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Signs of the Times


Accompanying the online launch of the spring issue of ArteEast‘s Shahadat, this discussion is ArteEast’s first look at the cultural production related to recent political developments in the Middle East and North Africa. The online piece examines the creative energies spent on protest signs, street art, and graffiti, and engages questions of the popular, visuality, translation, commemoration, and resistance as related to the ouster of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. This event seeks to expand that discussion by considering how these forms of expression fit into changing patterns within contemporary Arabic literature.  How else might we assess the influence of the Internet and new media in terms of recent political developments, especially as regards Egyptian cultural production?  What is the relationship between “urban culture” (graffiti, street art, etc.) and popular literature? As situations shift and develop in Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, and Syria and remain in flux in Tunisia and Egypt, the discussion also seeks to understand the effect of the so-called “Arab Spring” and the spread of political mobilization, resistance, and critical engagement across the region. How does/did cultural production create, sustain, or transfer “revolution”?

Tarek El-Ariss (Ph. D., Cornell University) is Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. His research focuses on contemporary Arabic literature, film, popular culture, and media. He’s published on new Arabic writing; The Arab Image Foundation; representations of Islam in US media; and gender and sexuality in the Middle East. He is currently editing The Arab Renaissance: Anthology of Nahda Thought, Literature, and Language for the MLA series, Texts and Translations, and completing a book entitled, Trials of Arab Modernity: Literary Affects and the New Political, both forthcoming in 2012.

Hatim El Hibri is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at NYU. His work investigates the intersections of contemporary satellite media, the cultural economy of urban space, and the visual culture of the Middle East. He previously worked in advertising.

Shahadat is a bilingual, on-line publication project through ArteEast which focuses on short-form creative writing: poetry, essays, short stories, etc. from the Middle East, North Africa, and diasporas.  We seek critical dialogues about new forms and broader horizons for both authors and audiences.

Date + Times
Wednesday, April 27


The Main Gallery
51 Bergen St.

Earlier Event: April 22
9/11 Oh! My God