A Master of Arts thesis in Translation and Interpreting MATI (English/Arabic/English) by Lamia Gharbi entitled, "Arab Culture in Translation: From Exoticism to Terrorism," submitted in May 2016. Thesis advisor is Dr. Said Faiq. Soft and hard copy available.
The 9/11 attacks placed the Arab and Islamic World at the center of a global attention characterized by the negativity of an old inherited conception. While portraying Arabs and Muslims again within a clash of civilizations and associating their culture with violence and terrorism, the world seems to recreate an old scenario of the 'Self' and the 'Other'. Viewing the Arab and Islamic World from a fixed ideology is the first mover behind circulating texts designed to create a particular mental model about them that serves the interests of the producers of such an ideology. From orientalism to terrorism, discourses seem to reintroduce and extend a static view of exoticism, misrepresentation and fear. This is reflected not only in the concepts, but also in the terminology and the intensity of fear mobilization. Translation has played a major role in reinforcing and stimulating established ideologies about the Arabs and Islam alike, often without differentiating between the two. In this context, this thesis investigates these reflections through an examination of The Arabian Nights' translation and the rise of exoticism in representing Arab culture. It further explores an article titled الاعدام حرقا...عقوبة اسلامية written by Yasmin Al Khatib, a young Egyptian writer, as a reaction to the execution of the Jordanian hostage pilot, Muath Al-Kasasbeh, by the terrorist organization known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and its English translation by MEMRI.org as 'Death by Fire is an Islamic Punishment'. Both texts are examined through the frame of Critical Discourse analysis. It is concluded that although Arabs are used to misrepresentations of their culture; they do not expect so from Arab writers who are viewed as instruments of hegemony locally implanted in the Arab World to expand Western discourse. The thesis determines that terrorism is not an entirely new concept; it is a reproduction of orientalism through similar means of distortion of Arab culture.