Creative Insurgency: Arab Dissent in an Age of Revolution


ACLS Fellowship Program


Annenberg School for Communication

Named Award

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow named award


This study explores cultural production in the Arab uprisings, concluding that the human body is the indispensable revolutionary medium. Relying on primary Arabic-language audio-visual, ethnographic, textual and visual sources, the book focuses on creative activists, practices and styles, and uses a historical-comparative approach across nations, periods, and media. In Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, and Syria, activists have deployed a rich array of media in fierce propaganda wars against murderous dictators. Mining the past for resonant symbols, creative insurgents execute daring physical performances, catchy slogans, memorable graffiti, and witty videos. At once whimsical, grim and heroic, insurgent art and culture promote cross-border solidarities and shape revolutionary political identities. Revolutionary expressive culture offers insight into the nature of power and resistance and opens a vista onto the future of Arab culture and politics.