AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 8, Number 2 May 2024 Pp. 255-270

Algerian and Egyptian Acrobats Abroad: History from below and Occidentalist Narratives of Fact Re-narrated

Faculty of Languages, Art and Human Sciences, Settat, Morocco
Hassan I University, Settat, Morocco.


Though hidden in plain sight and aesthetically relegated to the margin of history, Arab acrobats’ accounts in the West are critical terrains that shift the spotlight downwards, signal new versions of the inscription of Otherness and recreate the absent/present agency of acrobats as active interlocutors and “dissenting voices”. They remain valuable archival material that particularly challenges Orientalist orthodoxies and Western clashing tropes; they are undoubtedly alternative discourses of difference that run counter to the binary mainstream trope and the fixed taxonomy of East versus West. The researcher’s particular interest is in the Algerians and Egyptians. The ultimate aim is to show an Occidentalist façade of representing the Western Other. The author argues that these acrobatic experiences formulate a parallel Occidentalist discourse that tries to create a counter-discursive narrative of fact. This is significant in in the building up of an Occidentalist project. It shows how the acrobats have turned into examiners and eyewitnesses from within Western contexts. This article starts from this aporetic question: to what extent do Algerian and Egyptian acrobats recreate their agency and enunciate an alternative façade of Occidentalism? Using a postcolonial micro-historicist[i] approach, this paper aims to undermine both the Orientalist discourse and the Occidentalist thesis based on Hassan Hanafi’s allegiance. Ranging from the itineraries of Abachi troupe to the trajectories of Amin brothers and Ramses groups, this article concludes that the discourse generated is not  Orientalism but rather a heterogeneous version of Occidentalism.


Cite as:

Abdelaziz, T. (2024). Algerian and Egyptian Acrobats Abroad: History from below and Occidentalist Narratives of Fact Re-narrated. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 8 (1), 255-270


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Dr Tritha Abdelaziz is a holder of Cultural Studies Master degree from the Faculty of Art and Humanities, Dhar el Mahraz, Fes. He holds a PhD in Cultural Studies from the Faculty of Art and Human sciences, El Jadida. His research area includes issues related to the analysis of postcolonial literature and travel narratives as well as anthropological accounts. He is an assistant professor at Hassan I, Settat, Morocco. https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9817-1240