caricatures.

Israel-Arab Conflicts

Leila Abdelrazaq, artist, authored 2 accounts representing mostly the Palestinian life in Lebanon and in the refugee camps.  Baddawi, an arrestingly drawn debut graphic novel, is the story of a young boy named Ahmad struggling to find his place in the world. It explores the childhood of the author's father from a determinedly boy's eye view. Ahmed was raised in the refugee camp of Baddawi in northern Lebanon, one of many thousands of children born to Palestinians who fled (or were expelled from) their homeland during the 1948 war that established the state of Israel. Ahmad's dogged pursuit of education and opportunity echoes the journey of the Palestinian people, as they make the best of their existing circumstances while remaining determined to one day return to their homeland.

Leila’s second book, Smuggling books across the border: an illustrated diary is a mini-comic documenting the author's reactions and responses to experiences she had during the 2015 Palestine Festival of Literature.  (For more information, see the PalFest 2015 site)

al-Qaḍīyah al-Filasṭīnīyah bi-al-rasm wa-al-kalimah, al-naṣṣ Naṣrī Khiḍr al-Ṭarazī ; al-rusūm UsāmahʻĪd Ḥajjāj ; taqdīm Bahjat Abū Gharībah address Palestinian issues with drawing and speech. Yawmīyāt al-kārīkātīr fī qaḍīyat Filasṭīn by Aḥmad Ṭūghān ; taqdīm Khayrī Shalabī is another collection of cartoons and caricatures that represent the Palestinian issue and the history of Israel.  Nuḥāribu wa-nabtasim = Wartime smiles by [Ibrāhīm  Ḥunayṭir] are classic caricatures on the Israel – Arab war.
Bībī -- Nitanyāhū! : kārīkātīr by ʻAmr Fahmī ; taqdīm Aḥmad Rajab” is an album of Egyptian political cartoons by Amr Fami, concerning Bibi Netanyahu, Israel and contemporary politics. al-Fann al-tāsiʻ : nahārāt al-ḥaky fī sharīṭ al-qiṣṣah al-muṣawwarah by Saʻīd ʻAllūsh includes caricatures and cartoons; animated films; narration; satire; art; translations into Arabic as well as history and criticism.



Geopolitics is defined in Merriam – Webster dictionary as a study of the influence of such factors as geography, economics, and demography on the politics and especially the foreign policy of a state.  This means that a governmental policy is guided by geopolitics. Humor and laughter have become the subject of recent geopolitical scrutiny.  Scholars have explored the affirmative and liberating possibilities of humor, and the affective bodily dimensions of laughter as tools for transformative action in critical geopolitics  The following selections come from the OSU Caricatures and Comics collections and focus on geopolitics.


Dégage ! : Tunisie, Égypte, Libye, Syrie, le temps des révolutions by Cartooning for peace; sous la direction de Faro” is a comic book about the Arab Near Eastern countries, states politics, political history, despotic regimes, foreign relations, the "Arab Spring” Islamic parties and Islamization in the early 21st century.

Abd Allah Ghazi is an Iraqi Cartoonist; his Majmūʻat Ghāzī : al-rassām al-kārīkātūrī al-ʻIrāqī al-shaʻbī : rusūm siyāsīyah ʻan al-ḥarb al-ʻIrāqīyah-al Īrānīyah wa-rusūm fūlklūrīyah .. shaʻbīyah ijtimāʻīyah wa-fannīyah wa-riyāḍīyah mukhtalifah is an album of the political cartoons on the Iran-Iraq war between 1980-1988 as depicted in folklore and popular art forms.

E=mca by L'Andalou ; préface, Mahfoud Aïder is a general pictorial work. It includes wit and humor, comic, caricature and cartoons.

Socio-Political Strips:

The idea of depicting the articles of constitution in caricature is unprecedented in the art of caricature. This form is used to critique government and those who govern. It is also used to criticize negative aspects of a society.  al-Maḥjūb!: kārīkātīr by  ʻImād Ḥajjāj offers commentary on the socio-political situation and government of Jordan.

