CFP for Book Chapter

Tijen Tunali Announcement
New York, United States
Subject Fields
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Asian History / Studies, Humanities, Sociology, Middle East History / Studies


The forthcoming publication, titled "Art Against Authoritarianism: Aesthetic Activism in the Post-Arab Spring Middle East and North Africa," has been selected for inclusion in the newly established IB Tauris academic book series entitled "Political Communication and Media Practices in the Middle East and North Africa." This edited volume undertakes an in-depth exploration of the multifaceted roles played by art in the collaborative endeavors aimed at establishing and safeguarding an alternative aesthetic and social reality within the contemporary Middle East and North Africa. By critically analyzing diverse artistic practices and their interconnectedness with various collective struggles within the region, this book illuminates the dynamic and innovative nature of anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarian artistic production, intricately intertwined with grassroots movements spanning the MENA region. Contributions focusing on Syria and Egypt are particularly sought after for inclusion as individual chapters.

The Arab Spring not only left its political impact on the social landscape of the affected countries in the Middle East and North Africa but also brought about a shift in the democratization of artistic expression and the understanding of art's role in protests (Walid and Soliman, 2013; Khatib, 2013). Over the past decade, there has been a growing interest in art activism in the MENA region and the political significance of aesthetic representation. However, the exploration of how political aesthetics can develop resistance strategies against the specter of near-absolute control and extensive oppression in the aftermath of the uprisings remains uncharted territory. Looking towards the future, art activism represents a crucial area of study for comprehending the political dynamics, trends, and outcomes in the ongoing struggles between revolutionary movements and counterrevolutionary forces in the Middle East and North Africa, particularly within the context of authoritarianism.

A decade after the Arab Spring, amidst the persistence of neocolonial ideologies and authoritarian politics that censor and restrict the conditions necessary for collective imagination, democratic participation, and grassroots mobilization, aesthetic activism has become an increasingly influential factor in social resistance. Drawing on examples from across the MENA region, this edited volume critically questions the aesthetic framing of politics that diverts attention away from grassroots struggles and toward the political theatrics of the state apparatus. It also explores how activist aesthetics can foster the transformative potential for the concept and practice of democratic life.

As numerous scholars have argued, there is an ongoing imperative to expose the various forms of repression inherent in today's neoliberal order, as well as an urgent need to uncover the forbidden truths regarding the nature of political authority. Therefore, we invite research papers that delve into the following questions:--In the current socio-political transformations in the region, can art reveal and subvert various paradigms of structural oppression and corruption that continues for decades in MENA?

--Can art be meaningfully transformative, creative and revolutionary under an authoritarian regime?

--If art activism under authoritarianism is possible, can it not just resist but be resilient and foster emancipatory politics and possibilities for thinking and living in another world?

--How have the artists in the MENA interpreted and developed the aesthetic and political discourses and tactics that the Arab Spring has produced?

--How do new artistic and aesthetic activism take up knowledge, discourses, and tactics that the latest uprising in the MENA region has produced, elaborate upon them, and translate them into new politics of social resistance against authoritarianism?

--How can art forms of activist practice and the new modes of social organization that seek to challenge existing hierarchies of power in MENA?

The analysis of examples could include but is not limited to the discussions of the reclamation of the visibility and speech in the public space; the formation of collective solidarities; the representation of suppressed identities and narratives and the creation of a new value system for art.

Interested authors are requested to submit an abstract of a maximum of 500 words and a short CV to Tijen Tunali

Contact Email