Nadim Damluji, Tintinologist
October 21, 2011 8:44 PM   Subscribe

Hello! My name is Nadim Damluji and I am an aspiring Tintinologist. Nadim Damluji received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, and just finished a year of blogging and retracing Tintin's steps in Belgium, France, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Taiwan and China to study Hergé's famous series as a form of Orientalism.

As Nadim writes in the blogs introduction, "I believe it is important to acknowledge that Hergé, although masterful at his craft, never left the confines of his Belgium studio while illustrating distant places." The blog is full of thorough posts (such as "The Case of the Arab Henchmen", where he details the clear changes between printed versions of The Crab With the Golden Claws.), great pictures of his toy Tintin posing in various locales (flickr account, which appears to only have a fraction of the blogs photos) and of the strange, sometimes one-of-a-kind Tintin themed street merchandise.. Nadim found himself in Egypt at the beginning of the Arab Spring, bringing his Egypt stint to an abrupt end.

Along the same lines, Damluji recently wrote a very worthwhile essay on Orientalism in Craig Thompson's new book Habibi, which can be read on the Hooded Utilitarian.

One of Damluji's blog posts was featured in this FPP.
posted by Corduroy (14 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
Here is Nadim Damluji's main website, my apologies for forgetting to include it.
posted by Corduroy at 8:47 PM on October 21, 2011

Watson Fellowships are awesome. They love quirky passions.

I was my school's nominee, but ultimately didn't win. My plan was to travel to the Pacific's micro-nations (Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Palau, Nauru, etc...) to see how little nations can make it in a big world. If anyone still wants to give me 35k to pursue it, I'm happy to take them up on the offer.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:56 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

posted by oneswellfoop at 9:00 PM on October 21, 2011

This is a fantastic way to spend a grant. We clearly didn't aim high enough when we got a grant from the Student's Union to start the Conker Club.
posted by arcticseal at 9:13 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

I love this, although I don't know why anyone should be surprised that a writer of fiction didn't leave home. L. Frank Baum didn't go to Oz.
posted by Ideefixe at 10:49 PM on October 21, 2011

My knowledge of Tintin begins and ends with him blowing up that rhino.

..Ah, who am I kidding. This post is just an excuse for me to mention how hilarious that rhino dynamite thing was. The thread could have been about a famous Belgian violinist and I would have forced that in.
But the entries about China were what really caught my eye. It is quite odd what pieces of western culture become popular abroad, isn't it? Not odd in a "Haha, stupid foreigners" way, just odd in a "I wonder why that resonated with them?" way. I was in China briefly, and the main thing I remember about Western culture was how popular Mr. Bean was. For some reason. It was also the first time I had actually watched Mr. Bean, and based on what I saw, I'm thinking that the true universal language is "Pathetic person failing at everything."
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 11:02 PM on October 21, 2011

Those Watson Fellowships are stuffed with "Why the hell didn't I think of that?!" ideas. My new favorite prize.
posted by mykescipark at 11:47 PM on October 21, 2011

TinTin is beloved and merchandisable worldwide. Appropriate for a series that began as anti-Marxist propaganda.

Don't you want a life size Captain Haddock statue to stand by your door?
posted by Winnemac at 11:59 PM on October 21, 2011

Sapristi! Is that Tintin in Vietnam hiding behind the Blue Lotus?
How did I miss that one?
posted by sour cream at 12:40 AM on October 22, 2011

Winnemac: Don't you want a life size Captain Haddock statue to stand by your door?

In case this wasn't rhetorical (which I can't imagine - is there anyone in the world who could answer no to that?), that is exactly what I need in my life.

And Christmas is coming up, Metafilter. I'm just sayin'.
posted by pseudonymph at 2:06 AM on October 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

Is it too late now for me to step in and say "I love Tintin!" He is by far the most favourite of my many passions growing up.
posted by Vindaloo at 5:32 AM on October 22, 2011

Hello! My name is Nadim Damluji and I am an aspiring Tintinologist.

Really...this is a thing that one can aspire to be. Ok. Good for him.
posted by Fizz at 5:45 AM on October 22, 2011

So does that make Tom McCarthy the dean of Tintinology?
posted by villanelles at dawn at 8:22 AM on October 22, 2011

This is a really neat trip and fellowship idea!

I had a Watson Fellowship in 2003 - at that point, I was a wildland firefighter interested in fire policy and hazard assessment. I spent my Watson year following the wildfire season from New Zealand to Australia, South Africa and southern Africa, Portugal and Spain and Scotland, Costa Rica and Guatemala.

It was the best year of my life (to that point). It got me even MORE interested in what I found so fascinating about wildfire - people, communities, and hazard abatement, and I ended up getting a PhD at UC Berkeley studying it. I highly recommend the fellowship program. It is a REALLY neat idea, and the fellowship organization is supportive, friendly, and also great.

By the way, if you're interested in applying, your school's due date may be coming up precipitously soon for this year. Only graduating seniors at roughly 40 colleges (mostly small liberal arts schools) are eligible, unfortunately. Most schools have an internal application process, and their selected finalists are then sent to TJW for consideration. If you have kids or a spouse that are traveling with you, you can receive an extra stipend.

If you're curious, I put together some suggestions for those applying for the Watson fellowship here here.
posted by RachelSmith at 8:58 AM on October 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

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