Kārīkātīr by Munʻim Ḥamzah is a critique of Sudan, its politics and government.   In Beyrouth : juillet août 2006 by Mazen Kerbaj ; traduction de l'anglais par Fanny Soubiran , the author offers satirical commentary on the 2006 Lebanon War. 

In Kārīkātīr Ḥijāzī, fannān al-ḥārah al-Miṣrīyah, iʻdād wa-taqdīm Muḥammad Baghdādī the author presents pictorial depictions of Arabic wit and humor, while Bi-dūn taʻlīq  by Maḥmūd Kaḥīl consists of cartoons and caricatures without words, leaving the readers to their imagination.

Maʻrakat al-alghām by ʻAbd al-Samīʻ [and others] is a book of cartoons and caricatures on the geopolitics of the Jewish-Arab relations between 1973 -1993 and the Suez Canal in Egypt.

al-Dustūr bi-al-kārīkātīr = The Constitution in caricature  by rīshat ʻAmr Salīm is a satirized commentary on Egyptian’s constitution.


Caricature as a political cartoon can be used to critique the government and those who govern. It is also used to criticizes negative aspects of society. Our collection contains several volumes that address history in caricature.  See here for more on Egyptian cartooning. Below, you will find 3 such selections:

Kārīkātīr Ṭūghān by Aḥmad Ṭūghān ; taqdīm D. Shākir ʻAbd al-Ḥamīd.” Although these two volumes could also be placed in the area of Geo-politics, they are included here as they offer commentary on Egypt’s recent history; the period between 1953 and 1993 in the first volume and 1994 to 2012 in the second.  Tughan’s caricatures are accompanied by descriptive texts and are organized chronologically.

Abū Naẓẓārah is a ten volume collection of political cartoons on the history of Egypt.  From 1879 to 1892 it covers the Egyptian history in the Tawfiq era and from 1882 to 1936 it covers the Egyptian history during the British occupation.  The ten volumes are also available in the digital form in HathiTrust:    

Fann al-kārīkātīr : lamaḥāt ʻan bidāyātih wa-ḥāḍirihi ʻArabīyan wa-ʻālamīyan by  Kāẓi Shamhūd Ṭāhir is book that illustrates the history of the political cartoon art in Egypt.Chapter two includes several international cartoonists such as William, Hogarth, Francisco Goya and Honore Daumier.

 As a general history, the Les faucons du désert : Belkheir : le barde des Ouled Siki Cheik is a caricature in French that illustrates the history of Algeria during the French Occupation, between 1830 and 1962.

Yaḥduthu lī dūna sāʼir al-nās by Muḥammad Ṭamlīyah, ʻImād Ḥajjāj is a general book about the Arab countries in caricatures and cartoons.

Two titles about the human rights in caricatures and cartoons: al-Kārīkātīr-- wa-al-sharʻah al-Dawlīyah li-ḥuqūq al-insān  by/ rīshat ʻAmr ʻUkāshah = The International human rights conventions in caricature!! illustrated by Amr Okasha is a selection from: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,  The International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, the International Convention on Social and Economic Rights. The second item is al-Kārīkātīr wa-ḥuqūq al-insān  by Maʻriḍ Kārīkātūr wa-al-Mulṣaq an exhibition organized by the Arab Organization for Human Rights, UNESCO and Jamʻīyat al Kārīkātīr al Miṣrīyah, held 27-29 Dec. 1988. The cartoons and caricatures in this book are about the human rights in the Arab countries and the politics and government in the Arab world.

 North Africa


In North Africa, caricature has been a significant medium to document people’s hidden thoughts and unrevealed emotions. The simplicity of a sketch drawn by only using basic colors is as critical as war weapons: both target society’s troubles.  

Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia, have had a similar colonial, and post-colonial history and several themes appear in their cartoons, as well as graphic novels with a strong historical background.  North Africa also has a strong Franco-phone literary tradition which is represented in our Library collection.

