2013 Freer Symposium
Arts of the Middle East Uprisings
This year’s Freer Symposium explores the visual arts and other expressive media of the recent Middle East Uprisings. It brings together internationally acclaimed and award-winning journalists, writers, bloggers, activists, cinematographers, photographers, cartoonists, and scholars whose work explores or makes use of image-based modes of communication.
During the recent uprisings, images were disseminated through countless venues as demonstrators and other individuals turned to using their own cameras, photographs, computers, pens, and paints to create visualized forms of dissent while simultaneously communicating politicized messages and building records of the ongoing upheavals. The resulting flood of images of torture, violence, anger, frustration, joy, and hope resulted from participant observation and eyewitness journalism, in turn coalescing into a larger visual amalgam through the cybermedia. In their roles as communicative devices, images have played a key role in contesting the status quo, building group consensus, and securing support from both local viewerships and international audiences.
The symposium will take place November 14-15 2013. It is organized by Christiane Gruber, Associate Professor of Islamic Art in the Department of Art History, and Juan Cole, Director of the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies. Symposium participants include Jill Dougherty, Lina Ben Mhenni, Nadia Khiari, Wael Abbas, Mona Abaza, Khaled Matawwa, Stephennie Mulder, Jennifer Pruitt, and Lina Khatib.