CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

This essay discusses experiences from a transnational study of the Mohammed cartoons controversy and its aftermath, inspired by Edward Said’s concept of contrapuntal reading. An important aspect of today’s contrapuntal reading is the recognition that the media environment developed over the past twenty years has left national public spheres increasingly porous. Thus, images originally aimed at a local audience where readers understand and discuss expressions based on a particular social and cultural context, when they travel without this contextual knowledge, may inspire very different readings and actions. This development generates, and indeed requires of intellectuals, transnational literacy, i.e. the ability to read texts and images (also) with the eyes of the distant other; to arrive at a better understanding of why a variety of readings occur.


  • contrapuntal reading
  • caricatures
  • free speech
  • transnational literacy
Elisabeth Eide
This is the latest publication of the author on cairn.
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