Popular culture in the Middle East and North Africa : a postcolonial outlook, edited by Walid El Hamamsy and Mounira Soliman,  is an online book that explores the body and the production process of popular culture in, and on, the Middle East and North Africa, Turkey, and Iran in the first decade of the 21st century, and up to the current historical moment. Essays consider gender, racial, political, and cultural issues in film, cartoons, music, dance, photo-tattoos, graphic novels, fiction, and advertisements. Contributors to the volume span an array of specializations ranging across literary, postcolonial, gender, media, and Middle Eastern studies and contextualize their views within a larger historical and political moment.


al-ʻArabī al-Ṣabbān : al-kārīkātīrist wa-fannān al-rasm al-sākhir  by ʻAbd al-Karīm Gharīb is a biographical account of the Moroccan cartoonist al-ʻArabī al-Ṣabbān.


Emir Abdelkader : l'amiral des sables  by Azouz Begag, is biographical text with cartoons and cricatures about ʻAbd al-Qādir ibn Muḥyī al-Dīn, Amir of Mascara, 1807?-1883. Emir Abdlekader was an Algerian "Sharif", religious and military leader who led a struggle against the French colonial invasion in the mid-19th century. An Islamic scholar and Sufi who unexpectedly found himself leading a military campaign, he built up a collection of Algerian tribesmen that for many years successfully held out against one of the most advanced armies in Europe. His consistent regard for what would now be called human rights, especially as regards his Christian opponents, drew widespread admiration, and a crucial intervention to save the Christian community of Damascus from a massacre in 1860 brought honors and awards from around the world. Within Algeria, his efforts to unite the country against foreign invaders saw him hailed as the "modern Jugurtha" and his ability to combine religious and political authority has led to his being acclaimed as the "Saint among the Princes, the Prince among the Saints (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emir_Abdelkader)

Algerian War in French-language comics: postcolonial memory, history, and subjectivity by Jennifer Howell presents a chronology of the Algerian War and French comics, a historical narrative of the French colonial culture and comics, atrocity photographs war reporting and, the postcolonial  trends in teaching, remembering, and cartooning.


Redrawing French empire in comics by Mark McKinneinvestigates how comics have represented the colonization and liberation of Algeria and Indochina. It focuses on the conquest and colonization of Algeria (from 1830), the French war in Indochina (1946–1954), and the Algerian War (1954–1962). Imperialism and colonialism already featured prominently in nineteenth-century French-language comics and cartoons by Töpffer, Cham, and Petit. As society has evolved, so has the popular representation of those historical forces. French torture of Algerians during the Algerian War, once taboo, now features prominently in comics, especially since 2000, when debate on the subject was reignited in the media and the courts. The increasingly explicit and spectacular treatment in comics of the more violent and lurid aspects of colonial history and ideology is partly due to the post-1968 growth of an adult comics production and market. For example, the appearance of erotic and exotic, feminized images of Indochina in French comics in the 1980s indicated that colonial nostalgia for French Indochina had become fashionable in popular culture. Redrawing French Empire in Comics shows how contemporary cartoonists such as Alagbé, Baloup, Boudjellal, Ferrandez, and Sfar have staked out different, sometimes conflicting, positions on French colonial history. (source: Review https://www.amazon.com/Redrawing-French-Empire-Studies-Cartoons/dp/0814293212)




Search Catalogs


What is this searching? The OSU Library Catalog searches for print, electronic and other formats in the OSU Libraries collections. More Search Options >>


What is this searching? The OhioLINK catalog allows searching and requesting of scholarly materials located in the 90+ college and university member libraries around Ohio, plus the State Library of Ohio. More Search Options >>


What is this searching? WorldCat@OSU searches across 7 key databases for books, articles, and more. More Search Options >>

What is this searching? The SearchOhio Catalog allows searching and requesting of popular books, DVDs, CDs and other materials from 20+ public library systems throughout the state of Ohio. More Search Options >>