Programs and Tours
2013 History of Art Freer Symposium: Arts of the Arab World Uprisings
Spring 2011 was a riveting moment across the Middle East. Beginning with popular demonstrations in Tunisia that resulted in the January ousting of longtime president Ben Ali, the uprisings subsequently spread to a number of other countries, including Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Iran, and Syria (where violence continues unabated today). These uprisings were dubbed the "Arab Spring" due to their timing and the hope for democratic change that they seemed to promise. Although they did not just take place in Arab lands and their courses remain unclear as various political parties continue to vie for power today, their images nevertheless have remained indelible in the minds of those who participated in demonstrations or watched the events unfold. This is especially the case for Egypt where televised reports - both past and ongoing - have allowed demonstrators to address both the Mubarak and Morsi regimes as well as an international viewership. Over and again, government-controlled modes of communication were circumvented as a number of other media allowed for an alternative (and arguably more accurate) recording of events on the ground. The dissemination of images trickled through countless venues as demonstrators and other individuals turned to using their own cameras, photographs, and paints to create visualized forms of dissent. This flood of images of torture, violence, anger, joy, and hope resulted from participant observation and eyewitness journalism, in turn coalescing into a larger visual amalgam through the cybermedia. This symposium explores the various roles and functions played by the visual arts and other expressive media in the recent Middle East Uprisings by bringing together internationally acclaimed and award-winning journalists, bloggers, activists, cinematographers, photographers, writers, and art historians. This collaborative enterprise seeks to bridge several disciplines within academia while also placing scholars in conversation with activists and journalists active on the ground. The conference is organized by Professors Christiane Gruber (History of Art) and Juan Cole (History and CMENAS).
Friday, 15 November, 2013
4th Floor East Conference Room, Rackham Graduate School
915 E Washington StAnn Arbor, MI 48109